» » Brotherhood of War - Taegukgi (2004)

Brotherhood of War - Taegukgi (2004) Online

Brotherhood of War - Taegukgi (2004) Online
Original Title :
Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo
Genre :
Movie / Action / Drama / War
Year :
Directror :
Je-kyu Kang
Cast :
Dong-Gun Jang,Won Bin,Eun-ju Lee
Writer :
Richard Epcar,Ji-hoon Han
Budget :
Type :
Time :
2h 20min
Rating :
Brotherhood of War - Taegukgi (2004) Online

In 1950, in South Korea, shoe-shiner Jin-tae Lee and his 18-year-old old student brother, Jin-seok Lee, form a poor but happy family with their mother, Jin-tae's fiancé Young-shin Kim, and her young sisters. Jin-tae and his mother are tough workers, who sacrifice themselves to send Jin-seok to the university. When North Korea invades the South, the family escapes to a relative's house in the country, but along their journey, Jin-seok is forced to join the army to fight in the front, and Jin-tae enlists too to protect his young brother. The commander promises Jin-tae that if he gets a medal he would release his brother, and Jin-tae becomes the braver soldier in the company. Along the bloody war between brothers, the relationship of Jin-seok with his older brother deteriorates leading to a dramatic and tragic end.
Credited cast:
Dong-Gun Jang Dong-Gun Jang - Jin-tae Lee
Won Bin Won Bin - Jin-seok Lee
Eun-ju Lee Eun-ju Lee - Young-shin Kim
Hyeong-jin Kong Hyeong-jin Kong - Yong-man
Yeong-ran Lee Yeong-ran Lee - Mother Lee
Kil-kang Ahn Kil-kang Ahn - Sergeant Huh (as Kil-Kang Ahn)
Jin Jung Jin Jung - Sergeant Lim
Jae-hyeong Jeon Jae-hyeong Jeon - Yong-seok
Min-ho Jang Min-ho Jang - Old Jin-seok Lee
Yun-hie Jo Yun-hie Jo - Jin-seok Lee's grandaughter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Won-hee Cho Won-hee Cho
Min-sik Choi Min-sik Choi - North Korean Captain
Do-Hee Go Do-Hee Go - Young-Guk Kim
Taek-ha Hwang Taek-ha Hwang - Platoon Soldier #2
Dae-Hoon Jeong Dae-Hoon Jeong

To recreate the battle at Doo-Mil-Ryung, the scene required 15,000 bullets, 3,000 extras and 500 stunt experts. Instead of rifles being fired, fist fights were the main focus of the scene and all of the cast were specially trained. The shoot lasted three weeks with about 50 minor accidents a day on average, but the scene was finally wrapped without any major accidents.

The second film to sell over 10 million tickets in South Korea after breaking the highest grossing record set earlier by Silmido (2003).

The South Korean briefing in 1951 just before one of the characters escapes to North Korean lines mentions an attack on Hills 931 and 851. This is a reference to the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, which occurred in September and October 1951.

Official submission of South Korea for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 77th Academy Awards in 2005.

No other UN soldiers are seen in the film other than South Koreans, despite the very large role that they played in the war. Likewise, the Chinese, who would be the principal Communist force after late 1950, are only seen once or twice in the entire film.

Body Count: 531

The M4A3E8 Sherman tanks seen in the film seem to be mock-ups built on M32A1B3 Armored Recovery Vehicles, which were based on the M4A3E8 chassis but 'armed' only with a large winch for recovering disabled heavy vehicles. This is evidenced by a small slit in the front of the vehicle, which only the M32 series have in the Sherman family. Their hulls and Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension system seem to be genuine. These mock-up Shermans are, nevertheless, highly realistic and detailed, and have appeared in several other Korean War films and television series filmed in South Korea.

One of four South Korean movies screened at the 2006 International Fajr Film Festival in Iran.

Korean pop star/actor Jae-Joong Kim appeared in this film as an extra. He is best known as a lead vocalist for the pop groups 'TVXQ/DBSK/TOHOSHINKI' and JYJ.

The actor who plays the North Korean captain in the Pyongyang battle scene called in sick and was replaced with another actor with similar features.

The protagonists of the film, brothers Lee Jin-tae and Lee Jin-seok, are assigned to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army's 1st Infantry Division.

User reviews



This 2.5 hour long movie was wonderful! As a Korean, this movie was very emotionally moving and touching. Some people (mainly Westerners) think this movie was "over-dramatic", but it's actually a part of korean custom, culture and history. If you do not speak or understand Korean, a lot of the "meaning" is lost and cannot be portrayed in subtitles. That is a true shame. The story-line between the two brothers was heart-felt and emotional. Korea has remained divided for decades since and is subject to the possibility of a new war at any time. It was considered one of the most destructive and bloodiest wars of the 20th century with over 4 million koreans dead (2/3 of them were civilian). The Korean War will always be remembered as the "Forgotten War" since it came on the heels of World War II and was overshadowed by the Vietnam War.


Nations do not fight wars. Citizens fight them, and these citizens are honorable men and women who serve their country willingly or, as history shows, by decree of a desperate government.

As a result, patriotism has become the unlikeliest casualty. Once welcomed in the trenches of battle, patriotism has lost its limbs, fought back from life support, and suffered shell shock. Once easily recognized, patriotism has become a bit of a chimera, an ideal more easily attached to definable characteristics than it is any single soldier. However, in the bitter end, patriotism is defined by the actions of these individuals who serve; it is rewarded by the nations who sponsor this service; and, more often than not, it is measured in hardships endured.

Such is the complex, ever-changing battleground of writer/director Kang Je-Gyu's 'Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War.'

In 1950's Seoul, Jin-Seok (Won Bin) and his older brother Jin-Tae (Jang Dong-gun) are enjoying a strong family life of perfect happiness. Suddenly, they find their lives turned upside down as soldiers of the South Korean government seize them – all men aged 18 to 30 are taken – and they are forced to take up arms – despite their lack of training – against the approaching North Koreans. On one brutal battlefield after another, the bonds of family are put to increasingly demanding tests as Jin-Tae – originally driven by his responsibility to protect his younger brother – continues to further exhaust his physical and emotional prowess despite the protests of Jin-Seok. He learns that he is a good soldier, one with a talent for inspiring others as well as an unanticipated thirst for killing the enemy. Eventually, these two brothers – once bound by a love for family – find themselves at odds within this new brotherhood of war, and the pressures to prove one another continue to exact heavier and heavier tolls as the war escalates. As circumstances evolve, the brothers inevitably find themselves on opposite sides of a losing conflict … but can either find a path to redemption or reconciliation that can save both of them?

There are many elements of 'Taegukgi' that elevate the film from the status of standard war film to a message of hope set against the backdrop of war. The film's scope is grand, dealing with the far more intimate themes of family, brotherhood, and personal responsibility when Director Kang Je-Gyu could have easily opted for banging the drum of nationalism. At its core, 'Taegukgi' is the story of two brothers, a strikingly poignant analogy for the entire North Korea / South Korea dilemma. While the battlefield choreography is as frenetic as it is harrowing, it never takes the film's center: this picture is founded on relationships – the human perspective to the world outside – and it never falters. Instead of focusing on history, Kang Je-Gyu crafts every scene to highlight the thoughts, actions, and emotions of the participants of history, and, for that, 'Taegukgi' deserves countless accolades.

Much like exploring the heart of darkness as depicted in American classics as Francis Ford Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now' and Oliver Stone's 'Platoon,' Kang Je-Gyu forces Jin-tae to explore his own budding evil, and this journey is not without its own relative scars. Once a man has crossed over and embraced wartime madness, can he ever truly find a way out? Arguably, if 'Taegukgi' suffers from any setback, it is that perhaps Jin-tae goes too far for an audience to accept his madness: believing his brother to have been killed by North Koreans, Jin-tae turns traitor once he is captured and seeks to wipe out every soldier serving South Korea. While the story offers the motivation for so drastic a change, it's hard to believe that the man who once fought so valiantly against the spread of Communism would suddenly choose to embrace it.

Still, it's a small diversion … but it's necessary to bring the aspect of brotherhood full circle, to have these two unique men face their darkest hour, and to make one final statement on the role that family inevitably plays in every man's life.

Recently, thanks to the worldwide success of 'Taegukgi' and 1999's blockbuster 'Shiri,' Director Kang Je-Gyu has signed an agreement with Hollywood's own powerhouse, CAA, to produce his next film in America. Only time will tell whether or not this agreement will afford some of the 'Korean sensibility' to American films, but certainly having one of South Korea's premier directors breaking into the Hollywood film system is a tremendous advantage for fans of international film.

Only the passage of time will earn 'Taegukgi' its rightful spot alongside the other great films dealing with the consequences of war.


I have watched Taegukgi for the first time just yesterday, so my impressions of the movie are still fresh. I have not known much about the Korean War that took place at the beginning of the 1950's, but that was a history lesson I will not easily forget. Taegukgi is really the best (anti-)war movie I have ever seen. And believe me, I have seen a lot. But no movie ever before has impressed me so much. In most Hollywood productions there is only one perspective, the winners view. Many directors tried to make a movie that shows both sides of the conflict, but all of them failed. Until now: Taegugki is showing the situation mostly from the south korean view too, but it is the first movie which shows also the "other side". I was very surprised, that the director showed also the crime that his own government committed to their own people at this time. That movie is the first war movie that is not glorifying war - it's horrifying, terrifying, scary - like in reality.


That's what this movie is. Pure hell. If you're that person that screamed in agony when Shakespeare IN LOVE beat SAVING PRIVATE RYAN – find this movie and realize just how much better TAE GUK GI: BROTHERHOOD OF WAR is than just about every war film ever made. A story of two brothers during the Korean War. The movie is spectacle larger than any film made this year, but as intimate as a tale of brothers could ever be. I grew up with Sam Fuller, Peckinpah, Spielberg and the war films of Hollywood. This thing… it's just amazing. I went to see it on "Can Day" here in Austin… where you donate 3 cans of food to the homeless and see any movie you want. I saw 4 films that day, this was the 3rd – and it just completely blew me away. I instantly got the Korean Box Set – and have seen it many times since… Unfortunately – the day I saw it in the theater was the last day it was showing in Austin. A BRILLIANT FILM. The film will just shake you to the core. The South Koreans are making brutally brilliant films. Amazing. Should be re-released with a major advertising campaign. The trailers you could cut of this thing… my god. Stunning film and my pick for the best film of 2004 ! Check the site - http://aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=19054


Possible Spoilers*** First of all, major praise goes to Jang Dong Gun's riveting performance. He captured the essence of a nation divided, the immorality of war as your own folks become your enemies, and love for your brother regardless of the situation of the world and/or personal vendetta. The transformation he undergoes and the madness of war he evokes and invokes leaves quite an impact garnering notice.

I knew I was in for something as soon as I saw the archaeological dig of a battlefield starting the film as a grandfather's story is slowly drawn out. The flashback sequence between two brothers is heartwarming as you see the elder brother watching over and sacrificing for his younger sibling and the bond that they have. Being an only child, I wish I had a brother like that. Then the war hits and everything turns upside down as the gut wrenching begins.

The haunting thing about this movie is that the enemy is your own people and they speak your own language and share the same ancestors and genetics. What's more you kill your own kin because of circumstance in a situation of kill or be killed. The simmering conflict between the two brothers deserves special attention because it will hit home as the core message of the movie is made by it. The film made me think of what my parents and grandparents lived through.

-About Saving Private Ryan. To me they were worlds apart in situation, meaning and focus but similar in execution and structure. Just as Saving Private Ryan spoke so resounding to its audience, Taegukgi does the same for its own.


Whereas Saving Private Ryan's plot was a "situation" rather than a story--it's fatal flaw in my opinion)-- this harrowing film of the Korean War is a well paced and heart-wrenching tale of two brothers caught up in one of the twentieth century's most vicious conflicts.

The superbly realistic battle scenes are more brutal than any war movie I've ever seen...it makes you realize that combat is one of the most horrifying of all human experiences. In film it is a good thing; It is necessary to communicate and teach the horror of war.

By the way, "Tae Guk Gi" is the name of the South Korean flag. I give this movie ten out of ten stars.


The year is 1950, and we are introduced to a happy Korean family: Lee Jin-tae, the older brother who owns a small shoeshine stand in Seoul, his younger brother Lee Jin-seok, who is an excellent student and wants to go to the university,Jin tae's and Jin Seok's mother Yeong-ran Lee, Jin-tae's fiancée Young-shin and her little sisters. Everything goes fine with the family, who is poor, but very united: Jin-tae has plans to marry Young-shin, and he and his mother saves all their money to send Jin-seok to college. But when the Korea War starts and North Korea invades the South, The family see the need to abandon everything they own to try to join their uncle, in the country. The problem is that during their plan to scape, Jin-Seok's is forcibly conscripted into the South Korean army. Jin-tae tries to save him without any success, and then is also drafted into the army by his own wish, trying to protect his young brother. Without any kind of experience and few training, both brothers are sent to the front lines, where they witness the horrors of war. Jin-tae wants to release his brother, trying to be the best soldier and receive a medal of honor to send him back home. The problem is that many terrible things happens in a war, and even the brother's relationship becomes little by little to deteriorate.

''Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo'' is a sad and tragic story about North's and South's Korea war. I am not Korean, so I cannot say the general feeling that Korean people had when they watched this movie, or if everything was exactly how it happened, but in my personal opinion as an outsider, this movie is very good and well recreated, showing what I imagined when I read about the Korean war. (It cannot be a bad movie, if it became one of the biggest successes in Korean film history, eh?) I can only imagine how painful it was for brothers, sisters,mothers and fathers to be separated during and after the War, and watching movies like this one, makes you think about how pointless and horrible a war really is.


First off, I would like to state that war films are probably my favorite genre of film. I have seen all the greats, from Paths of Glory to Platoon to Apocalypse Now and many in between. However, this movie takes the spot as number 1. Never before have I been so moved by a film in my entire life. It was the only film along with Ikriu (1952) that brought me to tears. To call this a film is a travesty, it is more of an epic journey of two brothers drafted and the tolls that war have on them. This movie makes you feel like your on the battlefield with these soldiers. It's harsh realism only heightens the emotion. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Without giving too much away I truly can't see somebody not being affected by this movie. Just remember to keep the tissues close by for this one.


It started out like so many other movies, a short clip of the present and then a long flashback. And then it blew me away with its depiction of war and all of its complexities. The changes in the attitudes of the two brothers as the Korean War progresses helps us understand that war is not merely about good and evil. The most well intentioned soldier or commander can go astray. The Korean War turned brother against brother based on little more than time and place, conviction, or happenstance.

Take Guk Gi is the best antiwar movie that I have seen since Johnny Got His Gun.

It reminded me of the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, which I thought captured some of the reality of war while avoiding the pitfalls that Saving Private Ryan fell.

If the DC crowd watched the Battle of Algiers but missed the message, All Americans should see Tae Guk Gi to better understand the horror and tragedy of war.


I'm not a big fan of war films, unless the war in question was at least a couple hundred years ago or somewhere in the future, or the stars - but I did enjoy SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, if "enjoy" is the best word to use for such an experience. Apparently, director Kang Je-Gyu (SHIRI) enjoyed SPR too, as its influence on his Korean war film TAEGUKGI is impossible to deny. SHIRI was the South Korean film that probably did more than any other to bring the country's cinematic new wave into being, and especially into the field of view of the rest of the world at large. Its main accomplishment was, arguably, demonstrating that Korea could make a film that competed head on with Hollywood product, in terms of slick production values but also perhaps in terms of vacuous scripts Although it is rather shallow compared to other Korean films, though, I think it's safe to say that SHIRI had more depth than Hollywood would have injected into a similar story.

TAEGUKGI is his first film since SHIRI, and he's definitely playing the Hollywood game again - tackling Spielberg head on this time. Like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, TAEGUKGI attempts to humanise war by giving us some specific characters to focus on (in this case, two brothers played by Won Bin and Jang Dong-Kun) - and then uses our personal connection to show us that war is actually a dehumanising experience. The film also spares no effort in showing us the ability of bullets, knives and bombs to turn human beings into squishy piles of gore.

There's a fairly obvious political symbolism in the story of two brothers and the effects the Korean war has on their lives and relationship - I don't know if it would be fair to read the ending as a view about the conditions under which Korean reunification might occur though. The ending of the film won't come as much of a surprise, since it's basically foretold at the start with a scene set in the present day. The exact details might be a little unexpected though.

If you like your modern-ish day war films, and specifically if you liked SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, then there's very little doubt that TaeGukGi will impress. It's big, slick and well put together. Since it's not my favourite genre or topic of interest, I can't say I loved it like a brother, but was sufficiently satisfied with it given what it is.


In 1950, in South Korea, the shoe-shiner Jin-tae Lee (Dong-Kun Jang) and his eighteen years old student brother Jin-seok Lee (Bin Won) form a poor but happy family with their mother (Yeong-ran Lee), Jin-tae's fiancé Young-shin Kim (Eun-ju Lee) and her young sisters. Jin-tae and his mother are tough workers, who sacrifice themselves to send Jin-seok to the university. When North Korea invades the South, the family escapes to a relative's house in the country, but along their journey, Jin-seok is forced to join the army to fight in the front, and Jin-tae enlists too to protect his young brother. The commander promises Jin-tae that if he gets a medal he would release his brother, and Jin-tae becomes the braver soldier in the company. Along the bloody war between brothers, the relationship of Jin-seok with his older brother deteriorates leading to a dramatic and tragic end.

I have just watched one of the most spectacular movies of war of the cinema industry, if not the best. The stunning and overwhelming "Taegukgi Hwinalrimyeo" is impressive and the brilliant direction of Je-gyu Kang and his crew is among the most perfect I have ever seen, with realistic and gore battles and fights. The cinematography is amazing and the camera work in most of the moments seems to be a documentary, so realistic it is. The sad and dramatic story shakes the emotions of the viewer, with another stupid war, and worst, between brothers. Probably this is the best and most visceral anti-war movie ever made. Dong-Kun Jang and Bin Won are amazing and I felt deeply sorrow with the fate of the character performed by the gorgeous Eun-ju Lee. How can this movie be not nominated to the Oscar? My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Irmandade da Guerra" ("The Brotherhood of the War")


The best war movie ever, period. All the Saving Private Ryans of this world pale in comparison to Taegukgi. Don't be deceived by the fact that this movie took only $13 million to make (expensive by Korean standards but pocket change in the world of Hollywood), I dare say the visual/sound effects in the movie surpasses any multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster. If you thought the Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan was amazing, prepare to be blown away, this movie is about to rewrite history books. Outside of Hollywood, Korea is the ONLY country that is capable of making movies that are this good-looking and well polished. The scale and ambition of this film is massive, and even with all the risks involved in making films such as this, the director nails it on the head everytime. The amazing war sequences aside, the dramatic elements shine out as well, supported by an amazing cast of talented actors. It's a very tragic and moving story, more than few tears will shed where I watched the movie, and you will all cry too, when you're not staring in awe at the action sequences that is ^^ Anyways, a breakthrough film, the best movie of 2004 overall so far. I am shocked and surprised as to how much Korean filmmaking has progressed in a few short years, if this trend continues, within 10 years time, even Hollywood would be cowering in fear and begging for mercy. Korean movies ARE the future, this film is a testimony to that. See it for yourself, and believe it.


When North Korea invades the South, two brothers are forcibly drafted into the army. The older of the two, hoping to win a medal and ticket home for his younger brother, begins going on every suicide mission offered. This, however, puts a strain on his relationship with his brother and those in the platoon. Worse the course of the war has several nasty turns waiting for them...

I'm of two minds about this film. Despite the fact this is a graphic example of both the physical and psychic effects of war, the narrative is more than a bit disjointed. The film is loosely connected snapshots of the course of the war, beginning right before the invasion, then several weeks later before jumping about a month at a time to certain key events. I'm sure that had I better grasp of the history of the war I would have understood the events better. I felt lost and wished there had been more explanation. The lack of a narrative that follows all the way from start to finish hurts the film since we're moved a bit too much from place to place and situation to situation

But the course of the war is not the purpose of the film, rather its the relationship between two brothers. How war changes them and everything in and around them except the love they have for each other. Its a bit hokey but its dead on, just ask anyone who's ever loved their sibling unquestioningly. You understand how one brother would spend 50 years trying to find the other.

And then there are the battle scenes which are wonderful and frightening and seem to be the total chaos that war really is. People die horribly and the experience is far from fun.

Is the movie worth seeing?

Yes. Its not perfect but its a kick in the pants.

8 out of 10.


This movie was well above my expectations. When a movie draws you into it so deeply that you forget the fact that you are reading subtitles, you have found a superb foreign film. I warn you that this movie does have very realistic battle scenes (More realistic than any other war movie out there)so it can be intense. This movie is done in the style of "Saving Private Ryan", which was a very good movie, but I believe this was one up. One factor that I appreciated was that there haven't been a whole lot of movies about the Korean war, especially from a non-American perspective. The cinematography was of the highest quality for a foreign film of its type. Although there was plenty of war time action, this movie was about more than that. Humanity was examined on a level that I have yet to see in any other film.


The Korean War is thought of as the "forgotten" war in the U.S. because it came on the tail end of WW2. For Koreans it symbolizes a conflict that never ended, a civil war between a nation divided that has never been resolved. If you watch the movie in this context then the symbolism of the protagonists and the name has a much deeper meaning. Viewers have criticized the melodrama involved but there are events in war similar to the ones in the film that have happened. The film steps away from glorifying war and shows it as brutal and unforgiving and sometimes turns family members on each other. It is a state of complete breakdown of human rationale and consequences There is no real "happy" ending like in many Hollywood films and the violence is not glorified. This movie is a testament to Korean War veterans all over the world. It is to South Korea's credit that they could make such an important film for future generations.


i have to say that this film was excellent, i must also admit that i know a lot less about the Korean war than i do other wars in the 20th century but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the film and was especially glad the director has stuck to the human aspect of the war and not the political as i feel this would put off a lot of people from watching this film. there are some excellent performances here, from the main characters all the way through the supporting cast. it took longer than i expected for the action to start but when it does it does not let off till the end of the film. this aspect of it tied with the relationship of the two brothers makes the film, in my eyes i would even say that i prefer this film to saving private ryan. the battle scenes are very reminiscent of the opening half hour and end battle of ryan as they hold back no punches. all in all this film was definitely worth the wait since hearing of it on IMDb, i recommend this for anyone, even if war films are not your usual taste the human aspect will keep u watching.


wow....blows saving private ryan away, while it DOES start off like a cheesy knock off of it, its just so intense, heart filled and amazing the beginning doesn't even matter. take all the good parts of platoon, Apocalypse now, full metal jacket, and saving private ryan and you have taegukigi. While my Korean is not that good, the dubbing was pretty accurate, while being americanized (koreans don't call each other by name in family situations while the subtitles do..) the subtitles are very strong and as heart filled as the movie itself, i strongly recommend you don't watch it dubed, Korean is a very powerful language and even if you don't know it it added to the movie just as much. a must see movie for everyone about the horrors of war and the power of family


What can I say about this movie....It just blew me off......This movie is not just a perfect war movie......It is triumph of humanity over war ..... And well the war scenes... they are just out of the world ... take my word for it... they are brilliant... the movie is far superior to Platoon or Saving private Ryan...... I have never seen Dong-kung Jang in a movie before but let me tell you ... he has given the greatest performance of his lifetime as Jin-Tae. every scene in this movie is brutally realistic... however it does get slightly hollywoodish at the end....Apart from this minor flaw it is two and a half hours of adrenalin pumping experience......It features some of the best close range combat scenes.....It covers the entire Korean war.....Recommended viewing .... superior to any other Hollywood war film i have seen


It is not often that the chance comes by to watch a remarkable film, however, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to watch a screening of this film in Seoul with English subtitles.

Overall, the movie is an experience well worth seeing, not only for its portrayal of conflict on the Korean peninsular during the time (1950's), but also for the relationship that develops between the two main brothers.

There are, of course, some distractions from this great film - one of them, the overly "shaky" camera movements, particularly during action scenes. Another, the under-developed English subtitles. I sincerely hope that the English scripting will be improved if this film gains international exposure. As a "foreigner", I felt a real lack of emotion and feeling from the subtitles. Quite rightly, Koreans will feel much more from this film than others, as they know too well the effect of North Korea on the South.

The only other piece of criticism I could provide would be that a couple of times when it really felt like a scene was developing nicely, it was cut and we ended up in a completely different scene. Perhaps there were good reasons for this, but I felt that some scenes needed just a little more time to develop fully.

Overall, however, an impressive film that is probably not one for the kids, considering the level of violence. Well worth seeing if you get the chance.


What to say about this splendid , gorgeous movie ? In one sentence : the best war movie I have ever seen - ever! It is perfect in every aspect: every scene is well done with sense and attention,really catching story , history facts.... just everything. The other chapter is special effects. These were done absolutely tremendous and it is far better than any American film and with deep storyline which almost made me cry you will get the full-value experience.

The movie starts retrospectively when old man returns in his thoughts to the Korean War where he fought next to his older brother. He seemed to him tough and rude and that he wants to reach the medal by any means that necessary. But all this is the only way to get younger brother back home to his sick old mother. The all movie draws changes of both brothers and their attitude to war and life. And finally when the older one things that his brother is dead he has nothing to fight for and changes the side - becomes one of the Communist. But during one of the battles they meet each other again this time everyone at other side - they are enemies now.....(very end of the movie)

So if you like the Asian approach to values and great war movies this must be your pick number ONE.


The nostalgic sepia-toned segment of Seoul 1950, depicting pre-draft happy moments the two brothers shared with friends and family, is touching and heartwarming. But director does not linger there - in fact, the pace of the storyline of "Taegukgi" (South Korean name for their national flag) is more than tight, it's one event after another, never stops. We see the characters, main and supporting cast, managing the situations as they come. Korean filmmaker, Kang Je-gyu (of "Shiri") provided a powerful epic film experience. The war scenes of soldiers at camp, in combat, on the move, literally covered a lot of grounds, physically and historically timeline-wise.

Yes, it's quite melodramatic. Very much like a Korean opera. An emotional wringer we go through watching the changing situations between big brother Jin-tae and younger brother Jin-seok, the sad tragic scene of Young-shin, Jin-tae's fiancée caught between the political muddle of Koreans killing Koreans over suspecting communists involvement (she did nothing wrong other than getting food for family members' survival). Big brother was too sad and furious to continue gloriously fighting for 'country' as he felt the impact of lives loss, went over to the North Korean army, contradictorily fought for the enemy side. Fate did play a hand at every turn. Young brother escaped burning fate, as he's about to get back home to mother and family, he learned of his brother at the opposing war front. He realized how much he has wrongly alienated his big brother. Sigh! No one should be judged for what they do during war - circumstances in war time can change one's psyche and outlook.

From "The Power of Myth" PBS series, in his conversations with Bill Moyers, scholar and teacher Joseph Campbell talked about the [ritual of] people joining the army, putting on a uniform, giving up personal life and accepting a socially determined manner of life in the service of one's society. In times of war, they're acting not as individuals, they're acting as agents of something above them to which they've given themselves. "To judge them as though they were individual human beings is totally improper." To all soldiers, defensive or offensive, they are courageous souls who sacrificed their precious family ties and all, risking their lives coping with the unknown. It is humane to respect both the living and the dead.

The two leads are engaging: Jang Dong-gun is the big brother (he was detective Kim in "Nowhere To Hide" 1999) and Won Bin is the younger brother (he's a young popular TV star in South Korea). The multitude of extras for the battle scenes is part of a grand production with effective cinematography, score and sound effects enabling the film depictions being devastatingly real. The layers of plot and the 'all encompassing' facets/effects of war included in the mix may be too much for some - somehow, 2 hours 20 mins. of "Taegukgi" just came and absorbed. I understand the release of this film in South Korea coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the country's truce with North Korea. The film was very well received (a blockbuster) at home.

Other noteworthy war-related films: "Sergeant York" (directed by Howard Hawks 1941), with Gary Cooper's incomparable portrayal of WWI American hero Alvin C. York. "Hong Kong 1941" (aka "Dang doi lai ming" directed by Leong Po Chi 1984) the Chow Yun-Fat movie of the indelible friendship of three during Japanese occupation, how people react and act due to wartime situations for the sake of survival, saving a dear friend - it's dramatic, gutsy and romantic, too. "Grave of the Fireflies" (aka "Hotaru no haka" directed by Isao Takahata 1988), the impressive Japanese animated film which is very much about the effects of war - a beautiful story, nevertheless, through the eyes of a young boy and his little sister - however difficult a situation, there is magic in life and in death.


Brotherhood really deserves a 10, but a more accurate rating imo would be 9.8

War films do not usually appeal to me. However this film is exceptional because it is beautifully shot, has magnificent performances from the two lead characters and also encapsulates past and present issues concerning North and South Korea.

The plot consists of two South Korean brothers from the 1950's who are drafted into the army to fight against the North Korean communists. The elder brother tries to protect the younger brother from danger, whilst simultaneously leading the unit to victory.

The film has many brilliantly shot battle scenes and also an underlying theme of melodrama throughout concerning the relationship between the two brothers. This ultimately provides the film with an identity and portrays the true meaning and costs of war. Some war movie fans may see this melodrama as unnecessary, however I see it as absolutely necessary and indeed found the film very moving.

Pros - Cinematography, Score, Magnificent acting, graphic battle scenes

Cons - Film is somewhat formulaic in the beginning

Overall - One of the best blockbusters


I hadn't seen a Korean film before, but Brotherhood has proved to be a brilliant, if harrowing, introduction. The plot is epic, and incredibly moving throughout. The acting is superb, and one of the most striking things is the realism of the costumes, weapons and pryotechnics - Kang Je-gyu has an amazing eye for detail which shines throughout the film. Even though it is quite long, Brotherhood doesn't drag but rather continues to soar throughout its length - this is a hugely impressive film that should be seen by more people - another example of how Asian cinema continues to be innovative, thought-provoking and well-crafted. I shall definitely be looking out for more films by Kang Je-gyu as well as more Korean films generally. Seeing Brotherhood has been an inspiring experience.


This movie was simply an amazing film! This movie sets mark for all war movies, this is how war movies should be made! This is one of the best (if not the best) war films I've ever seen, honestly..

OK, first of all, the movie is almost perfect in every aspect. It doesn't fail you in any imaginable way, it's just that good. Everything just simply flows in a harmonic way in this movie, it amazes you more and more, every minute. The directing is superb, the cinematography is excellent, the screenplay is brilliant and the story has some originality in it too, so this is not just another war movie. It's also a very touching movie besides the action in it, so it doesn't even go wrong there.

I have to mention the battle scenes, they are simply great. I haven't seen battle scenes like that since "Saving Private Ryan" and "Band of Brothers". You will be entertained and you will be amazed, again and again, not forgetting the whole story, drama-wise. The role performances of the lead actors, Dong-Kun Jang and Bin Won, are simply mind blowing. In the movie they are brothers and they just handle the job perfectly, without any flaws and it is a real pleasure to watch those two actors working together, they really have chemistry between them, just great.

Oh yeah, and the music. It's simply beautiful and will blow your mind away as well, it's just that good. The whole soundtrack is just fantastic though the composer Dong-jun Lee is unfamiliar to me, but hopefully I'll be hearing some of his music in the near future movies as it sounded so good in this one. I'd give this movie 9.5/10, but as that is "impossible", I will sadly have to drop the number to 9. It probably deserves more than that, but this is the decision now. What am I talking here anymore? Just see this movie, it's just that brilliant! Recommending to everyone.


South Korea puts Saving Private Ryan to shame with this amazing war movie. Taegukgi (or Brotherhood of War) is probably the best traditional war movie i have ever seen. The battle scenes are intense and brutal, even more so then Spielberg's classic film (which is a movie i really like, too.) They also kick in at unexpected places. They are sitting around eating and suddenly bombs are exploding and limbs are flying. The acting is incredible and emotional even though i watched it in subtitles (dubbed English voices are horrible). The facial expressions said it all. The story is a heartbreaking tale of two brothers who are drafted into the Korean conflict in 1950. By the end, i came this close to tearing up. And i am a tough guy. Or so i think.

Now i know a lot of people in America tend to overlook foreign movies because their afraid of reading, or can't read, but i am finding more and more that foreign flicks are a lot better than recent Hollywood movies. Hollywood needs to take a lesson and make more creative stories.

This is truly a masterpiece of modern cinema, a milestone in war movies, and one of the best films i have seen in a long time. Incredible.---9/10