Historians often remember the Korean War as tumultuous times where thousands of innocent soldiers and civilian lives were sacrificed for larger political implications. These interpretations include historians classifying the Korean War as an international civil war, western conquest, global warfare, and total warfare. For this research, I explore how South Korean movies released in the 2000s embrace earlier notions of the Korean War. During this process of contextualizing the Korean War from a cinematic standpoint, I conduct film analysis on Welcome To DongMakGol (2005), In Love and War (2011), and The Long Way Home (2015). Rather than searching for historical accuracy in these movies, I focus on identifying the metaphorical themes portrayed throughout the characters, theatrical designs, and storylines. From this perspective, I emphasize three overlapping patterns across the movies. First, the movies tend to draw clear distinctions of the characters’ identities through language and costumes. Second, conflicts between lower ranked Korean soldiers and higher authorities portray the soldiers as heroic figures. Third, illustrations of reconciliation between North and South Korean characters inform the audience of the significance of the future integration of the two countries. Connecting these above three themes, I argue that the three movies highlight two prominent memories of the Korean War. First, the movies indirectly criticize the violent and chaotic nature of the war through depicting scenes where the soldiers and civilians face miserable deaths from barrages and bombings. Second, the movies emphasize the importance of integration of North and South Korea and that the unification of the two countries should lead Koreans to a brighter and better future.


Ng, Margaret




Cultural History


The Korean War, South Korean Films, Unification

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Wooseong Seol