Year: 2004
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Contender Entertainment Group
Cast: Jang Dong-gun, Won Bin, Lee Eun-Joo, Gong Hyung-jin, Lee Young-ran, Go Do-hee, Joo Da-young, Kim Kyoung-hwan, Jang Min-ho, Cho Yoon-hee, Ahn Gil-gang, Park Gil-soo, Jung Jin, Cho Woon, Hwang Teak-ha, Lee Joo-won, Kim Hyo-yul, Kang Beom-gu, Kim Dae-young, Kim Dae-hoon, Kim Man-gi, Kim Beom-ju, Kim Bo-Kyung, Lim Dong-min, Lee Yo-sep, Chung Gi-seob, Chung Chung-ho, Choi Seung-hwan, Park Jin-guk, Beak Won-kyung, Lee Dong-ho, Um Sung-mo, Jun Jae-hyung, Chon Won-hee, Shim Woo-myung, Yoon Hee-won, Lee Chan-young, Kweon Tae-wo, Kim Seok-hwan, Lim Hyung-joon, Parl Soo-il, Lee Gook-ho, Seo Jin-won, Lee Jang-wook, Park Jong-moo, Chae Tae-seok, Chung Ih-min, Park Jung-woo, Yum Chul-ho, Kim Tae-bum, Chung Ho-bin, Joo Myung-chul, Jeon Sueng-jae, Son Jae-gon, Jeon In-gul, Chung Dea-hoon, Shin Kwang-chul, Young-ho, Han Jae-joon, Son Byung-hee, Kang Hee-sung, Lee Dong-Hyuck, Lee Hwan-hee, Bae Sang-chul, Cho Yoen-jin, Park Sung-hee, Kim Soo-ryun, Han Jae-hyuk, Won Min-ah, Kim Hyun-dong, Park Sang-gyu, Kim Jae-jung, Oh Myung-jun, Kim Tae-woo, Lee Jucng-hoon, Dea Jang-soo, Hyung Seung-jin, Lee Jong-sang, Oh Woon-beak, Choi He-wool, Choi Gyu-sik, Lim Yoon sik, Hwang Jung-oh, Kim Jung-tae, Lee Yong-hwan, Ahn-yang Winf Orchestra
Special Appearances: Choi Min-sik, Chung Doo-hong, Kim Soo-ro, Kim Hae-gon, Park Dong-bin
Director: Kang Je-gyu
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean (English subtitles)
USA: 140 mins
UK: 148 mins
USA Rated: R for strong graphic sequences of war violence
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong bloody war violence and horror, and strong language
USA Release Date: 3 September 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 3 June 2005


June, 1950, South Korea...

Jin-tae (Jang Dong-gun) is a shoeshine boy on the streets downtown of Seoul. Even though it's not an easy job, he never loses the happy smile on his face, thinking about his wedding with Young-shin (Lee Eun-joo), just months away, and expecting Jin-suk (Won Bin), his younger brother, to pass the college entrance examination.

Then, out of the blue, comes news that a war has broken out. At that moment all the peace and serenity vanishes into the chaos of the screams and cries of the people. Jin-tae at once makes his mind to go to the south to escape from the war with all his family, including his mother, his brother, his fiancee and her younger brothers and sister. They join the long and seemingly never-ending queue of refugees.

But bad luck drives them into a life-changing moment near the Taegu train station while waiting for their train to leave to the city of Pusan in the far south of the country. Jin-suk is recruited into the war, as it is officially announced that all men aged 18 and over are obliged to fight for their country. What is worse, Jin-tae, in trying to get his younger brother off the train of new recruits, is also conscripted and sent to the front line. Immediately, the two are forced to take up arms, without being properly trained in their use, and to fight for survival on the Nakdong River defence line, among the wounded, the dying and the dead.

Jin-tae loses no time in approaching his battalion commander to request his brother's release from the military and is given advice on what he must do in order to have his brother sent back home. From that moment on, nothing stops him from doing whatever it takes to keep his brother safe. Jin-tae takes his gun and kills as many enemy soldiers as possible. He fears nothing. His distinguished contribution plays a critical role in defending the Nakdong River line and word finally comes that the armies of the UN and South Korean have been successful in the Inchon Landing Operations. The battalion heads north to join them.

Jin-tae is rapidly being recognised as a war hero as Jin-suk, too, becomes stronger day by day, watching his brother and accepting and adapting to the situation in which he finds himself. This is a war and the weak are unlikely to survive. The battalion eventually crosses the DMZ and goes forward to occupy Pyong-yang, the capital city of North Korea. It is here in this ruined city that the two beloved brothers are plunged into an unexpected turning point in their lives...