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The Good, the Bad, the Weird

The Good, the Bad, the Weird
Theatrical release poster
좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈
Revised RomanizationJoeun nom, nappeun nom, isanghan nom
McCune–ReischauerChoŭn nom, nappŭn nom, isanghan nom
Directed byKim Jee-woon
Written byKim Jee-woon
Kim Min-suk
Produced byKim Jee-woon
Choi Jae-won
StarringSong Kang-ho
Lee Byung-hun
Jung Woo-sung
CinematographyLee Mo-gae
Edited byNam Na-yeong
Music byDalpalan
Jang Young-gyu
Barunson Co. Ltd.
Grimm Pictures[1]
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 24, 2008 (2008-05-24) (Cannes)
  • July 17, 2008 (2008-07-17) (South Korea)
Running time
139 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$10 million[2]
Box officeUS$44.3 million

The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Korean좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈) is a 2008 South Korean Western action film directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Jung Woo-sung.[3][4][5] The film is inspired by the 1966 Italian Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The film premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and had a limited release in the U.S. on April 23, 2010.[6] It received positive reviews with critics praising the action, the cinematography and the direction. The film marks the second collaboration between actor Lee Byung-hun and director Kim Jee-woon, who had previously collaborated on the action drama A Bittersweet Life (2005) and would later do so again in Kim's I Saw the Devil (2010).


In the desert wilderness of Manchuria in 1939, months before the beginning of the Second World War. Park Chang-yi, The Bad (Lee Byung-hun)—a bandit and hitman—is hired to acquire a treasure map from a Japanese official traveling by train. Before he can get it however, Yoon Tae-goo, The Weird (Song Kang-ho)—a thief—steals the map and is caught up in The Bad's derailment of the train. This involves the slaughter of the Japanese and Manchurian guards, and various civilians. Park Do-won, The Good (Jung Woo-sung)—an eagle-eyed bounty hunter—appears on the scene to claim the bounty on Chang-yi. Meanwhile, Tae-goo escapes, eluding his Good and Bad pursuers. A fourth force—a group of Manchurian bandits—also wants the map to be sold at the Ghost Market. Tae-goo hopes to uncover the map's secrets and recover what he believes is gold and riches buried by the Qing dynasty just before the collapse of their government. As the story continues, an escalating battle for the map occurs, with bounties placed on heads and the Imperial Japanese Army racing to reclaim its map as it can apparently "save the Japanese Empire".

After a series of graphic shootouts and chases, a final battle erupts in which the Japanese army, Manchurian bandits, Do-won, Chang-yi and his gang are chasing Tae-goo all at once. The Japanese army kills most of the bandits. Do-won kills many Japanese soldiers and sets off an explosion that drives them away. Chang-yi's gang is slowly killed off and he kills those that attempt to leave the chase. Only Chang-yi, Tae-goo and Do-won make it to the "treasure". However, they find that it is nothing more than a boarded-over hole in the desert. Chang-yi recognizes Tae-goo as the "Finger Chopper"—a criminal who cut off his finger in a knife fight five years ago—and the man that Do-won had thought Chang-yi to be. Turning on each other in a final act of vengeance for the slights they suffered, they finally gun each other down after a prolonged Mexican standoff. The three lie in the sand, dying and alone, as the "useless hole" that they fought and died for suddenly and belatedly erupts with a geyser of crude oil. Do-won survives along with Tae-goo. With a newly raised bounty on Tae-goo, a new chase begins as he flees across the Manchurian desert.


Alternative versions

Two versions of the film were released in cinemas: one being for the native Korean market and the other for international sales. The Korean theatrical cut is 136 minutes long and the international cut is 129 minutes long.[7] The Korean ending is more "upbeat" than the international version, including several more minutes of footage. In the alternative ending, The Weird, Tae-goo, gets up. He reveals the thick metal sheet he hid under his quilted jacket and limps over to demolish the corpse of Chang-yi, The Bad. While doing so, he discovers diamonds in Chang-yi's pocket and giggles with delight before realising he's surrounded by the Japanese army. Inadvertently lighting a stick of dynamite, Tae-goo scares off the Japanese and dives for cover after realising it was lit. Over the credits, Tae-goo sets off to continue hunting for the treasure with his bounty multiplied sevenfold, while The Good, Do-won, vindictively pursues him. The ending of the international version reflects the end that director Kim Jee-woon originally wanted.[8]

In the United Kingdom, the British Board of Film Classification ordered five seconds of cuts to the cinema release due to scenes of horse falls judged to be animal cruelty that violated the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937.[9]


The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival on May 24, 2008.[10][11] It also received screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and the London Film Festival.

American distribution rights were acquired by IFC Films, who released it in theaters on a limited basis on April 23, 2010.[12]

The Good, the Bad, the Weird received generally positive reviews. Review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 84% of 60 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it got a rating average of 7.2 out of 10 stating that "Whilst never taking itself too seriously, this riotous and rollicking Sergio Leone-inspired Korean Western is serious fun."[13] On Metacritic, it received generally favorable reviews with a total score of 69.[14] Variety said that "East meets West meets East again, with palate-tingling results, in 'The Good the Bad the Weird', a kimchi Western that draws shamelessly on its spaghetti forebears but remains utterly, bracingly Korean" awarding the film 3.5 out of 5 stars.[15] The A.V. Club gave it a B+ saying that "The story’s many advances and reversals can be hard to follow at times, but this isn’t really a movie where plot is paramount. Everything boils down to the action, and what that action means".[16] The New York Post gave it a four star rating out of five stating that "The Good, the Bad, the Weird may owe a lot to other films but it is always fresh and never boring".[17] Empire magazine gave it a three star rating out of five commenting that "A tangled narrative and damp -squib ending detract from an otherwise joyous Spaghetti Eastern Western."[18] Time Out critic Tom Huddlestone stated that "This is filmmaking as rodeo ride: bruising and ultimately pointless, but thrilling as hell while it lasts" and awarded the film four out of five stars.[19] The Hollywood Reporter gave it a positive review declaring the film "a jaunty, happy-go-lucky adventure that packs a fistful of dynamite in the spectacular showdown."

On the other hand, there were criticism directed towards the excessive violence and the simplicity of the script. In particular, the Village Voice's Nicolas Rapold mentioned that "Kim's filmmaking is generally cartoonish in a bad sense, as he squanders his set pieces, flashbacks, and other attention-getting with sometimes downright wretched staging"[20] while The Boston Globe wrote that the film "goes for shallow pop instead of narrative depth. It's a lot of fun before it wears you out, and it wears you out sooner than it should."[21] Additionally, Robert Abele from the Los Angeles Times mentioned that "Knives, explosions and knockabout humor have been added to taste. As vigorously staged as it all is -- sometimes confusingly, occasionally with camera-torqueing flair and impressive stuntwork -- the urge to thrill grows wearisome. Were audience members to be included as a collective character as well, they'd be 'The Tired'."[22]

Box office

The Good, the Bad, the Weird earned US$128,486 in North America and US$44,132,723 in other territories, bringing the worldwide gross to US$44,261,209.[23] It was the second highest grossing Korean film in 2008 after Scandal Makers, beating The Chaser[24] and it is one of the highest grossing films of all time in South Korea.

Home media

The film was released on DVD on March 11, 2009. The Korean release contains a longer version of the film and the international release has a slightly shorter cut with English subtitles.[25]

Awards and nominations

2008 Sitges Film Festival

  • Best Director – Kim Jee-woon
  • Best Special Effects – Jeong Do-an
  • Nomination – Best Film

2008 Hawaii International Film Festival

2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards

2008 Buil Film Awards

  • Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
  • Best Art Direction – Cho Hwa-sung
  • Technical Award – Jeong Do-an (Special Effects)
  • Special Jury Prize – Ji Jung-hyeon
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Jung Woo-sung
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actor – Song Young-chang
  • Nomination – Best Editing – Nam Na-yeong
  • Nomination – Best Music – Dalparan and Jang Young-gyu
  • Nomination – Buil Readers' Jury Award

2008 Blue Dragon Film Awards[26]

  • Best Director – Kim Jee-woon
  • Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
  • Best Art Direction – Cho Hwa-sung
  • Most Popular Film
  • Nomination – Best Film
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Lee Byung-hun
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Song Kang-ho
  • Nomination – Best Music – Dalparan and Jang Young-gyu
  • Nomination – Best Lighting – Oh Seung-chul
  • Nomination – Technical Award – DTI

2008 Korean Film Awards

  • Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
  • Best Art Direction – Cho Hwa-sung
  • Best Sound
  • Nomination – Best Director – Kim Jee-woon
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Song Kang-ho
  • Nomination – Best Music – Dalparan and Jang Young-gyu

2008 Director's Cut Awards

2009 Asian Film Awards

2009 Baeksang Arts Awards

2009 Grand Bell Awards

  • Best Costume Design – Kwon Yu-jin
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
  • Nomination – Best Editing – Nam Na-yeong
  • Nomination – Best Art Direction – Cho Hwa-sung
  • Nomination – Best Visual Effects – Kim Wook
  • Nomination – Best Sound – Kim Kyung-tae


  1. ^ "HAF 2007 Projects: 9. Good, the Bad and the Weird, The". Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum. 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  2. ^ "HAF 2007 Project Details: 9. Good, the Bad and the Weird, The" (PDF). Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  3. ^ Wong, Grace (November 26, 2008). "Korean idol Lee Byung-hun makes waves overseas". CNN. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Kim Jee-woon on a Loving Homage to the Masters". The Chosun Ilbo. August 1, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Sélavy, Virginie (February 1, 2009). "Interview with Kim Jee-woon". Electric Sheep Magazine. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Brown, Todd (March 23, 2010). "At Long Last, A US Trailer And Release Date For Kim Jee-woon's THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD". Twitch Film. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "The Good, The Bad, The Weird (DVD) (Special Edition) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)". YesAsia. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  8. ^ "Cannes cut of The Good, The Bad, The Weird in Theaters". KBS Global. August 1, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "The Good The Bad The Weird (BBFC reference AFF253342)". BBFC. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Good, the Bad, the Weird". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "East-Meets-Western Offers Hope for Korean Film Recovery". The Chosun Ilbo. May 26, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "Good, Bad and Weird Draws 4 Mil. Viewers". The Chosun Ilbo. July 29, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  14. ^ "The Good, the Bad, the Weird". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  15. ^ Elley, Derek (May 24, 2008). "The Good The Bad The Weird". Variety.
  16. ^ Murray, Noel (22 April 2010). "The Good, The Bad, The Weird". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  17. ^ Musetto, V.A. (April 23, 2010). "Full-throttle thrill ride with buckets of blood". New York Post.
  18. ^ "Latest Film Reviews - Movies - Cinema - Blu-ray & DVD - Empire". Empire. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  19. ^ "The Good, the Bad, the Weird". 3 February 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Kim's The Good, the Bad, and the Weird Disappoints - Page 1 - Movies - New York - Village Voice". Archived from the original on 2010-04-23.
  21. ^ Burr, Ty (30 April 2010). "The Good, the Bad, the Wierd (sic)". Retrieved 28 March 2018 – via The Boston Globe.
  22. ^ "Capsule movie reviews: 'Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe'". Los Angeles Times. April 30, 2010.
  23. ^ "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  24. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (August 5, 2008). "Good, Bad, Weird Revamps Cinema for Fall Lineup". The Korea Times. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  25. ^ Brown, Todd (February 14, 2009). "THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE WEIRD Finally Arrives On DVD March 11th". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  26. ^ "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved May 16, 2014.

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