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Obaltan 1961 Poster.jpg
Theatrical poster to Obaltan (1961)
Revised Romanization Obaltan
McCune–Reischauer Obalt‘an
Directed by Yu Hyun-mok
Produced by Kim Seong-chun
Written by Lee Beom-seon
Starring Choi Mu-ryong
Kim Jin-kyu
Moon Jeong-suk
Cinematography Kim Hak-seong
Edited by Kim Hui-su
Distributed by Cinema Epoch
Release dates
  • April 13, 1960 (1960-04-13)
Running time
110 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean

Obaltan (Korean: 오발탄), also known as The Aimless Bullet and Stray Bullet, is a 1960 South Korean film directed by Yu Hyun-mok. The plot is based on the same titled short novel written by Yi Beomseon. It has often been called the best Korean movie ever made.[1][2]


The films depicts a man, who lives a hard life together with his brother, his wife and his mentally ill mother. The film shows their poor lives realistically. The last, climactic part of the film portrays the impulsive crime that results from these circumstances.


  • Kim Jin-kyu as Cheolho
  • Choi Moo-ryong as Yeongho
  • Seo Ae-ja as Myeongsuk
  • Kim Hye-jeong
  • Noh Jae-sin
  • Moon Jung-suk
  • Yoon Il-bong
  • Yu Gye-seon
  • Nam Chun-yeok
  • Park Gyeong-hui


The government banned Obaltan because of its unremittingly downbeat depiction of life in post-armistice South Korea. An American consultant to the Korean National Film Production Center saw the film and persuaded the government to release it in Seoul so that it might qualify for entry in the San Francisco International Film Festival. Director Yu Hyun-mok attended the film's premier in San Francisco in November 1963. Variety called Obaltan a "remarkable film", and noted that its "[b]rilliantly detailed camera work is matched by probing sympathy and rich characterizations."[3]


The most-cited quote from the film, mentioned in the contemporary Variety review and in later texts on South Korean cinema, is "Let's get outta here! Let's get outta here!"[4]


In December 2002 Obaltan was released on Region 0 DVD in South Korea with English subtitles,[5] but as of November 2007 is currently out of print.[6] Gregory Hatanaka's Cinema Epoch released the film on Region 1 DVD on March 13, 2008.[7]


  1. ^ Min, Eungjun; Joo Jinsook; Kwak HanJu (2003). Korean Film : History, Resistance, and Democratic Imagination. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers. pp. pp.41, 46. ISBN 0-275-95811-6. 
  2. ^ http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/news/news.jsp?blbdComCd=601006&seq=2882&mode=VIEW
  3. ^ Judy. (1963-11-13). "The Aimless Bullet". Variety. 
  4. ^ Kim, Kyung-hyun (2004). "2. Nowhere to Run: Disenfranchised Men on the Road in The Man with Three Coffins, Sopyonje, and Out to the World". The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema. Durham and London: Duke University Press. pp. p.52. ISBN 0-8223-3267-1. 
  5. ^ "오발탄 (The Aimless Bullet)" (in Korean). www.mydvdlist.co.kr. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  6. ^ "The Aimless Bullet, or 'Obaltan' (1961)". seoulselection.com. Retrieved 2007-11-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ "STRAY BULLET". Cinema Epoch. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 


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