26 Years

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26 Years
26 Years-poster.jpg
Promotional poster for 26 Years
Revised RomanizationYishipyuknyeon
Directed byCho Geun-hyun
Produced byChoi Yong-bae[1][2]
Written byLee Hae-young
Based on26 Years
by Kang Full
StarringJin Goo
Han Hye-jin
Bae Soo-bin
Im Seulong
Music byLee Jin-hee
Kim Hong-jib
CinematographyKim Tae-kyung
Edited byHahm Sung-won
Son Yeon-ji
Distributed byInvent Stone Corp.
Chungeorahm Film
Release date
  • November 29, 2012 (2012-11-29)
Running time
135 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Budget₩6.6 billion
Box officeUS$19.5 million[3]
Korean name
Revised Romanization26 Nyeon
McCune–Reischauer26 Nyŏn

26 Years (Korean26년; RR26 Nyeon) is a 2012 South Korean film based on the popular 2006 manhwa serialized online by manhwaga Kang Full.[4] It is the fictional story of five ordinary people (a sports shooter, a gangster, a policeman, a businessman, and head of a private security firm) who band together in order to assassinate the man responsible for the massacre of innocent civilians in Gwangju in May 1980.


The story deals with one of the most tragic and critical events in South Korean history. On May 18, 1980, in the city of Gwangju, state troops were ordered to open fire on civilians, killing and wounding thousands. Former president Chun Doo-hwan is believed to have given the order, and although he is not named explicitly in the film, the target of the assassination attempt is clearly meant to represent Chun, who was convicted in 1996 of crimes related to the Gwangju Massacre, but later pardoned by President Kim Dae-jung.

26 years later in 2006, five people who consider themselves as some of the biggest victims of the massacre, plot a top-secret project to exact revenge by assassinating the man responsible. Kwon Jung-hyuk is a newly recruited policeman who lost his family in the massacre; he is now responsible for the cars that have access to the target's house. Kwak Jin-bae is a young gangster from an organized crime group whose father was also killed. Olympic sharpshooter Shim Mi-jin, a CEO from a large company and the director of a private security firm are also involved. As a former president, "that man" lives under police protection in an affluent district of Seoul, but through a combination of ingenuity, skill, and well-placed money they are able to draw within shooting distance of their target.[5][6]



Kang Full's webtoon illustrated the brutal suppression by the dictatorial administration of the time, putting emphasis on the overcoming of interpersonal and societal barriers.[10][11]

In 2008, the film was originally set to be directed by Lee Hae-young based on his own adapted screenplay titled 29 Years, with Ryoo Seung-bum, Kim Ah-joong, Jin Goo, Chun Ho-jin, and Byun Hee-bong cast in the lead roles.[12][13] But the production came to a halt once investors pulled out from funding the film ten days before filming began because of its controversial politically sensitive content, and rumors were rife that the pressure had originated from the conservative government.[10][14]

After nearly four years of languishing in pre-production limbo due to financial difficulties, online donations poured in from 15,000 individuals amounting to ₩700 million (US$646,000), with singer Lee Seung-hwan contributing another ₩1 billion won (US$923,000), toward the film's ₩4.6 billion (US$4,246,000) production cost. Another investor was television personality Kim Je-dong.[15] The crowdfunding enabled the production to finally begin filming Lee's script with a new cast and director on July 19, 2012.[16][17] Filming wrapped on October 10, 2012.[18] The film's ending credits roll for more than 10 minutes, as they include all 15,000 donors' names. Director Cho Geun-hyun said at the movie's press conference, "When one does something terribly wrong and hurts others, they should at least apologize. And even if he or she chooses not to, they should be punished for what they’ve done. This is common sense, not some political idea."[19]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted at the top of the box office,[20][21] selling 1,108,714 tickets in only a single week on release.[22] It reached 2.5 million admissions in mid-December 2012, resulting in a total of nearly 3 million in January 2013.

Awards and nominations[edit]

2013 Baeksang Arts Awards

2013 Buil Film Awards

2013 Blue Dragon Film Awards

2014 Golden Cinema Festival


  1. ^ Song, Ji-hwan (28 December 2012). "26 YEARS Producer CHOI Yong-bae". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  2. ^ Conran, Pierce (23 January 2013). "CHOI Yong-bae Named Film Professional of the Year". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  3. ^ "26 Years (2012)". www.koreanfilm.or.kr.
  4. ^ Lee, Claire (23 November 2012). "Movies based on webtoons flourish". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  5. ^ Paquet, Darcy (30 November 2012). "In Focus: 26 YEARS". Korea Cinema Today. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  6. ^ "26 Years (2012)". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  7. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (15 December 2012). "Interview: Han Hye Jin Says She Starred in 26 Years to Act". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  8. ^ "Han Hye Jin shows her mature lady aura for ALLURE". Korea Star Daily via Yahoo!. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  9. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (23 November 2012). "2AM's Seulong Says "I Read Newspaper Everyday to Act Out Character"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  10. ^ a b Hong, Lucia (13 June 2012). "2AM's Seulong, Jin Goo signs on for Kang Full's political film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  11. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 July 2012). "Bae Soo-bin mulling over role in KangFull's political film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  12. ^ "Ryu Seung-beom, Kim Ah-joong Cast in New Film 29 Years". KBS Global. 1 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  13. ^ D'Sa, Nigel (4 September 2008). "Top Actors Cast in the Controversial 29 Years". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  14. ^ Park, Eun-jee (7 September 2012). "With election approaching, Korean films get political". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  15. ^ Song, Ho-jin (4 December 2012). "Small budget films making big impressions". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  16. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (26 July 2012). "Han Hye-jin, Jin Goo's 26 Years kickstarts with social funding". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  17. ^ Lee, In-kyung (29 July 2012). "26 Years Finally Starts Up with Help from Ordinary People". enewsworld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  18. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (12 October 2012). "Controversial Film 26 Years to Open Next Month". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  19. ^ Lee, Claire (28 November 2012). "The presidential politics of film". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  20. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (3 December 2012). "26 Years Tops Box Office in Its First Weekend". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  21. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (3 December 2012). "26 Years draws a crowd on first day". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  22. ^ Paquet, Darcy (7 December 2012). "Box office, November 22-December 5". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-12-18.

External links[edit]