Marathon (2005 film)

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Marathon Poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised RomanizationMarathon
Directed byJeong Yoon-cheol
Produced bySeok Myeong-hong
Lee Seung-yeop
Shin Chang-hwan
Written byYoon Jin-ho
Song Ye-jin
Jeong Yoon-cheol
StarringCho Seung-woo
Kim Mi-sook
Music byKim Jun-seong
CinematographyKwon Hyeok-jun
Edited byHahm Sung-won
Nam In-ju
Distributed byShowbox
Release date
  • January 27, 2005 (2005-01-27)
Running time
117 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Box officeUS$33.3 million[1]

Marathon (Korean말아톤; RRMaraton) is a 2005 South Korean film directed by Jeong Yoon-cheol, and starring Cho Seung-woo and Kim Mi-sook.[2][3] It received 5,148,022 admissions, making it the 4th most attended Korean film of 2005.[4][5]

Based on the true story of Bae Hyeong-jin, an autistic marathon runner,[6][7] the film popularized the South Korean term for autism (Korean자폐증; RRjapyejeung) which can be translated as "self-closed syndrome."[8][9]


A young man with autism, named Cho-won, finds release only in running. As a child, Cho-won regularly had meltdowns, bit himself, and struggled to communicate with others—finding solace only in zebras and the Korean snack, choco pie. His mother never gave up on him and was determined to prove to the world that her child can achieve. As Cho-won gets older, he begins to find a passion for running and his mother is there to encourage and support him. Even though their family suffers from financial difficulties, they find a former marathon champion, Jung-wook — now a lethargic older man with an alcohol problem.

Jung-wook, who is serving community service hours as a physical education teacher for a DUI, grudgingly accepts the offer to train Cho-won in marathon running, but eventually becomes lazy with him. The coach often takes Cho-won's snack, and takes Cho-won to a jjimjilbang to relax. Even though Jung-wook slacks off most of the time, Cho-won's determination for running is firm (he accidentally runs 100 laps around a soccer field when the coach told him to without literally meaning it).

He takes third place in a 10 km running race, which causes his mother to set another goal for her son: to run a full marathon under three hours. This is not an easy task, however, as Cho-won wants to win but doesn’t know how to pace himself. Therefore, his mother pleads the coach to run with Cho-won in order to teach him how to pace his running. The movie shows the emotional struggles of a mother who is not sure if she is forcing her son to run or if it truly is his passion. The movie further explores and shows deep love and genuine purity through Cho-won.



A Japanese drama remake of the same title (マラソン) aired on TBS on September 20, 2007. It starred Ninomiya Kazunari in the lead role.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
41st Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize Marathon Won
Best Film Nominated
Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Won
Best Screenplay Jeong Yoon-cheol Won
Best New Director Nominated
13th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Director Won
Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Nominated
6th Busan Film Critics Awards Won
42nd Grand Bell Awards Best Film Marathon Won [10]
Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Won
Popularity Award Won
Best Actress Kim Mi-sook Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Lee Ki-young Nominated
Best New Director Jeong Yoon-cheol Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Planning Seok Myeong-hong Won
Best Music Kim Jun-seong Won
26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film Marathon Nominated [11]
Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
Best New Director Jeong Yoon-cheol Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Music Kim Jun-seong Won
4th Korean Film Awards Best Film Marathon Nominated
Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Nominated
Best Actress Kim Mi-sook Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Lee Ki-young Nominated
Best Screenplay Jeong Yoon-cheol Nominated
Best New Director Nominated
8th Director's Cut Awards Won
1st Premiere Rising Star Awards Best Actor Cho Seung-woo Won
14th Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival Best Actor in a Foreign Film Won [12]


  1. ^ "Marathon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  2. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (19 January 2005). "Cho Seung-woo shines in Running Boy". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  3. ^ Lee, Seung-jae (26 January 2005). "Marathon or Mal-ah-ton". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  4. ^ "The Best Selling Films of 2005". Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  5. ^ "Running Boy This Holiday's Runaway Box Office Hit". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 February 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  6. ^ Shin, Ye-ri (19 January 2005). "A film spotlights an autistic runner". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  7. ^ "Real life hero of the Korean movie Marathon, Bae Hyeong-jin". KBS World. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  8. ^ Park, Soo-mee (24 February 2005). "A boy in the crowd who stands alone". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  9. ^ Soh, Joon (28 January 2005). "Well-Paced Marathon Is Heartwarming Race". The Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  10. ^ "Marathon - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  11. ^ ""Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" wins Best Picture Award". KBS World. 30 November 2005.
  12. ^ "Cho Seung-woo Wins Best Actor Award at Film Festival in China". KBS World. November 15, 2005.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]