Northern Limit Line (film)

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Northern Limit Line
Northern Limit Line (film).jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised RomanizationYeonpyeong Haejeon
McCune–ReischauerYŏnp'yŏng Haejŏn
Directed byKim Hak-soon
Produced byJung Moon-goo
Written byKim Hak-soon
StarringKim Mu-yeol
Jin Goo
Lee Hyun-woo
Music byMok Young-jin
CinematographyKim Hyung-koo
Edited bySteve M. Choe
Rosetta Cinema
Distributed byNext Entertainment World (South Korea)
Well Go USA (U.S.)
Release date
  • June 24, 2015 (2015-06-24) (South Korea)
  • July 17, 2015 (2015-07-17) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$6 million
Box officeUS$38.9 million[1]

Northern Limit Line (Korean연평해전; RRYeonpyeong Haejeon; lit. Battle of Yeonpyeong) is a 2015 South Korean naval thriller film written and directed by Kim Hak-soon, based on the real-life events of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong.[2][3][4][5][6] It stars Kim Mu-yeol, Jin Goo, and Lee Hyun-woo.[7][8][9][10]


In June 2002, as the 2002 FIFA World Cup was taking place, the North Korean Navy deployed 3 fishing boats with North Korean spies abroad. When the fishing boats crossed over the Northern Limit Line, the South Korean Navy apprehended the boats and their men. Not knowing the North Koreans were actually spies, the higher-ranking officials ordered their release. After returning to North Korea, the spies reported and made plans to attack South Korea. Days later, officials from North Korea ordered its Navy to enter South Korean waters and survey South Korean Navy's patrol ship. The South Korean Ministry of Defense was notified about this but was ordered by the Blue House not to engage in fire or warn with firearm, in order to keep the Sunshine Policy. Again, the North Korean Navy crossed the NLL, this time with patrol boats. Immediately they were spotted on radar and the South Korean Navy sent patrol boats to warn North Korea. After being warned, and almost collision with the two country's boats, the North Korean Navy patrol boats returned to their country. When they returned, the North Koreans reported to their commanders the survey of the South Korean patrol boats. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense was alerted again that the North Korean Navy was going to attack. On 29 June 2002, the South Korean Ministry of Defense ordered the Navy patrol boats to just patrol, without notifying them about North Korea's new actions. On the same day at 9:37 am, the South Korean Navy detected North Korean action at the NLL. After being notified, the ROK SECOND Fleet ordered the Navy patrol boats not to fire unless North Korea fires. The South Korean Navy sent warnings. The North Korean boats refuse to retreat and continue to follow the South Korean boats. At 10:25 am, the North Korean Navy fired to the South Korean Navy patrol boats. In the end of the battle, 4 were announced dead and 19 wounded. Days after the end of the battle, the helmsman's body is found tied to the steering wheel of the boat. 22 days later, one of the injured died due to his wounds. The movie ends with a scene showing the sailors cheering for their country's soccer team.



Director Kim Hak-soon shot the film in 3D, having received a US$1 million grant from the Korean Film Council (3D effects were done by Dnext Media). Kim said, "I believe that 3D visuals would enable viewers to feel the pain and fear felt by the (men) in a more effective and immersive way."[2]

After initial investors backed out, it took the film seven years to finish production. A third of the US$6 million budget was raised through crowdfunding by 7,000 individuals.[2] They include 23 members of the 2002 South Korean national football team, and Chung Mong-joon, owner of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group and former president of the Korea Football Association, who donated ₩100 million.[11]


Northern Limit Line was originally set to premiere on June 11, 2015, but due to concerns over the MERS outbreak, distributor Next Entertainment World delayed the theatrical release by two weeks to June 24.[12][13][14]

Box office[edit]

The film topped the box office on its opening day,[15][16][17] and by its first four days of release it had recorded 1.43 million admissions, grossing ₩8.7 billion (US$7.8 million); this was notable since June is considered a slow season for the Korean film industry.[18][19][20]

As of August 2, it has sold 6,024,894 tickets (grossing US$38,945,231), making it the most-watched Korean film in 2015.[21][22][23][24][25][26]

Political reception[edit]

While North Korean state media outlet Uriminzokkiri lambasted it, calling it "distorted" and an "anti-DPRK movie," South Korean conservative politicians such as former president Lee Myung-bak recommended the film.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2015 52nd Grand Bell Awards Best Film
Northern Limit Line
Best Director
Kim Hak-soon
Best New Actor
Lee Hyun-woo
30th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Best Rising Star Won
2016 49th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Won


  1. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (20 July 2015). "South Korea Box Office: Inside Out Rises to Top, Pixels Debuts in Third Spot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Lee, Hyo-won (15 June 2015). "Northern Limit Line Director Talks About Promoting Peace With North Korea". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  3. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (5 June 2015). "Yeonpyeong resurrects overshadowed part of history". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  4. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (27 May 2014). "Film to commemorate Yeonpyeong". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  5. ^ Doo, Rumy (29 June 2015). "Newsmaker – Northern Limit Line: Korean patriotism". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Military Marks 13th Anniversary of Naval Skirmish". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  7. ^ Conran, Pierce (11 July 2014). "LEE Hyun-woo Prepares for BATTLE OF YEONPYEONG". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  8. ^ Ghim, Sora (6 May 2015). "The Story Of Brave Men Who Protected The Country". BNTNews. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  9. ^ Choi, He-suk (17 June 2015). "Actors' pick of best scenes from Northern Limit Line". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  10. ^ Kim, Na-hyeon (25 June 2015). "Kim Moo-yeol is back in uniform for NLL film". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Thousands Crowd Preview of Cross-Border Skirmish Flick". The Chosun Ilbo. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  12. ^ Noh, Jean (5 June 2015). "S Korea's NEW holds film release over Mers outbreak". Screen International. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  13. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (7 June 2015). "South Korean Movie Theaters Suffer Amid MERS Outbreak". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  14. ^ Conran, Pierce (10 June 2015). "NORTHERN LIMIT LINE Pushed Back over MERS Concerns". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Film on inter-Korean naval clash tops box-office". Yonhap. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Film on inter-Korean naval clash tops box-office". K-pop Herald. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Battleship movie explodes onto screens". The Korea Times. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  18. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (28 June 2015). "South Korea Box Office: Local War Drama Northern Limit Line Topples Jurassic World". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Northern Limit Line Draws More Than 1 Million Viewers". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  20. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (30 June 2015). "Northern Limit Line breaks domestic records". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Northern Limit Line Hits 2 Million Viewer Mark". The Chosun Ilbo. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  22. ^ Yoon, Sarah (5 July 2015). "Northern Limit Line battle flick tops 3m ticket sales". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Northern Limit Line, most-viewed Korean film of this year". Yonhap. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Northern Limit Line Set to Exceed 4 Million Viewer Mark". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  25. ^ Conran, Pierce (13 July 2015). "NORTHERN LIMIT LINE Back on Top in Week 3". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Korean Movies Boost Share of Box Office". The Chosun Ilbo. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  27. ^ Choi, Ha-young (29 June 2015). "Northern Limit Line about more than past inter-Korean clash". NK News. Retrieved 30 June 2015.

External links[edit]