The Tiger (2015 film)

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The Tiger
Revised RomanizationDaeho
Directed byPark Hoon-jung
Written byPark Hoon-jung
CinematographyLee Mo-gae
Jeong Gwi-ho
Edited byKim Chang-ju
Music byJo Yeong-wook
Distributed byAeon Pix Studios (India)
Release date
  • December 17, 2015 (2015-12-17)
CountrySouth Korea
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • English
  • Hindi
Box officeUS$11.1 million[1]

The Tiger (also known as The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale, Korean대호; Hanja大虎; RRDaeho; lit. "Big Tiger") is a 2015 South Korean period action drama film about a hunter prepared to kill the last tiger of Joseon.[2][3][4]


In Japanese-occupied Korea in 1925, Chun Man-duk, a revered hunter, lives with his teenage son, Seok, in a hut near Mount Jirisan. Following a tragic accident years ago in which he killed his beloved wife while hunting for a large male tiger to financially provide for his family, he has retired his rifle, sworn off hunting, and become a humble herb gatherer among his cherished mountains. The Japanese governor-general overseeing the occupation gathers tiger pelts as a hobby to display cultural dominance over the Korean people, and soon becomes obsessed with killing possibly the last remaining tiger in Korea, an enormous, 400 kg (880 lb) one-eyed male that lives on the mountain; he has killed scores of hunters and evaded capture many times, including Chun Man-duk and his former hunting companions. The tiger is known locally in hushed tones as the Mountain Lord, and locals who revere it fear that the tiger's demise will allow unchecked numbers of wolves and boars, thereby upsetting the ecological balance. Gu-kyung, Chun Man-duk's former hunting partner, is the resolute but ruthless leader of a band of Korean hunters that continually attempt to track and kill the tiger for the bounty, including by killing its mate and two cubs while using the latter for bait.

It is revealed that years ago, Man-duk mortally wounded the tiger's mother when she leaped at him as he neared her kill to defend her two nearby cubs. Man-duk spares the one-eyed cub and its sibling by intervening against the more junior hunter Gu-kyung, who delivered the killing shot on their mother. He advises Gu-kyung to them to leave them to their fate, allowing the mountain to decide if they are to survive. Man-duk, however, secretly relocates the cubs to a safe den, though the one-eyed cub's sibling dies not long afterward. The surviving cub grows up to become the Mountain Lord.

In the present time, Seok loves a girl in town, and secretly joins one of Gu-kyung's hunts in aspiration of earning a bounty sufficient to convince her father to allow them to marry; during the hunt, the tiger killed all the rioters whose intentions were to lure him out of hiding. When confronted as the last man standing, Seok wounds the tiger but is himself mortally wounded. The tiger brings Seok's body to Man-duk's cabin after having fought off a pack of wolves who dragged Seok to their den to feast on his remains.

After several failures, mounting hunter deaths, and the onset of a harsh winter, soldiers of the Japanese army are dispatched to participate in escalating efforts to find and kill the tiger, and several attempts are made to enlist Man-duk to facilitate the hunt, all of which he resolutely resists.

However, following Seok's death and the wounding of the great beast, hunter and tiger, now both bereft of mates and offspring, each tread fatefully toward the snow-blasted mountain top, with the bounty hunters and army in close pursuit. Man-duk reaches the top of the mountain and waits for the tiger. Soon following, the tiger appears. The tiger charges Man-duk, but does not pounce as Man-duk fires. Man-duk sadly asks the tiger why he "stopped," and proceeds to take out a knife at the mountain's edge. The tiger eventually pounces at him, and they both fall off the mountain together to their deaths. The governor-general of the Japanese army asks the hunters what happened after the incident, and they relate to him a story about the Mountain Lord becoming a god. The governor-general comes to the conclusion that his army is unable to fight during the looming winter and has decided to withdraw until the next spring.

The film ends with flashbacks of Man-duk's and the tiger's early lives during happier times, returning to the present afterward as evening snow falls, covering their lifeless bodies, which lay side by side, locked in an eternal embrace.



The film grossed US$2.67 million during its second weekend in South Korea. It grossed US$9,341,588 with 1,584,170 moviegoers in South Korea.[5]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on seven reviews.[6] Critic James Mudge writes that, despite not meeting box office expectations, "The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale is easily one of the best Korean films of the last year, and a winning marriage of the breathtakingly grand and the quietly philosophical."[7] Chris Sawin writes, "The Tiger is beautifully shot with an exceptional performance from the impeccable Choi Min-sik. Director Park Hoon-jung has masterfully crafted a face-off between two formidable opponents with a heartfelt history that digs deep."[8]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
21st Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Nominated
Technical Award
Jo Yong-suk (Visual Effects)
36th Korea Gold Awards Festival Grand Prize (Daesang)
The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale
Best Director Won
Special Jury Prize Won
10th Asian Film Awards Best Visual Effects
Jo Yong-suk, Choi Jae-chun, Lee Jeon-hyung
53rd Grand Bell Awards Best Film
The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale
Best Actor Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Art Direction
Cho Hwa-sung
Best Costume Design
Jo Sang-kyung
High Technology Special Award
Jo Yong-suk, Hwang Hyo-kyun, Kwak Tae-yong, Kim Tae-eui
Best Sound Recording
Rob Nokes
Golden Cinematography Awards[9] Best Film
The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale
Best Director Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Tiger". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Joseon tiger-hunt movie to open next month". 9 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Yonhap News Agency".
  4. ^ Sonia Kil (December 28, 2015). "Korea Box Office: 'Himalayas' Dominates Christmas". Variety. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  5. ^ "KOBIZ - Korean Film Biz Zone : Yearly BoxOffice [2015]". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  6. ^ "The Tiger (2016) review". Rotten Tomatoes.
  7. ^ Mudge, James (2016-07-28). "The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale |". Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  8. ^ The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale - Movie Reviews, retrieved 2023-02-14
  9. ^ "Golden Cinematography Awards 2016". IMDB.