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Unbowed Poster.jpg
Promotional poster for Unbowed
Revised Romanization Bureojin Hwasal
McCune–Reischauer Purŏjin Hwasal
Directed by Chung Ji-young
Produced by Kim Ji-yeon
Written by Chung Ji-young
Han Hyeon-geun
Starring Ahn Sung-ki
Park Won-sang
Music by Kim Jun-seok
Cinematography Kim Hyung-koo
Edited by Kim Sang-bum
Kim Jae-bum
Aura Pictures
Distributed by NEW/Finecut
Release dates
  • 9 October 2011 (2011-10-09) (BIFF)
  • 18 January 2012 (2012-01-18) (South Korea)
Running time
100 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget US$1.5 million
Box office US$22,132,903[1]

Unbowed (Hangul부러진 화살; RRBureojin Hwasal; lit. "Broken Arrow") is a 2011 South Korean courtroom drama film starring Ahn Sung-ki and Park Won-sang. It was inspired by the true story of Kim Myung-ho, a math professor who was arrested for shooting a crossbow at the presiding judge of his appeal against wrongful dismissal.[2][3]

This was director Chung Ji-young's first film after a 13-year hiatus and it received a 13-minute ovation at its 2011 Busan International Film Festival premiere.[4][5]

Unbowed was produced and distributed by Aura Pictures on a low budget of ₩1.5 billion which included marketing and ₩500 million for production.[6] Ji-yeong said making the film would not have been possible without the actors' willingness to work for very little pay, commending their passion.[7]

After it was released in theaters on January 18, 2012, the outrage resonated with South Korean viewers, and word of mouth turned it into an unexpected box office hit with 3.4 million tickets sold.[8]


Kim Kyung-ho (Ahn Sung-ki) is a math professor who was fired by his university in 1995, after he questioned the validity of a math question in its entrance exam.[9] Kim files a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal but it is ruled in favor of the university. In 2007, after his appeal was dismissed, Kim out of frustration confronts the presiding judge outside his apartment with a crossbow. A physical struggle ensures and Kim is arrested but maintains that he did not shoot the judge, while the judge claims he was shot by an arrow. The media is whipped into a frenzy over the incident.

Meanwhile Park Jun (Park Won-sang), a lawyer heavily in debt, is approached by Kim's wife to take on the case. He has a good hunch about the case but she changes her mind when she notices his drinking problem. Later, Kim and Park are introduced but Park refuses to take on the case when confronted with the obstinate yet principled Kim. But faced with increasing debt problems, Park decides to quit drinking and takes on the case. Both with strong characters, they start the trial at loggerheads. Nevertheless, they cooperate and go on to fight the case.[10]



When Unbowed was released on January 18, 2012, it was shown in 245 screens, the second lowest number among films released that day. But thanks to its steady popularity, by January 24 the film was shown on 456 screens before the number decreased to 389 the next day. By January 26, the film had attracted 1.4 million admissions.[6][12] According to data provided by Korean Film Council (KOFIC) it was the third most-watched film in South Korea in the first quarter of 2012, with a total of 3.4 million admissions.[13]

The film ranked #2, but rose to #1 in the second week, and grossed ₩6.8 billion in its first week of release,[14] and grossed a total of ₩24 billion after five weeks of screening.[15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards[16]

2012 21st Buil Film Awards

2012 32nd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards[18]

2012 49th Grand Bell Awards

2012 33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards[20]

2013 4th KOFRA Film Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association)[22]


  1. ^ "Unbowed". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  2. ^ Choe, Sang-hun (12 March 2012). "Out of Jail, Ex-Professor and His Crossbow Fight South Korea’s Judiciary". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  3. ^ Lee Dong-hyun, Kwon Sang-soo (30 January 2012). "Film about crossbow-firing prof raises questions". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  4. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (22 December 2011). "‘Unbowed’ brings gripping, honest realism". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  5. ^ "Korean movie ‘Unbowed‘ to open FIFF". The Korea Times. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  6. ^ a b "Low-Budget Film 'Unbowed' Sweeps Box Office". The Chosun Ilbo. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  7. ^ Lee, Claire (22 November 2012). "Director examines the world of Korean cinema". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  8. ^ "Unbowed (2011)". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  9. ^ "The High Cost of a Right Answer (1997)". Science Magazine. 5 September 1997. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Unbowed (2011)". The Chosun Ilbo. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  11. ^ Ki, Sun-min (2 December 2011). "The nicest man in Korean cinema". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  12. ^ "‘Unbowed’ flying high at box office, reviving attention to forgotten case". The Korea Herald. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  13. ^ Hong, Lucia (9 April 2012). "Korean movies notch up higher number in 1Q ticket sales". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  14. ^ "South Korea Box Office: January 20–22, 2012". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  15. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 17–19, 2012". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  16. ^ Hicap, Jonathan M. (27 April 2012). "Winners at 48th Baeksang Arts Awards". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  17. ^ 안성기·엄정화, 영화 부문 ‘남여 최우수연기상’ 수상. IS Plus (in Korean). 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  18. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (9 November 2012). "PIETA, Critics’ No.1 Choice". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  19. ^ 남자연기자상 수상한 안성기, `계속 상 받고 싶다`. Mk.co.kr (in Korean). 7 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  20. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (4 December 2012). "PIETA Wins Best Picture at Blue Dragon Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  21. ^ 감독상 정지영 감독 "안성기씨 고마워". Blue Dragon Film Awards (in Korean). 30 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  22. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (1 February 2013). "PIETA Regarded as the Best Film in 2012 by Reporters". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 

External links[edit]