Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People (2017)

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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 1,146 users
Reviews: 15 users

What would you do if the mere fact of your birth gives you no standing in society?
Gil Dong is born as the son of servant Ah Mo Gae, in a society in which servants have no legal standing. After years of horrible treatment by the nobility, Gil Dong becomes the leader of a band of smugglers who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Meanwhile, King Yeonsan slowly becomes read morea tyrannical king who oppresses the lives of the common people. Against all odds, can Gil Dong champion the rights of the common people on his path to becoming Joseon’s first revolutionary activist? (Source: Wikipedia*edited)

  • Native title:

    역적: 백성을 훔친 도적
  • Also Known as:

    Yeokjuk: Baeksungeul Hoomchin Dojuk; 역적 홍길동; Rebel Hong Gil Dong; Yeokjeok Honggildong; Traitor Hong Gil Dong;

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41 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 16, 2017
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.5
After finishing Rebel, it feels a little difficult to organize my thoughts and write a review that truly honors this wonderful drama.

I went into this, not knowing what to expect. There are many sageuks that sound promising but disappoint you utterly. And then there are those who start slow but grow to be one of your dearest gems. Rebel definitely belongs to the latter. (At this point I also have to read more admit that I still haven't watched Six Flying Dragons. But I will definitely catch up with that one soon.)

Many people know of the story about Hong Gil Dong and there's already another drama addressing this character. But I had no idea. That's why it's even more funny that while I was watching this, it constantly reminded me of Robin Hood. Thanks to my comparison someone told me that it's indeed based on that legend - or rather it's basically the Korean version.

So, why did I like this drama so much?

1. First of all the story combined with its characters. I always have to mention that together because one part doesn't work without the other. I do think the story is pure gold. Well, nothing new, of course, but the way it's written and the way its characters are acting and growing, left me speechless so many times while following every new turn of events.

What I also really loved was that you will never be left in too much agony. Of course, this drama has its sad, its heartbreaking moments, too. But despite their misery, I never felt uncomfortable or frustrated about it. Why? Because every event had its reasoning. It was such a well thought-out net of actions and inevitable consequences that made me unable to be angry at somebody or something. I did hate a bunch of people, but the writing managed to make even those bastards palpable and well-founded.

The best part though was the close follow-up of injustice and justice. You might feel angry at some point but right the next minute you feel relieved and satisfied. It's rewarding (for you and its characters equally).

2. Camera. The way it was shot. Cinematography.
There are so many beautiful scenes, not only of the people but also of landscapes and important scenes that just underline the impression of each and every moment.

3. Love for details.
That's one point I cherish deeply because many dramas don't care about those things. If I find a show that does, it immediately rises alot in my favor. Rebel does those beautiful details. And what I'm talking about are not those things that are pointed out by the camera to be sure the viewers get the meaning. No, I'm talking about those things that are not pointed out and that you only notice if you pay enough attention to the story.

4. Acting.
Magnificent through and through. From leads to supports to guest appearances.
The first one to mention here is Kim Sang Joong. His portrayal of Ah Mo Gae is perfection. You see him loyal, you see him weak, you see him angry, you see him desperate and you see him loving. And! You see him strong and determined, rising from the bottom. He's smart, he knows how to talk to the people and being a leader. KSJ's Ah Mo Gae paves a large path for this drama and is the first step to be sucked into this story and not being able to leave again.

After him, of course, Yoon Gyun Sang who plays Hong Gil Dong. As I said before I haven't watched SFD yet, so I didn't know what his acting is like. But man, this guy can act! It is such a pleasure to see a well written character and an actor who can pull off such a role. Showing the character's different stages, his struggles and growing of mind. What amazed me the most was how he was able to make me believe that Hong Gil Dong is indeed Ah Mo Gae's son. There's this special thing he does with his voice (again one of those details)... The way he starts talking after awhile - like father like son.

Kim Ji Suk. Maybe his best role so far. Playing such a complex character as the king and doing such a stunning job with that task, is definitely something not everybody can manage.

Shim Hee Seop aka Gil Dong's hyung. The hidden treasure and such a surprise. Haven't seen him before but he nailed this performance. Never loved a side character more.

Chae Soo Bin, Lee Ha Nui... Two great actresses playing two completely different yet marvelous women. I don't want to let out any actor/actress, but it would be too boring to list them all. I still have to mention how visible their efforts were and how they added to a more perfect overall picture.

5. The romance.
Slowly, slowly................................. and then deeply satisfying and vigorous.

5. Music.
Isn't it rewarding to watch something interesting and then the music starts and within seconds captures you and never lets you go again? Rebel has such a haunting score and soundtrack. It fits in every scene, strengthens or lessens every respective moment and mood.

If you want to enjoy a well written drama with outstanding actors and characters, you should definitely go for this one. Highly recommended.
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17 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 17, 2017
  • Overall 10
  • Story 9.5
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.5
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
It's not blood that tells you who your family is. Family is the people who will fight alongside you, care for you even more so than for themselves and will put everything at stake for you. That is what this heart wrenching, sometimes tragic, beautiful drama teaches us. It's a deeply satisfying watch that shows you what loyalty truly is.

The story is deeply moving and will affect you in more ways read more than you thought possible. It begins while Hong Gil Dong is a child, and moves along through the trials he faces throughout both his childhood and his adult life. The writers really know how to inflict an emotional response on their audience whether it be standing up and cheering for the good guys or ugly sobbing into a blanket. This drama is strongly written, with many impactful and symbolic scenes. It is story of the revolt against the rich that makes you pour (no pun intended) your heart and soul into rooting for Hong Gil Dong and his group of rebels. The bond between the rebels is thicker than even blood, and their loyalty towards one another is without a doubt one of the most intensely heartwarming things I've seen. It begins with backstory that may seem very slow, but if you stick with it, it will make the story that much more powerful later on. That said, I've taken half a point off (9.5/10) because a handful of episodes do have a slower pace, but it definitely did not drag or become uninteresting.

The acting in this drama was phenomenal. This drama made me believe, and I think that's the most crucial part of it. The casting was absolutely perfect. The child actors looked very much like their adult counterparts and had acting abilities that were well beyond their age. Kim Sang Joong gave such a raw performance as Ah Mo Gae and perfectly captured the essence of his character. I had watched Yoon Gyun Sang in multiple other roles, but this role is where he truly shines. I believed in his motives, his emotions, and as another reviewer mentioned, the fact that he is Ah Mo Gae's son. I would also like to mention Kim Ji Suk who did wonderfully as the tyrannical king and brought a lot more substance to this role than any of his previous works.

The music in this drama is very special to me. The OSTs are not the typical kdrama OST, rather the songs sound very traditional. They add so much emotion to the scenes, and truly captured the spirit of the rebels.

The romance, I will talk about as a separate topic. It starts off slow, and the chemistry between them is minimal, but as it progresses it will hit you like an arrow (a reference). It is so intense and pure and overflowing in believability. Not going to lie, their romance has made me shed tears.

It is definitely a drama to rewatch and will remain as one of the most memorable ones. This has been a powerful and emotional journey that will stay with me for a long time. I think it's very underrated, and if you're wondering whether to watch this, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do!
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Make a Recommendation More recs (7)Recommendations

Both involve bringing justice for the people, and involve a bit of romance. Personally, both of the weak points in both of these dramas are the romance.

The two dramas have different dynamics. Emperor: Owner of the Mask involves the people & the palace versus the Pyungsoo group. Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People involves the rebels and the palace.

Both place the focus onto the main character who develops into a true leader.
Recommended by ruby
One of the main characters in both dramas is King Yeon San Gun. He is considered the worst tyrant in Joseon Dynasty.
Recommended by Aeris

Comments (427)

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  • Reply
    bluelovesstuff 14 hours ago

    If you're doubting watching this drama, I would highly recommend watching it after completing it in just a week! My chest ached at how the people came together in this drama. The acting (Yoon Gyun Sang is one of my new favorite actors for his role as Gil Dong), main couple (loved every single one of their scenes), and plot makes this sit in my top 5 favorite dramas.

  • Reply
    Pearlyn 7 days ago

    I don't think I'll ever get over this drama, the chemistry, the writing, and all of the feelings... It's one of the few dramas I don't regret watching!

  • Reply
    MarieStaebler 10 days ago

    I'm done watching it
    It's a true masterpiece, the story is magnificent, I loved every single OST, and the actors were all amazing <3
    Best drama i've even watched, even though I deeply loved Scarlet Heart.

  • Reply
    Lajla 23 days ago - edited

    EVERYTHING, including the Cast, the story and the Music were so good .....
    It is really rare that i am interested in a drama from the beginning to the end but this one did really impress me !
    The most beautiful thing in this drama was the chemistry between Yoon Gyun Sang and Chae Soo Bin <3

  • Reply
    ctinav23 27 days ago - edited

    If you're looking around for a good historical drama... well as you can see most people like it. Highly recommended. I've been watching dramas for over about close to 10 years, typically there are always mixed reviews with long period dramas, this one, as you can already tell has swept the hearts of its viewers. No one will regret watching this. I watched this while it aired, it's different watching a drama while it's airing compared to when you're binge watching. When you watch while it's airing, you're always anxiously waiting to watch the next episode. When you binge it can get mundane because you're watching it constantly unless the reason why you're bingeing is because it's so good. I'd rewatch this again another time. One thing I'd note though is the romance is quite slow but it's very passionate. You will definitely enjoy this drama!

    • Reply
      Pearlyn 7 days ago

      I was binge watching this but it never felt super mundane throughout the 30 episodes :') (except for a few parts which I thought was slightly dragged out)

  • Reply
    LinLi 29 days ago - edited

    This drama was great, the story and revenge was really realistic. The ending wasn't too bad either. The friendship and bond between the hongs was truly unbreakable. I wish there were more story/ love story of the side characters.

    I have to point out that the name Ah Mo Gae (meaning no name in Korean) constantly reminded me of if someone was saying I'ammmooooo gayyy. Which was pretty funny. I noticed from many historical K dramas I've watched so far most of the time there is a servant named no name.

    I would deeply recommend this drama.

  • Reply
    Ineta Jul 12, 2017

    This has to be one of the best sageuks out there. Great acting, great story, great characters whom you cannot help but get attached to... Also, the friendships and relationships that formed were beautiful to watch. I loved the Hong family and I loved Garyung and Gildong's story. <3

    Speaking of Hong Gildong, I love the fact that despite him being a hero, they did not forget to make him seem human. You could see his desperation, his emotions so clearly -- which also happened because of Yoon Gyunsang's amazing portrayal of him.

    Another thing that I enjoyed in this drama was the music. Just the fact that they made it sound like it could have been sung by those people at those times, made me appreciate it a lot. I think it also gave the drama more emotionality and even depth at the right moments.

    As for what I disliked, I do have to mention the irregular pace. I found this drama interesting every single episode, but sometimes it got a bit too hard to watch it.

    This drama did get heavy at times, but the characters made the story so special that I ended it with a warm feeling in my heart. :')

    // Also, this might be just a little off topic, but those have to be some of the cutest behind the scenes I have seen. :'D

  • Reply
    Amiri Jul 8, 2017

    i loved Chae Soo Bin in this drama

  • Reply
    Suicidal_Hermit Jun 30, 2017

    What a GREAT ending! I absolutely loved the main couple and Yoon Gyun Sang did another great job playing the Giant guy lol. This drama wasn't at SFD level but it's earned it's worth of a 10/10

  • Reply
    KatySarang_TGeyes Jun 30, 2017 - edited

    So I know this is the same time period as Queen for Seven Days, are they similar? Like if I watch this drama shortly after...will I basically be watching the same drama?

    • Reply
      ayse Jul 3, 2017

      i'm currently watching QF7D and they're nothing sorts of similar, not even close, hong gil dong is a folk tale written in late 16th century and in this drama there are some twists about the story, like his lineage
      as for the queen for 7 days, it is about king junjong who overthrew king yeonsangun (who is adressed as yi yoong in rebel)
      i presume that they made king jungjong(yi yeok) into a spin off version of hong gil dong in queen for seven days but two dramas are just way to different to be even compared
      the rebel is more family oriented romance folk tale while qf7d is more focused on romance
      imo the rebel is a great drama and it is in my top 10 but qf7d is fun to watch as saguk romcom if you have nothing else to do

  • Reply
    ayse Jun 28, 2017

    this drama deserves 10 out of 10 and i rarely say such a thing, the whole cast and the cinematography was simply amazing, i usually binge watch dramas but for this one i took my time so that i could enjoy each episode with clear and focused mind
    my only regret about it, was watching the last episode as it meant that this wonderful drama is no more,
    i am the type that writes in order to get dramas out of my system but this one is here to stay along with some other special dramas
    so what i actually want to write is, just watch it and see for yourself cause i believe it will be worth your time

    p.s. one of the best osts ever <3

  • Reply
    ryubin Jun 15, 2017 - edited

    wonderful drama with a nice ending. no regrets about watching this<3

  • Reply
    Jay Jun 13, 2017

    finally a good ending that's actually good

  • Reply
    chelleey Jun 11, 2017 - edited

    just finished it ...... for the second time *still cryingggggggggggg

    • Reply
      Jaylan Jun 16, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      chelleey Jun 17, 2017 - edited

      nooo its not sad~ i'm crying because im toooo attached to the drama. I don't wanna spoil you! haha just go and watch it. I promise you won't regret it e-v-er.

  • Reply
    naccu Jun 11, 2017 - edited

    Mo Ri will you be my eternal companion? I promise not to betray you <3 I think I'm in love <3


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Jan 30, 2017 to May 16, 2017
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    60 min.


  • Score:

    8.7 (scored by 1,146 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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