Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People (2017)

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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 690 users
Reviews: 7 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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23 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
8 days ago
  • 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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10 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
8 days ago
  • 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 (4)Recommendations

Both give a similar feeling and main character development is kind of same.
Recommended by lattebean_
Both dramas are about unconventional heroes trying to save the people from a corrupted king, so many twists and turns, keep you guessing what will happen next.
Recommended by Rebeccaabena

Comments (373)

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  • Reply
    Red 44 minutes ago

    Great drama! I like the ending xD Mo Ri is my favorite character <3

  • Reply
    kez 3 days ago

    It's an amazing drama, really. You guys have to watch this. I am recommending it to you all.

  • Reply
    Emily 4 days ago

    I really really liked it! I think I might have even liked it better than the original Hong Gil Dong, if that's possible. The romance is a little sparse, but also so freaking cute, and Yoon Kyoon Sang is one hell of a leading man. Not conventionally attractive as far as younger male actors go, but his height and frame give him a very sturdy, reliable, and a little bit of an intimidating impression. He was a wonderful choice for Gil Dong. I mean, could you see Lee Jong Suk or Kim Soo Hyun play such a character?
    The music was one of my favourite aspects. I loved the catchy yet traditional sounding music.
    My only complaint with this drama is that it sort of ran a little long- as much as I loved it, there were redundant elements and I felt like a lot of the drama was just... people reacting. People singing to show how unified they were. People being punished to show how unfair the government was. People standing in formation to make a point. People shaking their fists at Hong Gil Dong. They were trying really hard to make sure we knew these things, but I feel like they were a little heavy handed.

  • Reply
    lattebean_ 4 days ago

    I have to say I enjoyed this. I normally don't watch historical dramas which are slow paced but this was actually good. I didn't even notice how episodes went by, story and plot was so well made! Props to Yoon Gyun Sang, maybe this could become his break-through role because he was amazing. I hope to see him alot in the future~

  • Reply
    LoveMeAGoodDrama 5 days ago

    This drama is a master piece! Great acting, music, story-line, and directing.
    The king reminds me of the one from "The Treacherous," both were greedy, wicked, and bloody kings who abused their power, made lots of blood shed, took women from their families, and got served at last.
    This drama shows that morals and the people always come first. It shows how the high ranked people are greedy for power, can't be trusted and betray each other any second. While, Gil Dong and his people treat each other as brothers, care for each other, and protect each other. The people's pain didn't go unheard. Mo Ri who was betrayed and abandoned by those he cared for and served learned how to trust again, he met the right people. This drama has the most satisfying ending ever!
    I used to anxiously wait for the next episodes to air, that's how perfect this drama is, I hope another drama that is at least half as perfect to come soon. You will cry your eyes out but at last you will be full of laughter and smiles.

  • Reply
    Luna_ 5 days ago - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Panda 5 days ago

    Im really gonna miss my rebels ;(

  • Reply
    HAVA-RAVA 5 days ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    lovelydream 5 days ago
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  • Reply
    Hiedi 5 days ago

    I love this drama to bits. I know it's not perfect but I still gave this one 10/10 because of all the feels that it gave me while watching. The first drama this year that I had so much attachment to.

  • Reply
    mei changsu 5 days ago

    i love the build up of this drama, character development and the story as a whole. Hong Gil hyeon is definitely my fave character he's just so smart, and there's something about him that i just adore ❤️ it's such a shame his talent was only used for a short term he would have become a great asset in joseon anyways, ive got to give credit to actor kim ji hyuk idk if ive seen him in any other shows but he amazed me with this role.. i think my only complain of this drama is the official poster it should have been the Hong Brothers or smthng and not this one above lmao

  • Reply
    sunah 6 days ago

    Just finished it. I've been putting off seeing the end for a while щ(ಥ◡ಥ)щ
    No regrets. I also need a whole new historical just for Gil Hyeon's character. I could watch this guy do nothing for days and days--definitely my fave character! 乂❤‿❤乂

  • Reply
    suju5 7 days ago

    Highly recommended!!

  • Reply
    WhiteGoldMVs1 7 days ago

    This one was defo underrated and one of the most adorable out there ❤️

  • Reply
    sunflower63 7 days ago - edited

    Watching this saeguk for me was like watching a live tale. It was all represented in a very realistic way, so much that the excessive violence sometimes disturbed me although I understand that these events probably truly happened in that time period. The lifetime of this hero was very well portrayed and by the end I grew really fond of the group of rebels. The costumes and OST here were also very good. It was not a relaxing watch but it was very fullfilling at the end.

    • Reply
      Panda 7 days ago

      Agree, OST was really beautiful


  • 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 690 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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