The King and the Clown

The King and the Clown (2005)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,642 users
Reviews: 17 users

At the height of the 16th-century Chosun Dynasty, a pair of rural male actors - boisterous, macho Jang-seng and quiet, feminine Gong-gil - travels to Seoul and team up with a struggling acting troupe. When their irreverent show, complete with enough bawdy humor and gender-bending to make a contemporary audience blush, mocks the famously hedonistic king, they get more than they bargained for. After being promptly arrested, they're given a chance to read morespare themselves if they can make the king laugh. To everyone's surprise, the ecstatic monarch loves the show and names the actors official court jesters, giving them more extravagant food and shelter than they'd ever imagined. But the king's attentiveness to Gong-gil makes it quickly apparent that humor isn't the only thing motivating his generosity. The king's mistress, the country's ministers and Jang-seng soon grow suspicious, and jealousy and anger spring from all sides.

  • Native title:

    왕의남자 / 왕의 남자
  • Also Known as:

    Wang-ui namja

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23 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Oct 26, 2012
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
The film which catapulted little known Lee Jun Ki into instant stardom all over Asia. Yes I admit quite candidly that I watched this movie for my recently found Jun Ki mania but I'm going to remember this movie for the masterpiece it is rather than just a random K-movie featuring LJK. The controversy regarding the racy humor used throughout the movie notwithstanding, the movie is a fine portrayal of love, friendship read more and betrayal. It is heart-warming to see the effeminate Gong Gil and the heroic Jang Seng's relationship, which was most certainly much more than just friendship. At the height of utter despair and chaos in their lives, when they flee from the countryside in the hopes of a better life in Seoul, the way they act out the parts of two blind men in the middle of nowhere is a treat to watch. That is perhaps the most poignant scene from the film barring the one at the very end. There's a puzzle in the title of the movie since it leaves you in doubt about who the real king is. In my opinion it's Jang Seng rather than the tyrannical, literal king since he desires to be a commoner even in his next life and chooses the right to live on his own terms rather than living a life of luxury whose terms will be dictated by others. He is the real king of the movie.
The actors have portrayed their parts to perfection. Jeong Jin Yeong has done especially well in conveying the inner turmoil the King suffered from, his eccentricities and frequent displays of mindless cruelty. Excellent acting by Kam Woo Sung as well. And last but not the least, LJK proves in this movie that he IS after all an actor and not just a great looker. I think it will be hard for even a straight guy to resist his charms after watching this movie.
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18 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Sep 26, 2012
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
I finally watched this film after hearing all this hype and hullabaloo about it from my friends. I had the impression that this would be romantic or sensual ... but by the end of the film, I realized that to me, this film was about a deep friendship.

The plot was interesting. It showed how minstrels exposed tyranny through the shows that they performed. And the shows were hilarious and bawdy read more and fun and campy.
My favorite moment in the film was when Gong Gil and Captain act out as two blind beggars and end up hugging on a hill top. What a beautiful moment. What chemistry. The cinematography in the film was amazing, by the way. The movie could have used more cheerful and fun interactions between these two main characters.
By the end, however, I got impatient. Maybe I could tell what was going to happen next and I was bored. I don't know. The end of the movie lost its steam.

Fantastic acting from the 3 main male leads.
Lee Jun Ki is so pretty... it's that great skin and his sensitive eyes. But he really was quite convincing as the fragile Gong -gil who amazingly has a lot of inner strength. It was interesting to watch the lovely Jun Ki sashay around.
Gam Woo Sung is a great actor, this I knew after watching him in the drama Alone In Love. He was really believable as the Captain. And his loyalty to Gong Gil is so touching.
And the King was in a class of his own with his psychotic behavior. Jung Jin Yeong never disappoints me.

Honestly, I don't remember the soundtrack to this movie.

Overall, an interesting and lovely film. Great acting, an interesting and unique story line, and vivid cinematography. I don't regret watching this.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (3)Recommendations

Both contain shounen ai reference material!

One of the actors in The King and the Clown is very feminine so definitely great to look at. The kind and the Clown --> the style and lanuage is a bit vulgar, not exactly for the light-hearted people.
Recommended by nana858
Both are period pieces with intense emotions. Acting is brilliant in both.
Recommended by pattyrn4

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Comments (36)

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    Panda May 18, 2017 - edited

    Amazing movie and story, the quality is beautiful.
    2005's lee joonGi is babe.
    I dont understand all the anti-gay comments, if you dont like something just ignore it, close your eyes, dont watch it if you are offended.
    I say close your eyes if you dont like something but i went and read all the hateful comments and got offended, im such a hypocrite little ass

  • Reply
    LPA Apr 8, 2017

    This is a story you must give your full attention to. Great acting and cinematography. Poetic and tragic--as in Shakespeare.

  • Reply
    RoselynDellota Mar 11, 2017

    Lee Joon Gi deserve best new actor that year it was really great.

  • Reply
    Tel Mar 9, 2017

    Awesome acting, good story told in an excellent way..

  • Reply
    rutuja Feb 15, 2017 - edited

    if you are expecting lavish sets and grand,costumes,this movie is not for you,do not assume it is a comedy because there are clowns in the movie their acts are not of comedy but of sarcasm and insult to the king which is why the general public loved their acts.there is no gay stuff going in the movie it depends on your interpretation.this is about true friends and their love for the is not your usual love story or action movie.but if you want to see what epic acting and portrayal of characters means,if you want to see what a clever directing means,and what great cinematography is for a historical movie with lowest budget in the history of korean cinema you should go for it.

    • Reply
      rutuja Mar 11, 2017

      nothing wrong with gay stuff being portrayed.i was trying to say that it is portrayed in such a subtle way that your imagination doesnt go towards their relationship. i was saying it so that people who put off this this wonderful movie because of it will give it atry

    • Reply
      rutuja Mar 11, 2017

      and i dont think the king lusted after gongill. i felt he was desperate to make gongill stay in the palace he was fond of the boy not actually lusting because gongill actually understood the suffering of the king which no one in the palace understood.

    • Reply
      Tel Mar 11, 2017 - edited

      I got that part where he was the only one to understand the king's suffering but there was a scene where the king kisses him - I meant that part , may be since he was the only one who understood the king, the king wanted to keep him in the palace without even taking his choice into consideration. I loved the part where gong gil's friends were leaving and he was not leaving the palace because of the traumatized king. A great theme and a great story told in a great way as opposed to the normal common romantic themes..

    • Reply
      rutuja Mar 11, 2017

      thats the only part and its not even romantic, so that was nothing actually compared to actual bl movies

    • Reply
      rutuja Mar 11, 2017

      and lee joon gi does not even look as a gay character, he looks like a pretty looking and delicate boy who is playing female roles in the plays performed by his troupe may be because women were not allowed to perform on streets and he nailed it like any thing when ever he was acting as a girl in their plays. that why this movie is special because its unique

  • Reply
    PabboStell Jan 31, 2017

    The movie wasn't as good as I expected, that's for sure.
    The BL parts were mostly left to your imagination which was fine but they were clowns... and I did not laugh even once. It didn't move me that much either so I didn't cry.
    But considering it was shot 10 years ago! It was a rather good piece, beautifully filmed.
    But I didn't really like the ending...

  • Reply
    iamsarah Nov 25, 2016 - edited

    This movie had a weird psyche to it but the acting by the three male leads was phenomenal.

  • Reply
    Dia Oct 21, 2016 - edited

    Now I remember why I fell for Lee Jun Ki at first sight when I saw him in Iljimae (my first drama and the drama that got me into the asian lovers world).

    • Reply
      LPA Apr 8, 2017

      Asian lovers? Or the love of Asian dramas?

  • Reply
    AnnyCampos Oct 18, 2016

    Vi porque tinha o Jun-ki Lee, não decepcionei, mesmo ele não sendo o principal tecnicamente. Sobre a história, é muito bom, baseado em um registro dos reis, o cenário ficou muito bem feito, atores bem interpretados, e o Rei ficou muito bem <3....agora sobre os amigos, amei, eles são muito fofos sobre amizade, e a questão de BL nem é tão forte e importante na historia. Recomendo para quem já conhece bem a cultura coreana.

  • Reply
    kaiffee_ Sep 29, 2016

    the were moments where I was completely confused and also it was a bit akward, probrably because I'm don't understand much about Korea's History, but the movie is interesting and Lee Joon Ki's acting is on point!

  • Reply
    foreverwitchy Jul 17, 2016 - edited

    great film with top notch acting!

    I don't understand the negative comments concerning this one at all...especially the ones directed a Joon Gi, he did a fantastic job.

  • Reply
    Janey May 25, 2016

    I dont know why some people are commenting that the movie was disgusting, too feminine, why LJK accepted this role etc. I've watched a few interviews of LJK, and he's proud abt this movie. and this movie helped him alot on his career.

  • Reply
    Syranus Apr 4, 2016

    It was a "meh".

  • Reply
    Kikka Feb 10, 2016

    Although sometimes I did not get some parts of the story, but still it was a great and interesting movie! :D First time I saw Lee Joon Gi act this way....he had a really interesting character, and also the other actors were great too, especially Jeong Jin Yeong (The King) he did a great job portraying an insane, but yet vulnerable king! It made laugh in the first part of it, but it made me sad at the end. I think it is worth a watch!

  • Reply
    catzfin3st Jan 9, 2016

    I've been meaning to watch this movie for awhile but never got around to it until Dramafever posted it. This movie was delightful and poetic.


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Release Date:

    Dec 29, 2005
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 59 min.


  • Score:

    8.0 (scored by 2,642 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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