Swing Kids (2018 film)

Swing Kids (Korean스윙키즈; RRSeuwingkijeu) is a 2018 South Korean musical drama film directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol and based on the Korean musical Roh Ki-soo. The film stars Doh Kyung-soo, Park Hye-su, Jared Grimes, Oh Jung-se and Kim Min-ho.[2][1][3][4][5] The film was released on December 19, 2018.[6]

Swing Kids
Swing Kids (2018).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Revised RomanizationSeuwing kijeu
McCune–ReischauerSŭwing k'ijŭ
Directed byKang Hyeong-cheol
Screenplay byKang Hyeong-cheol
Based onRho Ki-soo (musical)
by Jang Woo-sung
Produced byLee An-na
Yoo Sung-kweon
StarringDoh Kyung-soo
Park Hye-su
Jared Grimes
Oh Jung-se
Kim Min-ho
CinematographyKim Ji-yong
Edited byNam Na-yeong
Music byKim Jun-seok
Annapurna Films
Distributed byNext Entertainment World
Release date
  • December 19, 2018 (2018-12-19)
Running time
133 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Budget15 billion[1]
{US$13.3 million)
Box officeUS$10.9 million

Swing Kids was screened at The 2019 1st PyeongChang International Peace Film Festival on August 18, 2019.[7]

Plot summaryEdit

The story takes place in Geoje prison camp during the Korean War in 1951. Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo), a rebellious North Korean soldier, falls in love with tap dancing after meeting Jackson (Jared Grimes), an American officer and former Broadway star who has been tasked with putting together a dance company. Kang Byung-sam (Oh Jung-se) auditions for the company in hopes of finding his wife, Xiao Pang (Kim Min-ho), a Chinese soldier and born dancer who cannot dance for more than a minute due to angina. Yang Pan-rae (Park Hye-su) who needs money but says there's no money through dancing, also joins the group.[8]




  • Ross Kettle as Brigadier General Roberts
  • A.J. Simmons as Jamie
  • Song Jae-ryong as Sam Sik
  • Lee Gyoo-seong as Man-cheol
  • Lee David as Kwang-gook
  • Joo Hae-eun as Mae-hwa
  • Lee Yool-rim as Hwang Ki-dong
  • Kim Dong-geon as Ro Gi-jin
  • Park Jin-joo as Linda
  • Joo Hae-eun as Mae-hwa (Japanese apricot flower)
  • Park Hyoung-soo as Interpreter
  • Lee Dong-yong as Black marketeer
  • Choi Eun-kyung as Nancy
  • Lee Rang-seo as Stacy
  • Lim Seo-yeong as Candy
  • Kim Eun-joo as Wendy
  • Park Ji-eun as Barbara
  • Oh Kyeong-hwa as Julia



Director Kang Hyeong-cheol is known for his hit films Scandal Makers, Sunny, and Swing Kids marks the director's return after three year from directing his hit film Tazza: The Hidden Card. Filming of Swing Kids started on October 18, 2017[1] and ended on February 20, 2018 in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.[10]


Swing Kids was released in 23 countries including America, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia. The film was released in Hong Kong and Macao in January 2019.[11]

The VIP premiere of Swing Kids was held On December 6.[12][13]


On November 12, 2018, the director and main cast of Swing Kids held a press conference where they discussed the film and answered reporters' questions.[14][15] On the same day, a showcase for the film was held, where Do Kyung-soo, Park Hye-su and Oh Jung-se performed a segment of Tap dancing along with other tap dancing professionals, and later talked about the film along with director Kang Hyeong-cheol.[16] On November 26, the director and the cast attended a movie talk on V Live.[17]

On December 4, the cast and director attended a media distribution preview event for the film.[18] On December 17, The cast and directory attended an event called "Chewing Chat" at Lotte Cinema World Tower, and also held a stage greeting in the same place. On December 18, Do Kyung-soo, Park Hye-su and Oh Jung-se went on the radio show Cultwo Show were the talked about the movie,[19] and later held another stage greeting at CGV Yongsan I-Park Mall.


Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on eight reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10.[20]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was given to the film's production design and music,[21] with criticisms directing towards the long running time and the structure of the film.[22] Guy Lodge from Variety, wrote about the film: "Too often, it simply feels like two films wrestling in one roomy framework, sometimes overlapping to awkward effect".[23]

Park Boram from Yonhap News Agency , wrote: "The film's booming tapping sounds set against the film's throwback soundtrack -- which includes David Bowie's "Modern Love," Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing," The Beatles' "Free as a Bird," as well as Korean veteran singer Jung Su-ra's popular 1988 song "Joy"—drive colorful vibrancy into the film, making the audience twitch with amusement throughout the film's 133-minute running time.", Park also added that the "musicality and a Christmas scene close to the end make the production a perfect film choice for the holiday season."[21]

The film was ranked No.3 by Pierce Conran from Modern Korean Cinema in Top 15 Korean Films of 2018. Conran wrote: "Swing Kids was without a doubt the best theatrical experience I had all year. Infectiously rhythmic, this Korean War POW camp tap dance extravaganza will have you yearning for old-school Hollywood showmanship and begging for more when the curtain falls."[24]

Box officeEdit

Prior to its release, Swing Kids ranked first in the pre-sales, with 70,256 viewers and 21.6% reservation rate.[25] The film ranked second place on Korean theaters among Korean movies, since its release.[26] On December 25, Swing Kids began its seat sales and ranked first in the box office, surpassing Aquaman and The Drug King by 32% and 56% respectively.[27] On December 27, Swing Kids attracted more than 1 million viewers.[26]

In the United States it made $222,001, South Korea $10,672,098, Australia $17,141, and in New Zealand $2,157.[28]



Side A
1."Caldonia"Louis Jordan2:40
2."If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake"Eileen Barton2:37
3."Shout"The Isley Brothers2:15
4."Hava Nagila" (하바나길라)Rita Kim3:26
5."Joy" (환희)Jung Su-ra4:43

Side B
1."Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 846" (평균율 1권 1번 다장조)Bach 
2."Modern Love"David Bowie3:56
3."The Christmas Song"European Jazz Trio4:02
4."Sing Sing Sing"Benny Goodman5:23
5."Free as a Bird"The Beatles4:58

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2018 19th Golden Trailer Awards Best Foreign Holiday Trailer Award Swing Kids Won [30]
2019 55th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Director Kim Hyeong-cheol Won [31]
Best New Actor Kim Min-ho Nominated
Technical Award Kim Jun-seok (Music) Nominated
39th Golden Cinema Film Festival Best New Actress Park Hye-su Won [32]
28th Buil Film Awards Nominated [33]
Popular Star Award Nominated
39th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Soundtrack Kim Jun-seok Won [34]
40th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress Park Hye-su Nominated [35][36]
Best Film
Swing Kids
Best Director
Kang Hyeong-cheol
Best Cinematography-Lighting
Kim Ji-young, Jo Gyu-young
Best Editing
Nam Na-yeong
Best Art Direction
Park Il-hyun
Technical Award
Im Seung-hui, Gwon Yu-jin (Costumes)
Best Music
Kim Jun-seok
2020 56th Grand Bell Awards Best Music Kim Jun-seok Nominated
Best costume Design Kwon Yujin Nominated


  1. ^ a b c 강형철 감독 "도경수, 아이돌 인지도 몰랐다..운명 같다"(직격 인터뷰) (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-02-28.
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  3. ^ [공식입장] 도경수 측 "'스윙키즈' 출연 확정..9월 크랭크인" (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-02-28.
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External linksEdit