Parasite: Bong Joon Ho Reveals Five Films That Inspired His Masterpiece

“Parasite” has finally arrived in theaters (in New York and Los Angeles, at least) and has proved that the Palm d’Or bestowed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and his AMPAS member filled jury at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival was no joke. As of opening day, Oct. 11, Bong Joon Ho‘s masterpiece has a 95 grade on Metacritic (tied with “Marriage Story” for the best of the year) and a remarkably rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The buzz that traveled from Cannes back to South Korea (where it earned a staggering $70 million U.S.) to Telluride to Toronto to the New York Film Festival has already resulted in the IFC Center Theater in Manhattan setting a weekend record at the box office. A record they announced on Thursday night with 45 sold-out screenings already on the books from Friday to SundayThe Safdie brothers already love it and Taika Waititi is hyped and hasn’t even seen it yet.

READ MORE: “Judy,” “Parasite” and “Marriage Story” win Telluride’s Oscar showcase

Director Bong has done his fair share of interviews and Q&A’s over the past few months so we figured we’d take a different approach.  We asked Bong what were five films (or less, his choice) that inspired his work in “Parasite.”  His response wasn’t long-winded, nor did he spoil anything if you haven’t seen the movie yet.  But they are enlightening references once you have seen the picture and absolutely worth checking out individually.

So, in Bong’s own words…

The Housemaid

“The Housemaid” (1960)
“Staircases play an important role in visually showing this sense of infiltration that’s at the core of ‘Parasite.’ The Korean 1960 classic ‘The Housemaid’ by Kim Ki Young, whom I consider my mentor, is also about a housemaid infiltrating a middle-class family, featuring a staircase in one of its pivotal scenes.”


La Ceremonie, Isabelle Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire

“La Cérémonie” (1995)
“The Beast Must Die” (1969 )
Claude Chabrol, a French mater of crime films, was also a big influence, particularly his films ‘La Cérémonie’ and ‘The Beast Must Die.'” 


The Servant
“The Servant” (1963)
“‘The Servant’ by Joseph Losey was another”



“Psycho” (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ was another key reference; while not as rich, Norman Bates’ house is also a two-story home with a staircase that leads to secrets lurking underneath.”

“Parasite” is now playing in New York and Los Angeles.