Nevertheless, talented filmmakers like Im Kwon-taek and Kim Ki-young were able to survive this era and occasionally even produce works of value.After a turbulent year from 1979 to 1980, which included the assassination of president Park Chung Hee, the Coup d'état of December Twelfth, and the Gwangju massacre, South Korea experienced political turmoil.His program of Yusin Restoration (Revitalizing Reforms) caused Korean Cinema to enter a period of oppression through censorship.

From the late 1990s, South Korean cinema managed to attain domestic box office success exceeding that of Hollywood blockbuster movies due largely to laws placing limits on the number of foreign films that could be shown per theatre per year.

This government-enforced screen quota system has stood since 1967, and limits the number of days per year that non-domestic movies can be shown on any one movie screen in South Korea.

Directors were quick to begin re-exploring social and political themes in their films.

During this period, producer Lee Tae-won made domestic films just to get an import quote.

Writing in 1981, the International Film Guide said of South Korean cinema, "No country has a stricter code of film censorship than South Korea – with the possible exception of the North Koreans and some other Communist bloc countries." The "Korean Motion Picture Promotion Corporation" (영화진흥위원회) was created in April 1973, replacing the Union of Korean Film Promotion.

The authoritarian government of Korea said that the MPPC was created to support domestic films and promote the Korean film industry.However, this organization was primarily created to control the film industry and promote "politically correct" films in order to support censorship and the government's ideals.These propaganda-laden movies (or "policy films") proved unpopular with audiences who had become accustomed to seeing real-life social issues in the quality films of the 1950s and 1960s.Filmmakers were instructed to present the positive aspects of social reality and to focus mainly on the cultural traditions of school and public life based on traditional virtues.However, the audience for domestic films reached a low point, due partly to the opening of the market to films from overseas, especially the United States and Hong Kong.Earlier Korean films made during Japanese rule are in the list of Korean films of 1919–1948.