Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama Review

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People is based on the classic Korean folktale about a man (Yoon Kyun Sang) of low birth who becomes a revolutionary activist in Joseon as he serves justice to the noble class on behalf of the poor.

I usually like to watch a longer historical in December each year, and I decided to go for Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People this time.  And what a fantastic choice that was! This is an epic tale jam-packed with emotion, excitement, heartbreak, action, and so much more!

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang

Yoon Kyun Sang plays the titular Hong Gil Dong. He was born a slave, but he is a special boy known as a Mighty Child who is blessed with superior strength and abilities. He has to hide this secret for much of his life, but a time comes when he is an adult where he must take the lead and use his abilities to help the people.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Kim Sang Joong

Kim Sang Joong is Gil Dong’s father, Amogae. As a slave, he has always been looked down upon. In an attempt to free himself and his family, things take a terrible turn. But he works to build a better life for his family and to better his position in his society.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Chae Soo Bin

Chae Soo Bin is Song Ga Ryeong. She works as a maid at a Gisaeng house and takes a liking to Gil Dong. While he doesn’t initially return her affections, she becomes very loyal to him and his group.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Honey Lee

Honey Lee plays the gisaeng, Jang Nok Soo. She’s had a difficult life but has found a way to position herself in a good way. Gil Dong wins over her heart, but she has to bury those feelings as she moves forward with a plan to get close to the king.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Kim Ji Suk

Kim Ji Suk is Lee Yoong/King Yeonsangun. He’s a king who lives a conflicted life and eventually has to deal with the attention people are giving Gil Dong as he becomes a hero figure to them. One of the only people who brings him true comfort is Nok Soo. But even she can’t stop his bloody and tyrannical reign.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Shim Hee Sub

Shim Hee Sub is Hong Gil Hyun, Gil Dong’s older brother. He’s intelligent and enjoys learning, but his station in life prevents him from going far with his skills. But an unexpected opportunity positions him next to the King.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang, Lee Joon Hyuk, Park Jun Gyul, Heo Jung Do, Lee Myung Hoon, Chae Soo Bin

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People is such an amazingly well written and directed drama! It always had a clear idea of where it was going with well-developed story arcs beautifully laid out that blended together seamlessly. The story was paced so nicely all the way through. This is particularly great since it is a 30 episode drama. I was never bored once which is the absolute best thing a drama can do for me.

It depicted some very emotional character journeys as well as some just plain heartbreaking stories. The characters and us go through some wonderful highs but also some incredible lows. It’s an emotional roller coaster for sure.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Kim Sang Joong and Lee Ro Woon

As is usually the case for me, I found the childhood portion of the story to be very engaging as I was quickly drawn into the world of Gil Dong and his family. The child actor, Lee Ro Woon, who played Gil Dong was just too cute too! But he and his family have a difficult life as slaves. Plus, they have to hide the fact that Gil Dong was born with super strength.

There are a lot of interesting developments in these episodes as we set up the groundwork for what’s to come. I was sad to be leave that part of the story, but I was anxious to see the adult cast and where things would go. 

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang and Kim Sang Joong

We watch as Amogae and Gil Dong rise from their lowly origins to become a vigilante group that doles out justice to the noble class because of the horrible laws that benefit them and hurt those of low birth. It really is a Robinhood type story centered around a hero and his band of men as he wins the heart of the people.

The father/son relationship between Gil Dong and Amogae was such an emotional one. Their bond runs deep all the way from Gil Dong’s childhood to his adult years. Although it was tested at times, their love for each other was very clear, and watching them struggle to survive and make something of their lives was moving to see.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang

This drama really executed its pay off scenes incredibly well. Whether it be a reunion between two people, someone’s death, or a well-planned revenge, these scenes were always so satisfying to watch because the joy and sorrow was so wonderfully depicted. And I can’t say enough how outstanding every single one of the actors were. They were just amazing in every way possible!

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Honey Lee

Honey Lee was a big standout for me in the drama. I found her absolutely captivating every time she was on screen. She just has this ability to draw you in when she is acting, and her emotional scenes were particularly intense. She also put in a whole lot of work to perform some outstanding traditional dance numbers that were truly beautiful to see. Just wow!

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang and Chae Soo Bin

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People is a drama where the main focus isn’t on the romance, but Gil Dong’s relationship with Ga Ryeong is a nice subplot. The romance is very slow to develop with her liking him pretty quickly but him taking a while to warm up to her.

It’s a good halfway through the drama before things take a solid romantic turn. The romance is just one of many happenings, but it does have a solid impact in the second half. This couple is very sweet, and I really enjoyed their love and dedication to each other.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang, Lee Joon Hyuk, Park Jun Gyul, Heo Jung Do, Lee Myung Hoon

There is an incredibly fun group of supporting characters that become like a family to Gil Dong. It was so interesting to see them initially come together and carve out a life for themselves as they help Gil Dong on his mission.

Then they go through some very difficult times, but this group is so loyal and always ready to defend each other. This was both a fun ensemble that made me laugh as well as a group that frequently touched my heart. I seriously grew to care about all of these characters.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Kim Jung Tae Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Ahn Na Sang
Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Seo Yi Suk Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Kim Jung Hyun

And be prepared for all kinds of baddies that you are sure to hate. They are a constant presence always plotting to take down our heroes. And some of them are the kind that you just can’t hardly get rid of!

The music in this drama has to be mentioned too as it is just fantastic! The soundtrack is unique with songs that are fun, traditional, and evoke so much emotion. The background music was even wonderful. It just all really complimented the drama so well.

Rebel Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama - Yoon Kyun Sang, Lee Joon Hyuk, Park Jun Gyul, Heo Jung Do, Lee Myung Hoon, Shim Hee Sub 2

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People is one of those rare special dramas. It takes a lot to create a story that I find captivating from beginning to end, and for it be on the longer side is even more amazing. With a grand story, impeccable directing, amazing actors, moving music, and a legendary hero, Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People is a drama not to be missed.

My Rating: 10/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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31 Responses to Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People Korean Drama Review

  1. Kate says:

    Love this review, I was looking for a historical to watch and you just gave me one 🙂 I didn’t even realize the cast was so familiar to me. I’ve loved Yoon Kyun Sang every time I’ve watched him and you know I adore Chae Soo Bin so this is an easy choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yay! This one was soooo good! Yes, there are so many recognizable faces in this cast. And everyone is just fantastic! Yoon Kyun Sang is at his best, and Chae Soo Bin is as adorable as ever. I could go on and on about this drama. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

      Like

      • Kate says:

        I started it last night and wow, already hooked after first episode! Funny, watching both Lawless Lawyer and Rebel at the same time and realizing that the mom/son pair are the same actors LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Oooh, I’m anxious to see what you think of the drama! I too was hooked right away. I loved the early child episodes. And when I saw the kid, I was trying to place him and then realized I had seen him in Lawless Lawyer. He’s such a cutie! That’s so funny though that you’re watching the pair in two dramas at the same time, lol

          Like

          • Kate says:

            Finished this a few days ago. Enjoyed the 1st third and final 3rd but found the middle section a bit draggy. Liked the historical aspect of it, learning that there really was a brutal king, concubine, female troupe etc. Loved the cast and the way they wrapped up everyone’s story lines. Felt like the adult Hong Gil Dong was never the center of the show. His father was the main character in the early years, the gang seemed to be the main character in the middle section, and the king took center stage in the final third so it felt like I was always rooting for someone other than the actual “Rebel”. That might have been by design but it felt weird. I definitely enjoyed the ride, so glad I watched 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              I’m glad you enjoyed it for the most part 🙂 I noticed there were a few people who thought the middle was draggy, and I can see where that could happen. For me, I think I was just so in love with the world and characters that it made up for the plot slow down.

              There really was a lot of interesting things to see in the drama. Like you said, everything about the history, and the cast was just fantastic. I really missed Amogae later in the drama. He was a great character. But that allowed Gil Dong to step more into the limelight and take charge. So it was necessary. Ah, I just have so many feels for this drama! lol 🙂

              Like

  2. Noël says:

    Love love love this drama and your review. Definitely my favorite drama to come out of 2017. I also thought Honey Lee was captivating in this role. Kim Sang Joong also left me in awe, but in general the cast as a whole was spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I can understand your love for the drama! It is fantastic in every way. If I would have watched it last year, it would have been either my number one or number two drama of the year. I’m glad you thought Honey Lee was amazing too. And I agree, Kim Sang Joong was something. Definitely my favorite role of his. And he sings one of the amazing songs on the OST. It just gave me so many feels. Yes, everyone in this cast really was spectacular to make for a phenomenal drama:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Noël says:

        Yes, I loved that he and Honey Lee participated in the OST. Overall I thought the OST was amazing, especially because it was much more on the traditional side than most other historicals. I’m glad you enjoyed the drama too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          That’s exactly what I thought! I absolutely loved everything about the OST. I thought it was wonderful how they went more traditional with it while having the actors participate. It really made them fit so well with the drama and then have that extra emotional impact. Plus, the songs were just plain catchy! A great OST really just elevates an already well done drama to the next level 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Eva says:

    Wow a rating of 10/10. This drama has always been in my “must watch list” but I haven’t had the gusto to really pursue it. Hopefully … soon… I will definitely watch this. Will re read your review once I’m done watching this one 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It really was such a fantastic drama 🙂 I too have had it my list since it came out, but it’s always harder to work in the longer dramas. I’m so glad I finally did though as it was so worth it. Good luck on your watch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember reading good stuff about this before but then forgot about this drama. Now, I am definitely going to try it out. Thank you for this recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Same here. When it was airing, everyone was raving about it. And it seemed like it was a lot of people’s favorite drama that year. It definitely piqued my interest. And then the drama was amazing! Hope you enjoy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. MyKDramaticLife says:

    An impressive 10! Great review, Kay. It’s already included in my long long watchlist. And now I’m gonna give it a prio because of your review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      A 10 it is! It takes a special one to get that from me, hehe. Yes, move it up that long watch list and give it a look when you have a chance 🙂

      Like

  6. MyKDramaticLife says:

    By the way, did you just drop Twelve Nights and Death Song?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Nope, completed them both 🙂 The reviews are actually even done for each of them, I just have them scheduled to post further out. They’re on the calendar though, hehe 🙂

      Like

      • MyKDramaticLife says:

        It’s a good thing. Have finished Death Song too. Will wait to see your review on it so I could share mine too. And am anxiously checking out viewers’ reactions on Twelve Nights. Haven’t had the chance to watch it though. Both leads of the drama were one my faves in Age of Youth series. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          I think I recall you rating Death Song 6.5, so I can tell you we weren’t far apart as I gave it a 7. Although you may have liked less than me since I know that’s a low rating for you, lol. Eh, I’ll also say I didn’t much like Twelve Nights overall. The short of it…sooooo draggy! But some people loved it. Will have more details in the review though 🙂

          Like

  7. Fred says:

    Impressive! The plot is one of, if not the best, non-love story plots I have ever seen in a Kdrama. Like you, I never got bored in this 30-episode drama. Amazing! The OSTs were also something new. Fun and emotional. Just amazing!

    I just actually wanted to see Chae Soobin. But I ended up with something different. And I am happy with that. Nothing more to say except I saw a dead man move for a few seconds. Yup, bad acting from an extra. LOL.
    Still a solid 10.

    P.S. The drama was so long that you now have 3 new reviews. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Fred! Good to hear from you 🙂 It really was an impressive drama in every way. And I agree, one of the best stories where the romance wasn’t the central part. Yet, it was still utilized nicely and had just enough to keep the romantic in me happy, hehe.

      And isn’t it just amazing when a longer drama like this stays great all the way through? It really is a feat. So glad it was a 10 for you too! It’s a drama that will forever be high up my favorites list 🙂 And I’m still enjoying that OST! Haha, I should be be able to count this one as at least two dramas because of its length 😉

      Like

      • Fred says:

        Definitely a very long drama. But then it is a good thing because a lot of dramas I am waiting for are about to end or have already ended. You even already have a review for one: Memories of Alhambra. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Yeah, since it was longer, I made sure to get it in before I knew I would have a bunch more dramas to contend with. Now I’m busily making my way through that list.

          Ah, yes, Memories of the Alhambra 🙂 I’m very interested to see what you think of that one. Be sure to take my review to heart though. The writing is sloppy, but is sure is a wild ride! 🙂

          Like

  8. Pingback: Korean Drama Update for January 2019 | Kdrama Kisses

  9. Steph Stringer says:

    Was hooked straight away. Brutal, tender, moving, tear jerking, funny and much more. Wonderful acting by all, the children were amazing. Beautifully filmed and gorgeous costumes. Spellbinding dance and song. Fell in love with so many of the characters and am really sad that I’ve come to the end of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Your comment pretty much sums up how I feel about this amazing drama. Just beautiful in every way. It completely touched my heart, and I too was so sad when it ended. It’s a gem of a drama 🙂

      Like

  10. Snow Flower says:

    This was so good! I just kept asking myself, Why didn’t I watch it sooner? This drama is everything a historical drama should be. It felt like comfort food in the best sense of the word. So well plotted and well acted, too! And the music was fantastic. The songs will be stuck in my head for a long time…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It really was! And I had the same thoughts! I wish I had watched it the year in aired, but of course, there are just so many dramas to get through. I completely agree, this was everything you would want in a historical. It had a little bit of everything and all so beautifully executed. I just loved cozying up to each episode and thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through.

      And yes, the music! I still listen to several of the songs. I think it had the best OST of any drama I’ve seen in the past year or so. I always appreciate good quality music to enhance a drama 🙂

      Like

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