''Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring'' is about an old buddhist monk who lives in a small floating temple on an isolated lake in Korea. He lives simply, maintaining the modest, yet ornate temple, keeping a few pets, and raising a small boy to be a monk like him.

The movie [[SeasonalMotif cycles through the seasons]] in the same order as the title. The seasons cover not one year, but several, each devoted to a different time in the boy's life: boyhood, teenage years, young adulthood, adulthood, and old age. With each division, the younger monk learns new life lessons, often the hard way, until he eventually finds peace in the simple life his master originally laid out for him.

Incredibly beautiful and simple, it is the type of movie that can't be well described without giving it away. Dialogue plays such a small role in the film that you would swear no one said a word through the whole thing. It is a movie that is as much about Buddhism as it is about life, faith, growth, love, jealousy, hate, cruelty, mystery, and redemption. Definitely a must see.

If you're not convinced, it's on [[RogerEbertGreatMoviesList Roger Ebert's List of Great Movies]].

'''As the plot is rather spoiler sensitive, it is recommended you watch the film before reading the examples.'''
!!This film provides examples of:

* AnAesop: The Young Monk experiences one first hand during the first spring.
* BookEnds
* {{Bowdlerize}}: The international release is shortened due to the depiction of animal cruelty. Though ItMakesSenseInContext, it's quite sad to watch if you love animals.
* UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}}
* FreakOut: Young Monk has one after The Girl is sent away.
* GoingNative: The Young Monk runs off to find The Girl after she returns to civilization.
* HesBack: Happens in Fall and Winter.
* HumansAreBastards: The Old Monk firmly believes this.
* LoveAtFirstSight: The Young Monk has never seen a girl in his life. Suddenly one his age shows up at the Temple with her mother. Needless to say, he's infatuated.
* LoveMakesYouEvil
* MasterApprenticeChain: In the second spring we see that the Young Monk has become the Old, and is raising another young boy as his apprentice.
* SeasonalBaggage: Exactly as it says in the title.
* [[spoiler: SelfImmolation: At the end of the Fall segment, the Old Monk rides out onto the lake and does to himself.]]
* SceneryPorn
* [[spoiler: YourCheatingHeart: The Girl, after she and the Young Monk are married, eventually cheats on him with another man. When the Young Monk found this out he murdered her.]]