Ha Jung-woo made his acting debut in the 2002 SBS sitcom Honest Living. In 2005, he starred in the drama film The Unforgiven, in which he earned several Best New Actor citations. In 2008, he played a serial killer in the box-office success The Chaser, which won the Daesang at the 44th Baeksang Arts Awards and Best Film at the 45th Grand Bell Awards. He also raked in numerous Best Actor trophies for his work in the movie. In 2008, he acted alongside Jeon Do-yeon in the road movie My Dear Enemy, in which he was named Best Actor at the 10th Busan Film Critics Awards and the 18th Buil Film Awards. In 2009, he led the blockbuster film Take Off, in which he picked up another set of Best Actor trophies. In 2011, he reunited with The Chaser director Na Hong-jin in the action thriller film The Yellow Sea, in which he bagged three Best Actor awards. In 2012, he headlined the gangster film Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time along with veteran actor Choi Min-shik. In 2013 and 2014, he collected Best Actor citations for his performance in the films The Berlin File and The Terror Live. The latter also gave him the Daesang at the 34th Golden Cinema Festival. In 2017, he played a grim reaper in the fantasy action film Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds and reprised his role in its sequel released the following year.

Aside from acting, Ha Jung-woo also ventured into directing, producing, and writing for films. In 2014, he was nominated for Best New Director at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards for his directorial debut Fasten Your Seatbelt. He also paints.

Ha Jung-woo’s father is veteran actor Kim Yong-gun. His brother Kim Young-hoon, better known by his stage name Cha Hyun-woo, is also an actor. He dated model turned actress Gu Eun-ae from 2008 to 2012.