Howl's Moving Castle - Rotten Tomatoes

Howl's Moving Castle (2005)

Howl's Moving Castle



Critic Consensus: Exquisitely illustrated by master animator Miyazaki, Howl's Moving Castle will delight children with its fantastical story and touch the hearts and minds of older viewers as well.

Movie Info

Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation director who wowed audiences worldwide with his award-winning film Spirited Away, brings another visually spectacular tale of imagination to the screen. Sophie is an 18-year-old girl who toils in the hat shop opened years ago by her late father. Often harassed by local boys, one day Sophie is unexpectedly befriended by Howl, a strange but flamboyant wizard whose large home can travel under its own power. However, the Witch of the Waste is displeased with … More

Rating: PG (for frightening images and brief mild language)
Genre: Drama , Animation , Kids & Family , Romance , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Hayao Miyazaki , Diana Wynne Jones
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 7, 2006
Box Office: $4.5M
Buena Vista - Official Site


as Grandma Sophie

as Witch of the Waste

as Young Sophie

as Calcifer

as Witch of the Waste

as Madame Suliman

as Prince

as King of Ingary

as Madam Suliman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Howl's Moving Castle

All Critics (172) | Top Critics (46)

What you get, above all, is some enchanting flashes of classic Miyazaki and the nagging sense that something essential is missing.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

What a moveable feast of delights.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

A strange delight awash in visual splendor, understated humor and clever body-and-soul transmogrifications among its bonny band of weirdos.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

A richly inventive and enchanting delight.

Full Review… | November 18, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

[Miyazaki] may have made better films than Howl's Moving Castle, but it still exhibits his amazing imagination and astonishing detail.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
This is London

There is little of the magic and Japanese flavour of such Miyazaki masterpieces as Spirited Away.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Howl's Moving Castle

While the plot may seem a bit derivative (as well as the score and the characterizations) when compared to Miyazaki's greater works, this captivating animation is nevertheless an entertaining adventure of enchanting visuals and a quite delicious sense of humor.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


Probably Miyazaki's weakest film, but still plenty of good stuff to offer. Once again (it's almost a given at this point) the animation is absolutely top-of-the-line and the raw creativity presented in the uniquely magical steam-punk settings (Howl's mobile castle, which is an absolute wonder of animation) shines with child-like bliss. The characters are also thankfully another strong point and the relationship between Sophie and Howl leads to some interesting character development. There is also a delightful array of side characters such as Calcifer (hilariously voiced by Billy Crystal), the scarecrow, and the Witch of the Waste (whose development takes a truly unexpected turn in the second half).

Thankfully the imaginative world and characters are strong enough to overcome the erratically messy plot (complete with a rushed and nonsensical ending), under explained plot points (The reason for the war, inconsistent effects of Sophie's curse.), and a boring villain. I feel Miyazaki is at his best when telling minimalistic stories with layered visual storytelling, 'Howl's Moving Castle' simply suffers from trying to do a tad too much at once.

Not quite on the level of his masterpieces, but even Miyazaki on his off-day is still better than many filmmakers on their best day.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

the film is wonderful. the characters are engaging, the animation stunning, and the story so unique. i loved the castle, although i would have loved to see more of it, and the scarecrow. the war planes were unique, and the subplots that we hear little about, such as the war, add some very interesting background noise. howl has so many layers that my only criticism would be a desire to see more of howl's background as he evolves into maturity, but we receive enough to dive in. the film has only improved upon multiple viewings. very good film.

danny d

Super Reviewer

Howl's Moving Castle Quotes

– Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)

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