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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle (2005)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 158
Fresh: 138 | Rotten: 20

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.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 8

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.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 252,031

My Rating

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

Mar 7, 2006


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Latest News on Howl's Moving Castle

August 21, 2008:
Japanese Audiences Flocking to Miyazaki's Latest
He delighted audiences with Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle -- and now director Hayao...
March 20, 2007:
Will Miyazaki's Next Film Be His Last?
It's been speculated that legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki will retire after the release of his...


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All Critics (158) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (138) | Rotten (20) | DVD (29)

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

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What a moveable feast of delights.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
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A strange delight awash in visual splendor, understated humor and clever body-and-soul transmogrifications among its bonny band of weirdos.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
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A richly inventive and enchanting delight.

November 18, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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A stunning example of a pure, disorienting dream logic that cinema provides all too rarely.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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Palaces and shimmering lakes, warplanes and fire sprites all come to life at the breath of Miyazaki's graphic genius.

September 7, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the muddy narrative... It's the more intimate character relationships that ultimately make Howl's Moving Castle work as a whole.

March 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Although his latest film, Howl's Moving Castle, features astonishing imagery, it's a less complete package than Spirited Away or its predecessor, Princess Mononoke.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Prepare to be dazzled: Hayao Miyazaki is back.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The story grows more complicated (sometimes too much so) but the heart, humor and luscious, mostly hand-drawn animation remain constant.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Howl's Moving Castle is a visually wondrous, invigorating work of breathless invention and grandiosity, full of hushed pastoral glens, zeppelin blitzkriegs, whimsical machines, and blobs that wear straw hats. And it's not Miyazaki's finest.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Toledo Blade
Toledo Blade

By turns funny, exhilarating and touching, it lacks only one thing: the spiritual and metaphysical depth that made Spirited Away such a haunting experience.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

The incredible imagination of Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki runs wild once again in this delightful animated adventure.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A handsome fantasy movie with only a nod in the direction of the rich, all-encompassing humanity and emotionality of Miyazaki's greatest work.

April 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Howl's Moving Castle is a perfect epitome of Miyazaki's work, in all its strengths and weaknesses: it's filled with heart-felt themes...but how these elements connect on a plot level is subjugated to how beautifully they are rendered on screen.

February 5, 2009 Full Review Source: ESplatter | Comment (1)

Another work of great imagination and beauty from Hiyao Miyazaki.

September 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

The film gains a sense of visual wonder almost completely freed from the strains of a narrative-driven film.

October 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

few other films, or indeed filmmakers, would dare take a scene in which two elderly women struggle to climb a staircase and turn it into an extravagant and memorable set piece.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Another example of how this film maven easily holds the crown in the sadly ever-shrinking traditional animation genre.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

A delightfully fanciful movie with engaging storytelling, visual wonders, and such worthwhile themes as contrasting wisdom and perspective with age.

September 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

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.
January 30, 2014

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.
July 31, 2013
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.
June 27, 2013
danny d

Super Reviewer

In a magical steampunk kingdom, a witch turns a girl into an old woman; a wizard embroiled in a war and a fire demon hold the key to returning to herself. This beautifully animated Hayao Miyazaki fantasy has the casual incoherence of an authentic folk tale, with the magical transformations around every corner making the plot truly unpredictable.
June 14, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

    1. Howl (English Version): You're looking well, Madame Suliman.
    2. Madam Suliman: Rather weak disguise. Didn't I teach you better?
    3. Howl (English Version): I'm not trying to outwit you. I kept my oath. I reported when summoned. Now 'mother' and I will go.
    4. Madam Suliman: I think not.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (22 months ago)
    1. Howl (English Version): You're wearing that hat after all the magic I used to make your dress pretty?
    – Submitted by Ceara R (22 months ago)
    1. Howl (English Version): Go away.
    2. Sophie (English Version): No. I'm not going away. I'm going to help you break this spell that you're under.
    3. Howl (English Version): You? You can't even break your own spell.
    4. Sophie (English Version): But you don't understand. I love you.
    5. Howl (English Version): You're too late.
    6. Sophie (English Version): Howl no!
    – Submitted by Ceara R (22 months ago)
    1. Sophie (English Version): Your head's a turnip. I've always hated turnips, ever since I was little. Well, at least you're not upside down now. So long.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (22 months ago)
    1. Howl (English Version): Sophie! Sophie, you're beautiful.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (22 months ago)
    1. Sophie (English Version): They say that the best blaze burns brightest , when circumstances are at their worst.
    – Submitted by Rebecca H (24 months ago)
View all quotes (16)

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