Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Kaubôi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira) (2003)



Critic Consensus: This may be strictly for anime junkies, but they'll find much to like about Cowboy Bebop's casual violence and cool dialogue.

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Movie Info

The popular animé series Cowboy Bebop gets its own feature-length film with the aptly named Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. Set in the late 21st century, it jumps into the series' story line just prior to its conclusion, with the bounty hunting crew of the interstellar craft Bebop chasing a hacker aboard a tanker into a major city on Mars. As crew member Faye Valentine closes in on the tanker, she witnesses its catastrophic explosion, which soon appears to be a viral terrorist attack as the death toll continues to mount in the days following. Furthermore, Faye caught a glimpse of the person responsible for the blast and is thus the only surviving witness of the crime. After the government puts out a large bounty for the perpetrator's capture, the Bebop gang -- slacker Spike Spiegel, former policeman Jet Black, and hacker girl genius Edward -- begin their own hunt for the mass murderer, who is eventually revealed to be one Vincent Volaju. Vincent, it turns out, was the lone survivor of a governmental medical test and now seeks revenge by unleashing the same microscopic robotic virus used in the tanker explosion on the unsuspecting city. The Bebop crew must scramble to prevent Vincent from carrying out his plan, as well as try to locate an anti-virus to counterattack the effects of Vincent's virus. Released in both dubbed and subtitled cuts in the United States in 2003, Cowboy Bebop - The Movie premiered in Japan in 2001.
R (for some violent images)
Action & Adventure , Animation , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Steve Blum
as Spike Spiegel
Wendee Lee
as Faye Valentine
Melissa Fahn
as Edward
Beau Billingslea
as Jet Black
Jennifer Hale
as Electra Ovilo
Daran Norris
as Vincent Volaju
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Kaubôi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira)

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (22)

The film starts with a bang, but its characterisation comes with a whimper.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie, with room to gallop through nearly two hours and an R rating, often just kicks around in the stable.

Full Review… | June 6, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

Even those unfamiliar with the good ship Bebop will enjoy the high-intensity action and witty dialogue.

May 15, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Folks who go for this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they go for. But the rest of us may find reason to scratch our heads and scratch again.

May 8, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Honors the affectless beauty of the original anime art and maintains the outlaw boppiness of the series concept.

April 16, 2003
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Helmer Shinichiro Watanabe's oversight of Bebop's more expansive visual canvas is impressive, bringing out details not previously seen in tale's small screen version.

Full Review… | April 15, 2003
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Kaubôi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira)

Embodies everything I loved about Cowboy Bebop. The chemistry of the crew, the Scifi elements, Spike's martial arts prowess and delicious animation while still retaining that slick bounty hunter feel. Someday though I'll have to climb over that lame melodramatic mountain that seems present in all Anime. The main antagonist is such a quack, boohoo everyone died except me! I don't know about my past so I have to kill large amounts of people! Please.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer


"Well, that's a real shame. But, we're not cops and we're not from some charity organization. Sorry lady, we don't protect or serve. This is strictly business." One word came to my mind after watching this. Unnecessary. I have been putting off watching the Cowboy Bebop movie for several years now. I'm a huge fan of the show, but I had heard and read so many mixed or negative reviews of the movie online and from friends, that I was hesitant to see it. In the end, though, I figured that any Cowboy Bebop had to be somewhat worthwhile. That turned out to be partially true, but I still find myself disappointed. To be blunt, the story was completely uninteresting. Each episode of the series was like a (good) mini-movie on its own, so I don't get why giving the creators more time to develop and tell this story, ended up producing something that wasn't nearly as engaging as any given one of the original episodes. It felt like the decision to make the movie came first, and very little effort was put into making a worthy plot to go along with it. The new characters are uniformly dull, much of the soundtrack was poor (How did THAT happen? Where's the jazz?), and the film as a whole felt disjointed, at best. I tried as hard as o could to like it all, but the most positive description I can give for my experience is "meh". I'll admit that it warmed my fanboy heart to see Spike, Faye, and the gang in action again. The animation was very good, and some of the action scenes were top notch. But without the great storytelling that we've all come to expect, I'd recommend this to only the most fervent Cowboy Bebop fan. You'd have much more fun in the same amount of time by just watching four of your favorite episodes from the original show.

Lewis C.
Lewis C.

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyed the series, great chemistry between the characters. Great humor. This movie gives you a good idea on what to expect of the series n_n Edo is probably my favorite character: She's crazy!!

Saskia D.
Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

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