Ghost in the Shell (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ghost in the Shell (1996)



Critic Consensus: A stunning feat of modern animation, Ghost in the Shell offers a thoughtful, complex treat for anime fans, as well as a perfect introduction for viewers new to the genre.

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Movie Info

In the year 2029, the world has become interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. That same network also becomes a battlefield for Tokyo's Section Nine security force, which has been charged with apprehending the master hacker known only as the Puppet Master. Spearheading the investigation is Major Motoko Kusanagi, who -- like many in her department -- is a cyborg officer, far more powerful than her human appearance would suggest. And yet as the Puppet Master, who is even capable of hacking human minds, leaves a trail of victims robbed of their memories, Kusanagi ponders the very nature of her existence: is she purely an artificial construct, or is there more? What, exactly, is the "ghost" -- her essence -- in her cybernetic "shell"? When Section Six gets involved in the case, she is forced to confront the fact that there is more here than meets the eye, and that the Puppet Master may hold some of the answers she seeks. But little does she know that he has been seeking her as well. ~ Emru Townsend, Rovi

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Mimi Woods
as Kusanagi
Hank Smith
as Minister
Steve Davis
as Diplomat
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News & Interviews for Ghost in the Shell

Critic Reviews for Ghost in the Shell

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (5)

For sheer mind-expanding sci-fi strangeness this is hard to beat

Full Review… | September 23, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

Conjures up a dazzling, futuristic cityscape that, sadly, is not matched by the human landscapes at the heart of the story.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mamoru Oshii's direction deftly merges gritty realism with a dreamlike quality.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

I enjoyed its visuals, its evocative soundtrack (including a suite for percussion and heavy breathing), and its ideas.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Occasionally Ghost in the Shell shows its age and the added CGI elements, while appropriate for the story, also help make this film feel more dated than it might have otherwise.

Full Review… | October 23, 2014

Ghost In The Shell is an ultra-violent, rocket-paced film-over and out in just over 80 minutes-but it's a poetic one, too.

Full Review… | September 29, 2014
The Dissolve

Audience Reviews for Ghost in the Shell


A cyber-punk classic that explores important questions regarding artificial intelligence, identity, and what makes us human. The art-house-like moments of quiet visual beauty, emphasis on atmosphere, and heavy-doses of symbolism elevate this film not only to quintessential anime status, but as a masterful piece of cinema. Note: This film was a significant influence on "The Matrix" trilogy

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Philosophical to the point of becoming almost completely art-house, I had been meaning to watch 'Ghost in the Shell' for quite some time and was surprised by what I got. The pacing of the film was unconventional, the music was outstanding, and the scenes in complete silence offered a level of beauty I wasn't expecting. The exposition was a bit heavy handed at times and the dub version had one or two moments where the actors lost it. Overlook these moments however and you feel find an anime with extreme depth.

Cameron Sherwell
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

The film that redefined the cyber-punk genre is complex, resonant and astonishingly animated. Taking the idea of artificial intelligence to a point of human reality and highlighting the emotional turmoil of existence, "Ghost in the Shell" explores what makes humans as such and with such a serious, atmospheric and slow-paced structure. Not only a landmark in science-fiction filmmaking, but in animation with visuals that are haunting, extraordinarily detailed and always stimulating to the eye.

Matthew Roe
Matthew Roe

Super Reviewer

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