Howl's Moving Castle


Howl's Moving Castle

Critics 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.



Total Count: 181


Audience Score

User Ratings: 255,432
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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 Sophie and Howl's budding friendship, and turns the pretty young woman into an ugly and aged hag. Sophie takes shelter in Howl's castle, and attempts to find a way to reverse the witch's spell with the help of Calcifer, a subdued but powerful demon who exists in the form of fire, and Markl, who protects the four-way door which can instantly take visitors to other lands and dimensions. Howl's Moving Castle was released in North America by Walt Disney Pictures, who distributed the film both in its original Japanese and in a dubbed English version; the English-speaking voice cast includes Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, and Billy Crystal. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Chieko Baisho
as Young Sophie/Grandma Sophie
Akihiro Miwa
as Witch of the Waste
Haruko Kato
as Madame Suliman
Yo Oizumi
as Prince Turnip
Akio Ôtsuka
as King of Ingary
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Critic Reviews for Howl's Moving Castle

All Critics (181) | Top Critics (51) | Fresh (157) | Rotten (24)

Audience Reviews for Howl's Moving Castle

  • Apr 10, 2016
    More imaginative than a barrel of monkeys, the story here is secondary to the execution, and the story is better than most by far. A fairytale, yes, but for young and old. Don't allow naysayers to put you off.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2016
    An excellent film, and one of Miyazaki's absolute best. This is a masterpiece of an animated film, and is so much fun to watch. I love this movie.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 21, 2013
    Full of interesting characters and Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful animation styling, "Howl's Moving Castle" is an awesome feat of Japanese film making, setting the cornerstone for anime that plays across to a much larger audience than most iterations. The film follows Sophie, a hat maker and oldest daughter of a flighty debutant mother, as she toils with the Witch of the Waste, who casts her into an old lady. Voyaging away from her village, she comes across the infamous "moving castle" inhabited by a young boy named Markl, a living flame demon named Calcifer that powers the castle, and the wizard, Howl. Together, they venture across the English countryside as Howl takes it upon himself to fly off as a giant eagle, in hopes of ending a war that is approaching. But the more he becomes this eagle, the greater chance he has of being stuck in that form, and for that, Sophie, who has fallen in love with Howl, struggles to find the key to breaking the spell on him as well as on herself. Not the most straightforward of narratives or even deliveries, Miyazaki fumbles with projecting the character of Sophie, often dropping the old age on a whim and making her young again to serve the plot. However, the characters are very rich and mysterious, helped in large by being based off a novel of same name by Diana Wynne Jones. Miyazaki's animation is rich in color and depth, bringing to life these strange worlds that breathe real from his paint brush (before be digitally enhanced), and etching yet another milestone in his illustrious career.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 14, 2013
    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.
    Greg S Super Reviewer

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