8.2/10
237,610
331 user 218 critic

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Hauru no ugoku shiro (original title)
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Daiana Win Jônzu)
Reviews
Popularity
1,220 ( 152)

On Disc

at Amazon

Top Rated Movies #138 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto
Spirited Away (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman
Ponyo (2008)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A five year-old boy develops a relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Stars: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett
Animation | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A love story between a girl who loves reading books, and the boy who has previously checked out all of the library books she chooses.

Director: Yoshifumi Kondô
Stars: Youko Honna, Issei Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.

Director: Hiroyuki Morita
Stars: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Aki Maeda
Up (2009)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger
WALL·E (2008)
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Animation | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school's clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Director: Gorô Miyazaki
Stars: Sarah Bolger, Chris Noth, Anton Yelchin
Finding Nemo (2003)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô ...
Sofî (voice)
...
Hauru (voice)
Akihiro Miwa ...
Arechi no Majo (voice)
Tatsuya Gashûin ...
Karushifâ (voice)
...
Marukuru (voice)
Mitsunori Isaki ...
Koshô (voice)
Yô Ôizumi ...
Kakashi no Kabu (voice)
...
Kokuô (voice)
Daijirô Harada ...
Hin (voice)
Haruko Katô ...
Sariman (voice)
...
Grandma Sophie (voice)
...
Howl (voice)
...
Witch of the Waste (voice)
...
Madame Suliman (voice)
...
Young Sophie (voice)

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

A love story between an 18-year-old girl named Sophie, cursed by a witch into an old woman's body, and a magician named Howl. Under the curse, Sophie sets out to seek her fortune, which takes her to Howl's strange moving castle. In the castle, Sophie meets Howl's fire demon, named Karishifâ. Seeing that she is under a curse, the demon makes a deal with Sophie--if she breaks the contract he is under with Howl, then Karushifâ will lift the curse that Sophie is under, and she will return to her 18-year-old shape. Written by Sophie Ball

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

steampunk | anime | castle | witch | demon | See All (83) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for frightening images and brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howl's Moving Castle  »

Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,474,751 (Japan) (19 November 2004)

Gross:

$4,710,455 (USA) (30 September 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the novel the movie is based on, the black door is actually a portal to Howl's homeland, which is in Wales in our current time and dimension. See more »

Goofs

When Sophie leaves her bedroom, her dress has turned from green to blue. However, she couldn't have changed dresses because none of them would fit her after she was transformed (wider, much shorter, etc.). See more »

Quotes

Howl: You're wearing that hat? After all the magic I used to make your dress pretty?
See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Sekai no Yakusoku
Written by Yumi Kimura
Performed by Chieko Baisho
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Terrific Miyazaki, although not his best
12 January 2005 | by (Lille, France) – See all my reviews

"Howl's Moving Castle" opened here in France on Jan. 12th (as "Le Château Ambulant," natch), and I saw it at an avant-première. As a raving fan of Miyazaki and of Diana Wynne Jones, I feel lucky to be an American living in France -- I see there's no release date announced yet for the U.S. Sorry, folks, and blame Disney!

I understand the feelings of viewers who have criticized the movie as trite. I find it's less imaginative, in terms of character development and emotional profundity, than Miyazaki's best masterpieces. However, even a pedestrian Miyazaki movie is infinitely more rich, frightening, imaginative and humane than any six Disney films put together, and there's a lot to love in "Howl's Moving Castle."

I am glad I didn't reread Jones' book before seeing the film; even going on my six-year-old memory of the novel, I can see the movie's a very loose adaptation, and I think Jones fans would do best to try to take the movie on its own merits instead of looking for a faithful adaptation. That said, Miyazaki is surprisingly successful, at moments, in capturing the richness of the novel's characters: the peculiar co-habitation of charm and terror in Howl the sorcerer and his demon companion Calcifer, and the pragmatic strength of will that makes us love Sophie, the protagonist, who embodies both the fairy-tale archetypes of the young girl and the old woman at once.

Miyazaki's directorial trademarks are here in spades. Most of them lend strength and power to the film: his passion for open landscapes, his vision of the power and horror of war, the uncompromised way his movies work to empower children, and especially girls. A few of them are just Miyazaki quirks that fans will recognize with amusement (walrus mustaches, cobbled European squares, and flying machines for everyone!) Richer and stranger, though, are the very successful integration of two things that Disney animation never even approaches: the way even a children's story can blur lines between an enemy and a friend, and the cohabitation of the monstrous and the sublime. Enemy, ally, monster, beloved: Miyazaki gives both visual and moral weight to these disturbing contradictions, and certain scenes in "Howl's Moving Castle" evoke a frightening sublimity I have never seen elsewhere than in "Princess Mononoke."

I think the film suffers from a slightly hurried pace, especially with respect to the protagonists' character development, and the result is a loss of the subtlety that makes Jones' book such a gripping fairy tale. Her Howl is more ambivalent, and her story is a more complex investigation of adolescent heartlessness and the growth of the heart. The ending, which falls back too much on clichéd imagery and deus-ex-machina, also could have been better handled. All that said, "Howl's Moving Castle" contains lots of treasures and will, I think, stand up to repeated viewings. Miyazaki fans will be delighted, and kids around the world should be given the chance to taste this latest rich, respectful children's tale. (Be warned, though: there are moments as terrifying as those in "Princess Mononoke," and younger kids will need their parents with them.)

On a final note, as few hardcore fans of Japanese anime will need to be reminded, the movie is doubtless best seen in its original version with subtitles. The Japanese voice acting is terrific -- although the voice of "young Sophie" doesn't strike me as anything special, the actors playing the aged Sophie, Howl, and especially Calcifer are fantastic. Calcifer is a magnificent creation and should delight even the most conservative fan of the novel. I have serious doubts that the inevitable English-language dub will do the nuances justice.


224 of 292 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?