Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

4.8 152
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Chieko Baisho, Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale

Cast: Hayao Miyazaki, Chieko Baisho, Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale


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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Hayao Miyazaki, the Orson Welles of anime, demonstrates his mastery of this storytelling form yet again with a vivid, exciting yarn that blends adventure, romance, fantasy, and science fiction. It gets underway when 18-year-old Sophie Hatter, cursed by the Witch of the Waste, is transformed into an old hag. Ashamed of her appearance, Sophie flees into the nearby countryside, where a moving castle owned by a handsome young wizard drifts across the hills. She befriends the fire demon Calcifer, who promises to lift the curse if she helps liberate him from the influence of Howl, the wizard. Dreamlike almost to the point of surrealism, Howl's Moving Castle doesn't have a particularly intricate plot, nor does it offer much by way of character development. But it's beautifully designed and deceptively simple in terms of emotional resonance. Miyazaki manipulates the elements of anime better than just about anyone else; he presents supernatural surroundings and phenomena with unusual sensitivity, and in this film he creates a fairy-tale environment that enhances the story and moves the viewer in subtle ways.
All Movie Guide
Hayao Miyazaki's reputation as the creator of the most enchanting and inspiring animated films of the past 20 years is only strengthened with the fresh and complex fairy tale Howl's Moving Castle. Those looking for the beauty and magic of a Disney yarn but thirsting for more underlying meaning could convert based on this movie alone, while hardcore Miyazaki fans should find that this installment falls perfectly in line with the filmmaker's prolific and much-loved filmography. While the narrative is charming and accessible, much like Kiki's Delivery Service, it also remains true to an epic and purposeful subtext in a style that calls to mind Princess Mononoke. Both a coming-of-age tale and an essay on the human price of war, each character in Howl's Moving Castle -- especially Sofi, Miyazaki's trademark strong female protagonist -- is confronted with questions about self-image. Like many of us, Sofi struggles to discern whether her true self is defined through her own actions or through her relationships with others. The way Miyazaki employs this theme is particularly clever in that, rather than seeking to answer the question, he focuses his energy on illustrating how universal the issue is, as nearly every peripheral character in the story also wrestles with the same impasse in a different way. For instance, title character Howl, who is a charming and aloof conjurer, grapples with a curse that changes his physical form, warping his perception of what he is in the most literal terms. Even the villainess in this fairy tale eventually proves that the most wicked of deeds seldom reflect the actual wickedness of people. By the end of Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki has spun a delightful fable into an expressive examination of identity, and what it means for all of us as the struggle to grow up continues through old age. It's a theme that speaks to young and old alike, proving once again that there is still room for meaning in the world of charming, animated fantasy.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Storyboards; Interview with Diana Wynne Jones; Interview with Pete Docter; Miyazaki's Visit To Pixar; Explanation Of CG; The Birth Story Of The Film Soundtrack; TV Spots

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chieko Baisho Sophie
Emily Mortimer Sophie (English Version)
Christian Bale Howl (English Version)
Takuya Kimura Howl
Lauren Bacall Witch of the Waste (English Version)
Akihiro Miwa Witch of the Waste
Billy Crystal Calcifer (English Version)
Tatsuya Gasyuin Calcifer
Josh Hutcherson Markl (English Version)
Ryunosuke Kamiki Markl
Jean Simmons 90 Year Old Woman (English Version)
Mitsunori Isaki Servant
Yo Oizumi Prince
Akio Ôtsuka King of Ingary
Daijiro Harada Heen
Haruko Kato Madam Suliman

Technical Credits
Hayao Miyazaki Director,Screenwriter
Joe Hisaishi Score Composer
Shuji Inoue Sound/Sound Designer
Yumi Kimura Songwriter
Atsushi Okui Cinematographer
Takeshi Seyama Editor
Toshio Suzuki Producer
Yoji Takeshige Art Director
Shuntaro Tanigawa Songwriter
Noburo Yoshida Art Director

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Howl's Moving Castle 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 152 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to watch it online first before I bought it, but now I'm glad I have my own copy. Miyazaki films are some of my favorite ever since I saw Kiki's Delivery Service when I was little. The story isn't just great, but the characters and artwork is always beautiful as is the music. It's not a movie to get bored of.
Wickedly_Goodkind More than 1 year ago
Favorite Movie of ALL time!!! Miyasaki story is better than than the book and is a collaboration of every movie he has ever made. The animation is superb and the music by Joe Hisaishi gives the movie it's heart and soul. Set against the backdrop of war, in a time where women were commodities, Sophie finds her place in the world and changes the lives of all she encounters all her journey. Sometimes finding true happiness is leaving the family you were born into and making one of your own. Witches, wizards, castles, and demons, this movie is perfect for the family. The story line is complex for adults but witty and funny for the younger ones. Enjoy the show!
strwbrybookgeek More than 1 year ago
I really loved Howl's Moving Castle. It's one of my favorite movies from Director Hayao Miyazaki. Its very fun and light hearted with some depth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing movie, I watched it over seven times and never got sick of it. This movie will put you in tears I love it. It's for all ages, I am a proud owner of this movie and book. Amazing. You won't regret getting this movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because of its anti-war message, I believe that everyone should see it. Think of it: if everyone saw it, we might come to a quicker decision about Iraq (meaning no offense to the government). Just my thought. Anyway, this movie is so good! I loved every single thing about it. When I saw it in theatres, it was everything I hoped it to be, and more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was absolutely his best work! I really liked this one, it was so satisfying when I walked out of the theatre. I will definitely get this DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
These movies captivate my dad (who usually doesn't shut up when you're trying to watch something but he was oh so quiet during 'Spirited Away') and I. The animation itself is beautiful and you become so immersed in the world that you forget where you are. I haven't seen this one yet but I can't wait to see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent movie--as usual for Miyazaki-sensei. Also, as a fan of the book, I enjoyed how the movie was much different without sacrificing the awesomeness in any way. Artistic, amusing, thoroughly enjoyable fantasy. Another definite plus: the English voice acting is actually good. Justify watching it over and over again by reminding everyone you know that it was nominated for an Oscar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing. The animation is outstanding, clearly Miyazaki's best work. The story is charming, and the characters captivating. There was nothing I didn't like about it. I can't wait till it comes out on March 7.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hayao Miyazaki is a GOD of anime. His characters are so real and belivable, and this movie is no exception! It's amazing, the storyline is great, and there's wonderful animation (all to be expected of Miyazaki-sama). Howl's Moving Castle is a Miyazaki masterpiece you don't want to miss!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was touching, gorgeously animated, and incredibly entertaining. The American voicework is amazing and Miyazaki created a fascinating storyline out of an equally wonderful (but very different) book. This is a must see
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CATSmagic More than 1 year ago
I was 14 when I first saw this movie on Cartoon Network. They were having a special week long run of Miyazaki films and I was lucky enough to catch this show from beginning to end. I loved it the first itme i saw it. Now I have this movie on DVD and I still enjoy it.It is a fairy tale like story with gentle romance in it. I only have one complaint and it is not with the movie itself. If you read the book this movie is based off of do not try and compare them together. I personally found little connection between them and I enjoyed the movie much more then the book but that is only my personal though. All in all, very good movie with a great story line. Animation is also excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate that Studio Ghibli's films are called Disney movies when they are not made by Disney . Disney is the publisher for the NA and not for all of Studio Ghibli's films. I'm so happy that Disney can't cut and change their films because of what happened with the first NA release of Naussica of the Valley of the Wind then the second release of it they sent a katana to the publisher with a message saying no cuts but both first and second NA release not done by Disney. Now I'm done with the with why Studio Ghibli made a contract about no one can cut their films and on to the review. Howl's Moving Castle is another amazing film by Studio Ghibli that is based off of a book. I would recommend this film to anyone but I don't think all of Studio Ghibli's films are suitable for young children because some are quite violent and more for teens like like Princess Mononoke because in that film that all parts in it with someone's arms gets and another time someone's head gets shot off with a bow and arrow but that isis a diffrent film. Sorry that I kinda went off topic and talked about stuff that isn't really related to Howl's Moving Castle. This is a amazing film so just buy it.
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Eryl More than 1 year ago
A Beautiful and Compelling Movie from Hayao Miyazaki. This beautifully created movie is the best. We feel in love with this movie and so will you. The best anime movie of all time.
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