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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
"Hauru no ugoku shiro" (original title)

PG  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Family  |  17 June 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 192,815 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 325 user | 206 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

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.



(screenplay), (novel) (as Daiana Win Jônzu)
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Top Rated Movies #140 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô ...
Sofî (voice)
Takuya Kimura ...
Hauru (voice)
Akihiro Miwa ...
Arechi no Majo (voice)
Tatsuya Gashûin ...
Karushifâ (voice)
Ryûnosuke Kamiki ...
Marukuru (voice)
Mitsunori Isaki ...
Koshô (voice)
Yô Ôizumi ...
Kakashi no Kabu (voice)
Akio Ôtsuka ...
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)


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:

castle | witch | demon | spell | fire | See All (84) »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 June 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howl's Moving Castle  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$82,187 (Chile) (2 June 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hayao Miyazaki and Lauren Bacall, both long-time fans of each other's work, met at a subtitled screening in New York. Reportedly, Bacall jokingly asked Miyazaki if he was married. See more »


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 »


Howl: This war is terrible, they bomb from the southern coast to the northern border. It's all in flames now.
Calcifer: I can't stand the fire and gunpowder. Those dopey guys have absolutely no manners.
Howl: My own kind attacked me today.
Calcifer: Who? The Witch of the Wastes?
Howl: No, some hack wizards who turned themselves into monsters for the king.
Calcifer: Those wizards are going to regret doing that. They'll never change back into humans.
Howl: After the war, they won't recall they ever were human.
See more »


Featured in Troldspejlet: Episode #34.7 (2005) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A wild and surreal trip into the mind of a master.
20 March 2005 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I think this is possibly Miyazaki's most intriguing movie. All of his other films are very linear and even though their highly varied worlds may be visually stunning and highly creative, I feel the dreamy world of Howls Moving Castle is by far the most captivating, bizarre, and imaginative of all the worlds Miyazaki has ever envisioned.

What I love about this movie is that it's highly emotional without a great deal of logic or plot or story to get in the way. In this way the film is simple, pure, and extremely beautiful. It is as if the characters go from one emotion to the next, in a world that is as random as one's own dreams. Some people have complained about the lack of plot or story or serious character development, but even though the characters are fairly static, their emotions and the physical changes they undergo as they go through these emotions brings out a higher truth that is seldom given such artistic and natural freedom.

I think this is a very smart movie in many subtle ways and it's one that I look forward to watching again on the big screen and then on DVD. Although it flirts from theme to theme to theme with a kind of animated attention deficit disorder, the landscapes and utter unabated surrealism left me stunned and never bored.

Also, from a quizzical character design perspective, Howl is certainly one of if not the most beautiful characters that Miyazaki has ever created. Howl is an interesting departure from Miyazaki's more classical wabi-sabi anime style that most of his heroes and heroines are drawn in as Howl is definitely a very contemporary bishonen.

If you're looking for quaint settings, dynamic characters and a very involving character or plot driven story, you're not going to necessarily find them here, but you will find an equally stunning and pleasing movie if you let yourself go and enjoy this passionate, heartfelt and surreal Miyazaki dream.

244 of 279 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sophie's Hair?!? tarantinolover12
Why did they cast Christian Bale? LoveCBCF
3/4 of the movie was excellent but the last 30 min was a mess. jrme577
Disappointing Budismydog
Kinda confused.. green-corinne8
Does anyone know what time period this film is set in? CossetteMarie
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