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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 192,802 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Hayao Miyazaki:  [gorging on food]  Markl gorges his breakfast. 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 »


[to Howl]
Calcifer: You shouldn't keep flying around like that. Soon you won't be able to turn back into a human.
See more »


Featured in The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My favourite Miyazaki!
23 February 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What an amazing achievement! This is by far the best example I have ever seen of animated characterization. The expressions and the nuances and the emotion captured in this film are truly breathtaking. I love all of Miyazaki's work, but in Howl's Moving Castle he has managed to take it to a level that to me sets the standard.

It has all of the classic stunning Miyazaki panoramas, rich settings, exciting and unusual machinery, and brilliantly conceived creatures that are often humorous and fanciful. The characters are all very expertly crafted and developed, but what really enchanted me were their expressions and the subtle but powerful ways that he chose to elaborate on their connections and emotions. It is very difficult to describe, but they come to life in such a powerful way as to seem entirely real and unique.

He achieves this within the medium - not by really imitating or parroting film or live action, but by artfully exploiting the medium to enhance and capture the subtle interactions that make up relationships. He shows his audience what his characters are thinking and feeling by carefully chosen gestures and facial expressions, rather than relying always on dialog, etc. I was completely swept away by this skillful use of animation - I have never anywhere else seen anything that begins to come close to it.

The story is fantastic - I haven't read the novel, but it had all of the elements I have come to enjoy in Miyazaki's work - there is the humour, the lighthearted moments, the strong, insightful, loyal, and honourable characters, the lyrical drama and action sequences. The pace is perfect - it flows nicely and is always exciting, suspenseful - I got very caught up in the characters and their struggles and hopes. The themes were expertly handled with Miyazaki flair - and always richly meaningful and perceptive.

I can hardly wait to see what this brilliant artist creates next!

116 of 138 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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