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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Hauru no ugoku shiro (original title)
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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:

Hayao Miyazaki

Writers:

Hayao Miyazaki (screenplay), Diana Wynne Jones (novel) (as Daiana Win Jônzu)
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1,540 ( 76)
Top Rated Movies #135 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô Chieko Baishô ... Sofî (voice)
Takuya Kimura ... Hauru (voice)
Akihiro Miwa Akihiro Miwa ... Arechi no Majo (voice)
Tatsuya Gashûin ... Karushifâ (voice)
Ryûnosuke Kamiki ... Marukuru (voice)
Mitsunori Isaki Mitsunori Isaki ... Koshô (voice)
Yô Ôizumi ... Kakashi no Kabu (voice)
Akio Ôtsuka ... Kokuô (voice)
Daijirô Harada Daijirô Harada ... Hin (voice)
Haruko Katô Haruko Katô ... Sariman (voice)
Jean Simmons ... Grandma Sophie (voice)
Christian Bale ... Howl (voice)
Lauren Bacall ... Witch of the Waste (voice)
Blythe Danner ... Madame Suliman (voice)
Emily Mortimer ... Young Sophie (voice)
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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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney [United States]

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

17 June 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howl's Moving Castle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

JPY 1,444,469,305 (Japan), 21 November 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$427,987, 12 June 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,711,096

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$235,184,110
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX | DTS-ES | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon seeing Spirited Away (2001), Christian Bale immediately agreed to play any role in this film. He didn't expect to get the titular role. See more »

Goofs

Sophie's top ribbon doesn't always reappear when she transforms back into her younger self. See more »

Quotes

Howl: Those things are Suliman's henchmen. Lets go! Faster! We need to take off!
See more »

Connections

References Princess Mononoke (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
For those who love the book – or wondered about it
10 July 2005 | by cornishogre-1See all my reviews

When I read some four years ago that Diana Wynne Jones had sold the rights for Howl's Moving Castle to a Japanese animator, I wondered. The book (one of my very favorites, which I re-read at least once a year) takes several fairy-tale conventions and merrily turns them upside down. Ms Jones refuses to allow her imagination be neatly pigeonholed as hard sci-fi or straight fantasy, juvenile or adult. This story (as all of her stories) revels in word play. I really wondered how it would all come out translated into Japanese.

I'd never heard of Miyazaki. Then I saw Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, The Cat Returns, and Kiki's Delivery Service. Wow. I think Ms Jones and Mr. Miyazaki must be kindred souls. His movies share a lot with her novels – a whimsical sense of humor, impossible to pigeonhole into a category, magic and mischief, and a firm respect for the audience's intelligence. I began to pace the floor in anticipation of the movie.

I saw the movie today. I was not disappointed. The soul of the story is intact, Sophie and Howl and Calcifer are nearly as I imagined them. Yes, there are some plot adjustments. Think of it as the Series 12C version (for those who have read Ms Jones' Chrestomanci books.) The main elements are there, some re-arranged, some changed, yet with a full understanding of the original. Much like the 2004 version of Peter Pan – much was changed, but the soul is the same.

For those who wonder, here are the differences between the movie and the novel. I've tried to phrase them carefully to avoid spoilers for either fans of Ms Jones's work who have yet to see the movie, and those who have seen the movie and have yet to read the book:

• Why the witch bespells Sophie

• Where the door opens when the dial points to black

•Sophie's sister Martha, and the plot line involving sister Lettie are not in the movie • Mrs. Pentstemmon, Miss Angorian, Mrs. Fairfax are also missing, but elements of each are woven into other characters in the movie • Michael (Markl) is a different age • The battles – magical and military – are quite different (but equally spectacular) • The dog appears at a different time, with a different, yet just as mysterious, agenda • The scarecrow's relationship with Sophie is different • Thelevel of technology is different. (I did miss the 7-league boots)

My advice: go see the movie. It's magical and beautiful and funny. Then, if you are a Diana Wynne Jones fan, check out the rest of Miyazaki's films. Now is a great time, as many of his films are available on home DVD. If you are a Miyazaki fan, hie thee to a library or bookstore try Ms Jones' books. (There is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle – Castle in the Air.)

And enjoy!


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