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Howl's Moving Castle (2005)


Fantasy/Animation/Anime/Adventure/Science-Fiction/Family/Romance · 2h 0m · 1/1/2007



Like a dream, Howl's Moving Castle carries audiences to vistas beyond their imaginations where they experience excitement, adventure, terror, humor, and romance. With domestic box office receipts of over $210 million, Howl passed Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke to become the #3 film in Japanese history, behind his Spirited Away and James Cameron's Titanic. Based on a juvenile novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle marks the first time Miyazaki has adapted another writer's work since Kiki's Delivery Service (1989). Sophie, a 19-year-old girl who believes she is plain, has resigned herself to a drab life in her family's hat shop--until the Witch of the Waste transforms her into a 90-year-old woman. In her aged guise, Sophie searches for a way to break the Witch's spell and finds unexpected adventures. Like Chihiro, the heroine of Spirited Away, Sophie discovers her hidden potential in a magical environment--the castle of the title. Using CG, Miyazaki creates a ramshackle structure that looks like it might disintegrate at any moment. Sophie's honesty and determination win her some valuable new friends: Markl, Howl's young apprentice; a jaunty scarecrow; Calcifer, a temperamental fire demon; and Heen, a hilarious, wheezing dog. She wins the heart of the dashing, irresponsible wizard Howl, and brings an end an unnecessary and destructive war. The film overflows with eclipsing visuals that range from frightening aerial battles to serene landscapes, and few recent features--animated or live action--offer as much magic as Howl's Moving Castle.--Charles Solomon Synopsis Acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki adapts British writer Diana Wynne Jones's popular fantasy tale for this animated feature, adding his own unique and celebrated dreamlike spin. The dreaded Witch of the Waste turns Sophie, a young hat-maker, into an old woman when she attracts the notice of Howl, a young wizard whom the witch desires for herself. As the old woman, Sophie finds refuge as a cleaning lady in Howl's magical castle, an impressively realised mishmash of anthropomorphic shafts and gears, where she meets, among other wonders, a cantankerous fire demon named Calcifer. Howl's courage inspires her to seek a cure for her curse, and vice versa, and the two work together to prevent a major war as the castle roams the countryside on its mechanical legs. There's lots of magic afoot as well, including travel through barriers of space and time, and shape-shifting, requiring full viewer attention to keep track of who, where, and when, but this how dreams really are and the film engages on that same subconscious level. As with Miyazaki's previous work ('Spirited Away', 'Kiki's Delivery Service'), the emphasis here is on creating a beautiful alternate reality, where anything can happen and every frame is a breathtaking work of art.

Release Country

United Kingdom



Release Date


Media Type





Optimun Asia/Studio Ghibli



Video Format


Aspect Ratio



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Chieko Baisho

Sofî (voice: Japanese version)

Takuya Kimura

Hauru (voice: Japanese version)

Akihiro Miwa

Arechi no Majo (voice: Japanese version)

Tatsuya Gashuin

Karushifâ (voice: Japanese version)

Ryunosuke Kamiki

Marukuru (voice: Japanese version)

Mitsunori Isaki

Koshô (voice: Japanese version)

Yo Oizumi

Kakashi no Kabu (voice: Japanese version)

Akio Ôtsuka

Kokuô (voice: Japanese version)

Daijiro Harada

Hin (voice: Japanese version)

Haruko Kato

Sariman (voice: Japanese version)

Jean Simmons

Grandma Sophie (voice: English version)

Christian Bale

Howl (voice: English version)

Lauren Bacall

Witch of the Waste (voice: English version)

Blythe Danner

Madame Suliman (voice: English version)

Emily Mortimer

Young Sophie (voice: English version)

Josh Hutcherson

Markl (voice: English version)

Billy Crystal

Calcifer (voice: English version)

Jena Malone

Lettie (voice: English version)

Crispin Freeman

Prince Turnip (voice: English version)

Mark Silverman

King (voice: English version)

Jane Alan

Honey (voice: English version) (as Mari Devon)

Liliana Mumy

Madge (voice: English version)

Carlos Alazraqui

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Newell Alexander

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Rosemary Alexander

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Julia Barnett

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Susan Blakeslee

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Leslie Carrara

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Mitch Carter

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

David Cowgill

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Holly Dorff

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Moosie Drier

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Ike Eisenmann

Additional Voices (voice: English version) (as Iake Eissinmann)

Will Friedle

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Bridget Hoffman

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Richard Steven Horvitz

Additional Voices (voice: English version) (as Richard Horvitz)

Sherry Hursey

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Hope Levy

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Christina MacGregor

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Joel McCrary

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Edie Mirman

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Peter Renaday

Additional Voices (voice: English version) (as Pete Renaday)

Kristen Rutherford

Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Warren Sroka

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Cornelia Dahlgren

Lettie (voice)

Daran Norris

Additional Voices (voice: English version) (uncredited)

Hayao Miyazaki

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