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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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Popularity
1,308 ( 14)
Top Rated Movies #132 | 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 USA:

$427,987, 12 June 2005

Gross USA:

$5,576,743

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$236,049,757
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

In the novel, Sophie actually has two sisters. The second is named Martha, who is sent to be a witch's apprentice but finds a spell to change her appearance and switch with Lettie so that she can work in the bakery instead. So when Sophie goes to see "Lettie" at the beginning of the film, it should have actually been Martha in disguise. Martha is also the character that Markl falls in love with in the book. In the film Martha is mentioned by the shop girls, saying that Howl ate Martha's heart, but not presented as Sophie's sister. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Sophie removes Calcifer from the hearth]
Calcifer: No, No, No! Don't do this! Help! Help! Crazy lady with the shovel! If you kick me out that door, the castle could collapse!
Young Sophie: Good!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angel Beats!: My Song (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A wild and surreal trip into the mind of a master.
20 March 2005 | by surenmSee 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.


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