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Published on September 17th, 2019 | by Faith

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All Hayao Miyazaki Movies Ranked

Beyond the awards, beyond the box office, how do you know the films of Hayao Miyazaki are beloved and universal the world over? Scroll through his filmography on Rotten Tomatoes and you’ll find nary a Rotten rating. In fact, there isn’t even anything below 80%! It’s a sign of how far-reaching and influential his works are, made alongside his band of mad, merry animators at Studio Ghibli, whose tales of empathy, kindness, and bravery touch far beyond the borders of Japan.

Though Miyazaki is synonymous with Studio Ghibli, here we’re focusing only on his efforts as a feature film director, which started in earnest even before Ghibli was formed. 1979’s Castle of Cagliostro was a calling card that a talent had broken through the ranks of TV (where he had worked for two decades as an animator), adapting the long-running Lupin the 3rd charater into a rousing, action-packed heist adventure. By the time Miyazaki’s next feature came out, 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Studio Ghibli was up and running to deliver everything the film required, elements that would become Miyazaki’s trademarks: a female-centric story, fleets of airborne transportation, plenty of lush flora and cute fauna, and an ecological bent exploring man’s frequently destructive relationship with nature.

What followed was a veritable hit parade of classics: Castle in the Sky, the closest Miyazaki ever got to working in Spielberg mode; Kiki’s Delivery Service, a sweet and charming coming-of-age witch story; Porco Rosso, a deeply romantic tale of cursed pigs and dogfights over the Adriatic; and Princess Mononoke, the violent action epic of the war between the natural world and human technological progress. It all reached its arguable cultural zenith with Spirited Away, the Alice in Wonderland-esque tale of a young girl lost in a world of spirits, which won the Best Animated Feature Oscar and topped our list of 140 Essential Animated Movies ever.

Miyazaki has spent the last two decades oscillating between retirement and returning to Studio Ghibli every time the pull of delivering another animated masterpiece became too strong (it’s appreciated!), giving the world the likes of Howl’s Moving CastlePonyo, and The Wind Rises. He’s currently back in not-retired mode, working since 2016 on How Do You Live?, an adaptation of the 1937 children’s novel of the same name. A title question to ponder, just as we rank all of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies by Tomatometer!

#11
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely illustrated by master animator Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle will delight children with its fantastical story and touch the hearts and minds of older viewers as well.
Synopsis: Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation director who wowed audiences worldwide with his award-winning film Spirited Away, brings another visually spectacular… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This impressive work from acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki represents a significant departure from traditional anime. Foregoing the gritty storylines,… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

THE WIND RISES (2014)
88%

#9
Critics Consensus: The Wind Rises is a fittingly bittersweet swan song for director Hayao Miyazaki.
Synopsis: In “The Wind Rises,” Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni…. [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

PONYO (2009)
92%

#8
Critics Consensus: While not Miyazaki’s best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that’s a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.
Synopsis: Acclaimed anime master Hayao Miyazaki returns for his ninth animated feature with Ponyo, which deals with a friendship between a… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wolf is a clever thief with a knack for getting into trouble. This animated Japanese feature chronicles his adventures in… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Critics Consensus: With its epic story and breathtaking visuals, Princess Mononoke is a landmark in the world of animation.
Synopsis: Directed by renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki, this anime has broken a number of box office records in its native Japan…. [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988)
94%

#5
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
Synopsis: This superbly animated children’s tale is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s most beloved animators. The story follows Satsuke… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Master animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this tale about a former World War I flying ace who is also a pig…. [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

CASTLE IN THE SKY (1989)
96%

#3
Critics Consensus: With a storytelling palette as rich and brilliant as its animation, Castle in the Sky thrillingly encapsulates Studio Ghibli’s unique strengths.
Synopsis: A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
#2
Critics Consensus: Kiki’s Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world.
Synopsis: Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children’s adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

SPIRITED AWAY (2002)
97%

#1
Critics Consensus: Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.
Synopsis: Master animation director Hayao Miyazaki follows up on his record-breaking 1997 opus Princess Mononoke with this surreal Alice in Wonderland-like… [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

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