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The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes

By V Renée · September 21, 2022

The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes

If you haven’t seen any Hayao Miyazaki movies before, then prepare to get the most wonderful movie marathon list of your life.

Japanese filmmaker and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki has spent the last 30 years capturing the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike with animated movies like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo. 

Let’s take a look at the full list of Hayao Miyazaki movies and where they rank on Rotten Tomatoes.

#11: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 89%

Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

#10: Porco Rosso (1992)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 95%

In 1930s Italy, a veteran World War I pilot is cursed to look like an anthropomorphic pig.

#9: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 95%

A dashing thief, his gang of desperadoes and an intrepid cop struggle to free a princess from an evil count, and learn the secret of a treasure that she holds part of the key to.

The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_The Castle of Cagliostro

‘The Castle of Cagliostro’

#8: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 96%

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.

#7: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 87%

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.

#6: The Wind Rises (2013)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 88%

A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_The Wind Rises

‘The Wind Rises’

#5: Ponyo (2008)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 91%

A five-year-old boy develops a relationship with Ponyo, a young goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.

#4: Princess Mononoke (1997)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 93%

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami’s curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_Princess Mononoke

‘Princess Mononoke’

#3: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 95%

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

#2: Spirited Away (2001)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 97%

During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

#1: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Rotten Tomato Rating: 98%

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

The Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_Kiki's Delivery Service

‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’

What makes Hayao Miyazaki movies so special? First of all, Miyazaki is a firm believer in hand-drawn animation. In fact, he doesn’t allow more than 10% of the footage in any of his movies to be digital or computer generated, giving them a very distinct and unique human element. But perhaps the most striking quality of his films are the “quiet” moments — the sighs, the pauses, the extended establishing shots of Miyazaki’s famous landscapes. And there’s a word for it, actually! In a 2002 interview with Roger Ebert, the director explains this quality in his films:

“We have a word for that in Japanese. It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally. [claps his hands] The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness.”

Now that you’ve probably fallen completely in love with Miyazaki’s work just by reading about it, go watch them and enjoy the simple whimsical beauty each one has to offer.