Mining script

Hayao Miyazaki’s Best Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes

By V Renée September 21, 2022

If you’ve never seen Hayao Miyazaki movies before, get ready to get the greatest movie marathon list of your life.

Japanese filmmaker and co-founder of Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki has spent the past 30 years capturing the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike with animated films 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 score: 89%

The warrior and pacifist princess Nausicaä struggles desperately to stop two warring nations from destroying each other and their dying planet.

#10: Porco Rosso (1992)

Rotten tomato score: 95%

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

#9: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Rotten tomato score: 95%

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

“The Castle of Cagliostro”

#8: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Rotten tomato score: 96%

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

#7: Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Rotten tomato score: 87%

When an insecure young woman is cursed with an old body by an evil witch, her only chance to break the spell lies with an indulgent but insecure young wizard and his companions in his walking, legged castle.

#6: The Wind Rises (2013)

Rotten tomato score: 88%

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

Hayao Miyazaki's Best Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_The Wind Rises

‘The wind picks up’

#5: Ponyo (2008)

Rotten Tomato Score: 91%

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

#4: Princess Mononoke (1997)

Rotten tomato score: 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 encounters San, the Mononoke Hime.

Hayao Miyazaki's Best Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes_Princess Mononoke

‘Princess Mononoke’

#3: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Rotten tomato score: 95%

When two girls move to the countryside to be near their sick mother, they experience adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

#2: Spirited Away (2001)

Rotten tomato score: 97%

When her family moves to the suburbs, a brooding 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are turned into beasts.

#1: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Rotten tomato score: 98%

A young witch, in her obligatory year of independent living, struggles to fit into a new community as she supports herself by running an airline courier service.

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

“Kiki’s Delivery Service”

What makes Hayao Miyazaki’s films so special? First off, Miyazaki is a strong believer in hand-drawn animation. In fact, he doesn’t allow more than 10% of the footage in any of his films to be digital or computer-generated, which gives 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 shots of Miyazaki’s famous landscapes. And there’s a word for it, actually! In a 2002 interview with Roger Ebert, the director explained this quality in his films:

“We have a word for that in Japanese. It’s called mom. Empty. It’s there intentionally. [claps his hands] The time between my applause is my. If you just have non-stop action with no respite at all, that’s just hustle and bustle.

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