Dimension Films

(Photo by Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Studio Ghibli Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Spirited Away celebrates its 20th American debut anniversary!

Studio Ghibli has been gently revolutionizing the animation world since 1986, combining an endearing and empathetic worldview with rousing adventure. That was the year of their debut feature, Castle in the Sky, which heralded the superstar team of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. (Nausicaa, which we’re including on this list, was made before Ghibli’s founding but has been culturally adopted as part of of filmography.) Miyazaki has been Studio Ghibli’s global champion, and rounded out the rest of the ’80s with My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. And it wasn’t long before producer Takahata wore the director’s hat, crafting the somber Grave of the Fireflies, which played as a double feature with Totoro in Japan.

Entering the ’90s, the two Ghibli founders went toe-to-toe with Porco Rosso and Only Yesterday. The latter was by Takahata, establishing him as a more dramatically grounded artist as compared to Miyazaki’s literal flights of fancy. But it is Miyazaki’s fantastical stories that have proven popular internationally, from the ecological war epic Princess Mononoke to the witchcraft and wizardry of Howl’s Moving Castle to the Oscar-winning masterpiece Spirited Away. The Tale of Princess Kaguya was Takahata’s final film before his death in 2018.

Other directors at Studio Ghibli include Miyazaki’s son Goro (Tales from Earthsea, From Up on Poppy Hill) and Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Arrietty, When Marnie Was There), who subsequently left to found Studio Ponoc after Ghibli went into hiatus in 2014 following Miyazaki’s retirement. This isn’t the first time he’s announced retirement (he did so after Ponyo, and after The Wind Rises), and he’s back at it again with How Do You Live?, an adaptation of the young-adult novel of the same name. With that to look forward to on the horizon (in-between, Goro Miyazaki made their first 3D film for television Earwig and the Witch), we rank all of Studio Ghibli’s movies by Tomatometer, Certified Fresh films first! Alex Vo

#1
Adjusted Score: 102728%
Critics Consensus: Boasting narrative depth, frank honesty, and exquisite visual beauty, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a modern animated treasure with timeless appeal.
Synopsis: A tiny nymph found inside a bamboo stalk grows into a beautiful and desirable young woman, who orders her suitors... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#2

Only Yesterday (1991)
100%79%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102527%
Critics Consensus: Only Yesterday's long-delayed U.S. debut fills a frustrating gap for American Ghibli fans while offering further proof of the studio's incredibly consistent commitment to quality.
Synopsis: A put-upon 27-year-old Japanese office worker travels to the countryside and reminisces about her childhood in Tokyo and what life... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#3

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
100%95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102040%
Critics Consensus: An achingly sad anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.
Synopsis: A teenager (J. Robert Spencer) is charged with the care of his younger sister (Rhoda Chrosite) after an Allied firebombing... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 99249%
Critics Consensus: Kiki's Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world.
Synopsis: In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#5

Spirited Away (2001)
97%96%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103004%
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: 10-year-old Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) moves with her parents to a new home in the Japanese countryside. After taking a wrong... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#6

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
95%94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96397%
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
Synopsis: This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 99391%
Critics Consensus: Visually lush, refreshingly free of family-friendly clatter, and anchored with soulful depth, The Secret World of Arrietty lives up to Studio Ghibli's reputation.
Synopsis: Arrietty, a tiny teenager, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban home, unbeknown to the homeowner and... [More]

#8

Princess Mononoke (1997)
93%94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 98913%
Critics Consensus: With its epic story and breathtaking visuals, Princess Mononoke is a landmark in the world of animation.
Synopsis: A prince becomes involved in the struggle between a forest princess and the encroachment of mechanization.... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#9

When Marnie Was There (2014)
92%88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94843%
Critics Consensus: When Marnie Was There is still blessed with enough visual and narrative beauty to recommend, even if it isn't quite as magical as Studio Ghibli's greatest works.
Synopsis: A tomboy (Hailee Steinfeld) explores a long-abandoned villa and meets a mysterious blonde girl only she can see.... [More]
Directed By: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

#10

Ponyo (2008)
91%83%

#10
Adjusted Score: 97462%
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: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#11

The Wind Rises (2013)
88%85%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94363%
Critics Consensus: The Wind Rises is a fittingly bittersweet swan song for director Hayao Miyazaki.
Synopsis: A lifelong love of flight inspires Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, whose storied career includes the creation of the A-6M... [More]

#12

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
87%93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 93760%
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: Sophie (Emily Mortimer) has an uneventful life at her late father's hat shop, but all that changes when she befriends... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#13

From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
87%79%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89641%
Critics Consensus: Gentle and nostalgic, From Up on Poppy Hill is one of Studio Ghibli's sweeter efforts -- and if it doesn't push the boundaries of the genre, it remains as engagingly lovely as Ghibli fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: Yokohama teens try to save their school's clubhouse from being demolished.... [More]
Directed By: Goro Miyazaki

#14

Castle in the Sky (1986)
96%91%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97077%
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: Young orphan Sheeta and her kidnapper, Col. Muska, are flying to a military prison when their plane is attacked by... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#15

Porco Rosso (1992)
95%87%

#15
Adjusted Score: 76676%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this entrancing tale by renowned Japanese animator Hiyao Miyazaki, World War I flying ace Marco Pagott mysteriously turns from... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 73741%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on the manga with the same title, this animated film follows Shizuku, an inquisitive young girl and a voracious... [More]
Directed By: Yoshifumi Kondo

#17
Adjusted Score: 89065%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Far in the future, after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world's ecosystem, the few surviving humans live... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#18

Ocean Waves (1993)
89%64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 89303%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The arrival of a pretty transfer student from Tokyo sets in motion a change in the relationship between two best... [More]
Directed By: Tomomi Mochizuki

#19

The Cat Returns (2002)
88%82%

#19
Adjusted Score: 88048%
Critics Consensus: Sweetly charming and beautifully animated, The Cat Returns offers anime adventure suitable for the very young and young at heart.
Synopsis: High school student Haru rescues a cat that was about to be run over by a truck and discovers the... [More]
Directed By: Hiroyuki Morita

#20

Pom Poko (1994)
86%77%

#20
Adjusted Score: 76000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shape-shifting raccoons band together to save their forest homeland from the bulldozers of greedy land developers.... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 30666%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The adventures of a modern family in Japan.... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#22

Tales From Earthsea (2006)
40%46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 40616%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the land of Earthsea, a mysterious force threatens to plunge humanity into destruction and chaos. A powerful wizard named... [More]
Directed By: Goro Miyazaki

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 31110%
Critics Consensus: With a story as uninspired as its animation, Earwig and the Witch is a surprising -- and near-total -- misfire for Studio Ghibli.
Synopsis: Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her... [More]
Directed By: Goro Miyazaki