Dimension Films

(Photo by Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Studio Ghibli Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

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, we’re also taking a look back by ranking all of Studio Ghibli’s movies by Tomatometer!

#22
Adjusted Score: 43.383%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: From famed Japanese animators Studio Ghibli comes "Tales from Earthsea," a sweeping adventure set in a mythical world filled with... [More]
Directed By: Goro Miyazaki

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 35.897%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on a wildly popular Japanese comic strip, master animator Isao Takahata directs this loosely structured work about that wacky... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#20
Adjusted Score: 84.235%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Renowned animation director Isao Takahata spins this tale about a pitched battle between Japanese folkloric figures and housing developers at... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 88.756%
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: The setting is Yokohama in 1963, and the filmmakers lovingly bring to life the bustling seaside town, with its misty... [More]
Directed By: Goro Miyazaki

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 92.978%
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

#17
Adjusted Score: 63.95%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Rarely seen outside of Japan, OCEAN WAVES is a subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation.... [More]
Directed By: Tomomichi Mochizuki

#16
Adjusted Score: 89.573%
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

#15

The Wind Rises (2014)
88%

#15
Adjusted Score: 94.865%
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

#14

The Cat Returns (2002)
91%

#14
Adjusted Score: 69.906%
Critics Consensus: Sweetly charming and beautifully animated, The Cat Returns offers anime adventure suitable for the very young and young at heart.
Synopsis: Aoi Hiiragi's manga about a schoolgirl's adventures with a very unusual feline comes to the screen in this witty anime... [More]
Directed By: Hiroyuki Morita

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 94.181%
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: Sent from her foster home in the city one summer to a sleepy town by the sea in Hokkaido, Anna... [More]

#12

Ponyo (2009)
91%

#12
Adjusted Score: 96.327%
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

#11
Adjusted Score: 97.625%
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

#10
Adjusted Score: 62.447%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Written by animation master Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his protégé Yoshifumi Kondo, this film is a simple tale about... [More]
Directed By: Yoshifumi Kondo

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 97.638%
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

#8
Adjusted Score: 95.734%
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

#7
Adjusted Score: 100.308%
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 (Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses... [More]
Directed By: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 97.361%
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

#5

Spirited Away (2002)
97%

#5
Adjusted Score: 102.279%
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

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 100.724%
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

#3
Adjusted Score: 102.501%
Critics Consensus: An achingly sad anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.
Synopsis: Grave of the Fireflies opens on an evening in 1945, after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II;... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#2

Only Yesterday (1991)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103.89%
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: It's 1982, and Taeko (Daisy Ridley) is 27 years old, unmarried, and has lived her whole life in Tokyo. She... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

#1
Adjusted Score: 103.174%
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: Legendary Studio Ghibli cofounder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) revisits Japan's most famous folktale in this gorgeous,... [More]
Directed By: Isao Takahata

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