Top 10 Best Studio Ghibli Movies

Studio Ghibli Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio founded in 1985. Its anime films have achieved international success, especially those directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
The Top Ten
1 Spirited Away

Quite possibly the most endearing film to win an Oscar. It won for the category of Best Animated Film in 2001, which helped Studio Ghibli to move on to creating new features. It had amazing color, sound, music, and a wonderful storyline that tells of what happens to spoiled brats who simply think that the world revolves around them.

In a way, it did for Chihiro, who absentmindedly wandered too far within the spirit realm only to work her butt off hoping to save her parents. The movie gave an incredible message to those who always want but never give back. For Chihiro, that ended with learning to cope with temporary loss, making new friends, and learning what it means to really live rather than holding a hand out for gifts or treats.

This movie became an instant classic, and one of, if not the best animated films of our time.

2 Princess Mononoke

Spirited Away was wonderful, but I'd give my thumbs up for Princess Mononoke. This film is so majestically epic in such mystical ways. Its growing tension and emotions are so realistic, and it teaches the whole world to respect nature and that we should choose to protect it or face the consequences.

Best Ghibli movie in my opinion. The story is very impactful, the characters are amazing, the animation is gorgeous, and it's just a joy to watch every time.

Personally, I feel the darker tone of Princess Mononoke is more appealing than Spirited Away's feel. There's something missing in Spirited Away that stops me from connecting to it.

3 Castle in the Sky

Such a fun movie! It has one of my favorite opening sequences to any film, and it is just a super fun adventure. It's not my favorite Ghibli film. There are a couple more that I think are better, but this is an excellent film regardless.

This film has always been my favorite, and I think it's because I love how it was simply an adventure in the sky, and all of the characters are likable in their own way.

It's also a fairly underrated movie, with other movies like Spirited Away being slightly more popular.

The characters and relationships are absolutely amazing, the setting is captivating, and the plot is an epic story that absolutely never gets old!

This beautiful Ghibli classic deserves so much higher.

4 Kiki's Delivery Service

Oh my... This and Back to the Future are both my favorite films! I love every Studio Ghibli film, but this takes the cake! If it wasn't for this film, I wouldn't be watching Studio Ghibli. I had good laughs, and the visuals make the Mona Lisa look like an MS Paint production! Music so great that Beethoven will eat his heart out! This movie is perfect and has the blend between comedy and drama that made movies like Back to the Future as amazing as they were!

My favorite ever. It's just such a nice story, and I love the scenery. The ending leaves you hanging with how Kiki cannot understand her cat anymore, but it's still amazing.

5 Howl's Moving Castle

I saw this movie once when I was around 7. I pretty much forgot about it until about a year ago when I was having these nostalgic memories of the film for some odd reason but couldn't remember the name. So I went on Google and searched up whatever I could remember in hopes of finding the name of the movie.

It took me a few tries, and then finally, I found it! I watched it, and memories of my first time watching this masterpiece came back to me, and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. It made me laugh, smile, long for someone, and cry. No other movie has ever made so many emotions come out of me. And the ending was so beautiful! This will forever be my favorite movie of all time and hold a special place in my heart.

6 My Neighbor Totoro

This movie might be one of the best movies of all time. A heartwarming classic that is great no matter your age. I've watched it many times and enjoyed it every time.

This film has such an innocent and playful nature. It always makes me smile. Mei is adorable, and I find all the characters likable.

This film is so nostalgic. It's also so good, Totoro made a cameo in Toy Story 3. Did anyone else notice that?

7 Grave of the Fireflies

Heartbreaking but incredible. The siblings' journey is so alive and realistic, and at the same time so damn tragic. I love this movie, but I never want to see it again.

While I believe Spirited Away to be the best Studio Ghibli film of all time, I cannot deny that this one deserves a higher place on this list. Grave of the Fireflies, while being one of the most well-rated films of all time, deserves more attention than it gets.

Sure, it's confusing the first time you watch it (I had to watch it THREE times to finally understand what on Earth was going on), but once you do understand, the pain you feel will just burn for centuries to come. It is one of the most forgotten movies of Studio Ghibli, but I assure you that once you watch it, you won't forget.

Although I can't deny the flaws of some of the characters either, except Setsuko. For goodness' sake, she's a little girl. Some children act like that, and some children are annoying. I loved her a lot, and you have no idea how much hurt I felt watching her slowly fade away at the end of the movie. I felt the exact same emotions as Seita did: that feeling of desperation to do anything to keep my sister alive.

As for Seita, yes, he has flaws, alright. Particularly the part where he lived with his aunt and did no work whatsoever, only to leave because she began whining. But in my opinion, flaws are always necessary in a character, or else it just makes them less understandable.

8 Whisper of the Heart

This is one of the most realistic coming-of-age movies I've ever seen. Also, the love story in this film is one I truly felt something for. You know a movie like this is good when an 18-year-old boy such as myself likes this movie more than an action film like Princess Mononoke.

I don't only like this movie. It's my personal favorite Japanese animated movie. By the way, those who think Studio Ghibli is actually Disney should shut up and do a little research because it's not. Disney does the English dub, and that's it. Even though the Disney dubs are very good, that doesn't mean they made the movie. Sorry for going off track. I love Whisper of the Heart. I even have a diorama of the Baron.

9 The Wind Rises

I love Spirited Away. It teaches about real society in a masterpiece of a film. But The Wind Rises is my favorite. Touching and lovely in each scene, this movie truly captures the beauty of flight, and you can feel Miyazaki's passion for aerodynamics throughout the film.

And the ending - so mysterious but powerful! Fantastic job!
"Tell me, Japanese boy, is the wind still rising?"

This movie feels like a poem - such a beautiful tale that loosely blends history with a thoughtful narrative. It has a hauntingly beautiful message and is one of my favorites!

10 Ponyo

Ponyo was my first Ghibli film, and to this day, it's still my favorite. It shows that love doesn't have to be romantic to be strong.

As much as I like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, honestly, this one is my favorite.

First Studio Ghibli film I ever watched. Still my favorite.

The Contenders
11 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä is the first Ghibli film and, in my opinion, the most underrated by far. The film hits hard, and the care put into it conveys its message far stronger than any other Ghibli film to date. Though it may be less lighthearted, it makes up for it with more deliberate storytelling and perfect pacing.

The main character also happens to be the best lead of all of them. This film still blows modern films out of the water. I definitely think any Ghibli fan that misses this is missing out.

This film set a standard for Ghibli and anime movies in general, and in many ways, Miyazaki hasn't quite surpassed it. It handles its themes far more effectively than any of his other movies and has what is arguably his best protagonist ever. This film deserves so much more praise.

12 Porco Rosso

Miyazaki's "favorite" of his films, and for good reason. Porco Rosso is a Han Solo-like character, a pilot who is a likable scoundrel.

It's such a great movie. I like the slow pace and the nicely done settings.

I, too, would rather be a pig than a fascist.

13 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

I loved this movie. This movie was the second movie I saw of Studio Ghibli after Spirited Away. It's crazy because I never thought I would get over Spirited Away because I was so attached to Chihiro, but this movie got me to see myself in Princess Kaguya.

Princess Kaguya went through a depression, just wanted to live and be herself, and not live up to other people's expectations. I was always attached to Chihiro because she had to be independent at a young age, but Princess Kaguya reminds you to slow down, appreciate, and embrace your life and to not take it for granted.

Now that I'm 22, I realized a lot of my life I was forced to grow, so this movie made me want to relax and enjoy my youth.

14 When Marnie Was There

It's a close running as my favorite Ghibli film. The only one that it's competing with is Princess Mononoke, but this movie is so good. The story is uber simple, which makes room for wonderful character building between Marnie and Anna. Despite its simple story, the story still hits hard when it needs to, and its ending twist, while nothing mind-blowing or super out of left field, still gets me in the feely goods every time. Wonderful film.

Completely honest, this is my favorite Ghibli movie, no doubt. I love Spirited Away, Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service too, but something about this movie was just about as magical as it could get.

It's deep and complex, but all ages can enjoy it, unlike some other Ghibli movies, which are deep but a little too slow.

15 The Secret World of Arrietty

It's the first Studio Ghibli movie I ever watched and still one of my favorites.

16 The Cat Returns

I guess this is the most "American" Ghibli film. By that, I mean it's much simpler and less deep. This doesn't make it bad by any means. Sometimes you just want to have a little fun watching a simple story.

The fact that it is a spin-off of Whisper of the Heart adds to the enjoyment. Overall, though, it's easily one of the weakest installments of Studio Ghibli movies.

This movie is the best. It should definitely be higher than 15. I've watched tons of Studio Ghibli movies, and this one was by far my favorite. It's funny, has a great story, and it contains tons of cats. All these things make it a great movie.

17 From Up On Poppy Hill

I love this movie! It is very realistic and shows a beautiful love story. The entire movie, you are thinking one thing that is frustrating (I don't want to spoil it), but then it gets better!

I think it's ranked so low because people don't wait until the end, or maybe it's due to the low-key incestuous undertones. However, it's a beautifully sad story. I loved it very much. It's definitely in my top three, along with Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away.

When I watched Tales from Earthsea, I was extremely disappointed. So I was worried when we watched From Up on Poppy Hill. Instead of being terrible, it was my favorite movie of all time.

Shun and Umi, as well as Mizunuma, are some of Studio Ghibli's greatest characters. The story is wonderful, and I truly think it is Studio Ghibli's greatest.

I also love The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Howl's Moving Castle, The Secret World of Arrietty, Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, or anything by Miyazaki. Princess Mononoke, however, was disappointing. I found Mononoke to be extremely annoying.

18 Only Yesterday

This movie is so underrated. It's powerful and touching. It's basically life in a different aspect. You view the life of a woman growing up in the cities of Japan. You get a real connection with Taeko, struggling to live up to the expectations of her family, her likes and dislikes, and her school life.

The ending had me break down crying. I think it pretty much live-actioned Azula's defeat in Avatar. I often cry because of movies, but it's only the really emotionally hitting movies that have me break down. I remember watching it alone on my 12th birthday, and I just bawled my eyes out. I beg you to watch it. You won't regret it.

19 The Red Turtle

Technically counts since it was a co-production that Ghibli was involved in.

20 Ocean Waves

The only Studio Ghibli film made for television, at least until the atrocity by the name of Earwig and the Witch came out.

I believe why this one is down here is because no one gets to see it. Come on, Disney, make a dub for this.

21 My Neighbours the Yamadas

It is underappreciated by unmarried and/or divorced self-centered folks. For those who have held on to a marriage for 20+ years, this is gold.

Why is this the most underrated Ghibli movie ever? It's so good. I don't understand why people don't like it.

Ghibli's stylistic precursor to Pixar's Turning Red.

22 Pom Poko

This is truly rewarding if you get through without falling asleep through the repetitive actions.

I love this movie so much. Why isn't it higher?

Should be higher up than Earthsea.

23 Tales From Earthsea

This was a great movie. I really enjoyed watching it. I did actually remember it being better but am glad to see it made the top ten.

This movie is beautiful. I love it and it is my favorite movie from Studio Ghibli.

24 The Boy and the Heron

Was really impressed by this. It kind of reminds me of Spirited Away!

Hirito is a great hero character. I'm glad this film could show it.

25 How Do You Live?
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