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Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films of All-Time

Posted January 20, 2012 by Max in Featured

5. Porco Rosso (1992)

It might be unfair that  Porco Rosso has shot this far up the list on a single viewing, but it really has all the things I love from these stories. It’s funny that I’m afraid of heights, but most of Miyazaki’s films soar to heights unknown to man, including Porco Rosso. Porco Rosso is pilot pig bounty hunter, who has been cursed to live out the rest of his natural-born days as a pig. Most of the events in this film take place in either remote locations, plane hangers or the sky. Every character in this story is memorable and I was surprised at how much I liked this.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

The one that started it all. I mentioned in the beginning that Studio Ghibli wasn’t formed until after the success of this film, but was certainly the catalyst for all the films listed. It had the foundations that most of the films from the studio follow; A strong female lead, music composed by the legendary Joe Hisaishi, and it dealt with creating a harmonious environment. Having recently seen the film in High Definition the animation has aged gracefully and it’s age should not discourage you from watching it.

3. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Two of the next three could be in the number one spot for a lot of people. This placement will surprise some because I believe there are two films in the catalog stronger than it. Princess Mononoke is certainly the most adult film from Studio Ghibli. It doesn’t shy away from violence and at times can be quite gruesome. It is also one of the few films in Studio Ghibli’s catalog not distributed in America by Disney. That being said it’s a fantastic movie. This time the lead is a male character, but he meets his match with two strong female supporting characters.

According to IMDB, 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.

This is epic story telling and a masterpiece. Deserving of its spot in anyones personal favorite films.

2. Castle in the Sky (1986)

Surprised? Having the opportunity to see ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’ was certainly a special event for me. While it’s been available in America for a few years no one I know had seen it, so my expectations were low for it. This is a hidden gem. Featuring the exploration I love in my stories and a group of ragtag criminals, Castle in the Sky has everything I love about the films from Miyazaki. An excellent soundtrack and a mysterious castle in the sky that everyone is racing towards.

1. Spirited Away (2001)

The only Animated Japanese film to ever capture a Academy Award, Spirited Away is the type of film dreams are made of. On a journey to their new neighborhood, Chihiro’s family gets lost in the woods. After going through a cave, they find a magnificent fest before them. Chihiro’s parents are starved and dig right into the food, while Chihiro can sense something is very wrong. She soon discovers she’s in a spirit ruled bath house and her parents have been turned into pigs. She must find a way to grow up and save her parents. Spirited Away is stocked to the brim with adventure, romance, and character growth. In order to survive her ordeal, she will meet many strange inhabitants of the bath house and grow a backbone. This might be cop-out since many people would list this as number one, but it is what it is. In incredible movie that Disney only wishes it could’ve made, but it could only come from the genius Hayao Miyazaki.


2015 Update:

So a few new films have been released from Studio Ghibli since this list was created. Unfortunately, the studio has announced they will not be creating future films in the future. In that case, THE WIND RISES and PRINCESS KAGUYA would be essential additions to this list. Please seek them out.

About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.