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Where to watch (almost) all the Studio Ghibli films in 2024

Studio Ghibli has made some of the best animated films of all time.
By

Published onJanuary 25, 2024

My Neighbour Totoro the best studio ghibli movies

Studio Ghibli is one of the most renowned animation studios in the world. It has pushed the boundaries of animation since its inception in 1985 and has given us masterpieces like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and many more. The studio’s catalog consists of 23 feature-length animated films, nearly all of which are now available on streaming services for the first time ever. But where can one watch the Studio Ghibli movies? Streaming services roll out new shows and movies each week, but luckily, their back-catalogs are full of older gems, including these anime favorites.

Pretty much all Ghibli movies are wonderful and moving in their own way, and you should watch all of them if you have the time. We let you know where you can watch the Studio Ghibli movies available for streaming, plus a list of all films you can stream at home, along with brief summaries.

Where can I watch the Studio Ghibli films?

Netflix does not allow its US and Japan viewers to stream Studio Ghibli movies. You could consider a VPN if you want to use your Netflix subscription to watch Studio Ghibli movies in the US. Max has the rights to Studio Ghibli movies in the US. Oddly, the studio’s home country of Japan does not have a streaming deal yet to let its residents watch the Studio Ghibli movies.

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Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.
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Max
Max, formerly HBO Max, is your home for HBO titles, Warner Bros-made movies and TV shows, the DC Comics superheroes, and more. It's also the home for new and original movies and shows available nowhere else.

Which movie is missing?

grave of the fireflies

There is one movie not included in the Netflix and Max Studio Ghibli streaming film agreements. That is the 1988 film Grave of the Fireflies. The reason is the publishing rights are not owned by the studio’s normal publishing partner, Tokuma Shoten. They are owned by another company, Shinchosha, and as of this writing, that film is not available to stream anywhere.

The Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix and Max:

Editor’s note: Not all movies on the list are suitable for young viewers. Please check their rating in your respective country for more information.


Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away best ghibli movies Netflix

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takashi Naito
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 8.6 – IMDB / 97% – Rotten Tomatoes

A wrong turn on a country road leads Chihiro and her family into what seems like a derelict theme park. Among the eerie empty buildings, her parents stumble onto an abandoned food stall. They gorge themselves on the freshly cooked meals despite their daughter’s protests, which suddenly transforms them into pigs. It soon becomes apparent that the family has wandered into the realm of the kami. As spirits and gods emerge at dusk, determined to find help for her parents, Chihiro follows them into the unknown.

Spirited Away is surreal, enchanting, and vivid. It is a masterpiece of both animation and storytelling. Every frame is full of meticulous detail, spiriting you away into this otherworldly realm. But the film is not just an exercise in style and technical mastery. It is a touching coming-of-age tale full of strange but charming characters. It is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best, works of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. It’s perhaps the best of the Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix and HBO Max.

Where to watch:


Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 134 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, John DiMaggio
  • Genre: Fantasy/action
  • Ratings: 8.4 – IMDB / 93% – Rotten Tomatoes

It is easy to paint the world in broad black-and-white brush strokes, but it is much harder to portray two different groups’ struggles for survival with empathy and understanding. Nevertheless, this is exactly what Hayao Miyazaki achieved with Princess Mononoke. The balance between the human world and nature has been disrupted. A mining town is rapidly industrializing and cutting down forests, which angers the gods and spirits that reside within. Protagonist Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of this conflict, as he tries to see with “eyes unclouded by hate.”

Princess Mononoke is leagues above the typical animated movie with an environmentalist message. It is not preachy. Rather, it is a morally complex tale with ambivalent characters. Just like many other Ghibli films, it blends Japanese mythology and Miyazaki’s own imagination to create a magical world that nevertheless speaks to our present reality. This is easily one of the best Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix.

Where to watch:


Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howls moving castle 2

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 8.2 – IMDB / 87% – Rotten Tomatoes

Sophie lives the quiet life of a hat maker until one day she crosses paths with both a wizard and a witch. But while Howl is kind and protective, the Witch of the Waste curses her. Sophie is transformed into a 90-year-old woman, and the spell prevents her from telling anyone about the fate that has befallen her. Yet, Sophie doesn’t give in to desperation. She heads out of town, slowly but surely making her way up the surrounding hills in search of Howl’s mysterious castle.

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of Ghibli’s most fairy tale-esque movies. Loosely based on a Diana Wynne Jones novel of the same name, the movie evokes a child-like sense of wonder. Its sprawling landscapes, grand magical architecture, and steampunk castle are each masterpieces in their own right. Admittedly, the plot can be a bit hard to follow at times, but the cast of colorful characters more than makes up for it. It is a magical experience full of imagination and adventure.

Where to watch:


Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Kikis Delivery Service Studio Ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, Kappei Yamaguchi
  • Genre: Fantasy/adventure
  • Ratings: 7.8 – IMDB / 98% – Rotten Tomatoes

Not every story has to be an epic adventure to be captivating. Kiki is a 13-year-old witch who leaves home to live on her own for a year. Accompanied only by her cat, she chooses the beautiful seaside city of Koriko as her new home. We follow her as she settles in, gets to know the residents, and sets up her own delivery business. But even though Kiki is excited and quickly makes some friends, being isolated and away from home is not always easy.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a charming slice-of-life movie. It tells a relatable and moving coming-of-age story that is made even better by its simplicity. It explores the struggles and self-doubt we all experience when making our first steps into the real world and how we can overcome them. It’s definitely one of Ghibli’s most wholesome movies — despite some of its sad and quiet moments, by the end it exudes optimism that is sure to be contagious.

Where to watch:


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

nausicaa best studio ghibli films

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Alison Lohman, Shia LaBoeuf, Patrick Stewart, Edward James Olmos
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 8 – IMDB / 89% – Rotten Tomatoes

Before Princess Mononoke and even before Studio Ghibli was officially created, there was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It is one of Miyazaki’s first animated films, adapted from his own manga of the same name. It has many of the same anti-war and environmentalist themes present in Princess Mononoke. However, it is distinctly different thanks to its dystopian sci-fi setting that is reminiscent of the Dune novels.

The titular heroine Princess Nausicaä lives in the Valley of the Wind but often wanders to the nearby Toxic Jungle. The forest and everything in it seems to be poisonous to humans, while its depths are swarming with gigantic insect-like creatures. It soon becomes apparent that the Toxic Jungle exists because of a devastating past war that has poisoned the landscape. Nausicaä is not afraid, however. She tries to find the best in both people and beasts. The plot can be a bit convoluted at times because the multiple chapters of the manga had to be squeezed into a feature-length film, but Nausicaä is a stunning and emotional movie regardless.

Where to watch:


My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbour Totoro

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 86 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Chika Sakamoto, Noriko Hidaka, Hitoshi Takagi
  • Genre: Fantasy/family
  • Ratings: 8.1 – IMDB / 95% – Rotten Tomatoes

There are few animated characters as iconic as Totoro — an enormous but cuddly woodland spirit. He is discovered and befriended by sisters Satsuki and Mei. Their family has recently moved to an old countryside cottage, so their mother can receive treatment for an unknown illness at a nearby hospital. The house and surrounding area prove to be magical from the moment the girls step in. The cottage seems to be inhabited by tiny soot spirits. Curious, Mei follows them into the forest one day only to find the strange but amiable Totoro. They form an unlikely friendship that can only lead to enchanting adventures.

My Neighbour Totoro is yet another Studio Ghibli classic. It doesn’t follow the typical three-act structure but rather lets its story unfold naturally. This might not be to everyone’s liking, but it is one of the movie’s greatest strengths. My Neighbour Totoro lets us see through the eyes of a child — with a sense of innocence, curiosity, and wonder.

Where to watch:


The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Princess Kaguya

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 137 minutes
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Main cast: Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 8 – IMDB / 100% – Rotten Tomatoes

Kaguya is a mystical miniature girl. She is discovered in a shining bamboo stalk by a childless bamboo cutter. He instantly believes she is of divine origin and brings her home, where he and his wife take her in and raise her as their own. Kaguya grows rapidly and is soon almost indistinguishable from the other children in her village. However, her adoptive parents believe she is destined to be a princess. As she grows, Kaguya is forced to reluctantly abandon her previous carefree life and try to fulfill her role.

If there is one film that stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the Ghibli catalog, it’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, the film has a very distinct experimental art style. It is quite minimalist, resembling a sketch painted with watercolors — a choice Takahata purposefully made as to not distract from the emotional story. Its animation flows like a painting in motion, while its devastatingly emotional story reminds us of the transitory nature of human life. It is an awe-inspiring work of art, which everyone should see at least once.

Where to watch:


Castle in the Sky (1986)

Castle in the Sky Ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui, Minori Terada
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 8 – IMDB / 96% – Rotten Tomatoes

Steampunk flying machines, air pirates, and wild sky chases — Castle in the Sky is one of Studio Ghibli’s most straightforward adventure films. It all begins when Sheeta literally floats down from the sky, saved by the magical powers imbued in her amulet. She is discovered by a young boy named Pazu who graciously takes her in while she recovers. Pazu then shares the legend of an ancient floating city with his visitor. But before they can embark on a journey in search of it, they are attacked by air pirates who are after Sheeta’s mystical pendant.

Castle in the Sky is a lively and enthralling adventure. It might not be as allegorical or mysterious as other Miyazaki works, but it still features Studio Ghibli’s signature gorgeous visuals, a wildly imaginative story, and fun characters. It’s all you would want from an adventure movie about discovering a lost civilization, and it will keep your attention with every frame.

Where to watch:


When Marnie was There (2014)

When Marnie was There

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Main cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara, Kiernan Shipka
  • Genre: Family
  • Ratings: 7.7 – IMDB / 92% – Rotten Tomatoes

Anna is a lonely 12-year-old girl who finds it hard to connect to others, including her foster parents. After a worrying asthma attack, she is sent to live with relatives in the countryside on the recommendation of her doctor. Even in this small community, however, her introverted and withdrawn nature makes it hard to form friendships and trust new people. Until she meets Marnie — a lively girl who lives in a mansion across the town’s lake.

When Marnie was There is written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who also brought us another recent Ghibli film, The Secret World of Arrietty. It is a sentimental tale of self-discovery and friendship, imbued with elements of mystery and fantasy. Although it is not a Miyazaki film, it bears all the telltale signs of an immersive and captivating Studio Ghibli adventure. It will keep you emotionally invested from beginning to end. It’s definitely one of the best films to watch in the Studio Ghibli movies list.

Where to watch:


Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart, Best Studio Ghibli movies

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Director: Yoshifumi Kondō
  • Main cast: Yōko Honna, Issei Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana, Shigeru Muroi
  • Genre: Romance/drama
  • Ratings: 7.9 – IMDB / 94% – Rotten Tomatoes

Whisper of the Heart follows 14-year-old student Shizuku — an aspiring writer and book lover who visits the library quite often. One night, she discovers that all of the books she borrows have been previously checked out by a boy named Seiji. He turns out to be a classmate of hers, and although she finds him annoying at first, they soon discover they have more in common than expected.

Whisper of the Heart is a lot more grounded in reality than most Studio Ghibli films, but that is its strength, not its weakness. It is an unpretentious coming-of-age Ghibli classic. It depicts teenage life and its trials honestly and without condescension. It gives us a glimpse into the everyday life of Japanese students, but its themes cross-cultural barriers. The film delicately explores teenage romance but focuses on dreams and aspirations and the real work required to achieve them. It is a must-watch for both Ghibli fans and first-time viewers.

Where to watch:


My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

yamadas Studio Ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Main cast: Hayato Isobata, Masako Araki, Naomi Uno, Touru Masuoka
  • Genre: Comedy/family
  • Ratings: 7.1 – IMDB / 78% – Rotten Tomatoes

There are no fantasy settings or storylines in this film. Instead, this 1999 movie is all about regular life centering on a regular family in modern-day Japan. Told as a series of animated vignettes, each segment follows a different everyday family scenario. In one, one of the Yamada children gets lost in a department store. In another, one of the kids meets his first girlfriend.

The intimate scale of this film sets it apart from other Ghibli films, as does its unique animation style. It’s a terrific family comedy that focuses on the mundane in a compelling, relatable way.

Where to watch:


Porco Rosso (1992)

porco

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Brad Garrett
  • Genre: Fantasy/adventure
  • Ratings: 7.7 – IMDB / 95% – Rotten Tomatoes

This 1992 film takes place in 1930s Italy run by a fascist government, and it’s up to a bounty hunter, a World War I pilot who happens to look like a pig, to take down sky pirates. Up against an ace pilot who flies for the pirates, Porco Rosso enlists the help of some friends in preparation for a big battle.

Porco Rosso is a bizarre, delightful animated film. It tackles heavy, difficult subject matter with a light tough, creating a whimsical fantasy adventure against a dark backdrop.

Where to watch:


The Wind Rises (2013)

the wind rises ghibli Studio Ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura
  • Genre: Romance/war
  • Ratings: 7.7 – IMDB / 88% – Rotten Tomatoes

The 2013 movie is a look at the real life of the Japanese early aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who helped to design the famous WWII fighter plane the Zero. The fictionalized biography follows Horikoshi’s life, driven by a love of flight and Japanese aviation.

The film is a thoughtful, moving look at militarization and Japan’s post-war legacy. Miyazaki stood by it even as it came under fire from right-wing groups for its depiction of Japan’s military history amid attempts to remilitarize the nation.

Where to watch:


Only Yesterday (1991)

only yesterday ghibli Studio Ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Main cast: Miki Imai, Toshirō Yanagiba, Yōko Honna
  • Genre: Drama
  • Ratings: 7.6 – IMDB / 100% – Rotten Tomatoes

A young woman takes a train into the country to visit relatives after a lifetime of wishing to travel in Tokyo. Along the way, she experiences flashbacks to her childhood as a school girl. Once in the country, she experiences waves of nostalgia, questioning her life choices during her dream-like holiday.

Based on a manga of the same name, Only Yesterday was released to universal acclaim and was long-awaited in North America after breaking box-office records in Japan. Despite this reception, it took more than 20 years for the film to premiere in the US in 2016.

Where to watch:


Ponyo (2008)

ponyo

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Noah Cyrus, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Betty White, Tina Fey
  • Genre: Fantasy/family
  • Ratings: 7.6 – IMDB / 91% – Rotten Tomatoes

Miyazaki’s 10th film follows a goldfish named Ponyo who escapes from the ocean. Ponyo wishes to be human as she arrives on dry land, and once there, she befriends a boy named Sosuke. As her friendship with Sosuke develops, she becomes more and more human. When she’s returned to her ocean home, her father, a powerful magician, tries to trap her, but she escapes again, unleashing magic on Sosuke’s village.

Similar to The Little Mermaid, and more recently the Disney Pixar film Luca, this 2008 movie blends childhood innocence and imaginative play with dark mythology. The animation is gorgeous and often bizarre.

Where to watch:


Ocean Waves (1993)

ocean waves

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 76 minutes
  • Director: Tomomi Mochizuki
  • Main cast: Nobuo Tobita, Toshihiko Seki, Yōko Sakamoto
  • Genre: Romance
  • Ratings: 6.6 – IMDB / 89% – Rotten Tomatoes

This 1993 movie focuses on two long-time friends from high school who have their bond tested due to the arrival of a new female transfer student. It’s a teenage soap opera but it’s also very well executed.

Originally a TV movie, this Ghibli feature was unavailable in North America for a long time. Disney had the rights to a home media release as part of the Studio Ghibli collection, but it’s an obvious outlier from a lot of the other family-friendly titles, so Disney likely assumed it wouldn’t sit well with the rest of the brand.

Where to watch:


Pom Poko (1994)

pom

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Main cast: Kokontei Shinchou, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 7.3 – IMDB / 86% – Rotten Tomatoes

Magical tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs) are being forced out of their homes by human development so they try to fight back with their shape-shifting powers in this 1994 movie.

This is obviously a parable of how we should be mindful of nature and try to stay in balance with it, aligning it with many of the best Ghibli films. While not directed by Miyizaki, it shares thematic interests with his most popular titles, like Princess Monoke and Nausicaä

Where to watch:


The Cat Returns (2002)

the cat returns

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 75 minutes
  • Director: Hiroyuki Morita
  • Main cast: Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Elliott Gould, Tim Curry
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 7.1 – IMDB / 88% – Rotten Tomatoes

A young person who can talk to cats rescues one from being hit by a car in this 2002 movie. It turns out that this particular feline is the Price of the Cats. She is brought to the kingdom of cats to mary the prince, Lune by Lune’s father the king, who feels gratitude to the girl. Once there, she begins to develop feline features.

This is perfect watching for the young and young at heart. A sequel to Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns is an award-winning Ghibli film and was the highest grossing film of 2002 in Japan.

Where to watch:


Tales from Earthsea (2006)

earthsea ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Director: Gorô Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Bunta Sugawara, Junichi Okada, Aoi Teshima, Yūko Tanaka
  • Genre: Fantasy/adventure
  • Ratings: 6.3 – IMDB / 40% – Rotten Tomatoes

A wizard enlists the help of a young prince to fight the powers of evil as they cast a shadow on the world. As his own magical powers dwindle, the wizard must entrust the fate of the world to his young companions.

This epic fantasy film from 2006 is based very loosely on the Earthsea novels and stories from the late American author Ursula K. Le Guin. While the finished work doesn’t really resemble the source material. A rare critical miss for Studio Ghibli, the film is nonetheless a fun adventure with gorgeous animation.

Where to watch:


The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

arrety ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: G
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Main cast: Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Bridgit Mendler, Tom Holland
  • Genre: Fantasy/family
  • Ratings: 7.6 – IMDB / 94% – Rotten Tomatoes

Here’s another Ghibli film based on the works of a Western author (in this case, The Borrowers by Mary Norton). A group of very small human-looking creatures try to stay hidden as they “borrow” things from normal-sized humans in order to survive, but one such borrower strikes a friendship with a larger human, upsetting the fragile balance that has existed for generations.

A beautiful adaptation of a classic story, The Secret World of Arrietty makes one long for more Ghibli adaptations of classic children’s stories.

Where to watch:


From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

poppy hill ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Director: Gorô Miyazaki
  • Main cast:
  • Genre: Romance/family
  • Ratings: 7.4 – IMDB / 87% – Rotten Tomatoes

Set during the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, this film shows two high school kids who are trying to keep a WWII clubhouse from being destroyed. Once again we get some teenage soap opera action.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, the film offers an intimate look at childhood innocence in a historical setting.

Where to watch:


Earwig and the Witch (2020)

earwig ghibli

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 82 minutes
  • Director: Gorō Miyazaki
  • Main cast: Shinobu Terajima, Etsushi Toyokawa, Gaku Hamada, Kokoro Hirasawa
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Ratings: 4.8 – IMDB / 29% – Rotten Tomatoes

Set in England, Earwig and the Witch centers on an orphan girl who discovers she has magical powers when she’s adopted by a witch.

The most recent of the Studio Ghibli films to watch is this 2020 entry. It’s also the first movie from the studio to be a fully 3D CGI production. Not much of a hit with critics, the film is nevertheless worth checking out as a rare example of digital animation for the studio.

Where to watch:


That’s a look at all of the films along with where one can watch the Studio Ghibli movies. In 2023, a new movie, How Do You Live?, is scheduled to be released. We will update our “where to watch the Studio Ghibli movies” list if that film pops up on streaming.