What's Your Favorite Hayao Miyazaki Film?

Howl about which Miyazaki films Moves you below.
Howl about which Miyazaki films Moves you below.
Image: Studio Ghibli

Today is the 80th birthday of one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live. A filmmaker whose name deserves to up there with all-time legends like Hitchcock, Spielberg, Kurosawa, Kubrick, and Ford. That man is Hayao Miyazaki.


Miyazaki is the co-founder of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, and with them, he’s directed a list of films that rivals the output of any filmmaker who has ever lived. The Castle of Cagliostro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises. And that’s just so far. Each one, in its own way, a masterpiece.

Today, on his 80th birthday we ask you: Which is your favorite? It’s a tough question! Even if you’ve only seen a handful, odds are you’ll find it difficult to choosem because each of them possess so much magic and wonder. I know that’s true for me. I love them all. However, when pressed, even though I don’t think it’s the best of the bunch, my personal favorite is...

Porco Rosso. Sure, it may lack some of the whimsy of the other films, but its (slightly) more straight forward adventure feel makes it unique. I also love movies about flight, so that helps. But none of which is to say tomorrow my favorite couldn’t be Totoro, or Kiki, or Spirited, or Mononoke. You just never know. Which is why we’d love you to discuss below.

Happy birthday Hayao. Thank you for the gifts you’ve given every single person in the world, even if they have yet to open them yet.

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1) Kiki’s Delivery Service because it’s the first Miyazaki film I’d ever seen. I sought it out after a rave review by Roger Ebert. The moment where Kiki has her broom in a power dive to try to rescue Tombo while the soundtrack goes completely silent is still one of my favorite scenes in any movie. You know she’s going to catch him but the lack of sound really ratchets up the tension.

2) My Neighbor Totoro - The second film of his I was able to see. How can you not love a Totoro?

I’ve since seen all the rest of the catalog and enjoy most all of them immensely but these two hold a special place for me.