All 24 Studio Ghibli Movies in Order

Studio Ghibli Movies in Order
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Navigating the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli can feel like a whimsical journey through a dreamscape. As a lifelong admirer, I’ve often wondered how best to traverse this cinematic wonderland, and so I’ve put together a guide to watch all Studio Ghibli movies in order. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a newcomer, this chronology offers a fresh perspective on these masterpieces.

At present, there are 24 Studio Ghibli movies that grace our screens, with the latest addition being ‘The Boy and the Heron,’ set to enchant audiences on December 8, 2023.

Editor’s Note: This post is consistently updated to include the latest movie releases by Studio Ghibli.

1. ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ (1984)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

In the aftermath of the Seven Days of Fire, a cataclysmic event that obliterated civilization and birthed the Toxic Jungle, teeming with colossal mutant insects, the Valley of the Wind prophesies a savior in blue. Nausicaä, a young princess with a deep connection to the jungle’s creatures, stumbles upon an apocalyptic bioweapon—the Giant Warrior embryo—after a fateful crash involving the kingdom of Tolmekia.

As political tensions escalate, with Tolmekia seizing control and seeking to annihilate the Toxic Jungle, Nausicaä discovers the jungle’s plants can purify the polluted world. Amidst battles, betrayals, and prophecies fulfilled, she emerges as a beacon of hope, highlighting nature’s resilience and the potential for coexistence.

Even though it predates the founding of Studio Ghibli, the film is commonly recognized as a Ghibli creation and was included in the Studio Ghibli Collection for both DVD and Blu-ray releases.

2. ‘Castle in the Sky’ (1986)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is the first official Studio Ghibli film. It is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and you can already tell as it involves a conscious message against war and about how to protect the environment, two very important themes for Miyazaki. It might not be as entertaining as the next movies, but it is still quite charming. 

3. ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ (1988)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is the first Ghibli masterpiece. ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ is such an incredible film that it has shaped the consciousness of Japanese society against war. This film is directed by Isao Takahata, the other master at Ghibli who would always focus his work on more serious and grounded storylines. 

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4. ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ (1988)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Released in the same year as Grave of the Fireflies, Totoro makes for a more light-tone film. It focuses on the story of two sisters living in the Japanese countryside as they wait for their sick mother to get better. Totoro is a fantastic family film, and it would give the Studio its mascot, which appears at the beginning of every film they make. 

5. ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ (1989)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ is just one of those movies that will make you smile from beginning to end. The story of a young witch trying to learn about the human world is filled with amazing sequences and a lovely message on friendship. Miyazaki keeps it simple and enjoyable. The whole town, where the story sets in, becomes a place we wish we could visit. 

6. ‘Only Yesterday’ (1991)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is another Takahata film, meaning it is much more adult and serious. The film tells the story of a young woman who, after becoming tired of her life in the city, moves to the countryside to live a simpler life. The movie works as a sort of memory for the main character, as she remembers her childhood and all the events that contribute to her development as a person.

7. ‘Porco Rosso’ (1992)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

‘Porco Rosso’ is a very strange movie. The film has a sort of Casablanca feeling, with the main character battling air pirates while also being emotionally trapped by his past and Femme Fatales. Oh! The main character is also an anthropomorphic pig. Porco is filled with imagination, action, and even a good old dose of intrigue. It’s one of the most mature of the studio’s earliest films. 

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8. ‘Ocean Waves’ (1993)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This might be the most obscure of Ghibli films. The film was made for TV, so it became a sort of rarity for a long time. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, it is easier to find in some countries. The film is a simple love triangle that evolves into a meaningful life story. It is also the first Ghibli film not directed by Miyazaki or Takahata.

9. ‘Pom Poko’ (1994)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

The title refers to the sound that the main creatures of the film make when they drum their bellies. ‘Pom Poko’ was the first time Ghibli started to experiment with other animation styles, and the result was a fun little adventure in a more magical realm than what Takahata used to do with his works. 

10. ‘Whisper of the Heart’ (1995)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. ‘Whisper of the Heart’ might be one of the best Ghibli films to date. It tells the story of a young girl who dreams of being a writer and her friendship with a young boy who makes musical instruments. Sadly, Kondo died not long after the film’s release, and Miyazaki and Takahata’s wish for him to become their successor did not come to fruition. He was a real talent. 

11. ‘Princess Mononoke’ (1997)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

The first Ghibli epic! Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, ‘Princess Mononoke’ has a bit of everything. It is a powerful environmental tale, works as a sort of big action film with amazing set pieces, and is also a love story. Miyazaki takes a lot from filmmakers like Kurosawa and manages to create an incredible fantasy film with a huge scope and a high entertainment factor.

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12. ‘My Neighbors the Yamadas’ (1999)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is another of Ghibli’s biggest experiments with animation. Isao Takahata directs the film and dwells on the little details of Japanese life in the city. ‘The Yamadas’ are a wonderful family, and their antics work well to create comedy, which is the genre the film tries to fit in. In terms of animation, the Ghibli portfolio has nothing more unique. 

13. Spirited Away (2001)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This film is the consecration of Miyazaki as a filmmaker and also of Studio Ghibli as a factory of geniuses in the animation field. The film won Best Animated Film at the Oscars and helped bring anime to the mainstream. This is another high fantasy tale from Miyazaki, and it has one of the most endearing main characters in the studio’s filmography. 

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14. ‘The Cat Returns’ (2002)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Directed by Hiroyuki Morita and Reiko Yoshida, ‘The Cat Returns’ is the first theatrical Ghibli film non-directed by Miyazaki or Takahata since ‘Whisper of the Heart,’ which is funny because ‘The Cat Returns’ is a spinoff from that film. It is one of the shortest Ghibli films but also one of the most magical. It is better watched along with ‘Whisper of the Heart’ for a better effect. 

15. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (2004)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

My personal favorite and one of the most visually striking films from Ghibli, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle,’ is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. The movie has it all: love, war, comedy, and a powerful message on family and what makes you who you are. The cast of characters is incredible, and after so many years, it’s still a cornerstone of the medium.

16. ‘Tales From Earthsea’ (2006)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This one is another adaptation, this time of the ‘Earthsea’ series by Ursula K Le Guin, one of the biggest fantasy authors ever. Miyazaki’s son, Goro, directs the film, and it’s normally seen as one of the weakest films in the series. Still, it is worth seeing if you are a completionist. 

17. ‘Ponyo’ (2008)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Miyazaki is back in the director’s chair for this one and after ‘Howl’s Moving Castle.’ This one goes back to the simpler times of ‘My Neighbor Totoro,’ as it tells the story of a young boy and his friendship with a girl who is actually a fish. The environmental theme is also really strong in this one. 

18. ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ (2010)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Arrietty is another novel adaptation. This time, the novel ‘The Borrowers’ by Mary Norton tells the story of a tiny group of people who live in people’s houses and borrow things from them to make their houses and clothing. The environments are real works of art, and this also marks when a film was directed by someone different from Miyazaki or Takahata. It’s clear by this point they are trying to create a new guard.

19. ‘From Up Poppy Hill’ (2011)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Goro Miyazaki’s second try behind the director’s chair and a sort of redemption as Poppy Hill is an excellent film. The story of two young people living in a port town is loveable from beginning to end, and the characters are just as easy to root for. The twist at the end is also quite satisfying. It shows that Goro has the talent to continue his father’s work in the future. 

20. ‘The Wind Rises’ (2013)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is the latest Hayao Miyazaki film to be released in theaters; according to him, it would be his last one. ‘The Wind Rises’ strays away from the fantasy territory to tell a more realistic story. The narrative follows an airplane designer who must confront that his inventions are used to kill people during the war. The film is sad and meditative, but it is also one of the best films, period, you could ever watch. 

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21. ‘The Tale of Princess Kaguya’ (2013)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

This is the last Isao Takahata film, as he would die after the release of this movie. Oh, boy! What a way to go out. Kaguya is not only a bang. It is a nuclear explosion. Takahata goes back to experiment with their animation style, and the result is strikingly beautiful. The film tells the Japanese legend of Kaguya in the best way possible. The film was nominated for an Oscar and deserved to win but was defeated by Big Hero 6.

22. ‘When Marnie Was There’ (2014)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Hiromasa Yonebashi, the director of Arrietty, returns with a wonderful film and, for a time, what would be the last film from the studio. Marnie tells the story of a young, sick girl who goes to the countryside to get better and makes friends with a particularly strange girl there. The film is Ghibli at its best, and while it is an amazing film, it would have been sad if this was the send-off for the studio.

23. ‘Earwig and the Witch’ (2020)

Studio Ghibli Movies In Order: All 23 Movies Guide (2021 Update)

Six years after the release of When Marnie Was There, Studio Ghibli returned with Goro Miyazaki in the director’s chair for the studio’s first 3D animation film. Sadly, their inexperience in making 3D films is noticeable, and Earwig isn’t a good film. Would the studio die with a whimper?

24. ‘The Boy and the Heron’ (2023)

The Boy and the Heron (2023)

Mahito, a young lad burdened with longing for his mother, embarks on a journey between realms where life and death entwine in unique harmony. In this place, life’s end transforms into a fresh start. Drawing inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki’s own experiences, “The Boy and the Heron” unfolds as a heartfelt fantasy, celebrating life, death, and the profound bonds of friendship.

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