Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Howl's Moving Castle (2004, Jp.)

In director Hayao Miyazaki and producer John Lasseter's Best Animated Feature-nominated enchanting fantasy based on English writer Diana Wynne Jones' book:

  • the evocative opening shot of a gigantic, anthropomorphic Castle (with legs) strolling past a farm ranch on its mechanical chicken legs
  • the character of roguish, narcissistic, immature, yet brave and principled powerful teenaged wizard Howl (voice of Christian Bale), who owned the Castle - Howl was cursed and seeking the love of young girl to help him break the curse
  • the memorable scene in which The Witch of the Waste (voice of Lauren Bacall) - looking like an obese woman - was spiteful and jealous over Howl's attentiveness and growing love for the pretty but mousy and shy young hatmaker and bookworm Sophie (voice of Emily Mortimer), so when Sophie refused to serve the Witch, the young girl was transformed with a spell into a 90 year-old woman (voice of Jean Simmons)
Sophie Transformed Into 80 Year-Old Woman
  • the scene of Sophie's flight to the countryside to break the curse, where she was led to the Castle by bouncing Turniphead, a living Scarecrow (voice of Crispin Freeman) also cursed
  • throughout the film - Sophie's fluid age-shifting depending upon her emotions, and the Witch's waning or changeable powers
  • the funny, exhaustive race up long, steep stairs between Sophie and The Witch - both tiring by the effort, although won by Sophie
  • the bizarre, creepy scene (involving giant light bulbs and dancing shadows) in which Howl's former tutor, now the King’s royal magic adviser or sorceress Madame Suliman (voice of Blythe Danner) stripped The Witch of her powers, causing her to regress to just an elderly woman; in another sequence, Mme Suliman cast a spell revealing to Sophie what Howl really was in his fierce, beastly/feathered flying form
  • the enchanting scene in which Sophie restored Howl's heart by pushing Calcifer into Howl's chest - this freed the Castle's talking ball of fire demon and source of energy - aka Calcifer (voice of Billy Crystal) - to become a starry sprite again
Happily-Ever-After Conclusion
  • the heart-warming, poignant, happily-ever-after shot of the restored family of Sophie (young again, but with silver-white hair), Howl, Howl's apprentice Markl, the Witch, the strange, wheezing dog Hean, and Calcifer returning to be with the others - now free of deceptions and curses - and sailing away in a new flying castle, as Howl and Sophie kissed

The Anthropomorphic Moving Castle

The Witch of the Waste


Race Up Stairs Between Sophie and Witch

Fire Demon Calcifer

Calcifer Pushed into Howl's Chest

Howl's Feathered Form as a Bird-Like Creature


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