Where to stream Studio Ghibli’s latest film The Boy and the Heron

Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki returns with a touching, Oscar-winning epic

A scene from The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron won Best Animated Feature at the 2024 Oscars. (Alamy)

Despite threatening retirement, Japanese animation icon Hayao Miyazaki is back with a new, Oscar-winning feature film The Boy and the Heron for Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki’s career in animation is unrivalled. Having helmed Ghibli classics like 1988’s My Neighbour Totoro, 1997’s Princess Mononoke, 2001’s Oscar winner Spirited Away and 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle, the 82-year-old filmmaker shows no signs of slowing.

For his latest work, Miyazaki takes his cues from a novel of the same name released back in 1937 but injects it with his own story that combines elements of nature, family and fantasy.

The Boy and the Heron won widespread critical acclaim and scooped the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in March 2024, beating the likes of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Ahead of its streaming release, here’s everything you know to know about the film.

A scene from The Boy and the Heron
Animation director Hayao Miyazaki returns with The Boy and the Heron. (Elysian Film Group)

Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron will be available to buy and rent from streaming services on June 25. It will be released on Netflix UK at a later date.

The animation was originally released in UK cinemas on 26 December 2023, five months after its Japanese debut.

A scene from The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron has been praised by film critics. (Elysian Film Group)

For those not fortunate enough to catch Miyazaki’s latest, a stream of positive reviews provide a taste of what he has in store.

According to Total Film, The Boy and the Heron proves that its director is still working at the top of his game, with the outlet saying that if this is indeed Miyazaki’s final farewell “it’s an extremely fond one.” The Telegraph were equally impressed, writing that the movie will “move and amaze its audience on levels just beyond their cognitive reach.”

Deadline was a tad more balanced, saying it has “moments of beauty along with narrative missteps,” while Variety had similar thoughts, calling it “both comforting and slightly disappointing.”

Read more reviews below:

Total Film: Miyazaki proves he's still a master of the medium (4-min read)

The Telegraph: This Studio Ghibli swansong may be its finest film to date (3-min read)

Deadline: Hayao Miyazaki’s Mysterious Tale Of Loss And Wonder (5-min read)

Variety: Hayao Miyazaki Put Retirement on Hold to Bring Us a Few New Fantasies (6-min read)

The English language trailer for The Boy and the Heron arrived in November 2023 and showcased the vocal talents of its starry cast – one that spans Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Christian Bale, Florence Pugh and more.

Check it out below,.

Released in September 2023, the first trailer for The Boy and the Heron invited us into a world where nature and man are at odds while introducing us to a young boy who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a talking heron – as you do.

Watch it below:

A scene from The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron combines themes of family, nature and fantasy. (Alamy)

After suffering a family tragedy, young Mahito Maki moves to a new town where he struggles with grief and fitting into his new surroundings.

As the story progresses, we watch on as Mahito battles external chaos before befriending a mysterious grey heron and being whisked into a fantasy world inside an ominous old tower that features magical characters and even more talking animals.

Set during the height of the Pacific War, Miyazaki’s latest continues many of the threads and themes that run throughout the majority of his work, including the clashing of nature and man and the importance of family.

Robert Pattinson on the red carpet for The Batman
Robert Pattinson plays a talking heron in the Studio Ghibli film. (Getty)

Many big-name actors lend their voices to the English language cut of The Boy and The Heron, which was released alongside its original Japanese dub.

Star of Netflix’s You, Luca Padovan, provides the voice of Mahito, with The Batman star Robert Pattinson providing the vocals for the film’s titular heron.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman, Christian Bale, stars as Mahito’s father Shoichi, with Marvel’s Florence Pugh appearing as Kiriko, Mark Hamill as Granduncle, Karen Fukuhara as Lady Himi and Gemma Chan as Natsuko.

Meanwhile, Willem Dafoe plays the Noble Pelican, with Dave Bautista starring as the Parakeet King and Mamoudou Athie, Tony Revolori, and Dan Stevens all playing parakeets.

The Boy and the Heron will be available to buy and rent on 25 June