Porco Rosso

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Porco Rosso
Porco Rosso is about to fly with Madame Gina next to him on his plane. To their right is the film's title and below them is a plane flying in the sky—and the film's credits.
Theatrical release poster
Literal meaningCrimson Pig
Revised HepburnKurenai no Buta
Directed byHayao Miyazaki
Screenplay byHayao Miyazaki
Based onHikōtei Jidai
by Hayao Miyazaki
Produced byToshio Suzuki
CinematographyAtsushi Okui
Edited byTakeshi Seyama
Music byJoe Hisaishi
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • July 18, 1992 (1992-07-18) (Japan)
Running time
94 minutes
Box office$44.6 million (est.)

Porco Rosso (Japanese: 紅の豚, Hepburn: Kurenai no Buta, lit.'Crimson Pig') is a 1992 Japanese animated adventure fantasy film[1] written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1989 manga Hikōtei Jidai.[2] It stars the voices of Shūichirō Moriyama, Tokiko Kato, Akemi Okamura and Akio Ōtsuka. Animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Japan Airlines, and the Nippon Television Network, it was produced by Toshio Suzuki and distributed by Toho. Its score is by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi.

The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing "air pirates" in the Adriatic Sea. However, an unusual curse has transformed him into an anthropomorphic pig. Once called Marco Pagot (Marco Rossolini in the American version), he is now known to the world as "Porco Rosso", Italian for "Red Pig".

A first English-dubbed version was made for Japan Airlines and included in the Ghibli LD Box Set and on the first Region 2 DVD releases in 2002. The film was later redubbed by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States and Canada on February 22, 2005. GKIDS re-issued the film on Blu-ray and DVD on November 21, 2017, under a new deal with Studio Ghibli.


In 1929, Italian World War I fighter ace and bounty hunter Porco Rosso, cursed to have a pig's head, defends an ocean liner from airborne pirates. He dines at his friend Gina's Hotel Adriano.

The pirates contract American ace Curtis to assist their attacks. Curtis falls in love with Gina but she loves Porco. While Porco is flying to Milan to have his red seaplane serviced, Curtis shoots him down. Porco survives and continues the trip by train with his damaged plane, to Gina's irritation. She reminds him there is a warrant for his arrest in Italy.

Porco meets his mechanic Piccolo in Milan. Piccolo's sons have emigrated so the work will be done by his young granddaughter Fio. Once Porco's plane is finished, Fio joins him on his flight home as cover should the secret police arrest them. They can claim that Porco took Fio hostage to force Piccolo to help. The new fascist government is hiring pirates for their own use, putting Porco out of business.

Curtis proposes to Gina but she says she is waiting for Porco. Porco and Fio are ambushed by the pirates, and Curtis challenges Porco to a duel. Fio declares that if Porco wins, Curtis must pay his debts owed to Piccolo's company, and if Curtis wins, he may marry her.

While Porco is preparing shells, Fio glimpses his true face. Porco tells Fio a story from World War I. Just after Gina's wedding to Porco's pilot friend Bellini, their squadron was attacked. Porco entered a cloud to evade his pursuers. He blacked out then awakened to complete stillness above the clouds. The airmen who died in the dogfight—Bellini included—rose out of the cloud to fly up towards a band of thousands of planes flying together. After offering in vain to die in Bellini's place for Gina's sake, he awakened again flying alone low over the sea. He concludes that he is meant to "fly solo". Fio rebukes him and kisses his cheek.

Curtis and Porco's dogfight devolves into a boxing match when both planes' guns jam. Porco accuses Curtis of being a womanizer; Curtis responds that Porco is worse; Fio adores him, and Gina is waiting on him to the exclusion of any other, but he does not reciprocate. The combatants knock each other out and fall into the shallow water. Gina calls out to Porco, who rises first and is declared the winner. She warns that the Italian air force is on its way, and invites everyone to regroup at her hotel. Porco requests Gina look after Fio and turns away. Fio gives Porco a kiss.

Porco volunteers to lead the air force away and invites Curtis to join him. As they walk to their planes, Curtis catches a glimpse of Porco's face and says he has changed (possibly back into a human); he asks to get a better look and is refused. As she flies in a jet seaplane, Fio narrates the epilogue: Porco outflew the Italian air force and remained at large; Fio became president of the Piccolo aircraft company; Curtis became a famous actor, and the pirates continued to attend the Hotel Adriano in their old age. She says that whether Gina's hope for Porco Rosso was ever realized is their secret. A red seaplane is seen docked by Gina's garden as Fio flies over the hotel.


Porco was voiced by Moriyama in Japanese and Keaton in the 2005 English dub
Character name Voice actor
Original English dub Japanese English
Original, 1992 Walt Disney Pictures, 2005
Porco Rosso / Marco Pagot Porco Rosso / Marco Rossolini Shūichirō Moriyama Michael Keaton
Donald Curtis Akio Ōtsuka Cary Elwes
Fio Piccolo Akemi Okamura Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Madame Gina Tokiko Kato Susan Egan
Mr. Piccolo Sanshi Katsura David Ogden Stiers
Ferrarin Ferrari Mahito Tsujimura Tom Kenny
Capo Boss Tsunehiko Kamijō Brad Garrett
Mamma Aiuto Gang Members Reizō Nomoto Bill Fagerbakke
Osamu Saka Kevin Michael Richardson
Yuu Shimaka Frank Welker

The cast of the 1992 Japan Airlines English dub is mostly unverified due to not having any known existing credits. It stars Ward Sexton as Porco, alongside Lynn Harris as Fio and Barry Gjerde as several additional voices.[3][4][5]

The French dub of the film stars Jean Reno as Porco.[6]


The film was originally planned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on Hayao Miyazaki's manga The Age of the Flying Boat, but grew into a feature-length film. The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia cast a shadow over production and prompted a more serious tone for the film, which had been set in Dalmatia. The airline remained a major investor in the film and showed it as an in-flight film well before its theatrical release.[7] Due to this, the opening text introducing the film appears simultaneously in Japanese, Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, and German. Telecom Animation Film Co., Ltd. helped animate the film.

As with Miyazaki's other films, Joe Hisaishi composed the soundtrack. For the soundtrack, Tokiko Kato performs "The Time of Cherries" as well as an original song, "Once in a While, Talk of the Old Days".

History, geography and politics[edit]

Stiniva Beach

Marco is an Italian hero from the First World War and is shown fighting against Austro-Hungarian fighter planes in a flashback sequence. The story is set in Northern Italy, including Milan, and the Italian and Croatian Adriatic Sea east coast. Some locations resemble certain islands of the Italian Lakes. The concealed beach Porco uses as a hideout bears a strong resemblance to Stiniva Beach, on the southern side of the Croatian island of Vis.[8]

Miyazaki shed light on the political context of the making of the film in an interview with Empire. He reflects that the conflicts that broke out during the film's production (such as those in Dubrovnik and elsewhere) made Porco Rosso a much more complicated and difficult film.[9]

Evident historical and political realism aside, at least one scholar has argued that the film's more overt historical references can be understood as representative of wakon yōsai (Jp; "Japanese spirit, Western learning")—a tendency, since the Meiji period, for Japanese artists to paint Europe as spectacular, while simultaneously maintaining the distance necessary to preserve a distinct sense of Japanese identity. "In Porco Rosso," states academic Chris Wood, "Europe is tamed, rendered as a charming site of pleasurable consumption, made distant and viewed through a tourist gaze."[10]

Homage to early aviation[edit]

Aermacchi's seaplanes at the Italian Air Force Museum

The fictional "Piccolo" aircraft company depicted in the film is based on the Italian aircraft manufacturers Caproni and Piaggio. The jet shown in the last scene is very similar in concept to the Caproni C-22J, an aircraft designed by Carlo Ferrarin, a designer for Caproni, whose name is notably used in the film for Marco's Air Force pilot friend. The jet-amphibian also has a V-tail, slightly reminiscent of the Magister jet trainer. The Savoia-Marchetti S.55, Fiat C.R.20 and Macchi M.39 are featured in the movie.[11]

Porco's air-force friend Ferrarin was inspired by the Italian Air Force pilot Arturo Ferrarin who flew with an Ansaldo SVA.9 from Rome to Tokyo in 1920.[12] Additionally, the Caproni Ca.309 light reconnaissance aircraft, known as the "Ghibli", was the namesake for Miyazaki's and Takahata's animation studio.

Porco's plane is named after the Savoia S.21, but is based on the Macchi M.33.[13] While in Piccolo's engine shop, the engine to be used in Porco's rebuilt Savoia S.21 also has the word "Ghibli" visible on its rocker covers—in design it is a narrow-angle V-12 engine, similar in form to racing engines of the period. Piccolo mentions that it was used in a racing aeroplane for the Schneider Trophy race in the year before.

In the early 1930s, Italian seaplane designers set world speed records (such as the Macchi M.C.72 designed by the Italian airplane designer Mario Castoldi). One of the test pilots killed during the attempt to set the speed record was named Bellini, the name given to Porco's pilot friend in the film. Italian top fighter aces Francesco Baracca and Adriano Visconti also appear in the film.[11]

Marco Pagot, the real name of the main character, is also a homage to the Pagot brothers, pioneers of Italian animation (Nino and Toni Pagot were the authors of the first Italian animated feature film, The Dynamite Brothers, and Nino's son and daughter Marco and Gi Pagot[14] were Miyazaki's collaborators in the production of Sherlock Hound).

Meanwhile, the character of Curtis is likely to have been named after the American aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss who, along with the Wright Brothers, founded the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Curtis' airplane is a Curtiss R3C, which was built for the 1925 Schneider Cup race (which Porco refers to when he first meets Curtis). His character is also an oblique reference to Ronald Reagan, in that his ambitions lie not only in Hollywood, but also the Presidency. The rest of Curtis' character appears to come directly from the adventure film heroes portrayed by Errol Flynn at this time—indeed, they share a jaw line—including his buccaneering derring-do, willingness to fight, and overall demeanour combined with romantic ardour.

Setouchi Seaplane's Kodiak 100 in L’ala Rossa livery

In 2017, Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki collaborated with Setouchi Seaplanes, a Japanese company flying Kodiak 100 seaplanes in Japan's Seto Inland Sea area, to design a special edition L’ala Rossa livery for Kodiak 100-0143.[15][16][17]

Miyazaki revisited the theme of aviation history in his 2013 film The Wind Rises.


The film was released in Japan on July 18, 1992, by Toho and was released on VHS by Tokuma Shoten in 1993. The movie was later reissued on VHS by Buena Vista Home Entertainment Japan (now Walt Disney Studios Japan) on April 23, 1999, and was released on DVD on December 18, 2002. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on November 6, 2013, with a reissue of the DVD following on July 16, 2014.

Japan Airlines commissioned an English dub that was produced in Japan in 1992 for viewing on international flights. The dub was supervised by Ward Sexton, who also starred as Porco.[3][4] Although Sexton felt the project was too big for an English-speaking cast in Japan, Studio Ghibli insisted he be in charge.[3] The dub was included in the 1996 Ghibli ga Ippai Laserdisc Box Set and on the 2002 Japanese DVD release of the film, both of which are out of print.

Walt Disney Home Entertainment released the film on DVD on February 22, 2005, and on Blu-ray on February 3, 2015, both with a new English dub featuring the voices of Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, which is included on most international releases as well as the 2014 Japanese DVD reissue. This dub was supervised by Tony Bancroft and written by frequent Ghibli dub screenwriters Don and Cindy Hewitt. GKIDS re-issued the film on Blu-ray and DVD on November 21, 2017, under a new deal with Studio Ghibli.[18]


Box office[edit]

Porco Rosso was the number-one film on the Japanese market in 1992, with distribution rentals of ¥2.8 billion[19] and gross receipts of ¥5.4 billion,[20][21] at the time equivalent to $43,000,000 (equivalent to $93,000,000 in 2023).

In France, it sold 167,793 tickets,[22] equivalent to an estimated $1,006,758 at an average 1992 ticket price of FF34 ($6).[23] In other European countries, it grossed $573,719,[24] for an estimated combined total of $44,580,477 grossed in Japan and Europe.

Critical reception[edit]

It won the Cristal du long métrage ("Best feature-length film award") at the 1993 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and also made Time Out's Top 50 animated movie list.[25] On Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 23 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.1/10.[26] On review aggregator Metacritic, it has a score of 83 out of 100 based on 11 critic reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[27]

Wilson McLachlan, of the Left Field Cinema, considered it "the most underrated film from the Studio Ghibli catalogue." Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Miyazaki smooshes fantasy and history into a pastel-pretty yarn as irresistible as his feminism."[26] Robert Pardi of TV Guide gave the film 4/5 stars, stating: "Miyazaki pays homage to Hollywood’s wartime adventure films in this masterwork built around the adventures of a high-flying pig ... This animated feature's visual splendor is matched by a droll screenplay that takes a sty-side view of heroism ... Seamlessly adapted for American audiences by Donald H. Davis and Cindy Hewitt Davis, this spoof/pastiche of old-movie cliches also soars as a paean to the redeeming power of friendship and loyalty."[28]

Cultural impact[edit]

Porco Rosso and his famous line "Better a pig than a fascist" became a rallying symbol among some Spanish artist circles encouraging people to vote against conservative to far-right parties in Spain's 2023 general elections.[29]

Possible sequel[edit]

In 2011, Miyazaki said that he wanted to make a follow-up anime to the 1992 original film if his next few films following Ponyo were successful. The film's working name was Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie; it was to have been set during the Spanish Civil War with Porco appearing as a veteran pilot.[30] Miyazaki was to create the sequel, although the studio has since indicated that the sequel is not in their current plans.


  1. ^ "Porco Rosso (1992) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki". Allmovie. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  2. ^ "Kurenai No Buta (Porco Rosso, The Crimson Pig) (1992) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film". Bcdb.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Reed, Philip J (2020). "In the Mouth of Madness". In Durham, Gabe (ed.). Resident Evil (First ed.). Boss Fight Books. ISBN 978-1-940535-25-8. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Reed, Philip J. (May 18, 2020). "REactors". Noiseless Chatter. Archived from the original on January 19, 2024. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  5. ^ Gjerde, Barry. "Narration Profile". The Barry Gjerde Homepage. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  6. ^ Toyama, Ryoko. "FAQ // Porco Rosso". Nausicaa.net. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  7. ^ "Porco Rosso Review". Omohide. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Sinke (February 12, 2019). "Discover Stiniva, One of CNN's Favorite Beaches". Croatia Times. Archived from the original on October 13, 2023. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  9. ^ Jolin, Dan (September 2009). "Miyazaki on Miyazaki". Empire (243): 119.
  10. ^ Wood, Chris (Winter–Spring 2009). "The European fantasy space and identity construction in Porco Rosso". Post Script. 28 (2): 112. Archived from the original on August 1, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Il Porco Rosso: il volo di Miyazaki nell'aviazione italiana". Fanacea (in Italian). September 21, 2016. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  12. ^ Bendazzi, Giannalberto (2015). Animation: A World History Archived June 12, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Vol. III, p. 221. CRC Press. ISBN 1-31751988-4
  13. ^ Hayao Miyazaki: master of Japanese animation : films, themes, artistry, Stone Bridge Press, Inc., 1999, p. 164
  14. ^ Eric J. Lyman (April 17, 2007). "Cartoons honor Italian animation brothers". The Hollywood Reporter, April 17, 2017. Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Chordas, Peter (March 28, 2018). "A One-of-a-Kind View of Japan's Inland Sea". Setouchi Finder. Archived from the original on June 23, 2023. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  16. ^ Hashimoto, Hiroki (August 10, 2017). "飛ばねえ豚は…宮崎駿監督ら監修、水陸両用機が離陸". The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Archived from the original on July 1, 2023. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  17. ^ "特別塗装機(ラーラ ロッサ)". Setouchi Seaplanes (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 23, 2023. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  18. ^ Carolyn Giardina (July 17, 2017). "Gkids, Studio Ghibli Ink Home Entertainment Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "Kako haikyū shūnyū jōi sakuhin 1992-nen" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  20. ^ Kanō, Seiji [in Japanese] (March 1, 2006). 宮崎駿全書 (Complete Miyazaki Hayao) (Shohan ed.). フィルムアート社 (Film Art Company). p. 173. ISBN 4845906872.
  21. ^ "歴代興収ベスト100" [All-time box office top 100] (in Japanese). Kogyo Tsushinsha. Archived from the original on March 3, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "PORCO ROSSO – Kurenai no buta (1995)". JP's Box-Office. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  23. ^ Hoffman, Mark S. (1992). The World almanac and book of facts, 1993 (125th Anniversary ed.). New York: Pharos Books. p. 296. ISBN 0886876583. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  24. ^ "Kurenai no buta (Porco rosso) (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  25. ^ "Time Out's 50 Greatest Animated Films – Part 3 with Time Out Film - Time Out London". www.timeout.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Porco Rosso". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  27. ^ "Porco Rosso Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  28. ^ "Porco Rosso review". TVGuide. Archived from the original on August 25, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  29. ^ "¿Por qué se han viralizado estos dibujos de 'Porco Rosso' antes de las elecciones?". Cinemanía (in Spanish). July 18, 2023. Archived from the original on July 20, 2023. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  30. ^ "Latest News". Ghibli Wiki. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2016.

External links[edit]