Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

cowboy bebop the movie poster 2001 film
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking and a strong story

That weird balance between child and adult that often comes with anime

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie

Studio:  Sunrise

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  September 1, 2001

MPAA Rating:  R


Don’t hate me for my flow-y hair!

A terrorist attack has hit Mars and a biological weapon has been released that kills everyone who comes in contact with it.  With threats of more attacks, a massive bounty has been put out on the heads of those responsible…leading to work for the crew of the Bebop:  Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Fay Valentine, Edward Wong, and their dog Ein.  With the threat of the terrorist attack rising, the cowboys are out to get those responsible and the payday that comes with it.

Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie (カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 or Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira which translates as Cowboy Bebop:  Heaven’s Door) is generally known as Cowboy Bebop:  Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door in Japan.  The film spins off of the popular anime series and actually falls between episodes twenty-two and twenty-three.  The film was met with relatively positive reviews.


Nothing like a transvestite hitting on a little kid to liven up a movie!

One of the tricky things for Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie was telling a story that was both steamlined for the story of the TV series and its rabid fans, but also a story that could be accessible for first time viewers.  As a first time viewer, I found the film rather solid…and wanting to seek out the series.

Despite a few minor set-up issues, I didn’t feel I had really lost much by not seeing the TV series.  I felt the movie does a good job developing the characters and their attitudes.  The film was a rather solid action movie along the lines of a Mission:  Impossible type story…mixed with a more comedic approach.

This is the aspect of the movie which might be tough for some viewers.  Anime (even for me) sometimes has a strange balance that feels like it is for kids even if it isn’t a kids movie.  Characters like Ed and the dog Ein feel very kid based…like watching a Saturday morning cartoon.  On the flipside, the action and violence is very real and it just doesn’t always mix well in its tone.


Jet’s taking you down!

Anime is also very divisive.  It took a long time for me to come to accept anime because there is a lot of bad, cheap anime.  Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie isn’t one of those cheap anime films.  The picture is stylish and put together with interesting compositions and framing making it a compelling film to watch.

Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie succeeded in my opinion because it took a story that I had no background in and made me want to seek out more of the backstory.   I find that movies and TV series that do this are some of the more compelling stories.  The toughest thing about wanting to seek out the rest of Cowboy Bebop is trying to find the time…another advantage of seeing it in film form.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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