Sakura Kinomoto, Cardcaptor of the Clow Cards, successfully seals the Arrow Card with help from her friends Syaoran Li, Kero, Tomoyo Daidoji, and Meiling Li. That night, Sakura experiences a strange dream where two pieces of cloth pull her underwater. After school ends for spring break, Sakura and Tomoyo visit the "Twin Bells" shop where Sakura participates in a lottery to win a vacation to Hong Kong. As Sakura reaches for a lottery ball, one magically flies into her hand, the winning ball for the vacation. Sakura goes with Tomoyo, Kero, her big brother Toya and his best friend Yukito Tsukishiro, who Sakura has a crush on.
The group tour the city but Sakura experiences the dream again which this time features two malevolent birds and a mysterious woman sports the floating cloths. During a tour of the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (also referred to as "Bird Street"), Sakura spots the two birds and pursues them across the city, finding an old water well where the clothes emerge and hypnotise her. As Sakura is drawn towards the well, Syaoran appears and scares the birds away. Reuniting with the others including Meiling, Sakura is taken to the Li family estate where she meets Syaoran's eccentric sisters and his mother Yelan, a powerful sorceress who senses Sakura is in danger. Staying for the night, Sakura experiences the dream again where the woman attacks her. Yelan takes Sakura outside and warns her that the woman is extremely powerful and is deliberately contacting Sakura. The next day, Syaoran and Meiling are forced to accompany Sakura and co. around Hong Kong should something happen.
Sakura spots the birds again and pursues them with Kero. They chase them down to an antiques store, where they come across an old book that has a picture of the woman on the cover. Sakura is hypnotised again and opens the book before her friends, flooding the shop and transporting the group to another dimension where the woman dwells. The birds are revealed to be her cloths. The woman, actually a sorceress referred to as Madoushi (named "Su Yung" in the English dub), attacks Sakura in rage, believing she had summoned Clow Reed, creator of the Clow Cards. Sakura discovers her friends save Syaoran have been taken prisoner, and Madoushi demands Clow comes in exchange for their freedom. Syaoran distracts Madoushi so she can rescue Tomoyo but is captured as well. Sakura escapes with Kero and Tomoyo back to the antiques store, but find the book has vanished. Kero realises he knows Madoushi, a fortune teller who Clow fell in love with and taught her magic. But she used them for evil and was imprisoned in another dimension by Clow, but is likely unaware she is a spirit. Sakura realises the well appeared on the book cover and it is another entrance to Madoushi's prison.
Going to the well, Sakura encounters Yelan who breaks the shield surrounding the well to allow Sakura and Kero to enter. Sakura confronts Madoushi who uses the magic of Sakura's friends to escape her prison but is shocked by Hong Kong's appearance. Sakura and Kero follow, but Madoushi captures Sakura and holds her prisoner. When Sakura tells her of Clow's passing, Madoushi angrily tries to drown Sakura by trapping her in a flooded skyscraper with her cloths. Sakura uses the Arrow Card to escape and she confronts Madoushi, sympathising with the sorceress and confirms Clow is dead. Madoushi dissolves into water, passing on, but releases Sakura's friends. While Toya and Yukito have no memory of what happened, Sakura tells Tomoyo and Kero they may have to visit Hong Kong again in the future.
The same production staff that produced the anime television series adaptation of Cardcaptor Sakura also produced Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie. The film, animated by Madhouse and produced by Bandai Visual, was directed by Morio Asaka, written by Nanase Ohkawa of Clamp, and featured character design by Kumiko Takahashi, who based the designs on Clamp's original illustrations. The art director for the film was Katsufumi Hariu, and there were three animation directors: Hitoshi Ueda, Kumiko Takahashi and Kunihiko Sakurai. The music was produced by Takayuki Negishi, with Masafumi Mima as the sound director.
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie was released on VHS, LD and DVD in Japan by Bandai Visual on February 25, 2000. The film was re-released on November 25, 2000 on VHS, May 25, 2007 on DVD in a two-disc set with Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, and on December 22, 2009 on DVD. Nelvana released an English dubbed version of the film with Ocean Studios, retaining the same name and story changes as its main Cardcaptors dub, although it was dubbed visually uncut and released in both edited and uncut editions. As with the television series, Pioneer Entertainment also released the film on home video with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles. Both the edited and unedited versions were released on VHS and DVD on March 26, 2002. Discotek Media released the film on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on September 30, 2014 in North America.
The theme song for the film is "Tōi Kono Machi de" (遠いこの街で, "In This Distant City") by Naomi Kaitani. The single containing the song was released on August 11, 1999 by Victor Entertainment. The film's original soundtrack was released on August 25, 1999 by Victor Entertainment containing one disc and 30 tracks.