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17 Fun Facts About The Harry Potter Movies
Did you know Robbie Coltrane, aka Hagrid, got a fruit bat stuck in his beard once?
1. Rik Mayall ( Drop Dead Fred ) was originally cast as Peeves.
Rik filmed his scenes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , but they were later cut because "no one was happy with the design," according to the director.
2. When Alfonso Cuarón signed on to direct the third movie, he asked the trio to write a short essay on their characters.
True to their roles, Emma Watson submitted a 16-page paper, Daniel submitted a one-page essay, and Rupert never turned his in.
3. At the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , the credits say, "No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie."
Someone's got a sense of humor!
4. The actress who played Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) was 37 years old during the second film.
She was the oldest actress to portray a Hogwarts student.
5. 210,000 coins were created for the Gringotts scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 .
Bellatrix is a rich biddy.
6. Mad-Eye Moody and Bill Weasley are related in real life.
Brendan Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson are father and son.
7. Throughout all eight films, Daniel Radcliffe went through roughly 160 pairs of glasses.
And he got to keep a pair!
8. Tilda Swinton was reportedly considered for the role of Professor Trelawney, but declined due to scheduling conflicts.
But then we were blessed with Emma Thompson, so all is well.
9. The candles used in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were originally real candles suspended from wires, but they switched to digital after the candles fell from the ceiling.
The candles burned the wires, causing them to fall. The directors therefore switched to prevent the cast from harm.
10. Rupert Grint dressed like his female drama teacher and rapped for his audition tape.
The first line was, "Hello there, my name is Rupert Grint, I hope you like this and don't think I stink."
11. Harry Potter's famous lighting bolt scar has been applied by makeup teams approximately 5,800 times.
This includes Daniel Radcliffe and all his stunt/body doubles.
12. Every wand from all eight movies was created on-site.
Including the 60–70 wands Radcliffe wore out.
13. Rupert was removed from the set during Harry and Hermione's kissing scene because he was laughing too much.
What an adult.
14. Hedwig was played by three male owls in the movies.
Their names were Gizmo, Ook, and Sprout.
15. Emma Watson auditioned for the role of Hermione at her school gym for fun.
Casting agents went to several schools in search of actors, and Emma won the part.
16. Rupert Grint was reportedly cast to play Austin Ames in A Cinderella Story , but turned down the role to commit to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban .
It all worked out perfectly.
17. And last but not least, the adorable Emma Watson used to mouth Harry and Ron's lines.
View this video on YouTube
Watch for yourself!
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All Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Movies Ranked: The Wizarding World by Tomatometer
The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series. But while the first Fantastic Beasts continue the Certified Fresh streak, the second became the first Rotten entry in this cinematic Wizarding World. The third Beasts film, The Secrets of Dumbledore , released April 2022. Now, we’re ranking all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies by Tomatometer! — Alex Vo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 96%
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 88%
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 84%
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 82%
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 81%
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) 77%
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 78%
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) 74%
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) 46%
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) 36%
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All 8 'Harry Potter' Movies Ranked from Worst to Best
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
The Harry Potter franchise is a global phenomenon like few others. It’s been 15 years since the last book was released, and 11 years since the last movie hit theaters, and yet the IP is as strong as it ever was. Harry Potter is ubiquitous in the form of elaborate theme parks, Freeform marathons ( RIP ), video games, and of course, the highly re-readable novels. But Harry Potter doesn’t begin and end with the books. As with anything that’s popular nowadays, Hollywood came calling rather quickly, and the first Harry Potter film was released a little over a year after the fourth book hit the shelves. But in another minor miracle, the Harry Potter film franchise was able to maintain a level of quality rarely found in film series that stretch on past one or two movies, let alone eight.
The Harry Potter movies visualized what book readers had long fantasized about in their heads, and with the creative input and blessing of Rowling, they were able to evolve and grow just as the novels did, with four different directors bringing a variety of flavors to the series from film to film without sacrificing character, story, or continuity. It’s a magnificent accomplishment made all the more impressive by the fact that there’s not an outright bad movie in the bunch. As the franchise remains as popular now as it was a decade ago, and with the films now playing on their new basic cable home at Syfy and USA and streaming on HBO Max , now seems like as good a time as any to revisit the Harry Potter films and rank them worst to best—a somewhat difficult task given the high standard of quality throughout.
A brief note before we begin, though: For the purposes of this feature, I’m evaluating each Harry Potter movie as a film first and foremost, not necessarily how it stacks up against its respective novel - what was left out, what was added, etc. With that said, let’s get started…
RELATED: 7 Most Useful Classes Taught At Hogwarts, Ranked
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
At 161 minutes, Chamber of Secrets is the longest film of the franchise, and perhaps not so coincidentally it’s also the last film to try and fit (almost) everything from the book into the movie. Director Chris Columbus expands on the world he built so beautifully in the first film with a slightly darker and much more plot-heavy sequel, and while the film isn’t bad per se, it’s definitely the most laborious of the bunch.
Though it’s certainly too long and meanders in places, there’s still much to like about Chamber of Secrets . Columbus nails the realization of Dobby ( Toby Jones ), toeing the fine line between mischievously funny and irritating to deliver a visually impressive and genuinely adorable CG character. Columbus also does a fine job at further defining the wizarding world with issues like the pureblood cause and Hogwarts’ dark past. But while Chamber of Secrets is enjoyable enough (just being in the world of Harry Potter goes a long way), it doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance of the rest of the franchise.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
It’s tough to judge a film that is self-admittedly half a story, but since it’s presented as a separate entry into the Harry Potter series, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 must be evaluated as such. Book readers had their issues with the walkabout nature of the first half of the final book, so many were bracing for a somewhat sluggish film adaptation of those initial chapters. And while Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is mighty compelling for the first hour or so (seeing these characters out and about in the muggle world is a nice change of pace), it definitely loses steam in its second half. This is due in part to the fact that Harry ( Daniel Radcliffe ), Ron ( Rupert Grint ), and Hermione ( Emma Watson ) are on a directionless hunt, disapparating from one gorgeous locale to the next as they bicker amongst themselves. This character conflict is necessary to set up the emotional payoff of Deathly Hallows – Part 2 , but the act of watching a film that is almost all setup gets a bit monotonous.
And perhaps Deathly Hallows – Part 1 ’s biggest issue is just that—it’s a lot of setup for the finale without much room for payoff. It’s a necessity, and director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves handle it about as well as they could, but in one film they have to lay the foundation for all the wand business, move Ron and Hermione towards a point where they can express their romantic feelings for one another, introduce Dumbledore ’s ( Michael Gambon ) secretive backstory, explain the Deathly Hallows, and solidify the raised stakes leading up to the Battle of Hogwarts—all without wrapping up a single one of these threads.
The film works beautifully as part of a whole, but as a standalone film, it leaves plenty to be desired. That’s not to say Part 1 doesn’t have merit, however. There are even flashes of brilliance, from the strikingly haunting animated Deathly Hallows sequence to Harry and Hermione’s dance—a reprieve from the grave seriousness that surrounds them, and a sequence that reminds the audience that these are kids . Kids who have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and who, for the first time, are acting completely and utterly alone.
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
It was with Goblet of Fire that the novels took their big first step towards adulthood, expanding not only in size but also in scope, and director Mike Newell likewise rises to the challenge of introducing a wizarding world much larger than Hogwarts while also giving the franchise its first major onscreen appearance of Voldemort ( Ralph Fiennes ). It’s in between these two heavy tasks, though, that Newell really shines, as he picks up Prisoner of Azkaban ’s theme of burgeoning adolescence and moves it into the realm of romance, tackling the teen characters’ awkward feelings about the opposite sex. He handles this quite well, with plenty of drama for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to go around on account of the looming ball and arrival of foreign students.
The scope of Goblet of Fire is unwieldy and the pacing of the film suffers a bit in places, but the emotional beats of the third act really land even if Voldemort’s arrival isn’t as terrifying as it could/should have been. The movie’s themes echo Harry’s series arc, as he is once again faced with an impossible challenge in which he was given no choice but to participate. That’s Harry’s life—he was bestowed this recognition and reputation as “The Chosen One” as a child, with no say in the matter, and he is constantly forced to rise to the occasion simply because he has to.
Goblet of Fire is arguably Rowling's best Potter novel in the entire series, but here's where things get conflated—just because it's the best book doesn't mean it's the best movie. I saw this film before I had read the books and strongly disliked it, but after reading the series, came to love it. Those familiar with the books are able to flesh out parts of the films that fall short, and such is the case with Goblet of Fire . It's certainly not a bad movie, and Newell brings a delightfully British energy to the proceedings, but it's not as cohesive as some of the other installments in the film franchise.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
While it may not be as flashy, refined, or impressive as the rest of the films in the franchise, Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone for the Potter purists) deserves immense credit for setting up this series so wonderfully and laying a fantastic foundation off of which the other films could be built. Director Chris Columbus was not only responsible for putting together the incredible cast, but he also captured Rowling’s wizarding world on film in a manner that felt relatable and wholly transfixing. Sorcerer’s Stone is told through the eyes of an 11-year-old, so the film was always going to skew a bit younger than subsequent installments, but Columbus refuses to talk down to his audience and wisely sidesteps delving into cartoony kids’ movie land.
And even though it’s tonally the lightest film of the bunch, Sorcerer’s Stone still works wonderfully as a fantastic entry in the Potter franchise. The winning combination of charm and smarts permeates throughout, and Columbus nails the founding friendship of our three heroes, culminating in a grand finale that lets each one of them shine. Who can resist adorable Ron Weasley commanding a giant chess set with gusto as he sits atop a stone knight?
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In what would mark the final director change for the series, David Yates makes his debut with the politically-tinged Order of the Phoenix . The film also happens to be the only Harry Potter movie not written by Steve Kloves ( Michael Goldenberg took on scripting duties when Kloves declined to return, though he quickly changed his mind and was back for Half-Blood Prince ), but the team forged on to craft the most adult entry yet. Yates deftly navigates themes of power and corruption through the wonderfully realized character of Dolores Umbridge, played to perfection by Imelda Staunton , who just might turn in the best performance of the entire franchise. The character is disgusting, disarming, and terrifying all at once, and her impact at Hogwarts spurs Harry and Co. to start taking matters into their own hands.
It’s clear from the onset that Order of the Phoenix is going to be a rather different film, as Yates opts to open the movie in the heat of the summer, in a new location, with a layered confrontation between Harry and Dudley ( Harry Melling ). The subsequent introduction of the Order once again serves to prove that Harry is A) Not alone in his quest, and B) Severely lacking in information about what’s really going on. And the return of Sirius Black ( Gary Oldman ) bolsters the film’s emotional impact and deepens Harry’s arc, while the film also gives us some of the franchise’s best Harry-Snape ( Alan Rickman ) scenes.
It all culminates in a visually arresting and surprisingly moving battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore at the Ministry of Magic, which is realized in a manner that’s both unexpected and deeply impactful. With his clear handle on character, theme, and set pieces, it’s no wonder Yates stuck around to see this franchise through to the end.
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
David Yates’ second brush with the franchise finds him navigating material that’s both some of the series’ lightest and darkest. Half-Blood Prince is certainly the funniest film of the franchise, with Yates and the cast reveling in romantic-comedy territory throughout much of the story. Jim Broadbent brings a goofy quality to Professor Slughorn that never goes over the top, while Harry and Ron’s many brushes with the opposite sex provide loads of comedic material, culminating in the guffaw-inducing “Hermione’s got nice skin” exchange during a nighttime chat. Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson shine in these moments, and it at times feels like they’ve been waiting the whole series to knock these comedic beats out of the park.
And yet, for all its levity, Half-Blood Prince tackles some devastatingly dark material. The story beautifully builds to Dumbledore’s death (Yates’ decision to cut to a sea of wands pointing up at the sky in the immediate aftermath is a flash of brilliance) and Snape’s “betrayal” without the climax feeling like a shocking shift in tone. Yates and Kloves weave in Voldemort’s backstory and the introduction of the Horcruxes with ease. It’s this marvelous tonal balance that makes Half-Blood Prince one of the most affecting films of the series, swinging from laughter to tears at the drop of a hat.
And we haven’t even gotten to the film’s technical achievements yet. Yates and cinematographer Bruno Delbonell get ambitious with the film’s visuals by opting for a softer and richer palette, resulting in as lush a movie as you can get; Prisoner of Azkaban is gorgeous, but Half-Blood Prince has the best cinematography of the series hands down. And Order of the Phoenix composer Nicholas Hooper returns to craft quite possibly the best score of the franchise since John Williams ’ work, also moving deftly between two wildly different tones. Yates closes the film with an appropriate farewell to Hogwarts, setting himself up wonderfully for the one-two-punch finale. But the tactful navigation of humor, thrills, and emotional devastation solidify Half-Blood Prince as one of the best films in the series, and a tough act to follow.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was nearly all setup, but Deathly Hallows – Part 2 hits the ground running from the first frame and never lets up. This is a movie that is payoff in every sense: emotional payoff, action payoff, and relationship payoff. David Yates had the unenviable task of wrapping up the most popular film franchise since Star Wars in a way that would satisfy even the most rabid of fans, and he absolutely sticks the landing with the most challenging film of the series.
Part 2 is almost operatic in nature, as it builds to a grand finale at the place where it all started: Hogwarts. Not only are the set pieces exhilarating, but they’re anchored by characters we’ve grown to love over the course of seven films, and Yates plays into that attachment to emotionally shattering results. He handles the deaths of many familiar faces in unexpected ways—the obvious manipulative play would’ve been to show Fred’s ( James Phelps ) death with swelling music, but Yates and Kloves instead reveal Fred’s fate after the fact, surrounded by his family, to much more gut-punching results.
Perhaps the film’s most difficult task was to establish Snape as a (or arguably the ) hero with a single sequence. Yates, Kloves, and Alan Rickman rise to the challenge in one of the franchise’s most emotional moments that not only leaves the audience in tears for brave, dear Snape, but also solidifies Harry’s purpose: He must die.
There are so many ways Deathly Hallows – Part 2 could’ve gone wrong, but given how wonderfully the Harry Potter filmmaking team had fared before, I guess it shouldn’t really be a surprise that they brought this thing home with the same level of quality we’d seen previously. Harry Potter closes in glorious fashion with a film that not only serves as a superb conclusion but also as a wholly satisfying entry unto itself.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The importance of Prisoner of Azkaban to the Harry Potter film series cannot be overstated. This is the movie that established the creative direction and formula for the films that followed, as the series faced a crucial issue post- Chamber of Secrets . How does one adapt increasingly lengthy books into satisfying feature films? The solution: everything that is told from Harry’s point of view or that directly affects his character goes in, everything else is fair game for being dropped.
But it wasn’t only the POV rule that Azkaban established going forward; it was also the freedom to get creative— really creative. Director Alfonso Cuarón significantly altered the look and feel of Harry Potter without completely removing what Chris Columbus had built in the prior two films, while at the same time expanding the depth of the characters and, well, getting weird. From the Knight Bus sequence to the Hogwarts choir (plus frogs) to the Dementors, Prisoner of Azkaban is absolutely tactile—you can feel this world. And it’s a testament to Cuarón’s vision and cinematographer Michael Seresin ’s beautiful photography that nearly every frame of film on this thing looks like a painting. The irises, the Whomping Willow marking the changes of the season, the camera move through the clock—this thing is filled to the brim with unforgettable imagery.
Azkaban is also the film in which Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson really come into their own as actors and begin to forge a path that makes these characters their own. Radcliffe, in particular, shines opposite Gary Oldman and David Thewlis , as the character’s unending search for a father figure continues. And Cuarón and Co. had the unenviable task of recasting Dumbledore following the great Richard Harris ’ passing, but Michael Gambon picks up the baton beautifully—his performance neither tries to emulate Harris’ nor does it dishonor the actor’s previous characterization.
And while the time turner business is executed to perfection ( Azkaban really is one of the most streamlined stories in Rowling’s book series), simply telling the story is not enough for Cuarón—everything is in service to character, which in turn services the film’s thematic throughline of burgeoning adolescence. As they enter puberty, these young characters begin to forge a path of independence, and Cuarón captures this wonderfully in manners both subtle (each actor wears his or her uniform slightly differently in this film) and obvious (Harry “running away from home” at the beginning).
The merits of Prisoner of Azkaban are almost unending, and while the Harry Potter franchise would lead to other outstanding entries in subsequent years, Cuarón’s film still marks the creative highpoint in one of the best, most diverse, and most satisfying film franchises of all time. At the risk of sounding cliché, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is pure magic.
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Harry Potter Movies
The Harry Potter series comes to life through the movies on this list. After all, it's not every day that an adventure comes along that mixes magic, action, friendship, and ... Quidditch. The Harry Potter movies do all that and more, delighting fans of J.K. Rowling's books while also entertaining those new to the Potterverse. Like the books, the movies do get darker and more intense as the series progresses, so make sure your little Harry, Ron, and Hermione fans are ready for each new chapter before moving on.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
First Potter movie is a magical ride but also intense.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Action- and creature-packed Potter sequel.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Fantastic, but kids are older, themes are darker.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Excellent, but magical adventures getting edgier, darker.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Riveting fifth movie finds Harry angry, brooding.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Terrific but intense mix of love, friendship, fear, sorrow.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Excellent, epic saga continues to get darker, more intense.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Spectacularly epic, poignant end to a magical series.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Delightful but dark Potter prequel is more grown-up.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Intense, over-full sequel has lots of wizarding violence.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Visually impressive but dark Wizarding World adventure.
Other great lists from our editors
- Harry Potter Book Series
- Best Magical Movies
- Best Fantasy Movies
- Movies Based on Books
- Harry Potter Age-by-Age Guide
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Harry Potter Film Ratings in the US and the UK
- December 10, 2019
Not a lot of people know this, but J.K. Rowling first wrote the Harry Potter books to be children’s fiction. If you look at the various editions of the seven books, you’ll find that there are covers that feature drawings that look like they belong in children’s fiction, but then you’ll also find editions that are labeled “ adult edition covers ” or the like. This is Rowling and her publisher’s way of expanding their market to older readers because people of all ages can appreciate Harry’s story.
But when it comes to the films, the Harry Potter film ratings tell a different story. While the eight movies are based on the books, there are still some scenes deemed unsuitable for young audiences. And since the film ratings can vary between countries, here are the film ratings for each of the eight movies for the United States and the United Kingdom.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Release Date: November 4, 2001
US Rating: PG
UK Rating: PG
Also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States, the film had only PG ratings in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It means that audiences of all ages are allowed to watch the film in cinemas, but young children must be accompanied by a parent. This is because there are some scenes that some parents wouldn’t want their children to watch without them having to explain.
Looking back, I think it’s because of scenes like the flashback of Voldemort killing Harry’s mother, the abuse Harry receives from the Dursleys, the scene of Voldemort drinking from unicorn blood, Ron falling unconscious, Quirrell trying to strangle Harry to death, and Quirrell disintegrating. Some parents may not see them as extremely violent scenes, but there are those who might think that their children are too sensitive for such material.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Release Date: November 15, 2002
The series maintains its rating in both the US and the UK due to its mild themes. You have scenes like the Dursleys locking Harry in his room, Dobby hurting himself, underaged driving, injuries from Quidditch, a scene that initially implies that Mrs. Norris the cat was killed and someone had used her blood to write on the walls (though it’s later revealed that the cat was simply petrified and it was chicken blood), a violent serpent, an army of hungry spiders, and Ginny Weasley nearly dying.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Release Date: May 31, 2004 (UK) and June 4, 2004 (US)
As the Harry Potter series continues, it touches more on mature subjects as it introduces wizarding politics. Thus, this is the last film in the series that would maintain a PG status in the UK. This is the first time the series threatens to show a death on-screen (Buckbeak and Sirius’ executions), so it’s no surprise that the PG rating stuck – even if neither of them end up dying in this film.
Other scenes that most likely contribute to the PG rating is mentions of Sirius’ alleged murderous rampage, Harry vowing to kill Sirius out of anger, dementors, Hermione punching Draco, the initial implication that Buckbeak died, and the concept of time travel, which may require an adult to explain to younger children.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Release Date: November 18, 2005
US Rating: PG-13
UK Rating: PG-12
This is the first movie in the Harry Potter series that raised the film rating from PG. In the United States, a PG-13 rating means that parents are strongly cautioned against bringing children younger than 13 years old, but they are still allowed to bring younger children at their discretion. In the United Kingdom, children under 12 years old can only see the film in the cinema if accompanied by an adult.
The most obvious reason why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire would be the first film to reach a higher rating than PG is because it’s the first time we see people die on-screen. And because the film takes place during the Tri-wizard Tournament, there are more violent scenes Harry gets into. This is also the film where romantic relationships are first explored, which some parents might think is inappropriate for young children to learn.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Release Date: July 11, 2007 (US) and July 12, 2007 (UK)
The film maintains its PG-13 and PG-12 ratings for the US and UK cinemas, respectively. This may be due to the scenes in the Ministry of Magic where Sirius Black dies and the Death Eaters try to harm Harry and his friends.
There are also allusions to the fact that Bellatrix Lestrange enjoyed torturing Neville Longbottom’s parents. During Dolores Umbridge’s stint as Headmaster, she also subjected the students to small physical torture. Harry also experiences his first romance with Cho Chang.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Release Date: July 15, 2009
I’m personally not sure why the MPA would lower the ratings of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince back down to a PG because I always thought that this part of the series was the darkest one of all. Aside from the fact that this is the film where Dumbledore dies, I found that scene where Dumbledore forces himself to drink the Potion of Despair and begs Harry to kill him to be the most disturbing.
Aside from that, it’s the film where the main characters explore more mature romantic relationships, including a scene where Ron is accidentally drugged by a love potion meant for Harry. There’s also a scene where Harry accidentally gives Draco a nearly fatal injury during their fight in the bathroom using the Sectumsepra spell.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Release Date: November 19, 2010
The US rating would go back to PG-13 and the UK rating stayed in the PG-12 rating. However, director David Yates said that the scene where Bellatrix tortures Hermione went on for over five minutes . If this is true and actress Emma Watson’s screams were as horrible as he claims, it’s likely that having that uncut scene in the final film would have raised the film rating.
With Dumbledore dead and Harry no longer welcome at Hogwarts with Voldemort taking over the Ministry of Magic, the film series took a much darker turn. The movie has plenty of violent scenes both on Harry and the captured Muggle-borns. And, of course there’s this sexually suggestive scene.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Release Date: July 15, 2011
The final film culminates in the Battle of Hogwarts with losses on both sides, so it’s no surprise that the Harry Potter series ended with a PG-13 and PG-12 rating. On Harry’s side, we see the bodies of Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Fred Weasley. We also see Ron’s ex-girlfriend, Lavender Brown, savaged to death by Fenrir Greyback and feebly stirring before dying from her injuries.
And then we reach the ending where Harry seemingly dies and meets Dumbledore in what looks to be King’s Cross Station. If you read in between the lines, this is a scene where Dumbledore represents Death and gives Harry the option to choose whether he wants to die or return to the world of the living.
Film Rating System (and Why They Matter)
The United States film ratings are from the Motion Picture Association of America , while the United Kingdom film ratings are determined by the British Board of Film Classification .
Almost every country has a governing body dedicated to rating a film for the appropriate audiences before it can be released to the public. This is because while some movies will be generally safe for children because it doesn’t show graphic scenes or ideas that are harmful, there are also movies with scenes that feature gore or horror that can upset them. Some movies also feature things like robbery or mild violence which are common but will require parental supervision so that a parent can explain why acts such as these are bad.
And in some cases, a movie can be filled with so much graphic and violent content that the governing body will think that children below a certain age should not be allowed to watch a movie in the cinema at all. A studio can choose to cut certain scenes from the film to lower its rating, but overall if they want to release the film to cinemas and sell copies of the movie, it must be rated first.
If you’re not from the United States or the United Kingdom but still want to find out the ratings for the Harry Potter films in your country, the IMDb provides a list of certifications for every movie. Simply search for the film you want and then scroll through its details until you find the rating.
While these scenes are featured in the books, the way they are portrayed can be very graphic and visually disturbing to young children. So, while the Harry Potter films are based on children’s books, the films require some parental guidance in case there are children in the audience who might be disturbed or confused by some of the scenes they see.
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All the Harry Potter Movies, Ranked
B lame ABC Family for playing Sorcerer’s Stone on repeat throughout the 2000s, but for many Millennials (and now, their children) a chill in the air demands curling up on the couch for a Harry Potter rewatch.
While millions of viewers used to take comfort in visits to Hogwarts, these days, engaging with the series can be complicated. Harry Potter taught so many about the importance of fighting against prejudice, which makes creator J.K. Rowling’s controversial comments on gender identity all the more disappointing. Even some of her most ardent fans accused her of transphobia, at which point Rowling doubled down on her exclusionary brand of feminism . Now, many fans strive to find a way to derive value from the material while rejecting its creator’s views.
Even Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who spoke out against Rowling’s anti-trans tweets, has wrestled with whether the story is irredeemably tarnished. In an open letter for the Trevor Project , he wrote, “If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe … if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual … then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that.” For many, the annual rewatch remains a tradition, albeit a fraught one.
And so, we find ourselves reassessing these adaptations, all eight of which are streaming on both Peacock and HBO Max as of Oct. 15. Typically, fans agree on favorites in a film series. Most Star Wars diehards will tell you Empire Strikes Back is great, and Phantom Menace sucks; Indiana Jones fans will assure you that none of the sequels lived up to Raiders of the Lost Ark ; and anyone who argues Dark Knight isn’t the best of the Batman movies is just trying to be contrarian. Rational minds can certainly disagree. But for the most part, every franchise has good movies and bad movies, and it’s easy to divide films into those two buckets.
The Harry Potter films prove more difficult to rank. True, the awful new Fantastic Beasts movies will easily land at the bottom of any Potter fan’s list (spoiler alert). But the older films are surprisingly solid. Look up fan polls and critics’ rankings, and you’ll find there’s no consensus view on how the original eight films compare. Some fans prefer the glee of those first movies, while others trend towards the darker entries later in the franchise. Movie fans may love the cinematography of Half-Blood Prince , while book loyalists take umbrage with director David Yates’ adaptation choices. Some critics preferred the quiet, contemplative moments spent in the forest during Deathly Hallows, Part 1 , while others favor the action-packed battles of Deathly Hallows, Part 2 .
Many fans’ views have also evolved with the passage of time. It’s easier to assess the series as a whole now that the movies have become a true cultural touchstone. And Rowling’s commentary, political views and additions to the canon will no doubt influence any critic’s perception of the films, for better or worse. Here is how we rank the Harry Potter films—at least for now.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Write to Eliana Dockterman at [email protected] .
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This is the Best Harry Potter Movie, According to Rotten Tomatoes
Lumos maxima! We're shining a light on the Tomatometer scores for every Harry Potter movie to establish the ultimate ranking, from worst to best.
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The Best Harry Potter Movie: A Countdown
The law of averages virtually guarantees that every storied film franchise will serve up a dud. Even universally-beloved series like James Bond and Indiana Jones have their crosses to bear ( Die Another Day and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull , respectively); certified stinkers that even hardcore fans widely acknowledge as an all-time low. There’s one franchise that bucks this trend, though, consisting of no fewer than eight films, each one garnering an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 77% or higher. This charmed series? Harry Potter, of course.
Although it’s hard to believe, it’s been more than 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone made its theatrical debut, transforming an already popular series of books into a bona fide cultural phenomenon. From this very first instalment, it was clear the producers had nailed the magic formula, and the film was as much a critical success as it was a commercial one. What’s perhaps most impressive, however, is that this critical success was sustained throughout the subsequent seven pictures, each one “Certified Fresh” (achieving a consistent “Tomatometer” score of 75% or higher) by the aggregate movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes.
Although all Potterheads likely have their own favourite flick in the series (this coming from a Prisoner of Azkaban fan!), it’s fascinating to see how those personal preferences stack up against each film’s Rotten Tomatoes score. So grab your wands, and prepare to discover how the eight iconic films rank in our countdown to the very best Harry Potter movie.
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) – 77%
Considering it’s earned a very respectable rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes (putting it on par with Gladiator and Sin City , for perspective), it seems a mite unfair to call The Order of Phoenix “the worst Harry Potter movie.” It’s even more unfair when you consider how many magical moments you’ll find throughout this fifth instalment, which (in this muggle’s humble opinion) should be nowhere near the bottom of the heap.
So why is it there? Presumably, it’s because many fans take umbrage (no, not that one!) with the fact that it condenses the longest of J.K. Rowlings’ novels (800-odd pages) into just 138-minutes, making it the shortest entry in the series and losing a lot of plot threads in the process. But there’s no evidence of a hatchet job on-screen, as the tale—which focuses on the Ministry of Magic’s escalating smear campaign against Harry and Dumbledore—is beautifully paced and shifts effortlessly from fun and fantastical to sombre and, at times, downright scary. As the tyrannical new administrator of Hogwarts, Dolores Umbridge (played to perfection by Imelda Staunton, above ) is so completely, utterly vile, she very nearly succeeds in supplanting the Dark Lord himself as the film’s “big bad.” I say very nearly, as the climactic battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort in the vault-like chambers of the Ministry of Magic is nothing short of epic.
Check out 10 sequels that are better than the original .
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) – 77%*
If you thought The Order of the Phoenix was a dark ride, buckle your seatbelts. In setting the table for the series finale, The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 puts Harry, Ron and Hermione through the wringer. As they embark on a quest to hunt horcruxes, our heroes find themselves isolated from friends and family, and—for a great deal of the film’s second act—even pitted against each other. Apart from a fun opening sequence ( above ) in which the Order assembles an army of Harry decoys thanks to a big batch of polyjuice potion, it’s grim and gritty, with nary a glimpse of Hogwarts and its cozy trappings. That’s not to say it’s badly done, by any means—it’s just a dramatic contrast from the more playful tone of the first four films, effectively raising the stakes, and hinting at the horrors in store should our heroes fail.
[ * Technically, The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is tied with The Order of the Phoenix at 77% on the Tomatometer. To break the tie, we factored in the Audience Score for each. As The Order of the Phoenix earned an 81% Audience Score, and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 an 85%, it tipped the scales in favour of the latter in our countdown to the best Harry Potter movie. ]
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – 81%
Rewatching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , it’s astonishing to realize how much they got right from the very beginning. I mean, casting this one couldn’t have been easy. For the three leads, they needed not only talented child actors, but talented child actors who could commit to a further seven films, literally growing into their roles on a very-nearly yearly basis. Luckily, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were up to the task, serving as our guides in this utterly charming introduction to Hogwarts. Between the sumptuous design, the sweeping score and the assured adaptation of J.K. Rowlings’ source material, it’s hard to imagine a more solid foundation on which to build the series. More so than any of the films that followed, The Philosopher’s Stone succeeds in making magic look fun. From the visit to Ollivander’s ( “The wand chooses the wizard!” ), to the Sorting Hat, to the first broomstick ride, Harry’s initiation into the wizarding world is also our initiation, and we share in his sense of wonder at all of these incredible experiences, brought to life so beautifully on the big screen.
Here are the best feel-good movies on Netflix Canada right now.
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – 82%
In his review of The Chamber of Secrets , legendary film critic Roger Ebert writes , “The first movie was the setup, and this one is the payoff.” And what a payoff! The longest film in the franchise uses its 161-minute run-time to delve deeper (quite literally) into the Hogwarts setting, while further fleshing-out its students and staff, who already have the warm familiarity of old friends. In this decidedly darker adventure, they’re tasked with an intriguing series of mysteries to solve, each one leading to the next: Who is trying to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts? What terrifying force is petrifying Muggle-born students? What is the Chamber of Secrets? It’s a fascinating puzzle that maintains a breathless pace throughout. Although this is our last glimpse of Richard Harris as the definitive Dumbledore, it’s ultimately Kenneth Branagh who steals the show as lovably flamboyant fraud, Gilderoy Lockhart.
These silly Harry Potter jokes are sure to make you smile.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – 84%
And just like *that*, everything changes! The Half-Blood Prince is less a film in its own right than an advancement of several major story arcs for the series. The fact that it’s virtually plotless doesn’t seem to matter much, though, largely because those developments are downright epic. From Snape’s true allegiances to the nature of horcruxes, earth-shattering revelations are delivered fast and furious, interspersed with some lovely character moments between Ron and Hermione, whose budding romance is sensitively handled. Less convincing, it must be said, is the relationship between Harry and Ginny, which is stilted and awkward in comparison. It’s the downbeat climax, however, that lingers long after the credits roll: the disturbing torture of Dumbledore at the hands of Harry in an attempt to recover a horcrux, and the headmaster’s heartbreaking final bow.
Here are 10 Best Original Score winners worth rewatching for the soundtrack alone.
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) – 88%
The tale of the Triwizard Tournament remains a firm fan favourite, although to be completely honest, I’ve never quite understood why. Don’t get me wrong, the central concept of Europe’s top wizarding schools duking it out in a magic-fueled Olympics is absolutely brilliant, and there’s plenty of fun to be had with the set pieces crafted around the individual challenges. What I find a bit frustrating here is the tone, which just feels a bit… Off. In the first three Harry Potter flicks, magic is presented as something that’s fun and awe-inspiring—a gift that wizards and witches are lucky to possess. In The Goblet of Fire , it seems more like a curse that weighs heavily on everyone’s shoulders; particularly Ron and Hermione, who are in a completely miserable mood throughout. Granted, they’ve got plenty of reason to be, given their treatment by Tournament officials: At one point, they’re actually kidnapped and chained underwater as props in a Tournament contest. Poor Cedric Diggory fares even worse, of course, murdered so that Voldemort can finally be reborn. It’s a fairly radical shift in tone to a darker, more cynical Hogwarts than we’ve seen before, and (for me, anyway), the transition is a bit of a bumpy ride.
Check out 12 movies that are better than the books they’re based on.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – 90%
“But you know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” Wise words from Dumbledore, in a film that positively sparkles with wit and whimsy from the very first scene in Privet Drive. I mean, has there ever been a more satisfying comeuppance than Harry’s, erm… Inflation… of Aunt Marge? It’s one of those magical moments that will have you cheering from the sofa, and it sets the tone for the rollicking roller coaster ride that follows. From there, we get Harry’s dizzying trip on the Knight Bus, then the chilling Dementor attack on the Hogwarts Express… It’s just one iconic set piece after another, culminating in the mind-blowing, time-paradox climax. Note the metronome-like “tick-tock” that’s subtly layered into the soundtrack as soon as the Time Turner is activated… It’s the attention those those tiny little details that make The Prisoner of Azkaban a worthy runner-up to the best Harry Potter movie.
Find out the best movies on Netflix Canada right now, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) – 96%
After seven films, it all comes down to this… Given the 10-year build-up, it would have been so easy for The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to disappoint. That the final film in the series not only lives up to its own hype, but is also ranked the best Harry Potter movie on Rotten Tomatoes, says it all. Unexpected heroes are born (stand up Neville, and even more shockingly, Snape), and some are lost (the brief cutaway to the bodies of Lupin and Nymphadora is gut-wrenching) in this truly epic showdown of good-versus-evil. It genuinely feels like anything can happen as Hogwarts Castle is reduced to rubble, and beloved characters become unwilling warriors (McGonagall’s thrashing of Snape is just wonderful). Although some fans take issue with it, the coda of Harry, Ron and Hermione 19 years later, completing the cycle by accompanying their own kids to Platform 9¾, is pitch perfect. After all they’ve been through (particularly in the previous three films), these kids deserve a happy ending. And so do we.
Now that you know the best Harry Potter movie, check out every James Bond movie ranked, from worst to best .
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Harry Potter: Every Movie in the Franchise, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes Score
All of us have our favorite Harry Potter movie, but let’s take a look at how all eight rank according to their Rotten Tomatoes scores.
If there’s one franchise engraved so deeply in the childhood of most Millennials, it’s certainly Harry Potter . This magical movie franchise accompanied us through our childhood, teenage years, and even through young adulthood — there’s no denying its impact on our lives and on pop culture at large. Consisting of eight movies, the Harry Potter franchise gave us a decade of movies that a lot of us still return to today.
Speaking with Variety recently, HBO Max's Head of Originals Sarah Aubrey teased the possibility of a Harry Potter series exclusive to the streamer. Additionally, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav is also pushing for a movie adaptation of the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It seems like we won’t be leaving the wizarding world for quite a while, and we couldn’t be more excited. While we wait, let's a take a look at all the eight Harry Potter movies and how they rank according to Rotten Tomatoes score.
8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010) — 77%
Despite being the third-highest-grossing film of 2010, it's no surprise that the seventh installment in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 , ranks lowest with a 77% Rotten Tomatoes score. Choosing to split the final book into two movies was a bold move by David Yates. In this movie, we follow the Golden Trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they embark on a mission that Dumbledore sent Harry on before his death in The Half-Blood Prince to locate all the remaining Horcruxes. We completely abandon the walls of Hogwarts and see our heroes travel all across England in an attempt to escape Death Eaters and find clues to completely destroy parts of Voldemort's soul. The movie is slower-paced than you'd expect for a penultimate installment and the action isn't as grand. Indeed, The Deathly Hallows - Part 1 was more or less a set-up for the final movie.
Related: Harry Potter: Best Performances in the Movies, Ranked
7 Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix (2007) — 78%
Yet again directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix 's ranking as the second-highest-grossing movie of 2007 wasn't enough to keep it from losing $167 million and earning a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. The fifth installment centres around Harry and his friends per usual, but this time with the Ministry praying for his downfall. Given how Harry was the only one to witness Voldemort's great return in the previous film, everyone outside of his circls is denial of it being true. They change the leadership at Hogwarts with one of the most annoying characters in film history, Dolores Umbridge. Since the new curriculum forbids them from learning fighting spells, Harry forms his own club — Dumbledore's Army — where he teaches students some useful spells . The Order of the Phoenix significantly introduces us to Sirius as a father-figure for Harry, and then gruesomely takes him away. The movie is an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.
6 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) — 81%
The film to open the franchise and capture viewers' hearts, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , was handed director Chris Columbus — and he did an amazing job with it, earning a solid 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The casting process itself had to be challenging. Not only were they looking for child actors to perfectly capture the essence of the characters, but they also had to do justice to the books themselves in order to continue adapting the film. The Sorcerer’s Stone introduced Harry to the world of magic, as well as its audience. It still carried the innocent child-like vibe despite the deadly threats of Voldemort that couldn't be left out of the story. Even 21 years later, the movie still makes money at the box office, grossing around $1 billion.
5 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) — 82%
Columbus continued as the director for the second installment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , as well. With the longest runtime in the whole franchise, the second movie became the second-highest-grossing movie of 2002. The plot follows Harry and his friends in the second year of their studies at Hogwarts as they face yet another deadly threat. The heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a monster that petrifies school students and is mostly after the wizards with non-magical parents. Overall, The Chamber of Secrets was praised for taking a darker turn while still managing to keep the plot appropriate for younger audiences. It scored 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Related: These Harry Potter Actors Were Almost Cast in Different Roles in the Franchise
4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) — 84%
Yates didn't hold back as he made the most expensive film in the series: Harry Potter and t he Half-Blood Prince . After the events of The Order of Phoenix , the Golden Trio was approached more maturely, and the story itself focused on the hormonal teenage years of our youth. While, of course, dealing with the threat of Voldemort and getting his hands on a mysterious book, Harry also juggles his romantic life and the regular teenage problems that most of us have dealt with. The tricky relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is explored more closely as they try to find the key to Voldemort's downfall. The Half-Blood Prince also heavily focuses on Snape as a character. With its exploration of love triangles, grief and betrayal, the movie was praised for its emotional weight, scoring 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.
3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) — 88%
The only film in the franchise directed by Mike Newell is no other than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire . This is the movie where we truly start seeing the tone of the series switch from being a kid-friendly narrative to something darker and more sinister. The plot follows Harry in his fourth year at Hogwarts and his accidental participation in The Triwizard Tournament. We're introduced to new three-dimensional characters such as Barty Crouch Jr, Cedric Diggory, and Alastor Moody. With its maturity, sophistication, story, tone, and screenplay, it's no wonder the movie falls into the top three highest-reviewed movies in the Harry Potter franchise, with a staggering 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) — 90%
Alfonso Cuarón was selected as the director for Harry Potter and t he Prisoner of Azkaban , and, with a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was probably the best decision the franchise ever made. Harry's third year at Hogwarts is accompanied by his desire to find out more information about his past due to the escape of the titular prisoner Sirius Black from Azkaban, and his connection to Harry's late parents, as well as a new professor, Remus Lupin. Both Cuarón's direction and actors' performances were praised, and the film is often named by both critics and fans as the best movie in the franchise . We're introduced to the backstory of The Marauders, which is often a sub-plot of the wizarding world that is desired to be explored in more detail by the fanbase.
1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011) — 96%
It's somewhat surprising that the last movie of the franchise, Harry Potter and t he Deathly Hallows - Part 2 , is also the highest-reviewed one, sitting at a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's usually not the case with young-adult franchises like these. However, Yates managed to finish the series with a bang. Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all of Hogwarts get together to destroy the final Horcruxes and get rid of Lord Voldemort once and for all. It is currently the highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter series, with over $1.3 billion grossed worldwide. It was praised for the acting, Yates' directon, the action sequences, the score, and for a satisfying conclusion of the saga.
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All Your Favorite Harry Potter Movies, Ranked
We solemnly swear we are up to some good: These are the best Harry Potter movies, ranked!
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When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered on Nov. 14, 2001, moviegoers were introduced to the visual wizarding world for the first time. Almost magically, the Harry Potter movies transferred the massive success of the novels by J.K. Rowling, some of the best fantasy books of all time, to the screen. With eight magical movies, plus three Fantastic Beasts prequels, how are the best Harry Potter movies ranked?
The uniqueness of each movie makes the rankings difficult, not to mention personal opinion. To come up with our order, we looked at critical reviews, ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, fan favorites, box office numbers and our own personal views to put them in order from worst to best. Still, definitively ranking Harry Potter movies is even harder than coming up with the Star Wars movies ranked !
But first we must address the elephant (dragon?) in the room: Rowling’s controversial and upsetting comments about gender identity. Many people disturbed by her words had previously found a safe and welcoming place in the Harry Potter universe, with its themes and hidden messages in the Harry Potter books of the positive forces of inclusion, trust, loyalty and love. We’re taking the lead from Daniel Radcliffe, who wrote on The Trevor Project, “If you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life—then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that.” In addition, the movies are the work not just of the author of the novels, but the many actors, directors, writers, special effects masters and all the other crew members who brought to life the visual Harry Potter world we know and love.
Which Harry Potter movie did the best?
In terms of box office success, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 , the last film in the series, earned the most money, with a lifetime domestic gross of $381,011,219. But the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, also did extremely well, breaking the opening weekend record of $72 million held by Jurassic Park: The Lost World by taking home more than $90 million and earning its place as the second-highest grossing movie ever at the time. The most popular movies in the series, both Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Sorcerer’s Stone, have since passed the $1 billion worldwide box-office gross.
Which Harry Potter movie is the most underrated?
Just as it would be hard to decide which Harry Potter novel belongs on the list of most underrated books , this is, of course, a completely subjective question. There’s really no such thing as a bad Harry Potter movie! Personally, we love the reflective quality of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 , although for most fans it’s on the bottom of the list. Another low-ranking movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, has a long runtime that only gives viewers more Harry Potter to enjoy. But for most fans, the most underrated is generally agreed to be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince , which is gorgeously shot, well acted and sprinkles in bits of humor missing from some of the earlier films.
Can you watch all eight Harry Potter movies in a day?
If you’re talking about just the eight films in the main Harry Potter series, then technically, yes—if you’re up for a 24-hour movie marathon. All the Harry Potter films clock in with a total runtime of 19 hours and 39 minutes, so you’d have just over four hours left for pee breaks, trips to the fridge and maybe a little sleep. But adding in the three Fantastic Beasts movies puts it over the 24-hour mark, as they’d add on another nearly seven hours combined. Only the most die-hard fans would attempt this feat—probably the same ones who could ace any Harry Potter quiz .
And now, on to the Harry Potter movie rankings!
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
The second Fantastic Beasts ranked lowest among critics and audiences alike, even with a script from J.K. Rowling herself. Among the positives, though, is a return to a more familiar wizarding world after the first Fantastic Beasts movie took viewers to America and added brand-new characters to the universe. In this 2018 film from longtime Harry Potter director David Yates, we return to Hogwarts and a very young professor Dumbledore (Jude Law) as he plans to take on the evil wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). We even find out the origin story of Voldemort’s snake, Nagini.
Critics, though, thought bringing back familiar characters and settings didn’t allow Fantastic Beasts to exist as a stand-alone series. Even hard-core Harry Potter fans thought the flick was too heavy on the world-building setup for future films and confusing sub-plots, and too light on character development and satisfying plot conclusions. But still, the world of Harry Potter lives on—there’s even a new Harry Potter theme park opening.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
This 2022 film debuted to no small amount of controversy. Alongside Rowling’s statements about the trans community, actor Mads Mikkelsen also replaced Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in this installment, following Depp’s abuse allegations. In the months since its release, actor Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone/Aurelius Dumbledore (spoiler!), has come under fire for extremely erratic behavior, several arrests and allegations of grooming a minor.
Despite the shadow of controversy that only seems to grow more complicated as the film ages, Secrets of Dumbledore was generally considered a better movie than its previous installment. Though it earned nearly $250 million less at the box office, it tried to course-correct from the unfocused Crimes of Grindelwald and saw an uptick in critical and audience ratings. Despite suffering from the predictability and heavy-handedness that has plagued the Fantastic Beasts franchise, impactful action sequences and a strong performance from Jude Law as young Dumbledore in love with Grindelwald made this movie more satisfying than its second effort. However, it’s unclear if that will be enough to justify the filming of the previously planned fourth and fifth installments, which have yet to be confirmed.
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Based on the fictional book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, a magical text mentioned in the Harry Potter novels that Rowling then turned into an actual book, this 2016 film directed by David Yates is the first prequel to the main film series. It’s a little jarring to be out of the world of Hogwarts—and indeed out of England—as our main character, a gentle soul and “magizoologist” who’s good with magical creatures, travels to New York in the 1920s.
But Eddie Redmayne touches our hearts as Newt, and the supporting cast, including a sly Colin Farrell, helps bolster the movie, written by first-time screenwriter Rowling herself. Eventually, we find a connection with the Harry Potter world we know in the dark wizard Grindelwald, who we recognize as the thief who stole the Elder Wand, one of the Deathly Hallows, and who we know Dumbledore defeated in 1945. The film is notable for winning the series’s only Academy Award, for its wonderful costume design. But although we like the movie and all its adorable magical creatures, it can’t touch the main series when it comes to Harry Potter movies ranked.
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2
With the longest runtime of any Harry Potter movie (2 hours and 41 minutes) and one of the lowest worldwide box office grosses of the main series, the second film , from 2002, does show the series hitting a sophomore slump. Although there are some standout moments—the flying car, Harry battling the basilisk, getting to see a young Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort)—much of the second movie seems a bit overloaded. Many of the other films trimmed down and adjusted the book content for the screen, but on his second outing, director Chris Columbus seemed determined not to miss a moment in Harry’s search for the legendary secret chamber in Hogwarts and its terrible monster. The resulting film just may be too much of a good thing, although it might allow you to look for the Harry Potter details you missed the first time you read the book.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
When it comes to ranking Harry Potter movies, some fans like the pensive and suspense-building nature of the second-to-last film in the franchise, which covers half of the final novel in the book series. But because it leaves the entire climax for the second Deathly Hallows , much of this 2010 film feels like the setup that it is, as Harry, Ron and Hermione go on the run to find Horcruxes, the objects in which Voldemort has hidden parts of his soul to make himself harder to kill.
In a lovely, if creepy, animated sequence, we also learn the story of the Deathly Hallows, three treasures that make one a “master of death,” which Voldemort is also after. Although there are some heart-pounding scenes, such as our three heroes acting as spies in the Ministry of Magic and escaping from evil wizards in the heart of London—not to mention a heartwarming dancing scene between Harry and Hermione—many fans deemed this contemplative movie from director David Yates too slow-paced.
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The only Harry Potter movie that scored an Oscar nomination for cinematography, this beautifully filmed 2009 movie focuses on teenage love (maybe using some Harry Potter pickup lines ?) as much as on finding the identity of the title character. But even more important, in this second outing from director David Yates, Dumbledore recruits a new Hogwarts teacher, Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), and tasks Harry with retrieving a memory from him that may hold the key to Voldemort’s evil plan.
Harry also starts hunting Horcruxes with Dumbledore, who, in one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire series, meets a tragic fate. The movie is a bit meandering, but besides the first and last films, it earned the highest domestic box office gross, which means it’s still a success on our list of Harry Potter movies ranked. The sixth film in the series also marks a return to a PG rating after two PG-13 films (all subsequent films are PG-13 as well).
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In this 2007 flick , Harry and his friends form a secret club to learn how to fight dark magic, mirroring the grownup resistance group the Order of the Phoenix, which includes the amazing Gary Oldman as Harry’s godfather, Sirius. The fifth Harry Potter movie, which also lands at No. 5 on our list of Harry Potter movies ranked, is the most political, as it features the subversive actions the rebels take against a corrupt regime. We also see Harry’s first kiss, the brilliantly wicked Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and the most eerie villain ever to wear pink, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton, also known as Queen Elizabeth in Season 5 of The Crown ). A thrilling duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort caps off the first installment from director David Yates.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Directed by Mike Newell, 2005’s Goblet of Fire marks the series’s turn to darker, more grown-up fare—largely due to the death of a fellow student at the end of the film, and Voldemort’s return in a snake-like human form, chillingly played by Ralph Fiennes. The fourth movie in the series also serves to expand the wizarding world: The opening sequences take place at the Quidditch World Cup, and Hogwarts plays host to students from other wizarding schools as they compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. With several riveting challenges in the tournament, and the Yule Ball thrown in for good measure, this flick is a fan favorite. Nice touches show the characters’ transition into teenage-dom, including the boys’ shaggy haircuts and the students’ disheveled uniforms, creating plenty of fodder for Harry Potter jokes —like Ron’s frilly Yule Ball robe.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Ranking Harry Potter movies proves to be difficult at the top of the list: The best three Harry Potter movies ranked come down to personal opinion! Although its special effects haven’t all held up over the years, 2001’s Sorcerer’s Stone belongs at the top of the list because it set the stage for all the movies that followed: the look and feel of Hogwarts, the soaring theme music by legendary film composer John Williams and the brilliant casting of three fresh-faced child actors.
Seeing the Harry Potter world come to life for the first time truly is magical, and director Chris Columbus accomplished this daunting feat with seeming ease. For sheer nostalgia, this movie ranks in the top three. It also stands as the second-highest box-office grossing flick of the bunch—and you can even listen to Daniel Radcliffe read the book aloud.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The highest-grossing of all the Harry Potter movies, the 2011 finale of the main series, directed by David Yates, is almost all action after the slower-paced, reflective feel of Deathly Hallows: Part 1 . The first action sequence involves freeing a dragon and a thrilling escape from Gringotts Wizarding Bank, with most of the movie focusing on the Battle of Hogwarts and Harry’s final showdown with Voldemort. But a break in the action gives viewers one of the best scenes in the film, as Harry talks to Dumbledore in the place in between life and death. Emotional and thrilling to its climax, the film is a satisfying conclusion to the hugely successful series.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The lowest-grossing Harry Potter film, and the third in the series, is also widely regarded as the best by fans and critics. Director Alfonso Cuarón changed the look and feel of the Harry Potter world created by Chris Columbus in the first two films—enough to update it as the characters and the storylines mature, but not enough to turn off viewers. New faces in the 2004 flick include David Thewlis as one of the best teachers Harry ever has, Professor Lupin, plus the introduction of Gary Oldman as wrongfully convicted Sirius Black. Add in a werewolf, an escaped prisoner, time travel, Harry’s flight on a Hippogriff, a thrilling ride on the Knight Bus and the Marauder’s Map, and you’ve got a recipe for a fun-filled outing that Cuarón keeps moving at a quick pace for the best film in the franchise. The flick also contains one of the most memorable Harry Potter quotes : “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
- The Trevor Project : “Daniel Radcliffe Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Tweets on Gender Identity”
- Rotten Tomatoes : “All Harry Potter Movies Ranked by Tomatometer”
- Metacritic : “Every Harry Potter Movie, Ranked from Worst to Best”
- Forbes : “Every ‘Harry Potter’ Movie Ranked by Worldwide Box Office”
- The Numbers : “Box Office History for Harry Potter Movies”
- Box Office Mojo : “Franchise: Harry Potter”
- The Hollywood Reporter : “‘Fantastic Beasts’ Wins First Oscar for ‘Harry Potter’ Franchise”
- Variety : “‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ Crosses $1 Billion Box Office Milestone After China Rerelease”
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Ranking Harry Potter movies
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1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
PG | 142 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their third year of study, where they delve into the mystery surrounding an escaped prisoner who poses a dangerous threat to the young wizard.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Richard Griffiths
Votes: 647,412 | Gross: $249.36M
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
PG-13 | 130 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Harry, Ron, and Hermione search for Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.
Director: David Yates | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Michael Gambon
Votes: 889,249 | Gross: $381.01M
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
PG-13 | 157 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Harry Potter finds himself competing in a hazardous tournament between rival schools of magic, but he is distracted by recurring nightmares.
Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Eric Sykes
Votes: 639,123 | Gross: $290.01M
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
PG | 152 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.
Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint , Richard Harris , Maggie Smith
Votes: 798,280 | Gross: $317.58M
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
PG | 161 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
An ancient prophecy seems to be coming true when a mysterious presence begins stalking the corridors of a school of magic and leaving its victims paralyzed.
Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint , Emma Watson , Richard Harris
Votes: 648,452 | Gross: $261.99M
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
PG-13 | 146 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
As Harry, Ron and Hermione race against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, they uncover the existence of the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.
Director: David Yates | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Bill Nighy
Votes: 560,472 | Gross: $295.98M
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
PG | 153 min | Action, Adventure, Family
As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past.
Votes: 556,902 | Gross: $301.96M
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Family
With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
Director: David Yates | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Brendan Gleeson
Votes: 593,728 | Gross: $292.00M
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There are seven total “Harry Potter” books. All of the books were published by Scholastic between September 1998 and July 2007. Three additional, smaller books mentioned in the “Harry Potter” series were published by author J.K. Rowling.
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