Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the eponymous novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).
A spin-off prequel series will consist of five films started with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), marking the beginning of the Wizarding World shared media franchise.
1. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 1997 novel of the same name. The film is the first instalment of the Harry Potter film series and was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman.
Story: Harry Potter is an orphaned boy brought up by his unkind Muggle (non-magical) aunt and uncle. At the age of eleven, half-giant Rubeus Hagrid informs him that he is actually a wizard and that his parents were murdered by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort also attempted to kill one-year-old Harry on the same night, but his killing curse mysteriously rebounded and reduced him to a weak and helpless form. Harry became extremely famous in the Wizarding World as a result.
Harry begins his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learns about magic. During the year, Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger become entangled in the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone which is being kept within the school.
Movie Review: The novel by J.K. Rowling was muscular and vivid, and the danger was that the movie would make things too cute and cuddly.
It doesn’t. Like an “Indiana Jones” for younger viewers, it tells a rip-roaring tale of supernatural adventure, where colorful and eccentric characters alternate with scary stuff like a three-headed dog, a pit of tendrils known as the Devil’s Snare and a two-faced immortal who drinks unicorn blood. Scary, yes, but not too scary–just scary enough.
2. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 1998 novel of the same name. The film is a sequel to the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series. It was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman.
Story: Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for their second year, which proves to be more challenging than the last. The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, leaving students and ghosts petrified by an unleashed monster.
Harry must face up to claims that he is the heir of Salazar Slytherin (founder of the Chamber), learn that he can speak Parseltongue, and also discover the properties of a mysterious diary, only to find himself trapped within the Chamber of Secrets itself.
Movie Review: The first movie was the setup, and this one is the payoff. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” leaves all of the explanations of wizardry behind and plunges quickly into an adventure that’s darker and scarier than anything in the first Harry Potter movie.
It’s also richer: The second in a planned series of seven Potter films is brimming with invention and new ideas, and its Hogwarts School seems to expand and deepen before our very eyes into a world large enough to conceal unguessable secrets.
3. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 1999 novel of the same name. The film, which is the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by Chris Columbus, David Heyman, and Mark Radcliffe.
Story: Harry Potter’s third year sees the boy wizard, along with his friends, attending Hogwarts School once again. Professor R. J. Lupin joins the staff as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, while convicted murderer Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban Prison.
The Ministry of Magic entrusts the Dementors of Azkaban to guard Hogwarts from Black. Harry learns more about his past and his connection with the escaped prisoner.
Movie Review: I’ve just returned from London, where Daniel Radcliffe created a stir by speculating that his famous character, Harry Potter, might have to die at the end of the series. Certainly that seems like more of a possibility in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third Potter film, than it did in the first two.
It’s not that Harry, Ron and Hermione are faced with any really gruesome dangers (there’s nothing here on the order of the spider that wrapped up Frodo for his dinner in the “Ring” trilogy), but that Harry’s world has grown a little darker and more menacing.
4. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a 2005 fantasy film directed by Mike Newell and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 2000 novel of the same name. The film, which is the fourth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman.
Story: During Harry’s fourth year, Hogwarts plays host to a legendary event: the Triwizard Tournament. Three European schools participate in the tournament, with three ‘champions’ representing each school in the deadly tasks.
The Goblet of Fire chooses Fleur Delacour, Viktor Krum, and Cedric Diggory to compete against each other. However, curiously, Harry’s name is also produced from the Goblet thus making him a fourth champion, which results in a terrifying encounter with a reborn Lord Voldemort.
Movie Review: In this adventure Harry will do battle with giant lizards, face the attack of the Death Eaters, and in perhaps the most difficult task of all for a 14-year-old, ask a girl to be his date at the Yule Ball.
That Harry survives these challenges goes without saying, since in the world of print his next adventures have already been published, but “Goblet of Fire” provides trials that stretch his powers to the breaking point.
5. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a 2007 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 2003 novel of the same name. The fifth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, it was written by Michael Goldenberg (making this the only film in the series not to be scripted by Steve Kloves) and produced by David Heyman and David Barron.
Story: Harry’s fifth year begins with him being attacked by Dementors in Little Whinging. Later, he finds out that the Ministry of Magic is in denial of Lord Voldemort’s return.
Harry is also beset by disturbing and realistic nightmares, while Professor Umbridge, a representative of Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Harry becomes aware that Voldemort is after a prophecy which reveals: “neither can live while the other survives”. The rebellion involving the students of Hogwarts, secret organisation Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, and the Death Eaters begins.
Movie Review: Whatever happened to the delight and, if you’ll excuse the term, the magic in the “Harry Potter” series? As the characters grow up, the stories grow, too, leaving the innocence behind and confusing us with plots so labyrinthine that it takes a Ph.D from Hogwarts to figure them out.
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” still has much of the enchantment of the earlier films, but Harry no longer has as much joy. His face is lacking the gosh-wow-this-is-really-neat grin. He has internalized the secrets and delights of the world of wizards, and is now instinctively using them to save his life.
6. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s 2005 novel of the same name.
The film, which is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron.
Story: In Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are increasing their terror upon the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore persuades his old friend Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as a professor as there is a vacancy to fill.
There is a more important reason, however, for Slughorn’s return. While in a Potions lesson, Harry takes possession of a strangely annotated school textbook, inscribed ‘This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince’.
Draco Malfoy struggles to carry out a deed presented to him by Voldemort. Meanwhile, Dumbledore and Harry secretly work together to discover the method on how to destroy the Dark Lord once and for all.
Movie Review: this sixth chapter is a darker, more ominous Harry Potter film, with a conclusion that suggests more alarmingly the deep dangers Harry and his friends have gotten themselves into.
There was always a disconnect between Harry’s enchanting school days at Hogwarts and the looming threat of Voldemort. Presumably it would take more than skills at Quidditch to defeat the dreaded Dark Lord.
7. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a 2010 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the first of two cinematic parts based on J. K. Rowling’s 2007 novel of the same name and features an ensemble cast.
The film, which is the seventh and penultimate instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and Rowling.
Story: After unexpected events at the end of the previous year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are entrusted with a quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality – the Horcruxes.
It is supposed to be their final year at Hogwarts, but the collapse of the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort’s rise to power prevents them from attending.
The trio undergo a long journey with many obstacles in their path including Death Eaters, Snatchers, the mysterious Deathly Hallows, and Harry’s connection with the Dark Lord’s mind becoming ever stronger.
Movie Review: Harry, Hermione and Ron have grown up.”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is sometimes harrowing film, and will be completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time.
At 146 minutes, it confronts us with a roll call of the many, many characters in the series, and requires a nearly encyclopedic recall of the epic’s previous chapters.
Though I’ve seen all the films, there were times when I had no idea what they were talking about. Indeed, there are times when Hermione has to explain to Harry.
7. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is a 2011 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the second of two cinematic parts based on J. K. Rowling’s 2007 novel of the same name.
The film, which is the eighth and final instalment in the Harry Potter series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and Rowling.
Story: After destroying one Horcrux and discovering the significance of the three Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue to seek the other Horcruxes in an attempt to destroy Voldemort, who has now obtained the powerful Elder Wand.
The Dark Lord discovers Harry’s hunt for Horcruxes and launches an attack on Hogwarts School, where the trio return for one last stand against the dark forces that threaten the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.
Movie Review: Harry, Hermione and Ron are grown up now, and Harry has even grown the facial stubble required of all epic heroes.
The time has come for him to face Lord Voldemort in their final showdown, and their conflict is staged in a series of special effects sequences containing power and conviction.
I am still not sure what the bolts discharged by magic wands actually consist of, but never mind. They look wicked and lethal.