All Harry Potter movies ranked, from Prisoner of Azkaban to the Crimes of Grindelwald

The Harry Potter 20th Reunion special will be released on HBO Max on New Years Day.

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After the grim and convoluted mess that was Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, expectations for the future are not necessarily high. Yet the First trailer for Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore brought back a glimmer of wonder to the Harry Potter universe. It helps that the third in the Fantastic Beasts series seems to take place mostly at Hogwarts.

To celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, let’s reflect on the 20 years that have passed since Harry potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone premiered in the United States (November 16, 2001). For some it is still hard to believe that we are now at the point where, on New Years Day, HBO Max will bring back the main cast, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, for a reunion. (Notably, there won’t be a seat for JK Rowling.)

Before that, here’s our ranking of the 10 Harry Potter movies, including previous films starring the adorable Hufflepuff and famous magizoologist Newt Scamander.

10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

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JK Rowling broke his scriptwriting cherry with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but his sequel to that magical prequel seemed less experienced than the first. A big edit could have removed the dense details and path that seemed better placed in the pages of a book. It’s the lowest-ranked Harry Potter movie of all, not just here, but on Metacritic (the only one that matters), with a paltry 52%. The biggest criticism? Sorry, I’ve thought too much about this movie to answer this question.

–Jennifer Bisset

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

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The movie that can arguably be blamed for Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (not to mention The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1). Many would argue that the adaptation of the latest Harry Potter book had to be split into two films. I agree, but his deep tone can be heavy, and he mostly spends time setting up the second part. It’s a bit of a marathon to embark on, strewn with horrific and tragic deaths.

–Jennifer Bisset

8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

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Arachnophobes, beware. Chamber of Secrets is a perfectly acceptable movie as long as you don’t have a crippling fear of spiders, snakes, or Jason Isaacs. Our first introduction to one of the franchise‘s biggest plot points, our little trio find themselves facing off against the Slytherin heir who holds a leash to a beast so dangerous you can’t even look at it directly. He does, however, lose points for presenting the film version of Ginny Weasley. Bonnie Wright did a reasonably good job, but we’ll never forgive the scripts for reducing Ginny from a bold, charismatic individual to a two-dimensional side character with heart-eyed eyes for Harry.

РSteph Pan̩casio

7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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When Warner Bros. decided to turn Rowling’s slim brochure into a sprawling multi-movie franchise, it could be seen as a throwback to magical or cynical witchcraft. And thanks to the off-screen controversy (Rowling’s candid opinions on Twitter, Johnny Depp’s marital struggles), the Fantastic Beasts series spat like a wobbly wand.

But let’s say this: the first film is decent. It gives fans and casual viewers a chance to enjoy the whimsy without getting stuck in the boarding school world, and Rowling’s expanded look into the wizarding world comes with delightfully colorful creatures and a retro dandy fantasy vibe.

It’s also very well done: Eddie Redmayne is awesome as Newt Scamander, a big screen hero whose character is defined by gentleness, curiosity and compassion instead of violence and aggression. Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller provide some intriguing and offbeat support, and Colin Farrell is such an alluring villain that it’s a shame that Depp has taken over. Whatever the rest of the series is, you can find some fantastic stuff here.

–Richard Trenholm

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

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The main thing I remember about this movie: Daniel Radcliffe making weird spider noises while clicking while drunk on a potion (drug) that makes you lucky. Almost as visually dark as an episode of Game of Thrones, Half-Blood Prince is marked by a vicious duel between Harry and Malfoy, not to mention the death of Dumbledore. It doesn’t really have a clearly defined start, middle, and end, but rather feels like a big mess of subplots about teen romance. Don’t complain.

–Jennifer Bisset

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

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We wouldn’t have had the great and perfect cast of Daniel Radcliffe, Emily Watson and Rupert Grint without this movie. We wouldn’t have the perfectly defined Harry Potter aesthetic. Perhaps more importantly, we would not have had the sublime score by John Williams. Outside of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is there a more iconic and memorable Williams theme? I would say no.

With fantastic films down the line, Prisoner of Azkaban being the most obvious example, it’s easy to forget that the Harry Potter sequels followed a visual and stylistic pattern designed, in part, by the steady hand of Chris Columbus. The man ran Home Alone and Mrs Doubtfire for god’s sake, he knew what he was doing!

The Philosopher’s Stone is one of his best. It’s far more of a kids’ movie than what would come later for Harry Potter, but it’s totally appropriate given the source material. It’s timeless, smart, visually brilliant, and it’s a great movie to watch with kids to date.

–Marc Serrels

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

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The Order of the Phoenix has had many memorable moments. Some were funny, like Arthur Weasley who vibrated in the Muggle world, and others were tragic, like the death of Sirius Black. The film also introduced one of the franchise’s best villains to Dolores Umbridge. But for me, the film was important because it was the first time that visual effects technology caught up with the story Harry Potter was trying to tell. The duel between Dumbledore and Voldermort at the Ministry of Magic? It’s worth a million Galleons.

–Daniel Van Boom

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

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Was it satisfying to finally see Voldemort shatter into tiny pieces and disintegrate like a Disney witch? Yes. Was it satisfying to see Ron and Hermione finally put their lips together? Not if you are a Harmony shipper (Harry and Hermione). Still, this (long) movie managed to tie the bow to one of the biggest and best movie franchises of all time. It’s fraught with tension and danger for our heroes, many of whom fail to finish. A satisfying final chapter.

–Jennifer Bisset

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

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Goblet of Fire has a bit of everything. There are sports, communal baths, ballroom dancing and even Sir Michael Gambon who turns a calm, curious line into a roaring interrogation. The movie takes pages and pages of exposure and makes everything look incredibly normal.

Oh, are there two other schools of magic? Of course there are! Is there an ancient Triwizard Tournament that pits school-aged children against each other in a potentially deadly inter-school competition? Sure! The most evil person in the world is threatening to come back? Brilliant! He’s got everything you want in a Harry Potter movie AND he gives main men shag hairstyles. What’s not to like?

РSteph Pan̩casio

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

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In the biggest argument as to why we would DEFINITELY have had a Marauder Age spin-off, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman’s introduction makes this film an easy number one pick. The only movie in the franchise that doesn’t include an iteration of the big bad Voldemort, it’s a refreshing and entertaining adventure that explores the concepts of friendship, loyalty, found family, angst, and, well, healing qualities. of a good chocolate bar.

It provides much-needed context for the Age of the Marauders, with the interaction between veteran actors like Oldman, Thewlis, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall delivering a masterclass within the confines of what is really just a great time. You will most likely enjoy this movie no matter what your opinion of Harry Potter is. Alfonso Cúaron’s entry into the series is cinematic (those Dementors, am I right?), Concise, and character-driven, which is why we rightfully celebrate his superiority.

РSteph Pan̩casio

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