Harry Potter Movies In Order Of Best To Worst

The wizarding world of Harry Potter has been captivating the minds of children and adults alike since the first book was released in 1997. Since then, J.K. Rowling's books have been adapted into one of the most successful film franchises of all time. In this guide, we rank all eight of these films from best to worst. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

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Harry Potter Movies from Best to Worst

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The series shifts to a darker tone.
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2: The final battle.
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The movie that started it all.
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Setting the tone for the second half of the series.
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The wizarding world expands.
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: A particularly difficult book to adapt.
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Not as well-paced as the others.
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1: Sets things up with little payoff.

Harry Potter Books vs Movies

There are several elements from the Harry Potter books that were left out of the movies.

Beyond the Harry Potter Series

The seven books and eight films that comprise the original series are no longer the only installments in the Harry Potter franchise. Rowling has written several short books that supplement the wizarding world, including Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fantastic Beasts has since been adapted to film itself. There's also a website called Pottermore where fans can be sorted into Hogwarts houses, keep up to date on Harry Potter-related news, and read previously unreleased work by J.K. Rowling. And for a truly immersive experience, you can visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

How Harry Potter Turns You Into a Wizard

In Depth

Chances are you're familiar with the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It consists of a series of fantasy novels written by British author J.K. Rowling. The first installment was released in 1997. The series was quickly adapted to film, with the first movie premiering in 2001. Since then, a series of seven books and eight films have been released. Devoted fans have serious feelings about how the movies stack up. We took a look at the eight Harry Potter movies and how they rank from best to worst.

#1 is The Prisoner of Azkaban. Based on the third book, this film was the first in the series not to be directed by Chris Columbus. He began producing, and directing duties were taken on by Alfonso Cuaron. Launching off the groundwork from the first two films, Azkaban was remarkable for many reasons. It took the light hearted tone and made things darker. This infused the film with an eerie feel as the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione search to apprehend an escaped criminal.

Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were growing up and coming into their own as performers. The visuals were haunting, particularly scenes filmed at night under the full moon. The shift in tone signaled a more stylized and character driven pace, instead of dutifully replicating the source material.

Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were growing up and coming into their own as performers.

#2 is The Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It's not easy to adapt the final novel of a beloved series into a digestible movie. It was for this reason that Warner Bros. opted to split the last installment into two. This move was controversial at the time, but has since been done by other studios for huge franchise projects. This film was packed with payoff. It exhibited the best of visual and special effects and heart wrenching actor performances. It had the spectacle of the final battle of Hogwarts and the showdown between Harry and Lord Voldemort.

It also had a satisfying epilogue. Director David Yates created an action packed two hour film that satisfied most fans and critics.

#3 is The Sorcerer's Stone. It was the first movie of the franchise. The pressure was on for this film to deliver a rich visual representation of J.K. Rowling's world. It did not disappoint, and was completely dedicated to its counterpart novel. Fans could recite the dialogue line by line, as much was taken directly from the book. This film boasts spot on casting and superior performances by both seasoned and new actors. The intricate realization of the creatures, characters and magic surrounding Hogwarts and beyond was considered top notch.

Fans could recite the dialogue line by line, as much was taken directly from the book.

#4 is The Half Blood Prince. This installment set the tone for the last leg of the series. Harry falls in love, tries to decipher the mystery of the previous owner of his potions book and works to retrieve an important memory. This transpires as the powerful Voldemort extends his horror campaign in the wizarding and muggle worlds. This film had the task of portraying the complicated character arc of Severus Snape. It also paid tribute to Albus Dumbledore's death with gripping scene work.

While maintaining the spirit of the books, The Half Blood Prince ramped up cinematography efforts and made bold choices for special effects.

#5 is The Goblet of Fire. Critics praised this film for the growing sophistication of its characters. It boasted talented portrayals from the lead actors and advanced themes. It introduced new foreign wizards and the pageantry of the Triwizard Tournament with exceptional writing, editing and special effects. It also handled the death of the beloved character Cedric Diggory. As the series follows an arc of increasing danger and darkness, this movie served as an anchor to elevate the films to a higher maturity.

It introduced new foreign wizards and the pageantry of the Triwizard Tournament with exceptional writing, editing and special effects.

#6 is The Order of the Phoenix. The first to employ director David Yates, this movie was mostly well received. Some took issue with the screen adaptation. Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg had the herculean task of consolidating the longest book in the entire series. The gold standard of visual effects was maintained. As Harry and friends create an anti establishment group called Dumbledore's Army, they fight Voldemort's minions both inside and out of school. For this, the cast expanded heavily.

There were new locations in addition to budding romantic entanglements. This film juggled these elements relatively well, and captured the emotional death of Harry's godfather Sirius Black.

#7 is The Chamber of Secrets. Taking what was established with The Sorcerer's Stone, this film expanded the world further. Still maintaining the replication of the corresponding book, it solves the mystery of the heir of Slytherin. While a bit darker and with more complicated themes, this movie dragged. The priority of following the novels became more of a hindrance than a help. Many considered this film laborious to watch at times.

The priority of following the novels became more of a hindrance than a help.

#8 is The Deathly Hallows, Part 1. This movie had the chore of establishing everything that happens until the middle of the seventh book. This meant time was spent setting up tense moments that wouldn't pay off until the next film. We do see Harry, Ron and Hermione attend an action packed wedding and find themselves in the muggle world. They also infiltrate the Ministry of Magic. The rest of the installment didn't see the same action.

The isolated trio spent most of their time searching for Horcruxes, small parts of Voldemort's soul hidden inside objects. There is a lot of reliance on character interaction, which made for stale moments. The end bulked up on suspense and did an admirable job of instilling anxiety and emotion. Undoubtedly, all the movies in the Harry Potter franchise hold a special place in the fandom's heart. Each one made a colossal effort to do justice to the books. Just like any endeavor, it has high and low points.