The Harry Potter Movies Ranked: From Best to ‘Dumbledore’s Secrets’

In the two decades since Harry Potter movies were first released in cinemas, the Potterverse became more and more of a mixed bag (for more than one reason).

The most recent chapters of fantastic beasts film series, based on a 2001 guide to magical creatures in the Potterverse, never really caught on. Despite a decently charming introduction in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the next two entries – The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore – failed to capture the ancient magic.

Let’s rank all 11 movies in the Potterverse, including the Fantastic Beasts prequel movies starring the lovable Hufflepuff and famed magizoologist Newt Scamander.

Pictures from Warner Bros.

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

JK Rowling burst her cherry on the script with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but her follow-up to this magical prequel felt less experienced than the first. A large edit might have removed the dense detail and tracing that looked better placed on the pages of a book. It’s the lowest rated Harry Potter movie of them all, not just here, but on Metacritic (the only one that matters), with a measly 52%. Biggest criticism? Sorry, I’ve thought too much about this movie to answer that question.

–Jennifer Bisset

Warner Bros.

10. Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets (2022)

The third Fantastic Beasts movie might be a slight improvement over its predecessor, but that’s not saying much. Dumbledore’s Secrets sees Mads Mikkelsen reprise the role of dark wizard Grindelwald. It also sees Harry Potter adapter Steve Cloves become co-writer with JK Rowling. A slightly more focused narrative is reflected in this change, and there’s more beasts to earn the movie title. But this entry still can’t conjure up the magic to bring the previous films to life.

–Jennifer Bisset

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

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 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 needed to be split into two movies. I agree, but his pessimistic tone can be heavy, and he mostly spends time setting up the second part. It’s a bit of a marathon to engage in, littered with gruesome and tragic deaths.

–Jennifer Bisset

Screenshot by Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET

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

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 battling the heir to Slytherin who’s leashing a beast so dangerous you can’t even look directly at it. He loses points, however, for introducing the movie 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 supporting character with heart-eyed eyes for Harry.

–Steph Panecasio

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

When Warner Bros decided to turn Rowling’s thin brochure into a sprawling multi-film franchise, it could be seen as a return to cynical money-making magic or sorcery. And thanks to off-screen controversy (Rowling’s outspoken opinions on Twitter, Johnny Depp’s marital difficulties), the Fantastic Beasts series sputtered like a magic wand.

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

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

–Richard Trenholm

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

The main thing I remember about this movie: Daniel Radcliffe making weird spider-like noises clicking on him while tipsy 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. There’s not really a clear beginning, middle, and end, but rather a big jumble of teen romance subplots. Don’t complain.

–Jennifer Bisset

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

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

With fantastic movies 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 made 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 much more of a children’s movie than what would come later for Harry Potter, but it’s entirely appropriate given the source material. It’s timeless, clever, visually brilliant, and a great movie to watch with kids to date.

–Marc Serrels


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

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

–Daniel Van Boom

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

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 lock their mouths together? Not if you are a Harmony sender (Harry and Hermione). Still, this (long) movie managed to tie the knot on one of the biggest and best movie franchises of all time. It’s full of tension and danger for our heroes, many of whom don’t make it to the end. A satisfying final chapter.

–Jennifer Bisset

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

Goblet of Fire has a bit of everything. There’s sports, communal baths, ballroom dancing and even Sir Michael Gambon turning a calm, inquisitive line into a roaring interrogation. The film takes pages and pages of exposition and makes it all incredibly normal.

Oh, there are two other schools of magic? Of course there are! There is an ancient Triwizard Tournament that pits school-aged children against each other in a potentially fatal inter-school competition? Sure! The most evil person in the world is threatening to return? Great! He has everything you want in a Harry Potter movie AND he gives the leading men shag haircuts. What’s not to like?

–Steph Panecasio

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

In the biggest argument for why we definitely should have had a Marauders-era spinoff, the introduction of David Thewlis and Gary Oldman makes this movie an easy number one pick. The only film in the franchise not to include an iteration of big bad Voldemort, it’s a refreshingly entertaining adventure that explores the concepts of friendship, loyalty, found family, angst and, finally, healing qualities. of a good chocolate bar.

It provides much-needed context for the Marauders era, with the interplay between veteran actors like Oldman, Thewlis, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall providing a masterclass in the confines of what’s really just a great time. You will most likely enjoy this film, regardless of your opinion of Harry Potter. Alfonso Cúaron’s entry into the series is cinematic (those Dementors, am I right?), concise, and character-driven, so we rightly celebrate his superiority.

–Steph Panecasio

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