Every Harry Potter Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

by Nick Kush
Harry Potter

Warner Bros. continues to tap J.K Rowling’s imagination for more stories within her Wizarding World, expanding the universe beyond just Harry Potter and his stories. Potterheads will always hope for more from this world, so if these movies continue to be financially successful, we’ll keep getting more. Let’s take a look back at this franchise as a whole:

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

The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like a first draft of a book written by J.K. Rowling; it’s incredibly overstuffed and overly long, trying to juggle a dozen characters while fleshing out this world. Jude Law is pretty fantastic as a young, attractive Dumbledore that captures the mischievous twinkle that Rowling always imagined in the role, but other than that, there’s simply too much going for anything to feel fully realized.

This movie marks the first film in the Harry Potter universe to earn a rotten score from Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s probably well-deserved.

*To read the site’s full review of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, please click here.

Harry Potter

image via ew.com

#9: Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets (2002)

The Chamber of Secrets is the bridge between the younger, more childish Harry Potter films and the more mature, heady Harry Potter films that would come later. As a result, it’s a bit forgettable in the grand scheme of things in this universe and the actors aren’t quite mature enough to carry this stilted narrative on their shoulders. It’s a faithful adaptation of one of the lesser Harry Potter novels, so while a decent watch, it fades to the background.

Still, you’re lying to yourself if you don’t think Gilderoy Lockhart’s actions are absolutely GOLDEN once he loses his memory.  

Harry Potter

image via Amazon

#8: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

I give Sorcerer’s Stone — or Philosopher’s Stone depending on your country of origin — a ton of credit for creating the universe on the big screen; it does a great job of showing all the intricacies that J.K. Rowling created when she first wrote the book. The thing that holds it back is that it is largely focused towards kids and the actors involved have yet to mature yet at their craft. Chris Columbus‘ direction style is a bit bland for my taste as well.

But still, The Sorcerer’s Stone does exactly what it set out to do: act as an introduction.

Harry Potter

image via Bustle

#7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)  

Deathly Hallows Part 1 is solidly acted and beautifully filmed — it might be the most picturesque of all the Harry Potter movies.  However, it largely feels like the setup it is to the grand finale that is Deathly Hallows Part 2 and feels too much like a camping trip for my liking.

Despite its inherent deficiencies, it packs the full amount of emotion that Harry’s ever-darkening story deserves. If you didn’t shed a tear the first time you saw Dobby die, you’re made of stone.

harry potter

image via The AV Club

#6: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

The first Fantastic Beasts film acts a prequel and reboot of the series and mostly succeeds thanks to a likable cast headlined by Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler. I appreciate that the lead character in this new series isn’t your typical hero figure. He’s introverted and awkward, unable to truly connect with his fellow man. It makes sense that he would confide in his fantastical animals rather than creating many meaningful relationships with people.

Although Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them suffers from the same issues that would later plague The Crimes of Grindelwald, it’s still a fairly solid piece of escapism.

*To read the site’s full review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, please click here.

harry potter

image via Ars Technica

#5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Director David Yates does a solid job condensing the longest Harry Potter book into the shortest Harry Potter movie, managing to make much of the Ministry of Magic proceedings interesting. Though it does drag at times, Order of the Phoenix continues the darkening tone of the Harry Potter movies with a deeper understanding of the link between Harry and Lord Voldemort.

Also, the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort in the third act of this movie is unbelievably riveting and is easily the best action sequence of the entire franchise.

harry potter

image via Harry Potter Wiki

#4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

While The Goblet of Fire is known for giving us the haunting introduction of Voldemort into actual human form, I don’t think this film gets enough credit of continuing the world building of the franchise, most notably the introduction of the Triwizard Tournament and the other wizard schools. Many of the other Harry Potter films stop dead in their tracks to expand the lore whereas The Goblet of Fire does it in a far more natural manner.

This film is the turning point where the series became far more adult, and I truly appreciate that the tone of the films grew with its audience.

harry potter

image via MuggleNet

#3: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

I don’t think this film gets enough love from Potter fans. Arguably the darkest Harry Potter movie, The Half-Blood Prince toys with your emotions in every possible way.  You feel sad upon seeing Dumbledore die, you feel angry once you see Snape betray Dumbledore, and you even feel odd tinges of melancholic happiness when Harry uses liquid luck.

The Half-Blood Prince feels the most Shakespearean in its construction out of any of the films in the franchise; it’s a nice change from the formula!

Image result for half-blood prince pinchers

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

The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one of the most satisfying last movies to a franchise ever put to film. It’s complex, dark, but also incredibly hopeful at the end. As if the first seven movies didn’t already do it, it even further explores the link between Harry and Voldemort and offers arguably the best redemption arc to a character in Snape.  The Deathly Hallows Part 2 isn’t just a great fantasy movie, it’s a great movie period.

harry potter

image via Warner Bros.

#1: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)  

The Prisoner of Azkaban is the most unique of all the Harry Potter movies thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s impeccable direction. This the HP film that most feels like it came from a director with a vision as Cuarón uses his wonderful humanist touch to add life and layers into what is the most complex narrative in the entire series.

I like to think that Alfonso Cuarón is quietly one of the best directors working today, and The Prisoner of Azkaban shows what he can do within the studio system: faithfully adapt a beloved story and make something that is also completely his.

harry potte

image via hellogiggles.com

Thank you for reading! How would you rank all the Harry Potter films? Comment down below!

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Benjamin Fastnedge December 28, 2018 - 5:44 am

These are pretty well ranked, Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps my favourite Harry Potter film so am happy to see this placed at the top of the pile.

Nick Kush December 28, 2018 - 9:47 am

Glad to get your seal of approval! 😁

Sam Simon December 28, 2018 - 4:47 am

I couldn’t agree more on the Number 1 of the list, but I would have put the two movies directed by Chris Columbus a bit higher in the ranking. Anyway, interesting article, thank you!

Nick Kush December 28, 2018 - 9:46 am

Thank you very much!!! I guess I’m just not a huge Columbus fan. I think he’s a very serviceable director but not much more

Sam Simon December 28, 2018 - 10:28 am

He probably is, but I think that he was the right person for the kickstart: he demonstrated in numerous occasions that he’s good at working with kid actors!

Nick Kush December 28, 2018 - 12:02 pm

Very, very true!!! Can’t disagree there!😁

jimbelton December 27, 2018 - 4:03 pm

Very different from my order. I’d put them from worst to best: fantastic beasts, order of the phoenix, half blood prince, crimes of grindlewald, deathly hallows, chamber of secrets, goblet of fire, philosophers stone, and prisoner of azkaban. Fantastic beasts was style over substance and cringy in places. Order of the Phoenix was a huge mess. Half blood prince was forgettable and missed the point. Grindlewald had good performances by Depp and Law, making it far better than Beasts.

Nick Kush December 27, 2018 - 5:03 pm

Oh well hahahah! At least we can both agree that prisoner of Azkaban was pretty great!

jimbelton December 27, 2018 - 5:30 pm

Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors.

Nick Kush December 27, 2018 - 9:48 pm

He’s way too good to ignore!!!

Nick Kush December 27, 2018 - 12:17 pm

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pajamapopcorn August 21, 2018 - 12:36 pm

I think this is really pretty accurate, but I disagree with the placement of Deathly Hallows 1. It’s my favorite. I can’t help that. The tension between all the characters is fantastic in it. I think that if we could have had a longer version of the movie, we could’ve fit both 1 and 2 together. I would have no problem with it! :) Also, Deathly Hallows is my favorite of the series just because you see all the characters growing so much in that particular book. I do think the first one also deserves a higher place, but I don’t know where. Good analysis of a tough subject! :)

Patricia Henderson March 8, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Nice work. I’m not going to say, “I would’ve…,” don’t worry. ;)

Nick Kush March 8, 2018 - 11:10 pm

Phew! ??

theperseveringwriter February 24, 2018 - 5:33 pm

Honestly, it just felt dragged on by that point. I understand why they split the film in two parts because a lot happens in the last book, but it just felt like there was a lot of action in the first part an then the second part there was barely any.

The final battle between Voldemort and Harry ended up not being as epic as I felt like it had been within the books.

I also felt like the film could have ended with him just throwing the elder wand over the cliff.

The end with them and their children was kind of cute, but they didn’t seem like adults to me. It was just them wearing more professional clothing. They could have used make-up to age them up a bit or just not had the ending at all.

Or even just have an ending like the other ones where they all return home and celebrate. That would have been much better.

But, that’s just my opion.

Nick Kush February 24, 2018 - 8:49 pm

Very interesting! Obviously I don’t agree from my list above, but it’s always interesting hearing everyone else’s opinions on the matter!

theperseveringwriter February 17, 2018 - 8:11 pm

I agree with the list for the most part, however: I wouldn’t say that The Chamber of Secrets was the worst. I’d actually rate the the Deathly Hallows Part II as the worst, but that’s just my opinion.

I’d then have the fourth movie first, followed by the sixth, then the second, and so on.

Nick Kush February 17, 2018 - 8:12 pm

That’s surprising! Why put Part II last?

irvinjee December 14, 2017 - 1:09 am

I’m a huge, huge potterhead and while i agree that The Deathly Hallows 2 was nothing but an epic ending, it was far from being the best. Prisoner of Azkaban was great for it closely followed the book but my favorite really was Goblet of Fire. It perfectly segued the somewhat light childish adventure of the first three films to the much darker, grittier tone of the last three.

Nick Kush December 14, 2017 - 10:17 am

Definitely! The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is simply one of the most satisfying movies!

aravenclawlibrary June 26, 2017 - 1:48 am

I agree with this list except for where the Goblet of Fire was placed. I am a MASSIVE HP fan and the Goblet of Fire really disappointed the fandom due to it not following most of the book at all. There were several glaring inconsistencies but it wasn’t a bad movie. But that is just the fandom nitpicking really. lol. Good list though! :)

Nick Kush June 26, 2017 - 7:37 am

Thanks! I do think it’s tough to distinguish the movies from the books. We all have our perfect image of what we want to happen and when that doesn’t happen we get upset.

Hallow January 14, 2017 - 6:02 pm

I’d switch place on Deathly Hallows part 1 and Goblet of Fire, only because Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my least favorite book in the HP universe. The book is a lot to translate to film and I don’t think they could’ve done a better job really, but I still feel it’s a lot of competition and little of what makes the world of magic so great in the movie version of Goblet of Fire.

With this being said, I absolutely adore the entire series, books and films.

Jansen November 16, 2016 - 10:34 pm

As some who considers himself a connoisseur of all things Potter, a self proclaimed ‘Pot-head’ if you will, I found this list surprisingly refreshing. However, I would argue that the first movie deserves a higher position when you consider it as part of the whole series.

Anonymous November 16, 2016 - 10:32 pm

As some who considers himself a connoisseur of all things Potter, a self proclaimed ‘Pot-head’ if you will, I found this list surprisingly refreshing. However, I would argue that the first movie deserves a higher position when you consider it as part of the whole series.

Mariel November 16, 2016 - 5:11 pm

I’d MAYBE switch Goblet of Fire and Half Blood Prince, but besides for that this is spot on!


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