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Movies & TV

10th Jul 2021

Ranking the Harry Potter films from worst to best

Paul Moore

Harry Potter

Number one might split opinion.

Believe it or not, the final Harry Potter movie was released in cinemas ten years ago this week!

On this note, we’ve decided to rank the seven films in the Harry Potter universe (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is omitted because that’s a separate franchise) and it should be noted that this list is based solely on the films.

FYI, we want it on the record that much like McGonagall’s relationship with ‘The Boy Who Lived,’ we’re trying to be tough but fair… with a lot of love thrown in for good measure!

Okay, expecto controversy.

7) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part One

Ten points for: The sequence which saw Order of the Phoenix vs Death Eaters in the air, Gryffindor’s sword found under the pond of ice, Dobby’s noble death.

Fails the O.W.L for: The scenes in the forest are so bloody long and boring.

Harry Potter

7) Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

Ten points for: The Basilisk fight was bitching, the introduction of Slytherin’s lineage (Tom Riddle) and the concept of bloodlines in magic, Kenneth Branagh was clearly having a ball playing Lockhart.

Fails the O.W.L for: Ultimately, we reckon that the decision to put Hagrid at the centre of the mystery about the Chamber of Secrets overplays his importance. Ok, that’s a fault with J.K Rowling’s story but do we really feel that badly for him, believe that he’s going to be locked up for good?

Ok, he’ll always have a special place in Harry’s heart, but are the audience that invested in him? The filmmakers were a bit too slavish to the book.

Harry Potter

6) Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

Ten points for: Setting up the entire would on the big screen. The casting was perfect, the set design is stellar and the first Quidditch match (although slightly dated) was still great to see at the time.

Fails the O.W.L for: It does take a little time to get going – granted, it has an entire universe to establish – but Professor Quirrell really isn’t that memorable as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.

We’re not going to be too critical of Watson, Grint and Radcliffe’s acting because after all, they’re just kids but it does show.

Harry Potter

5) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Ten points for: The Horcrux hunt in the caves,  Tom Riddle’s entire backstory, *that* ending, Evanna Lynch’s looney performance as Luna Lovegood.

Fails the O.W.L for: It’s a bit too long and it does have the sense of being a ‘bridge movie’ that’s setting up the events of Deathly Hallows.

Harry Potter

4) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Ten points for: Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange are characters that you just love to hate, Voldemort vs Dumbledore was epic, Sirius (sobs), Harry’s hormonal stage is handled well, the delivery of Shacklebot’s line: “you can’t deny… Dumbledore’s got style,” shifting.

Fails the O.W.L for: The time spent with Grawp and Harry’s occlumency lessons with Snape go absolutely nowhere. Ron’s dad features heavily and he never should be given too much time because that character is awful.

Harry Potter

3) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Ten points for: The break in at Gringotts bank, the Battle of  Hogwarts, Snape’s revelation, McGonagall and Molly Weasley delivering *those* lines. A perfect finale that’s let down by…

Fails the O.W.L for: The epilogue at King’s Cross station. Yikes.

Clip via LifeIsATwister93

2) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ten points for: Introduced Sirius Black, the Knight Bus, Dementors (Rowling’s finest personification of evil IMO), Lupin (massively underrated character), Harry flying on Buckbeak is one of – if not THE – defining scenes of the saga, it elevated the material above ‘kiddie friendly’ stuff.

Fails the O.W.L for: Time turner. Discuss.

Harry Potter

1) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Ten points for: Ok, controversial pick but let us explain.

After the first three films tee up the villain, we finally meet Voldemort in the graveyard and that whole sequence was eery, exciting, and extraordinary.

Cedric Diggory’s death made the threat of the Death Eaters and He Who Must Not Be Named very present and real.

Brendan Gleeson is utterly bonkers as the two ‘versions’ of Mad-Eye Moody. Case in point, deciding to use transfiguration on Malfoy to teach him a lesson and that sequence where he showed the class the three unforgivable curses.

The dragon scene still stands up as one of the best examples of CGI in the saga.

With just a few scenes, David Tennant infuses Barty Crouch Jr. with a ferociousness, fanaticism and cruelty that really stays with you.

The screams from Cedric Diggory’s father – after realising that his son is dead – is rawer and more heartbreaking than any other death in the Harry Potter films. It is.

Dumbledore’s eulogy for Cedric strikes the perfect balance between sadness and rage. There’s a massive tonal shift because as Hermione said : “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?”

Snape continuously hitting Harry and Ron over the head with books because they refuse to study is his funniest moment in the films.

The character of Rita Skeeter is a nice little pop at journalistic hacks.

Hermione actually cops on and lashes out at Ron’s stupidity.

Ireland are Quidditch World Champions.

Fails the O.W.L for: Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum are barely developed, The Yule Ball goes on a bit too long, and the maze challenge could have been made a bit more sinister.

This being said, we’re confident in our list but if you’re curious how the critics rank the films, you can see that below.

Clip via Wizarding World

Rotten Tomatoes ratings:

8. Order of the Phoenix

7. Deathly Hallows: Part One

6. Philosopher’s Stone

5. Chamber of Secrets

4. Half-Blood Prince

3. Goblet of Fire

2. Prisoner of Azkaban

1. Deathly Hallows: Part Two.

Metacritic ratings:

8. Chamber of Secrets

7. Philosopher’s Stone

6. Deathly Hallows: Part One

5. Order of the Phoenix

4. Half-Blood Prince

3. Goblet of Fire

2. Prisoner of Azkaban

1. Deathly Hallows: Part 2

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