Harry Potter became a worldwide phenomenon when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997. Then, it gained even more popularity twenty years ago when the first movie came about. Now that a decade has passed since we closed the book on Harry’s years at Hogwarts, we felt it was time to decide which of the 8 Harry Potter movies were the best and which were the worst.
Worst: ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’
Maybe I’m biased because this is my least favorite book of the series, but this movie is the worst out of Harry’s years at Hogwarts. Rewatching it, I remember a lot of good parts, but it’s not as memorable as the others. I honestly forgot a lot about the dueling club scene.
Its saving grace is that we get a glimpse into the Weasley’s life, the Burrow, and Dobby. Dobby is such a beloved character, and they translated him perfectly from page to screen. It’s the longest film, almost three hours, and there was too much plot and not enough humor carried over from the books.
Best: ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’
In this film, we finally get the sassy Harry Potter we know and love from the books. When Harry drinks the liquid luck potion, we see a side to him that just wasn’t there in the first films. Half-Blood Prince also has the best wardrobe out of all the movies, aside from the first.
This was also Draco’s movie, let’s be honest. This showed a different side to the character we hadn’t glimpsed before, and it doesn’t hurt that they made him look his best while he was falling apart. We have to be honest, though — Ginny and Harry’s “chemistry” felt forced and unnatural.
Worst: ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’
I wanted to love this movie, but I just couldn’t. It was a good movie, but it fell flat compared to the rest of the series. It must have been hard to adapt such a long book into a two-and-a-half-hour film. And we lost out on significant characters and plot points from the novel. I won’t even get started on Dumbledore “calmly” asking if Harry put his name in the Goblet.
In the novel, we meet Winky and Charlie, and Hermione starts the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. However, in the film, none of that happens. S.P.E.W. was important in Hermione growing into the character she is in the last books, and even contributes to her working with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures after she graduates from Hogwarts.
Best: ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’
This movie was by far the darkest in the entire franchise. It’s out of place, but it works so well because it’s the first movie after Voldemort returns. It’s also fitting that the darkest movie sees another one of Harry’s father figures die. Did you know Daniel Radcliffe’s scream was muted because it was too heartbreaking?
The best parts of the movie come from the trio just acting like teenagers. Not to mention, the battle in the Ministry is one of the best scenes from the franchise. We also get one of the worst villains in all of fiction, Dolores Umbridge herself.
Worst: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’
Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was used as the set-up to the final movie, and that’s where it fails the franchise. Aside from the action in the first half, it was a slow movie and extremely plot-heavy without the emotions that captured audiences.
My favorite part of this movie was the story of the deathly hallows. The animation of Death giving his cloak, stone, and wand to the brothers was unique and unlike any I’d seen before. I do wish the story behind Harry’s cloak had also been added to the film, but alas, only readers know the truth of it.
Best: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’
The finale to the franchise was action-packed, full of emotions, and got our attention right from the start. Since the movie came out a decade ago, many fans have found easter eggs from the Battle of Hogwarts. The only “bad” part of the movie was the epilogue, but that’s because it could have been done a little better, specifically in the makeup department. They made the trio look way too old.
During the battle, the knight Ron rides in the first film can be seen in the Room of Requirement while they’re flying out. The trio also fights monsters they encountered in their early years as they go about the grounds. The only change from the battle that wasn’t highlighted in the film that I’m perfectly fine with is that we didn’t see Remus and Tonks die.
Worst: ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’
Don’t hate me, but Sorcerer’s Stone is one of the lower-ranked movies of the eight Harry Potter flicks. For me, I would rank it around number 5, but only slightly. Yes, it’s nostalgic, but it misses the mark compared to the four best on this list. Part of that could be because it’s the first in a series, and series are supposed to get better as they go on.
My biggest gripe with the film was the scenes they cut. And, I know, they were cut because of time constraints and special effect limitations during the early 2000s. That said, if HBO does remake the books into a television series, they better not cut out those trials to the Stone. I also loved the costuming they had in this movie and wish it had been as whimsical in the rest of the series.
Best: ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’
It’s hard to decide which movie is the best, but for me, Prisoner of Azkaban hits the mark. I couldn’t find anything I disliked about the movie when I rewatched it for the anniversary. It has that nostalgia factor that makes the series so important to me. Also, Hermione punching Draco was the perfect touch to her character. It showed that even though she’s a witch, she was still raised with muggles and doesn’t need magic to get her revenge.
It’s also Alfonso Cuarón’s only movie in the franchise, and he made a point to change things up from the Chris Columbus formula. It was the perfect mixture of emotions and action that set the standard for the following films. Much like the books, it was the first step to the dark tone of the finale. It also introduced us to Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Both actors cast, Gary Oldman and David Thewlis respectively, were the perfect match for the characters.