Winters are finally here, and there’s not a better time to watch Harry Potter movies than winter. Let’s be honest, we all grew up watching these movies, and they hold a special place in our hearts. However, have you ever wondered which is the best Harry Potter movie?
The Harry Potter franchise is based on a series of books written by J.K Rowling. The franchise currently consists of 11 movies, and all of them are quite popular. However, only a few of them deserve to be called the best Harry Potter movies.
So in today’s article, we will be ranking the best Harry Potter movies from worst to good. Some entries on this list might actually shock you.
Harry Potter Franchise
Before we rank the best Harry Potter movies, let’s look at what the franchise is all about.
Similar to Star Wars, this franchise is also divided into two timelines. One timeline is for prequels, while the other is for the main storyline. Ironically, the fandom isn’t a fan of prequels in this case, either.
So the main storyline of the Harry Potter movies revolves around a boy named Harry Potter. On his eleventh birthday, he discovers that he is the orphaned son of two great wizards and possesses unusual magical skills.
He is called from his life as an unwanted kid to become a student at Hogwarts, an English wizarding boarding school. There, he finds a group of pals who become his closest allies in his quest to learn the truth about his parents’ unexplained deaths.
The prequel series of Harry Potter movies are part of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The story is set in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The overall storyline of this franchise isn’t as extensive as the main timeline.
The Fantastic Beasts franchise revolves around Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore as they try to stop the wicked wizard Gellert Grindelwald while dealing with new challenges in a more divided wizarding world.
Now that you’ve refreshed your memory let’s dive into our ranking of the best Harry Potter movies.
Best Harry Potter Movies Ranked
We have ranked the prequel franchise, Fantastic Beasts, and the main Harry Potter movies together. Moreover, there might be some spoilers in the following section.
So, let’s take a look at our ranking and figure out which is the best Harry Potter movie.
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald takes the lowest spot in our best Harry Potter movies ranking. This film was the second entry in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. There are a lot of things wrong here.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald revolves around Gellert Grindelwald, who intends to establish a wizard army to reign over non-magical beings. In retaliation, Albus Dumbledore, Newt Scamander’s old professor, requests his assistance to put an end to Grindelwald’s crimes.
This entry in the Potterverse features amazing visuals and some amazing performances by the actors included. However, that’s about all the positives this movie has. Apart from these two factors, the film is extremely mediocre and bland.
The Crimes of Grindelwald basically looks like a collage of beautiful sequences in which bizarre animals arrive for no apparent purpose. There are so many abrupt cuts that you’d probably need some magic to get rid of the headache you got by watching this movie. It is far from being the best Harry Potter movie.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the latest entry in the Potterverse (and possibly the last for now). Even though The Secret of Dumbledore was an improvement over its predecessor, it is still far from being one of the best Harry Potter movies.
In this movie, Dumbledore gathers a group of wizards, witches, and a Muggle baker to stop Gellert Grindelwald’s ascendancy. They devise a strategy to perplex Grindelwald and prevent him from gaining political power.
As always, the film gets full points in terms of visuals. However, the lack of proper character development and a rushed storyline proves to be disastrous. This movie is basically about a young Dumbledore, it shouldn’t be any less exciting than the first Harry Potter movie, but it somehow is.
The best way to describe Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is by calling it a wasted opportunity. Even though the story was quite lackluster, a slightly better direction could’ve saved this film. Overall, it is just sad to see the Potterverse end like this.
9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is our first main timeline entry on this ranking of the worst to best Harry Potter movies. This movie wasn’t that bad; it just hasn’t aged well, especially if you read the novels after watching the movie.
The Chamber of Secrets was the second film in this franchise, and in this film, a house elf urges Harry not to return to Hogwarts, but he ignores the warning. When the children and creatures at the school start to get terrified, Harry and his friends find themselves swallowed in mystery.
Don’t get me wrong; almost all the main Harry Potter movies are quite good. However, not all of them deserve to be called the best Harry Potter movies. The Chamber of Secrets is the longest entry in the main Harry Potter franchise, which means it appears to be overstuffed at times.
Director Christopher Columbus’ dedication to stuff as many source materials as possible should be appreciated, but it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets is considered the weakest link.
8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
The revival of the Potterverse on the big screen came with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Many people didn’t even bother to watch the Fantastic Beasts franchise after the first movie because they knew it couldn’t get any better.
This film introduces us to Newt Scamander. While a mysterious evil force terrorizes New York City, British magizoologist Newt Scamander enlists Jacob, a normal human, to help him capture some magical creatures that have escaped.
The reason why Fantastic Beasts works so effectively is that it manages to balance the light and dark aspects of this universe perfectly. The film is a pleasant adventure with some serious stakes. Moreover, it does a wonderful job of setting up these new characters that audiences might not be familiar with.
In terms of acting, all of the cast did a great job, including Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Dan Fogler. However, it was Colin Ferrel’s performance that truly stole the show. Sadly, it still wasn’t enough as this movie still didn’t have enough nuance to reach the levels of the best Harry Potter movies, and it failed to recapture the lost audience.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was the first part of the Deathly Hallows adaptation. Since the story was meant to conclude the Harry Potter saga, it needed some extra runtime. So the storyline was split into two movies.
In this movie, Voldemort’s strength increases. He now commands both the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to complete Dumbledore’s task and uncover the remaining Horcruxes in order to destroy the Dark Lord.
This is the movie that really fed the dark aspects of the Harry Potter franchise. However, the entire movie seems more like a filler. It takes time to set up the storyline and establish the characters further slowly.
Deathly Hallows Part 1 is also on the lower end of this ranking of the worst to best Harry Potter movies. Even though the film had good pacing, it was still slower and slightly blander than previous movies. Overall, Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a good movie, but it didn’t have enough excitement.
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Another rather dark Harry Potter movie was the Half-Blood Prince. In this film, Harry Potter discovers a book previously owned by the enigmatic Half-Blood Prince, earning him the admiration of his new Potions professor, Horace Slughorn.
Furthermore, Dumbledore must prepare Harry for the ultimate last fight by discovering the key to Voldemort’s strength. Meanwhile, a shadowy foe lurks in the shadows, ready to carry out a job assigned to him by the Dark Lord.
This is where our list of the best Harry Potter movies begins. Half-Blood Prince was a really solid entry in the Harry Potter franchise. It dipped into various genres, including some teenage rom-com.
Overall, the Half-Blood Prince differs from other entries on this list. It was emotionally powerful and featured a really gripping storyline. One might argue that it wasn’t a faithful adaptation as it missed major parts of the book, but the film proves to be quite entertaining and fulfilling still.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
The one that started it all, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was the first movie that brought these beloved wizards onto the big screen. You might remember this film as the Philosopher’s Stone.
Harry Potter’s first on-screen adventure leads him to the truth that his parents were actually wizards and were murdered by an evil entity. Rubeus Hagrid, Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, whisks Harry away from his humdrum existence and throws him into a world of magic and wizards.
The first Harry Potter movie was monumental and influential. It’s genuinely thrilling to witness the Harry Potter universe come to life for the first time, and director Chris Columbus achieved this difficult task with apparent ease.
This film does an amazing job of setting up this magical word and introducing the audience to this world. Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is definitely one of the best Harry Potter movies.
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is our next entry on this list of the best Harry Potter movies. The plot of this film tells that Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s warning concerning Lord Voldemort’s return is ignored by the magical authorities, who seek to undermine Dumbledore’s power at Hogwarts and discredit Harry.
This movie has a lot of memorable moments, but it will be known for Imelda Staunton’s performance as Dolores Umbridge. Her innocent yet deeply terrifying stature makes her such an appealing antagonist.
Furthermore, the battle between Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort was simply amazing and breathtaking. The Technical aspects of this film are also excellent. Everything from the fantastic special effects to the cinematography makes the exquisite set pieces appear even more lovely.
This movie could have easily been ranked higher in terms of the best Harry Potter movies but not enough material was used from the book. However, if you don’t care about that, then don’t worry at all because it is a solid film.
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is usually among the favorites of Potterheads. This film revolves around The Triwizard Tournament. When Harry is selected as the fourth contestant in the inter-school Triwizard Tournament, he is unwillingly drawn into a sinister conspiracy with a lethal purpose.
The tournament aspect of this movie was extremely fun to watch. This movie famously featured Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory. The film runs for three hours, but you’ll probably spend most of it anticipating what happens next.
Speaking of the runtime, the pacing of this film is extremely balanced. The humor has evolved over the past movies, and it feels more targeted toward adults. Brendan Gleeson made his cinematic debut as Mad-Eye Moody, who was a standout throughout the whole series.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is definitely one of the best Harry Potter movies ever made. Almost all the elements of this movie are satisfying enough.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
The last entry in the main Harry Potter franchise was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. It wasn’t only the last entry but also one of the best Harry Potter movies. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 provided a satisfying conclusion to the Harry Potter franchise.
This film continues where the first Deathly Hallows ended. Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue searching for and destroying Voldemort’s three remaining Horcruxes, the magical artifacts that give him immortality.
However, once the mysterious Deathly Hallows are revealed, Voldemort learns of their goal. Harry and his friends must fight for their life now. Their toughest battle begins, and their lives will never be the same again.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is simply the perfect conclusion to this vast magical franchise. It will leave you emotional as you won’t be able to witness all of this goodness again. The ending is bittersweet enough, enhanced because of our emotional attachments to these characters.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Harry Potter movie ever made. It is the third entry of this franchise and is the most talked about film of this entire franchise. Alfonso Cuaron proved his immense talent as a director in Prisoner of Azkaban.
The story of this film revolves around Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger returning to Hogwarts for their third year of study. They’re welcomed by the mystery surrounding a fugitive prisoner who poses a deadly threat to the young magician.
Prisoner of Azkaban is well-known for introducing Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. His performance was simply breathtaking. He ranks among the best characters throughout this entire franchise.
Not to mention David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, the most fascinating and underappreciated character in the Harry Potter series. This movie had a lot of good elements going on for it. It is also top-notch in terms of visuals.
If you ask 1000 Potterheads about the best Harry Potter movie, 90% of them will agree that the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Harry Potter movie ever made.
The Harry Potter movies will always be a special part of us. We not only grew up watching these movies, but the characters in these movies grew up with us. It’s no secret that millions of people continue to watch these movies.
In the end, we hope you enjoyed our ranking of the worst to best Harry Potter movies. I am sure you weren’t surprised by our choice of the best Harry Potter movie because it might be your favorite too.