All 8 Harry Potter Movies, Ranked Least to Best

It’s incredible to think about: J.K. Rowling almost didn’t write the Harry Potter series. After all, she was living on benefits and trying to raise her daughter as a single mom, struggling to make ends meet. The idea for Harry Potter came to her while she was on a train in 1990 and she spent the next five years scribbling the story onto scraps of paper whenever she could.

After being rejected by the first agent she submitted to, J.K. Rowling was accepted by the second and the first Harry Potter book was published in 1997. Now, she’s the wealthiest author in the world and has a net worth that’s greater than the Queen of England. Talk about a change in status.

Harry Potter fans, or “Potterheads,” are absolutely obsessed with the series and the critically acclaimed movies that followed. Every movie is exceptional, but fans generally agree that there is a distinct order to which movie is best and which could have used improvements.

8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The biggest complaint about Chamber of Secrets is that it’s just so long. With a runtime just under three hours, you’ll need to pop more than one bucket of popcorn to make it through the whole thing.

Long movies aren’t necessarily bad, but this one is unnecessarily drawn out. The issue is how the writers attempted to capture even the most minor details of the corresponding book on screen. The most integral moments in the film are when Harry gets ahold of Voldemort’s diary and destroys a Horcrux. Other than that, it’s not too important to rewatch over and over.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The final book was split into two films either to tell the story more fully or for Warner Brothers to make more money on the conclusion of the series—or perhaps a bit of both.

Either way, ending a movie halfway through without concluding the major plot elements is a little awkward and assumes the audience will see Part 2. Which of course they should (more on that in a minute).

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This film is a real turning point in the series for a few reasons. First, it’s considered the film where the main characters grew up both physically and emotionally. The storyline revolves around people not believing in Voldemort’s return, among other things.

It also features Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) as the headmaster and her performance is simply breathtaking. Between that and the new director, David Yates, this movie marks a whole new world for Harry Potter.

5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is the critical point where we lose the beloved Albus Dumbledore, but there can always be beauty in the pain. Besides that difficult death, the movie also highlights the students going through puberty and the complicated emotions associated with those changes.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The very first film will always hold a place in our hearts as it’s the one that started it all. It may be the oldest movie, but there’s something so heartwarming about watching the characters arrive at Hogwart’s and hearing Hagrid deliver his famous line, “You’re a wizard, Harry!”

Its hard to beat going back to the beginning and reliving those magical first moments all over again.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

CinemaBlend credits this film’s success with the brilliant editing by Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron. Rather than trying to capture every scene from the book, Cuaron focuses on the most important storylines that directly involve Harry, and the result is a tautly told story that will captivate audiences from start to finish.

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Doing justice to the Triwizard Tournament was no easy task, but this film manages to pull it off beautifully. Like Prisoner of Azkaban, this installment leaves out plenty of details from the book, but that doesn’t detract from the story in any way.

It’s a fun and uplifting chapter in the Harry Potter story right before everything gets much more serious.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 | Heyday Films

For as abrupt as the first half is, the second half is that much better. This stunning conclusion for the series includes thrills around every corner and a most memorable finale that moved more than a few people to tears (no spoilers).

All good things must come to an end, and when it came to Harry Potter, this was a fitting end that did justice to every single character. This is one movie you’ll want to re-watch over and over again.