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In the world of movie franchises, few are bigger or more popular than Harry Potter. The worldwide success of the series turned Daniel Radcliffe into an international superstar, which came with its own set of side effects. He always wanted to be an actor, and aside from a couple of earlier roles, the Potter series brought Radcliffe childhood fame that has lasted into adulthood. Playing Potter changed his life, but the eight films in the series don’t make the shortlist of Radcliffe’s favorite movies.

'Harry Potter' star Daniel Radcliffe appears on 'Busy Tonight.'
Daniel Radcliffe | Jordin Althaus/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank

The ‘Harry Potter’ movies aren’t on Radcliffe’s favorite movies list

The role of Harry Potter brought Radcliffe instant fame. He’s honored to have played the part, but at the same time, he has no interest in playing Potter again. He’s even reluctant to see Potter-related fare.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play that started its run before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is slowly making its way back to the stage. Yet the idea of the original Harry Potter watching a Potter adaptation is weird to him, which is why he doesn’t plan to see it

The Cursed Child could potentially become a movie. Radcliffe has said his demand to return to the role is J.K. Rowling not being involved. Conversely, he’s also stated he has no interest in reprising the role in Cursed Child.

Radcliffe loved the direction Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuaron took the series, and he has fond memories from Chamber of Secrets. But Radcliffe’s favorite movies don’t include Chamber or any other Potter movies.

Radcliffe’s favorite movies include a British Golden Age film and a teenage rom-com

'Stairway to Heaven,' also known as 'A Matter of Life and Death,' came out in 1946 and is one of Daniel Radcliffe's favorite movies.
Stairway To Heaven | LMPC via Getty Images

We know the Potter films don’t make the cut for Radcliffe’s favorite movies. So what does? 

In a discussion with Wired (via YouTube), Radcliffe mentioned a film that came out decades before he was born as well as a teenage rom-com that came out around the same time as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“There’s a movie called A Matter of Life and Death. It was made by, like, [Michael] Powell and [Emeric]  Pressburger in, like, 1952,” Radcliffe said. “It’s this magical, realist story about a fighter pilot getting shot down over the [English] Channel, but then the angels miss him in the chaos of war. So he has to go to heaven to make a case that he should be allowed to keep living. It’s so imaginative and fun.”

A Matter of Life and Death, which, according to IMDb, is more commonly known as Stairway to Heaven, actually came out in 1946. It stars David Niven and Kim Hunter, with Sir Richard Attenborough also appearing. 

Fast-forward 55 years, and you have another of Radcliffe’s favorite movies, one that features some of his contemporaries among a strong ensemble cast.

“In terms of films I have rewatched the most, it’s probably the Ben Foster-led teen movie Get Over It,” Radcliffe said. “It was one of the first films my girlfriend and I bonded over. It’s an incredible cast. Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, Colin Hanks, like, so many people are in that. Martin Short is unbelievable in it. Great movie.”

Zoe Saldana, Swoosie Kurtz, and Ed Begley Jr. are also part of the cast.

Radcliffe has acted in nearly 30 movies since his first role


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Radcliffe has nearly 30 movies on his resume, not counting his turn as Weird Al Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which started filming in early 2022. But his passion for acting extends beyond the big screen.

Radcliffe’s first role was as Young David in a BBC production of David Copperfield. His first movie role came in The Tailor of Panama, which was released a few months before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Yet movie work is just one part of Radcliffe’s acting repertoire.

He’s done stage work several times, per his IMDb profile. That includes How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which ran for nearly a year on Broadway.

Radcliffe lent his voice to The Simpsons, BoJack Horseman, and Playmobil: The Movie, and he has several TV credits since his turn as Harry Potter ended.