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Harry Potter and the Complete Film Ranking

With the reality of a quarantined winter break nearing every day, there is also the increasing concern of what to do with that large gap of time without school or responsibilities. Luckily, this is an easily answered question. Obviously, the best plan of action is  to watch/re-watch the Harry Potter movies. However, it is important to go into this endeavor with the understanding that some of these films are better than others. While they all are crucial to the overall masterpiece of a storyline, I thought it necessary to lay out what to expect from each of the films. To do so, I sat with my brother, Ben, and had a heated debate about which movies were the best. Our results, ordered from worst to best, are shown below and may include spoilers. 

8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This movie is not bad. None of the movies are, however, this one is notably worse than the others. One of the largest vulnerabilities of this movie is that the plot of it makes little sense, especially when compared to the book. While it makes sense enough if you don’t put much thought into it, even the smallest amount of focus reveals countless plot holes and questions that are only answered by committing to reading the nearly 800-paged book. My main issue with the plot holes is the lack of inclusion of Dobby and more details about the Crouch family and their involvement with the madness which characterizes the end of this movie. Another issue with this movie is that the tasks in the Triwizard tournament are oversimplified, making it more believable that a 14 year old was able to achieve them. In the books, the tasks were far more complicated and difficult, a detail which made the storyline all that much more interesting.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This movie is one which is very informative about Hogwarts and its lore. It includes many details about the founders, the castle and even the beloved Moaning Myrtle. However, the movie  is flawed in the lack of inclusion of details about Ginny and her role with the diary until the very end. This reveal could have been groundbreaking, but it was diminished by the fact that Ginny was a small character in all other portions of the movie except in the chamber itself. There were also many questions that this movie brought up and never answered. For one, what page did Draco rip out of the book in Flourish and Blotts? Is this the same singular page that Hermione had in her hand when she was petrified? Another question, whose answer is later alluded to in other films but never outright said, is why is the basilisk so effective at destroying horcruxes? How did Harry randomly choose to use the fang and what would have happened had he not been able to destroy it? While the movie is not bad as a standalone film, it would have been nice if it cleared up more details than it muddied.

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Again, it is important to note that this is not a BAD movie. Actually, it is a very important movie to the plot of the series. That being said, this movie is flawed mainly in the inclusion and portrayal of Delores Umbridge. Despite the large number of characters who are put into these films to be villains, Umbridge unquestionably takes the cake for the worst one, even considering the dark lord himself. In terms of the movie itself, the plot is very choppy due to the numerous details that had to be left out to fit the 800+ page book into the time length. However, the plot really is not clear until the end, making it hard to realize the significance of the events that are taking place, and the profound significance of that. This movie includes the first allusions to Harry’s role as a horcrux, as well as to the functionality of the ministry. This movie also includes the scene in which Voldemort and Dumbledore fight in the Ministry of Magic, in one of the most impressive and intriguing displays of magical power in all of the eight movies.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Despite this movie being slow paced, it is undeniably important. The beginning of the movie is impactful with the scene of the seven Potters. This scene gives more information about the Order and the Death Eaters. It also is a metaphorical representation for the loss of fun and enjoyment in the wizarding world, with the death of the best and most innocent character, Hedwig. The wizarding world had truly entered dark times. The continuation in the middle is slow but the end is another time in which it becomes eventful, and need I say sad. However, this movie gives deep insight into the interworking of the Death Eaters, something which had not been seen prior. Also, this movie is the continuation of my favorite redemption arc of the series: that of Draco Malfoy and the Malfoy family. It is in this movie where we see Draco Malfoy knowingly lie about Harry’s identity, making it known to the Golden Trio and the audience that he doesn’t want to be against them. The ending of this movie, with Dobby’s death, is tragic. However, this scene is more than necessary to lead into the loss and sacrifice which is overwhelming in part 2. It shows that they truly have something worth fighting for.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This is one of the best introductory movies into a series maybe ever. While it is not the most important addition to the plot, it provides a comprehensive look at the inner workings of the wizarding world, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, as well as the houses. This movie also introduces all of the characters in such a clear and interesting way. From the Golden Trio, to Hagrid to Dumbledore, this movie leaves no character’s stone unturned. The same goes for the introduction of antagonizing characters such as Draco Malfoy, Quirrell, Voldemort and Snape. The suspense that is built up around Quirrell is also something which worked well and should have inspired the storyline in the Chamber of Secrets more. As it should, this movie stands out as one of the most, if not the most, iconic film in the series.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

This movie. This movie is amazing, most notably the battle of Hogwarts. While the transition from part 1 to part 2 was a bit slow, the end of this movie makes up for it, as well as for any flaws in any other film of the series. I cannot stress how amazing the battle of Hogwarts scene truly is. You get to see how much each character cares for the wizarding world and each other  and how much that they are willing to lose. Each person shows how powerful they are, information which was not shown as clearly in any other part of the series. While many amazing characters are lost, like Fred Weasley and Remus Lupin, the scene gives me chills every time I watch it. Outside of the battle of Hogwarts, the twist which identifies Harry as the final horcrux was shocking. That twist also led to a further continuation of the Malfoy redemption arc, with Narcissa lying about Harry being dead. This redemption is also carried out earlier with Draco, where he doesn’t have any interest in killing Harry in the Room of Requirement, as well as later, when he is visibly torn about joining his family/the death eaters or staying with his fellow Hogwarts students. Aside from that, one of the best and most satisfying twists was Neville killing Nagini. The prophecy from Order of the Phoenix spoke of someone, born on the same day as Harry and Neville both, being the downfall of the Dark Lord. While the prophecy truly spoke of Harry, Neville surely played an important role, got the appreciation he surely deserved and proved to himself that he was a true Gryffindor. Overall, the most concise way to describe this film is an amazing end to the movie series. In its entirety, from the beginning to 19 years later, is a testament to the magic which distinguished the series.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

This movie is amazing. It gives glimpses into the first wizarding war and into the Marauders and their reign at Hogwarts, introducing characters such as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. This movie also provides countless instances of information about Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and the student’s lives. It also continues the story of the Whomping willow and introduces the iconic Marauder’s Map. This movie also gives the first glimpses into the Daily Prophet, the ministry of magic and Azkaban, all of which are important in later films. The end of this movie is one of the most well-done portions of the series, with the time travel scene between Harry and Hermione. This scene was well thought out and beautifully put together, leading to Harry forming the same Patronus as his dad (another Marauder) and both Buckbeak and Sirius being saved.

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

While it may be controversial, I think that the 6th installment of the series is the best. This movie provides the most insight into student life at Hogwarts, with various relationships being fostered and there being more dramatic plots between those at Hogwarts. This movie also allows for a continuation of the Tom Riddle storyline, as well as information about Dumbledore and his power. There is also a large amount of development of the Malfoy storyline where it becomes clear that Draco is torn between wanting to appease his family/Voldemort and wanting to be a good person. Like his wand with a unicorn hair core, Draco is shown to be good at heart through his inability to kill Dumbledore, thus kicking off the redemption arc. This movie also gives a generous mixture of Hogwarts to Death Eater development showing the true fall of Hogwarts, with Dumbledore’s death. This death builds suspense about Snape, the fate of Hogwarts and the wizarding world and leads flawlessly into the Deathly Hallows.

I have easily watched these movies about 50 times, but this was a very challenging list to make. Each movie is incredible, and the series would not be the same without any of them. If you are brave enough to tackle the task of watching them all, refer to this list to compare your thoughts to after. Enjoy the movies and all that they have to offer, and rest assured that you will not be the same when they are done!   


Becca Mezei

Delaware '22

Becca is currently a junior in the honors college at the University of Delaware! She is double majoring in Marine Science and Environmental Global studies. She is very passionate about the environment, politics, and learning about different cultures. Her hobbies include yoga, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
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