There are few pop culture entities as pervasively beloved as Harry Potter. It’s a story of hope and acceptance that has resonated with millions of people, whether on the page or on the screen. But this is NetFlakes and we don’t talk about books here. The best we can do is to take a look at the Harry Potter movie franchise, which recently launched its first spin-off in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The ranking below is meant to be an objective look, informed by multiple sources, including but not limited to, the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores and IMDb user rankings listed. I include these as an illustration of quality and consensus. The attached opinions, on the other hand, are biased as hell.
Regrettably, as of the compilation of this list, none of these movies is currently available on Canadian Netflix but, if you’re itching to watch them again, you can always pick up the box set from Amazon on Blu-ray or DVD.
9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% | IMDb Score: 7.5
I’m a little shocked to see this one at the bottom. I’ll admit that I may have some held-over goodwill for Order of the Phoenix since it’s my favourite book of the series but, even if this movie isn’t the cream of the crop, I still think it deserves better than the last place spot.
8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Rotten Tomatoes: 80% | IMDb Score: 7.5
The first movie (which some brutes call Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – I mainly avoid doing so because I can never spell Sorcerer right the first time) can be a bit of a strange artifact, especially when you see where the franchise has ended up. Each of the actors grew into various degrees of talent, so it can sometimes feel a bit silly to watch these baby versions play acting the book that started it all. I’ve seen this one a good half-dozen times and have yet to be able to get through Neville winning the House Cup for Gryffindor without shedding a tear.
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Rotten Tomatoes: 82% | IMDb Score: 7.4
I am shocked… shocked that this isn’t the bottom entry on the list. The weakest book of the franchise was also the weakest movie of the franchise. I have no associations with this story other than feelings of underwhelm…ment.
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% | IMDb Score: 7.7
The movie that launched a thousand ‘ships. This movie and the next one are the ones that feel the most like they were just ticking the boxes in adapting the movie. As a result, all I really remember is how much Harry’s hair wanted us to know that he felt misunderstood.
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Rotten Tomatoes: 84% | IMDb Score: 7.5
As I said before, Half-Blood Prince feels like it’s got a job to do in telling its story so it grinds away at the task, making sure to hit all of the important narrative points. I’m one of the people who has struggled with Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. As a result, the big emotional thing that happens near the end that’s supposed to leave you feeling hollow and hopeless just felt like another plot point to get through.
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% | IMDb Score: 8.0
This may be the most controversial opinion I’ll share today but I really loved this movie. It may, in fact be my #2 from the franchise. It’s absolutely incredible to look at and I believe the performances were utterly endearing. I also appreciated how deftly morality was passed around by different characters, particularly in the final confrontation in the subway. Of all the movies, this one is the most magical.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% | IMDb Score: 7.7
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is my favourite movie from the franchise. Its darker tone was earned, compared to Goblet of Fire‘s hairstyle shortcuts. Dobby’s demise left me heartbroken. And, most importantly, this movie felt the most willing to use the medium of film in different ways to tell its story, particularly when Ron’s fears are laid bare for the audience and when Xenophilius recounts the story of The Three Brothers.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% | IMDb Score: 7.8
Prisoner of Azkaban was the rightful standard-bearer of the series for a good long while. Like with Deathly Hallows – Part 1, it had artistic merit outside of being just a paint-by-numbers adaptation of the book.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% | IMDb Score: 8.1
I’m a little surprised to see this one at the top. While it was the biggest spectacle of the franchise (at least until Fantastic Beasts), it never quite caught me the same way Part 1 did. Granted, Part 2 had a lot of business to take care of in wrapping up the story but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be able to stand on its own legs. Obviously, though, both critics and audiences had a different opinion.
So what do you think? What’s your favourite or least favourite of the Harry Potter movies? Even better, what does your ranking look like?