The eight Harry Potter films, ranked from worst to best

9 July 2021, 15:38 | Updated: 9 July 2021, 15:39

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Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Let me start by saying this, I love Harry Potter.

But while I'd love to tell you that I read all the books first followed by the films, I would be lying. I was born a little after the Harry Potter universe exploded onto the scene and because of that my film and book experience is a little muddled. I couldn't honestly tell you which film or book I saw first.

That aside, I have throughout the years read and re-read all of the books and spent hours watching and re-watching the films. I even listen to the Stephen Fry audiobook to go to sleep, much to the dismay of my boyfriend.

Because of this, I think I am qualified to put together this definitive ranking of all the Harry Potter films. While I have sorted them from worst to best, I honestly would be happy to sit down with a cup of tea on a rainy day with any of of them. In other words, don't get too mad if you don't agree with me.

8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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In bottom place on my list is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film and fifth book, released in 2007. The film follows Harry, Ron and Hermione's fifth year at Hogwarts, where they are met with the second biggest villain of the series, Professor Umbridge.

This movie sees the death of Sirius Black, the introduction of Bellatrix Lestrange and in short a very aggy Harry Potter.

While this film, like all of them, has special moments I love, it just feels very messy to me. The context found in the books just isn't there, and is also not present in the previous film making this one a bit confusing and disjointed.

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Let me start this one by saying, this is my favourite book in the Harry Potter series. The chapters exploring Voldemort's childhood are incredible, and lay great context for the big finale in the Deathly Hallows.

I know I am not the only one with this opinion, which is why I find it bizarre that they decided to basically leave out all of these scenes in the film. It feels like I handed a list of my favourite scenes and moments in the book to the producers and they decided those would be the bits cut from the movie.

We only get one I REPEAT ONE flashback scene from Voldemort's childhood, and that was a big old let down.

Unforgivable in my opinion.

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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I know a lot of people take issue with the early Harry Potter films, but for me – even if I don't care for the storyline – there is so much nostalgia in them I just can't help but love them.

The second film instalment wins multiple points for the casting of Kenneth Branagh as Lockhart, who brings the character to life in a way I didn't think possible.

The film, however, gets negative marks for the whole spider scene because, to put it simply, gross.

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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Like the Chamber of Secrets, this film will always hold a special place in my heart as the first time I saw the novels come to life on the big screen.

Sure, the acting may be shoddy at times, but I can overlook it and instead just enjoy the nostalgia of Harry's first year at Hogwarts as I watch Hedwig fly over the snowy Hogwarts setting and forget about all my troubles.

Also, top marks from the producers for skipping the Deathday Party scenes, great shout.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

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Ok, now we're getting into the good ones.

In a not-so-common opinion, the Deathly Hallows part two is marked lower than part one on my list, but I said what I said.

This film is an epic ending to an epic story, and I think that the filmmakers did the book justice with their visual creation of the Battle of Hogwarts, the death of Snape as well as Voldemort's long-awaited death.

However, I can't forgive several things. Firstly, where on earth was the stand-off between Harry and Voldemort prior yo his death explaining why the elder wand wouldn't work for him? Also, I needed more from the Kings Cross Station scene, especially when it is SO necessary to explaining what the past seven films have been about.

And lastly – and maybe my biggest pet-peeve – IS THAT ALL THEY SAY ABOUT ARIANA? For the book readers of the class, you'll know I'm talking about the complete lack of explanation about Dumbledore and Aberforth's sister and her untimely death. It literally would have taken five minutes to explain that whole situation.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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A firm favourite with fans, the Prisoner of Azkaban is also one of my favourite of the films.

The way it is filmed with continuous shots is an amazing way to show the importance of time, and eventually places meaning on Hermione's little secret. We also have to mention the Shrieking Shack scenes, and the phenomenal acting from Gary Oldman and David Thewlis as Sirius and Lupin.

Again, the only issues I have with the film is the lack on context. Sure, we learn a brief history of James Potter and his friends in their years at Hogwarts, but I needed more. Would it have killed them to explain the whole 'secret keeper' thing? Or explain why they all became Animagi? I don't think so.

Also marked down for Daniel Radcliffe shouting 'HE WAS THEIR FRIEND!' because, well, cringe.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

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The Deathly Hallows part one takes second place on my list. When I first heard the last book was being made into two films I just thought it was a money-making scheme to prolong the cash flow of the movies, but I have to say, it was probably a good call as there is a lot to cover.

This first part, to me, is the perfect beginning of the end. It sets the finale up perfectly, building tension and peril throughout until the end scene on the beach, which I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to talk about. #RIPDobby.

The acting from Daniel, Emma and Rupert is its best in this film – in my opinion - and I think the fight between Harry and Ron really shows their growth as actors. Goosebumps, that's all I'm going to say.

Could have done without the awkward dancing scene in the tent between Harry and Hermione, but I'll let them off.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Yes, you read that right – Goblet of Fire reaches the top spot.

What is there not to love about this film? You've got the return of the most powerful dark wizard ever, dragons, shady journalists, the introduction of the unforgivable curses, an epic twist at the end and, most importantly, the arrival (and quick departure) of Robert Pattison.

This film was a game changer for me as it was the first film that broke away from the classic pattern of 'Harry goes to school, Harry is in mortal peril, Harry saves the Wizarding world once again'. This time we had the return of Voldemort, and it was delicious. Can you tell I'm a Slytherin?

Ralph Fiennes did an incredible job bringing the menacing Dark Lord to the big screen, and the scene in the graveyard is simply iconic. Sure, it misses out a key storyline involving Winky and Bertha Jorkins, but it makes up for that with the creation of the Yule Ball and the harrowing death of Cedric.

Don't agree with me? Have your say on what your favourite Harry Potter film is in our poll below: