As news hits that we will be seeing a third instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series in 2021, we are all starting to feel a little nostalgic for the Harry Potter film universe. But If you don’t have time to watch all ten movies currently available, then start with the best and work your way down the list, as ranked by viewers on IMDB.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
IMDB Score 8.1/10
It is a testament to the journey that J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers took us on that the final film is the fan favourite. The final battle gave fans the closure that they needed for their beloved characters, without dampening our enthusiasm for the universe that Rowling created, paving the way for Fantastic Beasts and hopefully future stories. While there are cheesy elements in this film, we forgive them as necessary for these characters that we love.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
IMDB Score 7.9/10
This film appealed for what it revealed about magical companion animals, and how it started to open up the story of Harry’s father, James Potter. While everyone has always told Harry what a star he was, it was nice to see a more genuine, human character being revealed. It is also the film that introduces us to the Dementors, truly terrifying creatures that could feature in any horror movie.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
IMDB Score 7.7/10
While splitting the final book into two films meant that they weren’t as fast paced as some of the other films, it gave movie makers the chance to wrap up story lined and send of their characters in the way that they deserved (no Game of Thrones style complaints here!) Harry, Hermione and Ron take on the dangerous task of tracking down and destroying the horcruxes in order to make Voldemort vulnerable.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
IMDB Score 7.7/10
This is the one where we see Harry Potter competing in a dangerous wizarding tournament and get to see what wizarding schools in other parts of the world look like. This is also the first film that genuinely treats the characters like young adults, rather than children. It is also this film that ends with a darker turn than then characterises the films to follow. Plus, there is some young Robert Pattinson before he was famous to enjoy – his role is small but crucial.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
IMDB Score 7.6/10
This film is one of the most interesting for anyone interested in the wider backstory of the Harry Potter universe (and the book is even better). It starts to reveal more about the history of Voldemort, long before he became the monster that we are familiar with. It also reveals much more about the backstory of both Harry’s parents, and Professor Snape, forcing us to see these characters from a new perspective. And for first time viewers who haven’t read the books (do those exist?) the end is also punching above its weight.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
IMDB Score 7.6/10
The first movie in the series, it was always going to hold a special place in our hearts. It is the movie that introduces us to all the characters, and the young actors who play them and are now largely inseparable from them. This is the movie that started the phenomenon, and while it id definitely geared towards children, it is one that adults can watch over and over and over.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
IMDB Score 7.5/10
Although the return of Voldemort still isn’t public knowledge, this is the movie when the war begins, and the adults join the battle, rather than leaving it to the kids. Plus, this is the film where we see Hogwarts transform from a place we would love to go, to a very scary place indeed. It is a credit to J.K. Rowling and the film makers that Dolores Umbridge is the most terrifying character in the Harry Potter universe. She may not have the eyes of a snake, but her heart is black!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
IMDB Score 7.4/10
It is always hard for the second film in a series. It has to follow the first film, which introduced all the characters that we loved, and it doesn’t yet have the depth and back story to take us where the later films will. But that is not to say that Chamber of Secrets is not a fantastic film, it just isn’t quite as good as the others. Plus, we meet our first horcrux, though we don’t know it at the time.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
IMDB Score 7.3/10
The first Harry Potter universe film not to feature its titular character, or Hogwarts, or Dumbledore… the list could go on, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong with this film for fans. Fortunately, this film was well done and a pleasant surprise, and introduced a lot of new characters for us to love. Eddie Redmayne successfully leads the film as News, and he receives excellent support from the ensemble cast including Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
IMDB Score 6.6/10
After the first Fantastic Beasts movie was a pleasant surprise, the second instalment, which promised so much, fell a little flat, I personally think because of the over the top performance of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, but each to their own. Nevertheless, I will be watching this movie again in the near future as one thing The Deathly Hallows did well was ask a lot of interesting questions about the histories of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, and this film starts to answer some of those.