The Wizarding World – Ranked

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter ruled the box office for a decade while also earning more than a score of 7.4 on IMDb for each of its installments. With its epic theme music, costumes, and production design, Harry Potter is one of the most popular and successful franchises to date. Now with the spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Wizarding World legacy is being kept alive. With the premiere of the second franchise movie The Crimes of Grindelwald, I rank every Harry Potter movie.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 8.1

The best has been saved for the last! After teasing the Potterheads for years, the grand finale of the Harry Potter saga delivered the final clash between The Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named. Adapting the final book into two parts was a surprising and controversial step, but David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves proved that it was a must in order to maintain the heroic theme of the grand finale. There was no doubt as to why it was known that the final going to be a huge hit even before arriving in theaters. Lots of losses and victories left most of the viewers speechless, and fans all over the world were not disappointed that the saga ended with a triumphant movie.


2) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 7.6

He Who Must Not Be Named is now everywhere! After the dramatic battle that closed the Order of the Phoenix, it was not a surprise that the Voldemort terror has just begun. Throughout the saga, Voldemort hid himself in the darkness, busy with gathering his force and his army, although now, even the Hogwarts halls that are protected by Dumbledore and Snape are not safe. With its dramatic theme, Half-Blood Prince might be the most defining movie that sheds light on the dark side of the franchise.


3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Director: Mike Newell

IMDb: 7.7

The thin line between the magical adventure and Voldemort…if I was to name the highlight of Goblet of Fire, it would be screenwriter Steve Kloves. He overcame a difficult task by adapting 734 pages into a 157-minute long runtime. He managed to show the adventurous theme of the book without cutting down the essential parts. Even though there was a lot going on, the movie managed to keep the audience entertained for a long runtime like 157 minutes. Harry’s surprise entry in the Triwizard Tournament shocked everyone and caused conflicts between his best friend and him. The first showdown between Voldemort and Harry gave audience a clue about the path of the dark side in the future movies. Cedric Diggory, played by Robert Pattinson, was one of the highlights of the movie even though it was known that he was there only for a single movie.


4) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 7.5

Is he back?! With the return of the Lord Voldemort, now there’s new administration in Hogwarts. Lead by Dolores Umbridge, the new school order aims to keep the students out of the real world events such as His return. According to the new administration, Cedric Diggory’s tragic death had nothing to do with Voldemort because it is believed he did not return and Harry Potter was lying. Harry takes the lead and convinces people that Voldemort is back and the students must be prepared for any possible future dark side attack. Spanning 870 pages, the longest Harry Potter book was directed by the then-new director of the saga David Yates. However, poor screen translation made the movie one of the lowest ranked of the franchise.


5) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

IMDb: 7.9

“Have you seen this wizard?” Prisoner of Azkaban, Alfonso Cuarón’s first and only Harry Potter movie starts in a magical bus where Harry thinks an Azkaban escapee is coming after him. Even though he ends up being friends with this shapeshifting godfather of him, it’s not easy for him to get rid of his anxious state of mind throughout the film. This adventurous movie is one of the best adoptions of the franchise though it never fails to confuse the audience who are not familiar with the book version of it. Luckily it can be considered as an excuse to watch this masterpiece several times.


6) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 7.7

Whether it was a money-grubbing move or a necessity to tell a better story, the idea of the splitting the final book worked like magic. Throughout the movie, the golden trio is on the run to find and destroy the Horcruxes, which are the series of items that grants Voldemort immortality as long as they exist. The movie ends where friends are still on the run but this time to get away from the Voldemort’s army. Deathly Hallows Part 1 shows the personal climax at the highest level comparing it to the rest of the franchise.


7) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Director: Chris Columbus

IMDb: 7.6

In 2001, when the debut movie hit the theaters, the worldwide phenomenon book franchise Harry Potter was four books in. Even though it was not guaranteed, the success of the books on the big screen did not surprise the book fans. Thanks to Columbus, Sorcerer’s Stone grossed $317 million, and further movies were now guaranteed. Even though it was far from being an epic good vs. evil battle, the first movie stole hearts of fans with its warm Hogwarts environment.


8) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Director: Chris Columbus

IMDb: 7.4

After setting up the rivalry between the great wizards with the Sorcerer’s Stone,  Columbus next tried to untangle the relationship between Harry Potter and the mysterious past of Tom Marvolo Riddle. With a blend of comedy, drama, and magic elements, and the terrific acting skills of Kenneth Branagh, the franchise proved that they can reflect the wizarding world in every genre possible.


9) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 7.3

When it was first announced, Potterheads around the world were losing their minds over the news that a book in the Harry Potter franchise was becoming a movie series. After five years of waiting, fans were ready to welcome this new wizarding world which took place in the U.S this time. The book originally was a guide containing information about the magical beasts in the wizarding world, and was used as a textbook at Hogwarts. No one had a clue about the background of the adventures of Newt Scamander until the movie came out. The movie did not add too much to the original saga and instead trekked upon a different path. The adventures of Newt Scamander and his friends were entertaining and light, till the ending revealed Gellert Grindelwald, which guaranteed that the sequel was going to be about the famed dark lord who got defeated by Albus Dumbledore in a well-known 1945 battle.


10) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Director: David Yates

IMDb: 7.4

The sixth David Yates movie in the Harry Potter franchise applied a simple formula and ended up being a poor sequel to the first Fantastic Beasts. With powerhouse actors such as Eddie Redmayne, Zoë Kravitz, and Jude Law, so many better things could have been done with this well-anticipated sequel. The pacing of the movie leaves the audience uninterested and sometimes even furious. It mostly threatens the franchise rather than contributing to the original saga.

With eight movies in the original saga garnering great box office numbers and 12 Oscar nominations, it’s clear the formula never failed even after such a long time. It seems like adapting a book series into a movie franchise is a less risky formula, since readers—who are also future audience—get the chance to preapprove the quality of a story.