How to watch the Harry Potter films in order!

Adapted from the novels by J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series takes us on a journey from innocent childhood, through adolescence and finally into adulthood, set against a backdrop of fantastical beasts, powerful magic and wonderous adventure.

The recurring stars are Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. The supporting cast includes legendary stars such as Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith and John Hurt.

If you want to want to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, here’s the definitive list of Harry Potter movies for the ultimate marvellous, magical marathon!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

The first film introduces us to orphan Harry who lives under the stairs. Imprisoned by his cruel aunt and uncle (played by Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths), Harry is destined for greater things. When Harry receives an invite to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he packs his bags, boards the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9¾ and sets off on an adventure of a lifetime.

Directed by Chris Columbus, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone packs a fantastical journey into two and a half hours, introducing us to the marvels of Hogwarts, as well as beloved recurring characters such as Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Professor Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), and the sinister Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). We uncover a completely different world of magic hidden behind everyday muggle life, where wizardry and spellcasting are as normal as eating breakfast. We also see glimpses of the darker, more terrifying underside of magic with the introduction of Voldemort and the bitter rivalry between pure-bloods and ‘muggles’.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Directed by Chris Columbus, the second Harry Potter film sees Daniel Radcliffe return as the boy wizard. This time, something dark stalks the corridors of Hogwarts, and an ancient prophecy seems to be coming back to haunt the young witches and wizards. Petrified students keep turning up, and the staff are grimly battling against an ancient evil that lurks in the Chamber of Secrets. Ably assisted by Hermione and Ron, Harry comes face to face with the Basilisk and discovers the origins of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Also starring Toby Jones as the voice of Dobby the House Elf, and Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

The unthinkable and supposedly impossible has happened – a deadly foe has escaped from Azkaban Prison and set his sights on Harry Potter. Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) is believed to be one of Voldemort’s trusted aides. Hogwarts is placed on high alert with the demonic Dementors guarding the school gates. But is everything as it seems? Is Sirius the cold-blooded murderer who Harry thinks he is? Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the third in the series is a darker, more intense film that looks at the concepts of identity and betrayal. Also starring Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge, Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley, and Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

After the darkness and intensity of The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire starts off with a sunny and cheerful feel, as Harry and his friends enjoy the Quidditch World Cup Finals. However, the forces of darkness are never far away, and Death Eaters bring chaos and terror to the tournament’s revelry. Back at Hogwarts, the Triwizard Tournament brings together three great magical institutions in a series of difficult challenges. Behind the scenes, a sense of fear is rising as Voldemort’s symbol, ‘The Dark Mark’, appears everywhere. For Harry and his friends, everything is about to change. Directed by Mike Newell, The Goblet of Fire also stars David Tennant, Brendan Gleeson, Eric Sykes, Timothy Spall and Frances de la Tour.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Harry comes under the spotlight of the Ministry of Magic and watches in horror as the sinister Professor Dolores Umbridge replaces Professor Albus Dumbledore. Changes at Hogwarts are echoed by a new chapter in Harry's life, as he discovers the secrets of the Order of the Phoenix and their battle against the forces of darkness within the Ministry. Harry finds some surprising allies in one of the most intense and powerful films of the franchise. Directed by David Yates, The Order of the Phoenix also stars Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, Katie Leung as Harry's new love interest Cho Chang, and Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

It's Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, and a mysterious book – once the property of the 'Half-Blood Prince' – finds its way into his hands. The new Potions professor, Horace Slughorn, recognises it for what it is – an important clue into the background of Voldemort and the Dark Lord's own personal journey from good to evil. Harry not only has to contend with the growing menace of his nemesis but also a hidden enemy who waits in the shadows to thwart the young wizard’s plans.

Although many of the films can be watched as ‘stand-alone’ adventures, it is worth watching the Harry Potter movies in order to understand the finer aspects of this complex film. Directed by David Yates, The Half-Blood Prince also stars Dave Legeno as Fenrir Greyback, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Warwick Davis as Professor Filius Flitwick, and Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn.

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

In the first of this epic two-part finale, Harry and his friends race to find and destroy the evil Horcruxes, and they discover something more terrifying than fragments of Voldemort’s soul – the Deathly Hallows. With Voldemort now controlling the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, who can Harry turn to? Is there anyone he can truly trust? The final battle begins here. Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 also stars Bill Nighy as Minister Rufus Scrimgeour, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, John Hurt as Ollivander, and Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter.

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

If you’ve watched the Harry Potter movies in order of release date, you’ll find this final chapter all the more rewarding, as so many of the threads that run through the series finally come together. A dark, brutal and surprisingly sombre film, Deathly Hallows Part 2 sees our young hero come face to face with the Dark Lord one last time. Not everyone will survive the epic battle that rages around Hogwarts, and life will never be the same again for Harry, Hermione and Ron. Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is an explosive end to the series that explores the true nature of good and evil at its most basic level. Starring Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley, and Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore.

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