Harry Potter – From Worst to Best

Hp - Chamber

The crew grew up a little in the series second instalment, The Chamber of Secrets

List Compiled by Eddie on 27/02/2015

A series of arguably unmatched quality and spectacle, The Harry Potter series of films is the perfect moulding of text into big screen entertainment that provides for both young and old and features any vast array of elements from the magical, the mundane and the downright scary.

From the first’s films release in 2001 to the last hurrah in 2011, audiences were privy to a film series that grew in confidence over a decade, from the young actors growth as performers through the filmmakers looking at fresh and inventive ways to produce their films, to the extent that many of the latter movies received recognition in fields such as cinematography and production design and the last films placing the IMDB’s Top 250 Films of All Time.

The Harry Potter films each in their own right are great fantasy films so ranking them as a whole is no mean feat. It’s also highly likely that many avid fans hold a certain film above another for their own personal and valid reasons but to the best of my ability (after a recent binge watch of them all) this is the ranking of the Harry Potter films from best to worst.

Happy reading and happy watching!

HP - Goblet

Goblet of Fire felt a little lacking despite it still being a quality film

8. Goblet of Fire – 2005 (Year 4)

Director: Mike Newell

Perhaps it’s due to the episodic nature of the book it’s based on or the slightly amiss directional tone of newcomer and single time helmer Mike Newell, but the Goblet of Fire just lacks a certain pizazz that other Potter films had or made up for with abundant charm. Some neat visuals and a good finale make up for shortfalls however.

Best moment – Voldemort’s reveal

7. Chamber of Secrets – 2002 (Year 2)

Director: Chris Columbus

The second year blues slightly affected Chris Columbus’s second Potter instalment and the weakish nature of the book stops The Chamber of Secrets from really reaching any great heights. The inclusion also of seemingly defunct characters who play no real part in the greater proceedings also hinder the film’s progression. Arguably has the weakest finale of all films.

Best moment – Fawkes to the rescue

6. Order of the Phoenix – 2007 (Year 5)

Director: David Yates

The second shortest of all the films length wise, this was also the heralding in of David Yates who took the franchise reigns and ran with them all the way to the epic conclusion. Often greatly cinematic and with a maturing cast, Order of the Phoenix helps this franchise enter into the darker stages of the Potter story in a very solid fashion.

Best moment – Harry’s realisation of friendship and love

5. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – 2010 (Year 7)

Director: David Yates

What holds this film back from becoming something really special is the hindrance of the novel being split into 2 films which sees this first entry sometimes struggle to maintain momentum where the other films had an abundance of material at their disposal. An often tense and thrilling film however that perfectly sets up the last entry into the series.

Best moment – The forest chase

Hp - Azkaban

Things started getting a little darker in the more edgy Prisoner of Azkaban

4. Prisoner of Azkaban – 2004 (Year 3)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

It was a great coupe for the franchise to secure visual maverick Alfonso Cuaron as director and he totally changed the tone and visual aesthetic of the films for the better. Well told and filmed with a grand eye for wonder, this is a fantastic Potter entry and a fantastic fantasy film in its own right.

Best moment – The manipulation of time

3. Half Blood Prince – 2009 (Year 6)

Director: David Yates

Dark, humorous, visually striking and emotionally poignant, Half Blood Prince is a great step up for director Yates and a real quality benchmark for the series. Mixing in the trademark of magic, wonder and of course all things dark and creepy, this is a ripping cinematic yarn that is bookend by a thrilling emotional climax.

Best moment – Wands raised to the sky

2. Philosophers Stone – 2001 (Year 1)

Director: Chris Columbus

While there is questionable acting from the young untrained leads and some suspect scripting, there really is little questioning the wonder and magic on display in this grand lead in entry. Filled with visual wonderment and a huge sense of adventure, this is family fantasy moviemaking at its pinnacle and a film that will always be fondly remembered by those fans of the book that got to see their beloved characters come to life.

Best moment – The welcoming to Hogwarts

1. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 2011 (Year 7)

Director: David Yates

Not often can a series claim it’s finale as it’s best entry (Lord of the Rings one of the only ones that comes to mind) but The Deathly Hallows fantastically ends the 8 part series with a film that is thrilling, moving and undeniably magical. It’s a treat to see our young cast end their Hogwarts career on a high, there maturity of acting ability is a real joy and director Yates handles proceedings like a man that truly knew just what needed to be done to translate the book to screen.

Best moment – Neville’s moment to shine

Hp - Deathly

A thrilling battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort was the main selling point to the grand finale, Deathly Hallows Part 2

How does this list compare to your favourite Harry Potter flicks? Are you a Hufflepuff fan or Gryffindor diehard? Or perhaps the series isn’t something you admire? Either way let us know in the comments below!

45 responses to “Harry Potter – From Worst to Best

  1. I’m so into this! I’m finally reading the books for the first time so I’m rewatching the movies as I go. This is how my list usually goes although I gotta say mine are by favorites not by “best” and I realize the criteria for favorite vs best is not necessarily the same
    From Favorite to Least Favorite (but I like them all!)
    1. Prisoner of Azkaban
    2. Order of the Phoenix
    3. Deathly Hallows Part II
    4. Deathly Hallows Part 1
    5. Half-Blood Prince-tough to pick between this and Part 1
    6. Goblet of Fire
    7. Chamber of Secrets
    8. Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone)


  2. Totally disagree with you on this one, your last two choices are my favourites! I think the 5 to 8 were all pretty weak, changing the initial tone of the series!

  3. Fun list! I would have it the same except 7 pt 1 is my least favorite. It just bored me and I got antsy.

  4. But I really like all of them just 7 pt 1 is my least favorite. Such likable characters, great stories, real heart, great villain. I think they all could hold up to Wizard of Oz and other classics

  5. My list from Worst to Best is:
    8: Deathly Hallows Part 1 (one time I named it the worst film ever made).
    7. Half Blood Prince (almost nothing interesting actually happens in it).
    6. Deathly Hallows Part 2
    5. Goblet of Fire
    4. Chamber of Secrets
    3. Philosopher’s Stone
    2. Prisoner of Azkaban
    1. Order of the Phoenix

  6. Hmmm. I never really put them into any order, so I like yours and pretty much agree. My youngest grew up with the books and we read each one as they came out. He reread them over and over. And of course the movies too. I love this series, both books and movies and there’s not many book/movie adaptations I can say that about. Lord of the Rings comes to mind there too. 🙂

  7. It’s nice to see this from another person’s perspective and their opinion. I agree with the last place for the Goblet of Fire although for me the first place will always be the Philosopher’s Stone, after all that’s when it all started.

  8. A very intriguing list, to be sure. I find it a little strange that, considering the impact of Cuaron’s direction (as you mentioned), Prisoner of Azkaban wasn’t your top pick…?

  9. Great list! I wonder if they had kept Deathly Hallows as one movie it would have changed people’s opinion of how little Part I held interest. Honestly all I remember about it was the beautifully illustrated storyof the Three Brothers.

  10. I agree with the last one as the best Potter movie, and I’m a 100% with you on the Goblet of Fire being the worst. That movie was a disaster and conveniently left out essential parts of the book. Great review!

  11. Great work! However, I must say, I am a huge Potter junkie when it comes to the books, but I resented the movies 😦 I blame a huge part of that on the fact that they started filming before the franchise was finished publishing, but I really didn’t like the adaptions. However, the worst really is The Goblet of Fire. I damn near had kittens about that!

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