4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Yates, 2010) – 63 points
As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.
Two points ahead of Half-Blood Prince but a whopping thirty-five points behind the third spot, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is fourth on our list but bottom of the pack in terms of critic reviews. Due to the fact the final book had been split into two parts, suddenly director David Yates had to introduce plot threads that had previously been ignored by their film counterparts. As such, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 often feels like a bit of a convoluted mess that drags in parts. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Every two minutes the action whooshes sideways to someone somewhere else” and, like a lot of two-part movies, the film doesn’t have a satisfying dramatic conclusion as it’s just the mid-point of a story. You can’t argue with its box office numbers ($960 million), but one has to wonder whether this movie along with The Hunger Games led towards the cancellation of other announced two-parter films (Avengers: Infinity War and Justice League, for example). It’s an impossible task to make half a book seem like a worthwhile movie. Just ask Peter Jackson. Having said that, the film does kill Dobby. So it does have that going for it.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Yates, 2011) – 98 points
Harry, Ron and Hermione search for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.
While positions four to seven were mostly interchangeable in terms of their voting, the battle for the top 3 was very fierce. For a time, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was top of our rankings despite only being the number one choice for one of our writers. The same rambling and convoluted issues that plagued Part 1 are present in this follow-up, but the finale and epic battle is certainly a memorable moment for the franchise (even if a few characters die pointlessly off screen). The acting is much better, the action is intense and it’s quite an emotional roller-coaster. While it was third in our overall list, it has the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes (96%) and the biggest box office return with $1.3 billion. So it really does have the last laugh. Many mocked its closing moments for the dreadful ‘older’ make-up, but everyone seems to overlook Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s flaws. Reviews at the time called it a ‘fitting ending’ to the franchise, which is hard to argue with.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuarón, 2004) – 101 points
It’s Harry’s third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards’ Prison and is coming after Harry.
It’s very easy to point out that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the true turning point of the franchise. The previous two movies, helmed by Christopher Columbus, were bright and colourful affairs that were safe blockbusters for Warner Bros., but new director Alfonso Cuarón shook things up with a drained colour palette, darker overtones and a sense of foreboding the franchise had been missing up until this point. Now three films in, the three main actors are much better and have managed to overcome their stilted performances (for the most part) and it incorporates a fun time travel element which creates a memorable third act. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban feels so much more grown up, and the series is all the better because of it. Of the sixteen votes we had, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban topped six of the lists and it came second in more. It is interesting to look at the box office performance of the movie however, as it has the lowest overall takings of the franchise with $796 million, which is nearly $100 million less than Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Essentially people had given up on the franchise following the first two bland movies, and no one expected that this would be the turning point. It’s impressive to see just how much Alfonso Cuarón turned the ship around. With 101 points, Prisoner of Azkaban was just two points ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and two points from missing first place.
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Newell, 2005)
Harry finds himself mysteriously selected as an under-aged competitor in a dangerous tournament between three schools of magic.
Which of course means first place goes to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. For the longest time Goblet of Fire was running away with this vote, but some late surges for Prisoner and Azkaban and Deathly Hallows Part 2 pushed it down to third. It wasn’t until we had our final nomination in that Goblet of Fire returned to the top spot, making it the official Best Harry Potter Movie – at least according to the writing staff of Flickering Myth. After the change in tone from Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire continues the trend of making a more ‘grown up’ Harry Potter movie and does so with great control. Unlike the Deathly Hallows movies, Goblet of Fire balances its tournament plot with the franchise-long story arc of Voldermort returning perfectly, and every one of the performances appears better because of it. The action is thrilling, the effects are good and its finale is incredibly emotional. “THAT’S MY BOY!” rings in the head whenever this film’s name is mentioned. Without a shadow of a doubt, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best directed movie as well as the best-written. Prisoner of Azkaban turned a few heads back to the series, but Goblet of Fire was the one that made them stay.
So, there it is! The Harry Potter films ranked from best to worst. Do you agree with the list? Did we get it completely right, or totally wrong? Why not argue with us in the comments section. Here’s the full list:
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
And here’s each of the writer’s personal picks:
Luke Owen – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Matt Skeen – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Andrew Newton – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Ben Robins – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Gav Logan – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
AJ Black – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Sean Wilson – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
James Garcia – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Sade Green – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Jordan J Jones – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Eric Bay Anderson – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone
Ricky Church – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Helen Murdoch – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Emma Withington – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Liam Hoofe – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Angus Houvouras – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the co-host of The Flickering Myth Podcast and Scooperhero News. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen and read his weekly feature The Week in Star Wars.