These past few months, my housemates and I busied ourselves with re-watching each Harry Potter movie. Being a huge fan of the books myself, I really enjoyed stepping into the films, so much so that I'm currently in the middle of watching them yet again with my parents. I've decided to challenge myself with ranking them in order from least favorite to favorite, which has proven to be a lot harder than it sounds. I present to you, reader, a final, definitive ranking of all eight movies, based on how much I personally enjoy them. I hope this list reminds you of the magic of Harry's wizarding world, which is always just a page-turn away!
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
The Chamber of Secrets is, in all honesty, my least favorite of the eight movies (sorry!). I'm not crazy about Dobby this early in the series, and I'm not a huge fan of Aragog either (or his thousands of sons and daughters -- ick). Harry, Ron, and Hermione are adorable as second-years, but it's safe to say that this film is last on my list.
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Next up in my ranking is The Sorcerer's Stone. There is something really special about stepping into the magical word for the first time. Harry's first ride on the Hogwarts Express, his first Quidditch match, fighting the troll on Halloween...Watching this movie feels like starting the series all over again, even if it's your second or tenth (or twentieth!) time.
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
I remember seeing this in theaters and being absolutely heartbroken when Ron abandons Harry and Hermione. The tone of this film sets it apart from the others -- it is the most mature of the eighth films, and it brings to light many of the conflicts introduced in the earlier books. I really do love Harry and Hermione's friendship in this movie (their dancing scene makes me cry every time!), and it sets up the eighth and final film just perfectly.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
What keeps me from ranking this movie higher up is the rift that exists between Harry and Dumbledore at the beginning. It's also so hard to see Harry deal with Sirius's death, especially after having to grow up with the Dursleys. However, what I do look forward to each time I watch it is the first-ever appearance of Bellatrix Lestrange. The Order of the Phoenix is a lot of fun, though, despite its bleak moments.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Who doesn't love the fourth movie? The Triwizard Tournament, the Yule Ball, the Quidditch World Cup… The Goblet of Fire stands alone as an accomplished film, largely because of its outstanding special effects. I've always loved the suspense of not knowing who puts Harry's name into the goblet, as well as the shock of seeing the risen Voldemort for the first time. This is also the only movie with Cedric Diggory...I'll say no more.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Part 2 of the final movie ranks pretty high on my list because of the Battle of Hogwarts. As a kid, I could never finish The Deathly Hallows because I was so attached to the story that I never wanted it to end. Having faced my fears, I now consider the final movie to be in my top three, despite being quite the emotional rollercoaster. Harry's conversation with Dumbledore at King's Cross is one of the best scenes in all eight movies, and, before this, we learn a whole lot about Snape and his true feelings toward Lily Potter.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
This film is a close pick for first place in my eyes. I've always loved the shift that we see in the third book -- Hagrid beginning to teach Care of Magical Creatures, trips to Hogsmeade, the Marauder's Map, Professor Trewlaney's Divination class, the introduction of dementors...I could go on and on. The third book is also when we get to meet Lupin and Sirius, two of the best characters in the entire series. The Prisoner of Azkaban bridges a gap between Harry's past and future, and it prepares us for the coming conflicts of the later books. Plus, it's a total nailbiter.
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Drumroll please! Coming in at first is my absolute favorite, the sixth movie. I think that this film in particular does an outstanding job of capturing the humor of the sixth book, and there's a great juxtaposition of lighthearted adventure and emotional trial. This is also the first time the audience really gets to see Harry and Ginny together, as well as Ron and Hermione. I've always been such a sucker for a good coming-of-age film, so I definitely have the biggest soft spot for Half-Blood Prince.