Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie


Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)

An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001) Credits

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone movie poster

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)

Rated PG

152 minutes


Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom

Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy

Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley

Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore

Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid

Alan Rickman as Prof. Snape

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger

John Cleese as Nick

Maggie Smith as Prof. McGonagall

Ian Hart as Prof. Quirrell

Written by

  • Steven Kloves

Based On The Novel by

  • J.K. Rowling

Directed by

  • Chris Columbus


Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001) Plot

Late one night, Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall, professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid, deliver an orphaned infant named Harry Potter to his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, his only living relatives.

Ten years later, just before Harry’s eleventh birthday, owls begin delivering letters addressed to him. When the abusive Dursleys refuse to allow Harry to open any and flee to an island hut, Hagrid arrives to personally deliver Harry’s letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. Hagrid also reveals that Harry’s parents, James and Lily, were killed by a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort. The killing curse that Voldemort had cast rebounded, destroying Voldemort’s body and giving Harry his lightning-bolt scar. Hagrid then takes Harry to Diagon Alley for school supplies and gives him a pet snowy owl whom he names Hedwig. Harry buys a wand that is connected to Voldemort’s own wand.

At King’s Cross station, Harry boards the Hogwarts Express train. He meets Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, a Muggle-born witch. Arriving at Hogwarts, Harry also meets Draco Malfoy, who is from a wealthy, pure-blood wizard family. The two immediately form a rivalry. The students assemble in the Great Hall where the Sorting Hat sorts the first-years in four respective houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Harry is placed into Gryffindor alongside Ron and Hermione, while Draco is sorted into Slytherin, a house noted for dark wizards.

As Harry studies magic, he learns more about his parents and Voldemort. Harry’s natural talent for broomstick flying gets him recruited as the youngest-ever Seeker for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team. While returning to the Gryffindor common room, the staircases change paths, leading Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the third floor, which is restricted. There they discover a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy.

On Halloween, Ron insults Hermione after she shows off in Charms class. Upset, Hermione spends the afternoon crying in the girls’ bathroom. That night, a giant marauding troll enters it, but Harry and Ron save Hermione, and the three make up and become close friends after Hermione takes the blame by claiming she went looking for the troll.

The trio discover that Fluffy is guarding the philosophers stone, a magical object that can turn metal into gold and produce an immortality elixir. Harry suspects that Potions teacher and head of Slytherin House, Severus Snape, wants the stone to return Voldemort to physical form. When Hagrid accidentally reveals that music puts Fluffy asleep, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to find the stone before Snape. Fluffy is already asleep, but the trio face other barriers, including a deadly plant called Devil’s Snare, a room filled with aggressive flying keys, and a giant chess game that knocks out Ron.

After overcoming the barriers, Harry discovers that Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Quirinus Quirrell wants the stone; Snape had figured it out and had been protecting Harry. Quirrell removes his turban and reveals a weakened Voldemort living on the back of his head. Dumbledore’s protective enchantment places the stone in Harry’s possession. Voldemort attempts to bargain the stone from Harry in exchange for resurrecting his parents, but Harry sees through his trick and refuses. Quirrell attempts to kill Harry. When Harry touches Quirrell’s skin, it burns Quirrell, reducing him to ashes. Voldemort’s soul rises from the pile and escapes, knocking out Harry as it passes through him.

Harry recovers in the school infirmary. Dumbledore says the stone has been destroyed to prevent misuse, and that Ron and Hermione are safe. Dumbledore reveals how Harry defeated Quirrell: When Lily died to save Harry, a love-based protection against Voldemort was placed on him. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are rewarded with house points for their heroism, tying them for first place with Slytherin. Dumbledore then awards ten points to their housemate Neville Longbottom for having had the courage to stand up to the trio, granting Gryffindor the House Cup. Harry returns to the Dursleys for the summer, happy to finally have a real home at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001) Box office

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone grossed a record single day gross of £3.6 million during the first day of previews, beating Toy Story 2s record. It grossed a record £3.1 million for a Sunday, bringing its total to £6.7 million from the previews. It broke the record for the highest-opening weekend ever, both including and excluding previews, making £16.3 million with and £9.6 million without previews ($13.8 million), setting a further record single day gross on the Saturday with £3.99 million.

It set another Sunday record with a gross of £3.6 million.  It had a record second weekend of £8.4 million.  It remained at number one in the UK for five weeks. The film went on to make £66.1 million in the UK alone, making it the country’s second-highest-grossing film of all-time (after Titanic), until it was surpassed by Mamma Mia!. 

In the United States and Canada, it made $32.3 million on its opening day, breaking the single-day record previously held by Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). On the second day of release, the film’s gross increased to $33.5 million, breaking the record for biggest single day again. It made $90.3 million during its first weekend, breaking the record for highest-opening weekend of all time that was previously held by The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).  It held the record until the following May when Spider-Man (2002) made $114.8 million in its opening weekend. Plus, the film broke Batman Forevers record for having the largest opening weekend for a Warner Bros. film.

It would hold this record for two years until it was surpassed by The Matrix Reloaded (2003). Additionally, it shattered other opening records, surpassing Monsters, Inc. for having the biggest November opening weekend, Planet of the Apes for having the largest non-holiday opening weekend, the highest Friday gross and the biggest opening weekend of the year, The Mummy Returns for scoring the highest Saturday gross, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) for having the highest opening weekend for a Chris Columbus film and Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) for having the largest number of screenings, playing at 3,672 theaters. The film grossed $2.3 million in its first two days in Taiwan, giving it a worldwide opening weekend total of $107 million.

The film held onto the number 1 spot at the US box office for three consecutive weekends. The film also had the highest-grossing 5-day (Wednesday-Sunday) Thanksgiving weekend record of $82.4 million, holding the title for twelve years until both The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) and Frozen (2013) surpassed it with $110.1 million and $94 million respectively. 

Similar results were achieved across the world. A week after opening in the United States, the film added 15 additional markets and set an opening week record in Germany, grossing $18.7 million. It also set opening records in Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and German-speaking Switzerland. In the following weekend, after expanding to 31 countries, the film set a record overseas weekend gross of $60.9 million, including record openings in Australia, Greece,  Japan ($12.5 million), New Zealand and Spain. It set another overseas weekend record with $62.3 million from 37 countries the following weekend, including record openings in France, Italy and French-speaking Switzerland.

The international opening weekend record would be held until it was given to Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) a year later. During its theatrical run, the film earned $974 million at the worldwide box office, $317 million of that in the US and $657 million elsewhere, which made it the second-highest-grossing film in history at the time, as well as the year’s highest-grossing film.  In addition, the film defeated Twister (1996) to become the highest-grossing Warner Bros. film of all time.  It is the second-highest-grossing Harry Potter film after Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 55.9 million tickets in the US and Canada. 

In August 2020, The Philosopher’s Stone was re-released in several countries, including a 4K 3D restoration in China, where it earned $26.4 million, for a global $1.017 billion, making it the second film in the series to surpass the billion-dollar mark, after Deathly Hallows – Part 2. 


Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001) Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 81% based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel’s overstuffed narrative into an involving – and often downright exciting – big-screen magical caper.” On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale. 

Roger Ebert called Philosopher’s Stone “a classic,” giving the film four out of four stars, and particularly praising the Quidditch scenes’ visual effects.[139] Praise was echoed by both The Telegraph and Empire reviewers, with Alan Morrison of the latter naming it the film’s “stand-out sequence”.[140][141] Brian Linder of IGN also gave the film a positive review, but concluded that it “isn’t perfect, but for me it’s a nice supplement to a book series that I love”.

Although criticising the final half-hour, Jeanne Aufmuth of Palo Alto Online stated that the film would “enchant even the most cynical of moviegoers.” USA Today reviewer Claudia Puig gave the film three out of four stars, especially praising the set design and Robbie Coltrane’s portrayal of Hagrid, but criticised John Williams’ score and concluded “ultimately many of the book’s readers may wish for a more magical incarnation.”

The sets, design, cinematography, effects and principal cast were all given praise from Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter, although he deemed John Williams’ score “a great clanging, banging music box that simply will not shut up.”

Todd McCarthy of Variety compared the film positively with Gone with the Wind and put “The script is faithful, the actors are just right, the sets, costumes, makeup and effects match and sometimes exceed anything one could imagine.”[22] Jonathan Foreman of the New York Post recalled that the film was “remarkably faithful,” to its literary counterpart as well as a “consistently entertaining if overlong adaptation.”

Richard Corliss of Time magazine, considered the film a “by the numbers adaptation,” criticising the pace and the “charisma-free” lead actors.[146] CNN’s Paul Tatara found that Columbus and Kloves “are so careful to avoid offending anyone by excising a passage from the book, the so-called narrative is more like a jamboree inside Rowling’s head.”[147] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wished that the film had been directed by Tim Burton, finding the cinematography “bland and muggy,” and the majority of the film a “solidly dull celebration of dribbling goo.”

Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times was highly negative about the film, saying “[the film] is like a theme park that’s a few years past its prime; the rides clatter and groan with metal fatigue every time they take a curve.” He also said it suffered from “a lack of imagination” and wooden characters, adding, “The Sorting Hat has more personality than anything else in the movie.


Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top