How to Watch The Harry Potter Movies in Order

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Wizarding World is a fantasy movie franchise that's been ongoing since 2001, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone first hit cinemas around the globe. The movies follow the stories of books written by J.K. Rowling.

It's one of the most successful film series ever, placing fourth in the list of highest-grossing franchises, and with two movies in the top 50 highest-grossing list.

In this piece, we'll take you through all the movies – the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts titles – in the Wizarding World franchise. We'll list the entries by release date and the chronological order in which you should watch them.

By Release Date

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

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

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

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

 

In Chronological Order

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, directed by David Yates)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first installment in the Fantastic Beasts movie series and the ninth overall in the Wizarding World franchise. It is a spin-off of and prequel to the Harry Potter films and takes place in 1926.

It features an ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ron Perlman, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Johnny Depp, and Carmen Ejogo. It follows the adventures of the British wizard and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander in New York City's secret magic community.

This movie was able to draw on the existing Harry Potter mythology to dazzle in every respect. It formed the basis of a new franchise that felt connected enough to the Hogwarts adventures to appease existing fans but also separate enough not to feel like it was relying on it.

 

2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, directed by David Yates)

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts movie series and the tenth overall in the Wizarding World franchise. It's a direct sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set a few months later, in 1927.

Most of the original cast return and are joined by Jude Law, Claudia Kim, and Zoë Kravitz (who merely had a cameo in the previous movie). In this one, Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore attempt to defeat the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald while going up against other emerging threats in a more divided world of magic.

A weak story means this movie doesn't maintain the magic of its predecessor. Unfortunately, it also tries to do far too much, with plot twists, loud noises, and visual overload overwhelming the senses. As a result, there's no suspense or sense of adventure. Frankly, it's cluttered and boring.

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022, directed by David Yates)

Fantastic Beasts The Secrets of Dumbledore
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts movie series and the eleventh overall in the Wizarding World franchise. It's a direct sequel to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, set five years later, in 1932. The movie does, however, feature a creature called a Qilin, which can see into the future, so there are some time shenanigans at play.

The cast mostly reprises their roles, but Mads Mikkelsen replaces Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald due to the latter's libel case with News Group Newspapers Ltd. The plot follows Albus Dumbledore as he tasks Newt Scamander and his allies with a mission that takes them into the heart of Grindelwald's evil army.

It's an improvement on the previous movie and avoids many of its mistakes, but it still falls way short of the quality and wonder of the opening installment. The film's highlight is Mikkelsen as Grindelwald, who undoubtedly outperformed Depp as the dark wizard.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001, directed by Chris Columbus)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone – also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in certain parts of the world – is the first installment in the Harry Potter movies series and the Wizarding World franchise, and is set over half a century after The Secrets of Dumbledore in 1991.

It stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson alongside an incredible supporting cast that includes John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, John Hurt, and Alan Rickman. It chronicles Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he learns a lot about himself and encounters the evil Lord Voldemort for the first time.

This movie brilliantly set the tone for the franchise with a faithful adaptation of a modern classic book. It's exciting and enchanting, and its young leads shine, giving performances that rightly catapulted them to superstardom.

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002, directed by Chris Columbus)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise. It's a direct sequel to The Philosopher's Stone, set a year later in 1992.

The core cast returns alongside newcomers like Kenneth Branagh, Toby Jones, Mark Williams, Miriam Margolyes, and Shirley Henderson. It follows Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts, where the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, which unleashes a creature that petrifies the school's students.

It has a slightly darker tone and more action than The Philosopher's Stone, making Chamber of Secrets better than its predecessor. It's full of flair and great performances, and, again, it remains largely faithful to its namesake book.

6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, directed by Alfonso Cuarón)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise. It's a direct sequel to Chamber of Secrets, set a year later in 1993.

Much of the cast remains the same, but Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall, and Michael Gambon join them (the latter took over from Richard Harris as Dumbledore after his death). This one documents Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts and his quest to uncover truths about his past, including his and his family's connection to the recently-escaped Azkaban prisoner Sirius Black.

Prisoner of Azkaban improves on the first two Harry Potter movies with even more spectacular special effects, a compelling story, and more thrills and amazing wizarding action. It has everything from frights to sheer delight, and Oldman is a terrific addition to the cast.

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, directed by Mike Newell)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The fourth installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is a direct sequel to Prisoner of Azkaban, set a year later in 1994.

Brendan Gleeson joins the regular cast, while Ralph Fiennes takes on a more prominent role as Lord Voldemort. The movie follows Harry Potter's fourth year at Hogwarts as the Goblet of Fire chooses him to compete in the Triwizard Tournament against a student from the Durmstrang Institute from central Europe and another from the Beauxbatons Academy from France.

This one maintains the standards of the previous movie, with a dark tone and some great moments of humor. The special effects are particularly vibrant here. Goblet of Fire sees Radcliffe step up his game in the eponymous role, and Gleeson is a colorful addition to the cast.

8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, directed by David Yates)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The sequel to Goblet of Fire and the fifth installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, happens a year after its predecessor in 1995.

It boasts the most star-studded cast up to that point, with the franchise's traditional ensemble being joined by the likes of Helena Bonham Carter and Imelda Staunton. This one is about Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts, as he has to convince the Ministry of Magic about Lord Voldemort's return due to their state of denial about it.

Order of the Phoenix is a long book, and the movie suffers a little by having to condense it somewhat, but it's still excellent. It's action-packed and entertaining, but it's darker and possesses much less joy than previous installments. However, that makes it feel more like “real cinema” and less like a kid's film.

9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, directed by David Yates)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise. It's a direct sequel to Order of the Pheonix, set a year later in 1996.

Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, and Helen McCrory join the original cast members in this one, which chronicles Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts, as he receives a mysterious textbook, falls in love, and tries to access a lost memory that holds the key to defeating Lord Voldemort.

At $250 million, Half-Blood Prince is the most expensive Harry Potter movie and the 18th most costly ever made. It combines all the best aspects of the franchise – the darkness, thrills, humor, special effects, and action – perfectly intertwines them. But, most importantly, it has a lot of heart.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010, directed by David Yates)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is the seventh installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise, and the first of a two-part finale, set two years after Half-Blood Prince in 1998.

The iconic core cast returns en masse for the penultimate movie in the series. In this one, Albus Dumbledore has asked Harry Potter to find and destroy the Horcruxes, Lord Voldemort's secret to immortality.

It's still excellent, but Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is the weakest of the Harry Potter movies, thanks mainly to the fact that it feels like a prelude to the finale. It's a harrowing movie with less entertainment than those that came before it. That said, it does have some funny moments and some of the franchise's most touching ones.

11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011, directed by David Yates)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The big finale to the epic saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the eighth installment in the Harry Potter movie series and the Wizarding World franchise. It follows directly from the events of Deathly Hallows – Part 1, essentially continuing where it left off in 1998.

That same excellent established cast returns for one last hurrah as Harry Potter's quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes and stop him once and for all comes to a dramatic climax.

The best was saved for last, as Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the finest installment in the franchise. It's visually stunning, excellently acted, thrilling from beginning to end, and brings the whole thing to a thoroughly satisfying finish. It's a monumental movie that truly is magic.

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Author: Kev Stewart

Title: Writer and Editor

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Writer and editor with ten years of experience working full-time in this capacity. I've written over 2000 pieces of published work and managed teams of 50+ writers. I've produced content for some of the world's most prominent entertainment and sports platforms. My published work includes feature articles, news and opinion pieces, listicles, quizzes, voice-over scripts, viral content, and more. I'm a British 80s kid who loves movies (horror, superhero stuff, and all things 80s are my favorites), boxing, and football (soccer), a former business owner and executive headhunter, and a Tottenham Hotspur FC fan for my sins.