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The definitive ranking of the Harry Potter films – and where to watch them over Christmas

Do you agree with our Harry Potter film ranking?

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Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
December 5, 2019
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Christmas is a time for eating mountains of food, singing Christmas carols and finding something special to give your loved ones – but no matter how much we celebrate the festive time of the year, our Muggle ways will never be able to quite match up to the spectacular Christmas feasts, presents and general shenanigans going on over at Hogwarts. Since NOW TV is launching the whole Harry Potter film series on 23 December (and sign up to a free trial if you like), we have put together the ultimate Harry Potter filming ranking from best to worst. Don't @ us.

8. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Before we begin, we'd like to clarify that all of the Harry Potter films are great. That being said, Half Blood Prince had its moments that we would much rather forget. Who could forget the world's most awkward courtship (AKA Ginny doing up Harry's shoelace and trying to feed him mince pie)? And why on earth did the Death Eaters attack the Burrow when, first off, they're not meant to know where it is, and secondly, it's been to be stringently protected with magic? Of course, the film did have some seriously epic moments, including Harry and Dumbledore's amazing quest to find one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, so we have to forgive its shortcomings. It also gave us Ron and Lavender's gloriously cringe romance, and for that we'll always be grateful.

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7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In the second instalment of the HP franchise, Harry and his friends are attending a school where students are repeatedly being attacked by an unknown horror and the teachers do NOTHING about it. This one introduced some brilliant elements into the franchise, like the beginnings of the Horcruxes and Harry's mysterious knowledge of Parseltongue – it's only because the other films are so good and crammed with plot that it's made the *hiss* seventh slot!

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6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A polarising option for sure. While some people adored the instalment, which is incidentally the only one where Voldemort doesn't actually try to kill Harry and introduces Professor Umbridge as the main big bad instead, others weren't the fifth film's number one fans. Admittedly Harry is in quite a bad mood for most of it. And don't even talk to us about what happens to Sirius.

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5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This was an absolutely monster of a book to translate to the big screen, and while the plot is brilliant (Harry is mysteriously entered into a Triwizard Tournament and forced to take part in challenges, each more dangerous than the last), book fans lamented that plenty of the novel was cut so that the film wouldn't be approximately 72 hours long. However, cutting out the presence of Winky the House Elf threw a lot of the plot into confusion, particularly in regards to one Barty Crouch Jr. That being said, this is also the film where Voldemort is resurrected in a truly terrifying scene, and thusly deserves our respect!

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4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are all at the top of their game, the stakes have never been higher and there is a lot of Horcrux-finding drama. Of course, it is only half of the final novel, and so a lot of it does feel like you're watching three friends go on an elaborate camping trip.

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3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

What a film! What a plot! What an incredibly deceptive pet rat! Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the third instalment of the franchise introduces perhaps the most terrifying creatures in the wizarding world, the Dementors, who guard Hogwarts school after the terrifying mass murderer, Sirius Black, escapes Azkaban with one goal: to kill Harry (or so we think).

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2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

The OG! Of course The Philosopher Stone is one of the best friends – it introduced us to the whole wizarding world for the very first time. Of course, we've been on the Warner Bros. Studio tour since then, but STILL. What could ever top Hagrid bursting through the doors of the Dursleys' island cabin to tell Harry that he's really a wizard? Or Harry finding out his wand shares a core with Voldemort? Or the first ever Sorting Ceremony? We're going to stop now, we're getting emotional.

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1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

What else could make our number one slot, really? The final instalment in the Harry Potter franchise saw our bespectacled hero face his biggest adversary for the last time, but not before an all-out battle between the forces of good and evil. Bonus points include Maggie Smith creating an army out of Hogwarts suits of armour and Neville blowing up a bridge. Outstanding.

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