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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Adventure . Fantasy . Family

Harry Potter has lived under the stairs at his aunt and uncle's house his whole life. But on his 11th birthday, he learns he's a powerful wizard -- with a place waiting for him at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he learns to harness his newfound powers with the help of the school's kindly headmaster, Harry uncovers the truth about his parents' deaths -- and about the villain who's to blame.

Actors: Richard Griffiths , Harry Melling , Fiona Shaw , Saunders Triplets , Robbie Coltrane , Maggie Smith , Richard Harris , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Daniel Radcliffe
Directors: Chris Columbus
Country: UK , USA
Release: 2001-11-16
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    A red-blooded adventure movie, dripping with atmosphere, filled with the gruesome and the sublime, and surprisingly faithful to the novel.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • William Arnold

    It's eye-filling, well-cast, often very funny and executed with great imagination and flair.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The script is faithful, the actors are just right, the sets, costumes, makeup and effects match and sometimes exceed anything one could imagine.

    Variety Full Review
  • Gregory Weinkauf

    Happily, then, the first movie of the Harry Potter series casts a splendid spell, as screenwriter Steve Kloves has transcribed J.K. Rowling's novel nearly to a T, with precious little tweaked or trimmed.

    New Times (L.A.) Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    If the movie doesn't ultimately transport us to places The Wizard of Oz once took us, that may be partly because "The Sorcerer's Stone" is just the first chapter, with more magic waiting to be parceled out in the coming years.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Can there be higher praise for a motion picture designed to capture a beloved book with fidelity, thoroughness and affection? Only this: They made it better.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    What saves Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is what created it in the first place: J.K. Rowling's enrapturing imagination. At those sporadic moments when the film allows us to share in Harry's wonder, it lets us recapture our own as well.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    Retains (and in many cases, boosts) as much of the spirit [of the book] as you could reasonably expect. And it makes a worthy attempt to duplicate Rowling's engaging sense of humor.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mark Caro

    Does it immerse the uninitiated into a new, fabulous world? Yes. To the book's many readers, does this feel like the real "Harry Potter"? For the most part, yes.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Columbus has done a rousing job of bringing Rowling's rambunctious story to the screen. The eerie corridors and ever-shifting stairways of Hogwarts are as daunting, haunting, initially bewildering, and ultimately comforting as when Rowling painted them in prose.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Jonathan Foreman

    As entertaining as it is amazingly faithful.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    At its best, the film's visual dazzle equals the tasty wordplay of the novel. But it is overlong, overscored, and curiously misshapen.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Bob Graham

    Absolutely the best single moment, beautifully presented, comes when the orphaned Harry looks in a mirror and sees his parents there. It is brilliant in its simplicity and very moving.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Though the film will undoubtedly please the young viewers who flock to it, ultimately many of the book's readers may wish for a more magical incarnation.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    That sense of déjà vu is at once this Harry Potter's balm and its limitation: many charms, but few surprises.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    It may be long, but it's not boring -- how could it be when jack o' lanterns float lazily overhead in the dining hall, and the venerable Maggie Smith turns into a cat?

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Michael Dequina

    Yes, this "Harry" does indeed fly -- just don't expect the movie to soar into the higher altitudes of imagination.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Is the movie any good? At the dawn of the twenty-first century, when art is defined by commerce, this question is beside the point.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Columbus' film version is fine, and it's bound to make kids happy while simultaneously generating untold box office, but if you haven't yet picked up a copy, don't let the film override the novel; set aside a weekend, dive in, and then head off to the cineplex to take in this well-done companion piece.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    It's a very busy movie, designed to appeal to short attention spans, and it leaves you feeling full, but not satisfied, because it's missing the most important ingredient of all: genuine magic.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    This version of the Potter saga is fun and harmless rather than memorable or imaginative. That's certainly no crime. Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    There's a palpable avoidance of risk as this new mythology is wheeled gingerly into the marketplace and carefully positioned to zap your pre-sold brain...Solid but uninspired, Harry lacks brio. It's respectable and a bit dull.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    The English cast is fun; but this is more spectacle than story, and the Steve Kloves script deserves better handling than director Chris Columbus -- plus any number of studio deliberators -- gave it.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    In their hands [Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton or even Steven Spielberg], Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone might have made as terrific a movie as it is a book. When Columbus got the job, however, it was guaranteed only to be a commercial success.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    As a movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has no inner life -- no pulse -- of its own: It's secondhand.

    Slate Full Review
  • Rita Kempley

    Potter-philes are sure to get what they want -- if what they want is, in fact, an exacting version of J.K. Rowling's charming children's fantasy. If it's enchantment they are after, that's quite another matter.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    I wish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had developed more of a life of its own instead of being essentially a flat visualization of the book.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    A clumsily directed, painstakingly faithful adaptation thats heavy on plot, light on nuance, and features in its title role a young newcomer whose most striking quality is an almost preternatural absence of oomph.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Given that movies can now show us everything, the manifestations that Ms. Rowling described could be less magical only if they were delivered at a news conference.

    The New York Times Full Review