How to Watch the Harry Potter Movies in Order

Unsure where to start?

by J.R. Waugh
Harry Potter Movies Order
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Harry Potter is a ubiquitous name in pop culture, beloved by millions around the globe and grossing tens of billions in revenue as a franchise. While it began as a series of 7 novels, it quickly developed into a much grander franchise known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and one of its first major achievements was a blockbuster film franchise. If you’re unsure about how to go about watching the Harry Potter movies in order, and whether you should check out the spin-offs, we’re here to help you out.

Harry Potter Viewing Order: How to Watch the Movies Along with the Story

While Harry Potter readers can pretty quickly answer this, newcomers to the franchise might not necessarily know where to start. While there are certainly reasonable clues such as how the cast largely stays the same and visibly ages over the years, it’s important to follow the story in its exact intended order as listed below:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone / Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (United States, India, and the Philippines title)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

Harry Potter, the eponymous star of the novels and films, begins his journey as an orphan boy in England who is confronted with his destiny along with the revelation that he is a wizard. Not only is he a wizard, but a survivor of a horrific attack on his family that left his assailant, Lord Voldemort, defeated and ostensibly out of the picture.

It’s coming-of-age in a world blending fantasy with modern English cultural trends where Harry grows up, studying wizardry at Hogwarts while confronting the demons of his past. The films do an excellent job conveying this, turning their child cast into massive global stars in their adulthood. It also featured beloved actors like Alan Rickman and exceptional directors including Chris Columbus and Alfonso Cuarón.

This franchise also expanded upon earlier examples like Back to the Future and Kill Bill in how it approached its final installment, breaking it into 2 parts given the scope of its source material. This would be emulated by rival book-to-film franchises Twilight and The Hunger Games. But Harry Potter films weren’t simply done after the mainline entries, thanks to a delightful spin-off series that began a few years ago.

Fantastic Beasts: What to Watch After Watching Harry Potter

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Fantastic Beasts is a fun spin-off prequel series of movies detailing the adventures of Newt Scamander, a ‘magizoologist’ and author of the eponymous textbook Harry Potter studies for Care of Magical Creatures. Not only does it feature a great array of A-list stars including Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law, but it features a plot involving a young Dumbledore, the villainous Grindelwald, and a Wizarding World on the brink of multiple wars. The films so far are listed below:

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

While this series predates Harry Potter movies and books by a massive amount, it’s generally recommended for people to watch the HP films before Fantastic Beasts. This is not only so people will appreciate the lore present in these films, but also because the Harry Potter films are simply better.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had its world premiere on November 4, 2001, turning a bestselling book series into a globe-spanning multimedia phenomenon. But the latest game in the franchise is sure to turn some heads for how it conveys the Wizarding World.

- This article was updated on February 8th, 2023