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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, USA

2001

Rated PG • 2h 32m

Director Chris Columbus

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris

Genre Adventure, Fantasy

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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.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Ting Shing Koh Profile picture for Ting Shing Koh

I just recently rewatched this film, and boy has it held up! Harry Potter was my childhood (and I'm sure the childhood of many others) and this is where it all started. With wizardry, mysteries, and magic broomsticks--what more could a kid want in a movie? I believe this franchise should be a staple in all children's lives, whenever they are born.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

75

San Francisco Chronicle by 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.
70

Newsweek by David Ansen

Columbus's Harry Potter has many delights, but the magical alchemy that the book seemed to achieve so effortlessly eludes it.
80

Washington Post by 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.
60

Village Voice by 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.
88

New York Daily News by 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.
75

Chicago Tribune by 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.
50

Time by Richard Corliss

The film lacks moviemaking buoyancy -- the feeling of soaring in space that Rowling's magic-carpet prose gives the reader. The picture isn't inept, just inert.
58

Portland Oregonian by 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.

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