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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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United Kingdom, United States · 2004
Rated PG · 2h 22m
Director Alfonso Cuarón
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman
Genre Adventure, Fantasy

Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for another magical year and befriend the mysterious new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin. Harry comes face to face with danger yet again, this time in the form of escaped convict Sirius Black, who played a hand in Voldemort’s murder of Harry’s parents.

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What are people saying?

Jamie Bitz Profile picture for Jamie Bitz

"Prisoner of Azkaban" has a certain charm and edge to it that make it a fan-favorite for unexplainable reasons. The first two Harry Potter films obviously share a similar darkness, but Cuarón embraces that more fully in this film. As always, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson are incredibly impressive for their age. Plus, who doesn't love watching Hermione punch Draco in the face? Even if you've never watched a Harry Potter film before, whet your appetite with this one (a film that could easily be a stand-alone) and then dive in to the rest of the series if you like it.

Teddy Pierce Profile picture for Teddy Pierce

By far the best Harry Potter film, Alfonso Cuarón takes the series in a dark and exciting new direction. Where the first two films focused more on the wonder of being a kid in the wizarding world, our three protagonists are now growing up, and their issues are fast becoming more complicated. This film folds us deeper into Harry's story, and lays the groundwork and tone for the rest of the series.

What are critics saying?


Empire by

Azkaban contains both the longest denouement and the most rousing finish of any of the books, and Cuarón wisely whips through the 'ah-hahs' so that the clever climax, complete with the series' best SFX, can enjoy its moment in the moonlight.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Although Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban stands well enough on its own, it has a "middle chapter" feeling. In other words, there's no real beginning or ending. Little is resolved and the film's climax is low-key.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

A mild upkick in pacing and texture can be credited to director Alfonso Cuarón (more Little Princess than Y Tu Mamá), who avoids Chris Columbus's mastodon-like setups and knows a bit more about whipping up atmospherics.


The Hollywood Reporter by Michael Rechtshaffen

A deeper, darker, visually arresting and more emotionally satisfying adaptation of the J.K. Rowling literary phenomenon, achieving the neat trick of remaining faithful to the spirit of the book while at the same time being true to its cinematic self.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

Shot in spooky gradations of silver and shadow, The Prisoner of Azkaban is the first movie in the series with fear and wonder in its bones, and genuine fun, too.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Not only is this dazzler by far the best and most thrilling of the three Harry Potter movies to date, it's a film that can stand on its own even if you never heard of author J.K. Rowling and her young wizard hero.


Time by Richard Corliss

Enjoy the savory witches' brew that Cuaron has cooked up in his Harry pot. For on its own terms, this one is truly wizard.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

With shades of Carrie, Harry's magical powers and adolescent angst make a combustible fusion, taking on frightening, vengeful implications that Cuarón honors by refusing to airbrush the shadowy regions of fantasy.

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