Film Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Updated on December 12, 2017
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 2001, Chris Columbus released Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, based on the 1997 novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Ian Hart, John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, and Julie Walters, the film grossed $974.8 million at the box office.


Harry is a normal kid living with his aunt, uncle and cousin who hate him. However, on his 11th birthday, a giant named Hagrid shows up and tells him he’s a celebrity of the wizarding world because he survived an attack by Lord Voldemort 10 years prior. Harry is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he meets Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and the trio suspect someone is planning to steal a powerful artifact.


Fun and energetic throughout, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a good film presenting audiences with their first look into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. As such, it brings a film full of colorful wonder full of vibrancy, making it so the audience has just as much excitement as Harry gets whenever something new and exciting happens to him in his newfound home. A fascinating aspect to the color of the film is prior to Harry’s introduction into the magical realm. During the scenes in the Dursley home and at the shack on the sea, the film looks drab and boring. However, even in dark scenes, the film becomes a lot more colorful following Harry’s introduction to Hagrid and the ensuing trip to Diagon Alley.

Additionally, the story stays mostly faithful to the original novel with a few minor tweaks to make it flow better as a film. Despite many of the classroom and educational scenes taking place together one after the other, the placement thereof helps to remind how Harry, Ron, and Hermione are just students at a school working to piece together a plot and can be hindered by school rules and schedules. Furthermore, the film introduces a visual element to the game of Quidditch. In doing so, it gives an idea of how fast paced and brutal the sport can be while at the same time, depicting the level of enthusiasm both students and teachers find in watching it.

Complementing the story are the characters readers had come to know and love, or hate, through the book series. For one, there’s the main trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione, three characters who complement each other well with Harry as the brave one who rushes in head on to anything, Ron as the loyal best friend who will never leave his friends’ sides and Hermione as the smart one ready to criticize the other two for not thinking before acting. Dumbledore acts a fantastic mentor, as well, with this film establishing that he’ll be the main one to ground the characters and remind them of their ties to each other throughout films. The villain here is interesting, too, demonstrating how first impressions are not always as they appear.

Nevertheless, the film does have its flaws, mostly in the acting. This was Radcliffe’s second film and the first for Grint and Watson. It shows. The three of them don’t give particularly dreadful performances, but it is apparent the three of them had not had much or any previous acting experience. Still, Smith, Rickman and Harris carry them whenever they can and are able to save the film from becoming a dreadful encounter. The most memorable of those three being Rickman who created a unique vocal inflection for the character.

4 stars for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Music, Original Score

BAFTA Awards

  • Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
  • BAFTA Children's Award for Best Feature Film
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Robbie Coltrane)
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects
  • Best Make Up/Hair

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Supporting Actor (Robbie Coltrane)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith)
  • Best Performance by a Young Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Performance by a Young Actor (Emma Watson)
  • Best Director
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

AFI Awards

  • Digital Effects Artist of the Year

Amanda Awards

  • Best Foreign Feature Film

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Dramatic

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design Award for Period or Fantasy Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Awards of the Japanese Academy

  • Best Foreign Film

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Favorite Film Franchise (For Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 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: Part 1, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
  • Best Young Actor/Actress (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Composer

DVD Exclusive DVD Premiere Awards

  • Best Overall New Extra Features, New Release

Empire Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Debut (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson)

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Animation/Family

Grammy Awards

  • Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

Kids' Choice Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Foreign Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Breakthrough Male Performance (Daniel Radcliffe)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Youth Performance (Rupert Grint)
  • Best Youth Performance (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Official Film Website (For the official Harry Potter website)\

People's Choice Awards

  • Favorite Movie Fan Following (Potterheads)

PGA Awards

  • Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Youth Performance (Emma Watson)
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Newcomer (Daniel Radcliffe)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Youth DVD (Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection
  • Best DVD Extras (For "Harry Potter Years 1-4")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Art Direction

Teen Choice Awards

  • Film - Choice Movie, Drama/Action Adventure

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor (Tom Felton)
  • Best Family Feature Film - Drama

Awards won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Costumes

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Second Place - Best Original Score

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Bogey Awards

  • Bogey Award in Titanium

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Family Film - Live Action

Casting Society of America Artios Awards

  • Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Period/Fantasy Film

Empire Awards

  • Special Award (The Harry Potter films for outstanding contribution to British cinema)

Evening Standard British Film Awards

  • Best Technical/Artistic Achievement

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Most Overrated Movie of the Year

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Awards

  • Best Family Film

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Family Film

Publicists Guild of America Awards

  • Maxwell Weinberg Award - Motion Picture

Satellite Awards

  • Special Achievement Award - Outstanding New Talent (Rupert Grint)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress (Emma Watson)


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