Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Film

About Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Film

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Film

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and produced by David Heyman, from a screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the 1997 novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the first instalment in the Harry Potter film series. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Its story follows Harry’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins his formal wizarding education.

Warner Bros. Pictures bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million ($1.65 million). Production began in the United Kingdom in 2000, with Columbus being chosen to helm the film from a short list of directors that included Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Rowling insisted that the entire cast be British and Irish, with the three leads chosen in August 2000 following open casting calls. Filming took place at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United Kingdom from September 2000 to March 2001.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 10 and 11 November 2001 for two days of previews. The film opened on 16 November in the United States, Canada, and Taiwan as well as officially in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It became a critical and commercial success, grossing $974 million at the worldwide box office during its initial run, and over $1 billion with subsequent re-releases. It became the highest-grossing film of 2001 and the second-highest-grossing film at the time. The film was nominated for many awards, including Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It was followed by seven sequels, beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002 and ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011.

The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


Late one night, Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall, professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid, deliver an orphaned infant wizard named Harry Potter to his Muggle aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, his only living relatives.

Ten years later, just before Harry’s eleventh birthday, owls begin delivering letters addressed to him. When the abusive Dursleys adamantly refuse to allow Harry to open any and flee to an island hut, Hagrid arrives to personally deliver Harry’s letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. Hagrid also reveals that Harry’s parents, James and Lily, were killed by a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort. The killing curse that Voldemort had cast towards Harry rebounded, destroying Voldemort’s body and giving Harry his lightning-bolt scar. Hagrid then takes Harry to Diagon Alley for school supplies and gives him a pet snowy owl whom he names Hedwig. Harry buys a wand that is connected to Voldemort’s own wand.

At King’s Cross station, Harry boards the Hogwarts Express train, and meets fellow students Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger during the journey. Arriving at Hogwarts, Harry also meets Draco Malfoy, who is from a wealthy wizard family; the two immediately form a rivalry. The students assemble in the Great Hall where the Sorting Hat sorts the first-years into four respective houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Harry is placed into Gryffindor alongside Ron and Hermione, while Draco is placed into Slytherin, a house noted for dark wizards.

As he studies magic, Harry learns more about his parents and Voldemort, and his natural talent for broomstick flying gets him recruited for the Gryffindor Quidditch team as the youngest Seeker in a century. While returning to the Gryffindor common room, the staircases change paths, leading Harry, Ron and Hermione to the third floor, which is forbidden to students. There they discover a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy. On Halloween, Ron insults Hermione after she shows off in Charms class; upset, she spends the entire afternoon crying in the girls’ bathroom. That evening, a giant marauding troll enters it, but Harry and Ron save Hermione, and they make up and become close friends after Hermione takes the blame for the incident by claiming she went looking for the troll.

The trio discover that Fluffy is guarding the philosopher’s stone, a magical object that can turn metal into gold and produce an immortality elixir. Harry suspects that Severus Snape, the Potions teacher and head of the Slytherin House, wants the stone to return Voldemort to physical form. When Hagrid accidentally reveals that music puts Fluffy asleep, Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to find the stone before Snape. Fluffy is already asleep, but the trio face other barriers, including a deadly plant called Devil’s Snare, a room filled with aggressive flying keys, and a giant chess game that knocks out Ron.

After overcoming the barriers, Harry encounters Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Quirinus Quirrell, who wants the stone; Snape had figured it out and had been protecting Harry. Quirrell removes his turban to reveal a weakened Voldemort living on the back of his head. Dumbledore’s protective enchantment places the stone in Harry’s possession. Voldemort attempts to bargain the stone from Harry in exchange for resurrecting his parents, but Harry sees through his trick and refuses. Quirrell attempts to kill Harry. When Harry touches Quirrell’s skin, it burns Quirrell, reducing him to ashes. Voldemort’s soul rises from the pile and escapes, knocking out Harry as it passes through him.

Harry recovers in the school infirmary. Dumbledore tells him the stone has been destroyed to prevent misuse, and that Ron and Hermione are safe. He also reveals how Harry defeated Quirrell: when Lily died to save Harry, a love-based protection against Voldemort was placed on him. At the end-of-school-year feast, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are rewarded extra house points for their heroism, tying Gryffindor for first place with Slytherin; Dumbledore then awards ten points to their housemate Neville Longbottom for having had the courage to stand up to the trio, granting Gryffindor the House Cup. Harry returns to the Dursleys for the summer, happy to finally have a real home at Hogwarts.


  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter:
    An 11-year-old orphan living with his unwelcoming aunt, uncle, and cousin, who learns of his own fame as a wizard known to have survived his parents’ murder at the hands of the dark wizard Lord Voldemort as an infant when he is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Columbus had wanted Radcliffe for the role since he saw him in the BBC’s production of David Copperfield, before the open casting sessions had taken place, but had been told by casting director Susan Figgis that Radcliffe’s protective parents would not allow their son to take the part. Columbus explained that his persistence in giving Radcliffe the role was responsible for Figgis’ resignation. Radcliffe was asked to audition in 2000, when Heyman and Kloves met him and his parents at a production of Stones in His Pockets in London. Heyman and Columbus successfully managed to convince Radcliffe’s parents that their son would be protected from media intrusion, and they agreed to let him play Harry. Rowling approved of Radcliffe’s casting, stating that “having seen [his] screen test I don’t think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry.” Radcliffe was reportedly paid £1 million for the film, although he felt the fee was “not that important” to him. The Saunders triplets appear as Harry as a baby.
  • Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley:
    Harry’s best friend at Hogwarts and a younger member of the Weasley wizarding family. A fan of the series, Grint decided he would be perfect for the part “because [he has] ginger hair”. Having seen a Newsround report about the open casting he sent in a video of himself rapping about how he wished to receive the part. His attempt was successful as the casting team asked for a meeting with him.
  • Emma Watson as Hermione Granger:
    Harry’s other best friend and the trio’s brains. Watson’s Oxford theatre teacher passed her name on to the casting agents and she had to do over five interviews before she got the part. Watson took her audition seriously, but “never really thought had any chance of getting the role.” The producers were impressed by Watson’s self-confidence and she outperformed the thousands of other girls who had applied.
  • John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick: The ghost of Gryffindor House.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid:
    A half-giant and Hogwarts’ gamekeeper. Coltrane was one of the two actors Rowling wanted most, along with Smith as McGonagall. Coltrane, who was already a fan of the books, prepared for the role by discussing Hagrid’s past and future with Rowling.
  • Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick: The Charms Master and head of Ravenclaw House. Davis also plays two other roles in the film: the Goblin Head Teller at Gringotts, and dubs the voice of Griphook, who is embodied by Verne Troyer.
  • Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley: Harry’s Muggle uncle.
  • Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore: Hogwarts’ Headmaster and one of the most famous and powerful wizards of all time. Harris initially rejected the role, only to reverse his decision after his granddaughter stated she would never speak to him again if he did not take it.
  • Ian Hart as Quirinus Quirrell:
    The stuttering Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Hart also voiced Lord Voldemort, while Richard Bremmer provided his physical appearance and portrayed him as a hooded figure during a flashback.
  • John Hurt as Mr. Ollivander: a highly regarded wandmaker and the owner of Ollivanders.
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape: The Potions Master and head of Slytherin House.
  • Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley: Harry’s Muggle aunt.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall: The Deputy Headmistress, head of Gryffindor and transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. Smith was one of the two actors Rowling wanted most, along with Coltrane as Hagrid.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley: Ron’s mother. She shows Harry how to get to Platform 9+34.



In 1997, producer David Heyman searched for a children’s book that could be adapted into a well-received film. He had planned to produce Diana Wynne Jones’ novel The Ogre Downstairs, but his plans fell through. His staff at Heyday Films then suggested Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which his assistant believed was “a cool idea.” Heyman pitched the idea to Warner Bros. and in 1999, Rowling sold the company the rights to the first four Harry Potter books for a reported £1 million. A demand Rowling made was for Heyman to keep the cast strictly British and Irish; the latter’s case has Richard Harris as Dumbledore and Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, and not to cast foreign actors unless absolutely necessary, like casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) where characters from the book are specified as such. Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she “didn’t want to give them control over the rest of the story” by selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner Bros. to make non-author-written sequels.

Although Steven Spielberg initially negotiated to direct the film, he declined the offer. Spielberg reportedly wanted the adaptation to be an animated film, with American actor Haley Joel Osment to provide Harry Potter’s voice, or a film that incorporated elements from subsequent books as well. Spielberg contended that, in his opinion, it was like “shooting ducks in a barrel. It’s just a slam dunk. It’s just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There’s no challenge.” Rowling maintains that she had no role in choosing directors for the films and that “nyone who thinks I could (or would) have ‘veto-ed’ [sic] him [Spielberg] needs their Quick-Quotes Quill serviced.” Heyman recalled that Spielberg decided to direct A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead.

“Harry Potter is the kind of timeless literary achievement that comes around once in a lifetime. Since the books have generated such a passionate following across the world, it was important to us to find a director that has an affinity for both children and magic. I can’t think of anyone more ideally suited for this job than Chris.”

—Lorenzo di Bonaventura

After Spielberg left, talks began with other directors, including Chris Columbus, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Mike Newell (who would later direct the fourth film), Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Ivan Reitman, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, M. Night Shyamalan and Peter Weir. Petersen and Reiner both pulled out of the running in March 2000, and the choice was narrowed down to Silberling, Columbus, Parker and Gilliam. Rowling’s first choice director was Terry Gilliam, but Warner Bros. chose Columbus, citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) as influences for their decision. Columbus had become a fan of the book series after his daughter persuaded him to read the first three books, leading him to call his agent to arrange a meeting at Warner Bros. to direct the film. When his agent told him that at least 25 other directors were eager to helm the project, Columbus requested his agent to secure his meeting to be the last one so he could give a “lasting impression” and be the studio’s “freshest person in their memory”. During two weeks of waiting, Columbus wrote a 130-page director’s version of the screenplay to explain his vision for the film’s tone. The day of his meeting with Warner Bros. executives including Alan F. Horn, Columbus delivered an “impassioned 45-minute talk” and showed them his annotated script. Weeks later, the studio notified Columbus that he had gotten the job and sent him to Scotland to meet with Rowling and Heyman. Columbus pitched his vision of the film for two hours, stating that he wanted the Muggle scenes “to be bleak and dreary” but those set in the wizarding world “to be steeped in color, mood, and detail.” He took inspiration from David Lean’s adaptations of Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), wishing to use “that sort of darkness, that sort of edge, that quality to the cinematography,” while being further inspired by the colour designs from Oliver! (1968) and The Godfather (1972).

Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay. He described adapting the book as “tough”, as it did not “lend itself to adaptation as well as the next two books.” Kloves often received synopses of books proposed as film adaptations from Warner Bros., which he “almost never read”, but Harry Potter jumped out at him. He went out and bought the book, and became an instant fan of the series. When speaking to Warner Bros., he stated that the film had to be British, and had to be true to the characters. Kloves was nervous when he first met Rowling as he did not want her to think he was going to “[destroy] her baby.” Rowling admitted that she “was really ready to hate this Steve Kloves,” but recalled her initial meeting with him: “The first time I met him, he said to me, ‘You know who my favourite character is?’ And I thought, You’re gonna say Ron. I know you’re gonna say Ron. But he said ‘Hermione.’ And I just kind of melted.” Rowling received a large amount of creative control, an arrangement that Columbus did not mind.

Warner Bros. had initially planned to release the film over 4 July 2001 weekend, making for such a short production window that several proposed directors pulled themselves out of the running. Due to time constraints, the date was put back to 16 November 2001.


November 16, 2001


Game Details
Game Poster
Leave a Comment

Sign Up

New membership are not allowed.