The Harry Potter films are all iconic, though some of them manage to be amazing right from their very first scene. From Dumbledore dropping Harry off at the Dursley household to Death Eater happenings, each of the films has had jaw-dropping opening minutes.
When ranking them all, some particular openings stand stronger than others, for reasons such as how memorable they are, or how well they establish the plot and tone of their respective movies.
8 Prisoner Of Azkaban
While many consider Prisoner of Azkaban to be the best of the Harry Potter films, its opening frankly doesn’t make sense. Wizards in training aren’t allowed to perform magic out of school, in fact the last film made a serious point of this. So while Harry trying to perform a Lumos spell and avoiding Vernon catching him is charming enough, it may make the audience question why Harry isn’t being expelled for this.
Furthermore, while the scene matches the film’s theme of trying to find light in the darkness, it doesn’t really add anything to the plot, making it feel a little pointless in comparison with the other openings.
7 Deathly Hallows: Part 2
While the stakes feel high and the movie itself is amazing, the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opening isn’t exactly attention-grabbing. Granted it does give a heart-wrenching moment when Dobby’s grave can be seen, but the moment is brief, so viewers aren’t really given a chance to mourn him before they are forced to watch quite a boring scene inside the seaside cottage. The gravestone is iconic though, and it has led to a number of Dobby devoted tattoos that fans will love.
To be fair, the opening image of Snape and the Dementors overlooking Hogwarts is definitely ominous enough to get the audience invested.
6 Goblet Of Fire
This opening felt very different to the others, as it focused on a side character that viewers had never seen, nor would they ever see again. It follows the gardener of the Riddle family, a muggle named Frank Bryce, as he bravely confronts Voldemort before dying at his hands.
The opening is unusually tragic for the franchise, as Frank seems to suffer all his life after being accused of the family’s murder before he himself is killed. Seeing an old man murdered definitely shows how awful Voldemort could be, creating a threat that would only build as the film went along.
5 Half-Blood Prince
This opening arguably has one of the saddest moments from the Harry Potter franchise, which is Harry having to face the press while grieving the loss of his Godfather, Sirius Black. There’s no dialogue, just string music, which lets viewers feel just how much Harry is hurting.
Not only that, but the opening also includes the Death Eaters attacking London. They grab people from Diagon Alley, and shoot across the sky, fully showing their new reign of terror. They also break apart the Millennium bridge, which brings the conflict into the muggle world and creates a truly memorable opening scene.
4 Deathly Hallows: Part 1
This opening really helped establish that battle lines were being drawn. The scene follows a speech by Rufus Scrimgeour, which describes how dark the situation in the wizarding world has gotten. As he talks, viewers see the Dursleys leave Privett Drive, the Weasleys looking worried, and Hermione obliviating her parents in a heartbreaking moment.
The speech is very good, as it feels very dramatic. Rufus was a character who Voldemort personally killed, so seeing him stand so strong against the Death Eaters is almost an ironically tragic sight. Overall, the scene sets the tone for the whole movie.
3 Chamber Of Secrets
While slightly more mundane than other openings, this scene manages to be very memorable. It features Harry being back with the Dursleys, who are an enjoyable feature of the earlier movies in the franchise. Vernon is having a work dinner, so he has all the family prepare what their roles are. He asks what Harry will be doing that night, leading to Harry’s iconic line, ” “I’ll be in my bedroom, making no noise and pretending that I don’t exist.”
The opening also pulls at the heartstrings, as Harry looks at photos of his parents, reminding viewers of the tragedy of his character.
2 Order Of The Phoenix
While Order of the Phoenix has arguably the worst film ending, it definitely has one of the best openings. The movie has a very action-packed and dark opening, which fits the tone of the film perfectly, as this film is where the fight against Voldemort really begins.
It still manages to get across how mundane and tragic Harry’s life actually is before the action starts, as Dudley mocks Harry for losing his parents. The scene then becomes scary as dementors attack, and Harry has to do everything to save himself and his cousin. Overall, it’s definitely an opening that catches the viewer’s attention.
1 Sorcerer’s Stone
This scene will probably be considered one of the most iconic film openings of all time. Even people who aren’t die-hard fans of the series know this scene, where Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall drop an infant Harry Potter at the Dursley’s doorstep, just hours after his parents have been killed and Voldemort has been momentarily defeated.
The scene is filled with mystery, charm, and emotion, especially when Hagrid joins the party. The acting is superb, the first time the iconic score starts playing is magical, and overall this was a perfect opening to such a successful series of movies.