Do you want to know how to watch the Harry Potter movies in order? If so, you've come to the right place. While there's nothing wrong with catching whichever film from this franchise is currently on offer, there's something truly magical about watching these movies in the order they were released.
Starting off with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or, for those of a UK persuasion, the Philosopher's Stone), this much-loved series spans the seven years of Harry's studies at Hogwarts where he and his friends get to learn from iconic wizards such as Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape.
Based on the best-selling novels written by JK Rowling, the films have proved equally popular, so much so that even 10 years after the release of the final instalment (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) they continue to hold a special place in the hearts of many.
Ideally, you'll want to ensure you have one of the best TVs to really make the most of this cinematic experience, but don't worry, if you're a lover of the best MacBooks and Macs or have one of the best Windows laptops, you'll find you can enjoy these films just as much on the small screen while you're curled up in bed.
For a lot of people, figuring out how to watch the Harry Potter movies in order is just as complex as the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, which, just as a side note, we make easy for you in our guides to how to watch the Star Wars movies in order and how to watch the Marvel movies in order. You'd think Harry Potter would be easier to wrap your head around, after all, if there are seven books, wouldn't it make sense that there'd be seven movies?
You'd think so, but the movie franchise actually consists of eight films (the final book was split into two) plus the Fantastic Beasts series, which serve as the prequel to the Harry Potter film series. So far there are two movies in the Fantastic Beasts film series, with the Fantastic Beasts 3 trailer giving us a glimpse of what's to come in the next instalment that's due to be released this year. That takes us to 10 (soon to be 11) films, with more likely to follow. So, as you can see, it's going to get more and more complicated as time goes on.
The good news is that we're here to help make it a breeze for you to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, so rest assured, you're in good hands. This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know to get the most out of these films, from watching them in terms of the chronology of the canon to choosing to go by release date instead. We also explain where you can stream the movies, including its current US home on HBO Max. So what are you waiting for? Expelliarmus!
Harry Potter movies in chronological order
How to watch the Harry Potter movies in chronological order
Want to know how to watch the Harry Potter movies in chronological order, as well as the Fantastic Beasts prequel series? Allow us to steer you in the right direction.
There are eight Harry Potter films, and two instalments in the Fantastic Beasts to date – the third instalment of that series, called The Secrets of Dumbledore, will be released in April 2022, and is set some time between 1927 and 1945.
Warner Bros. is planning to release five Fantastic Beasts saga movies. So, assuming The Secrets of Dumbledore performs well at the box office, there’ll be another two instalments after that. We know that the series will end with a duel between Albus Dumbledore and former BFF-turned-nemesis Gellert Grindelwald in 1945, but everything in between is currently a mystery.
To keep things simple in the list below, then, we decided to just include everything Harry Potter-related that it's possible to watch right now – including the popular stage play, The Cursed Child.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (set in 1926)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (set in 1927)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (set in 1991-92)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (set in 1992-93)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (set in 1992-94)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (set in 1994-95)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (set in 1995-96)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (set in 1996-97)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (set in 1997-98)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (set in 1997-98)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (the hit stage play, set in 2017-2020)
Aside from the occasional flashback, the Hogwarts-set movies in the series follow a simple linear structure – mostly thanks to Rowling’s decision to use the British school calendar as a framework for her narrative. That means each of the seven books in the Potter series focus on a different school year (running from September to August), starting in 1991, when Harry’s 11 years old.
While the movies were made in the 2000s – and feature the occasional anachronism such as 21st century mobile phones or music – it’s probable they follow the same carefully crafted timeline as Rowling’s books. That places the Harry Potter films some 70 years after their Fantastic Beasts counterparts.
And Harry Potter’s story does continue beyond the final reckoning with Lord Voldemort – though not on screen – thanks to the hit stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The story picks up in 2017, during the epilogue from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, and features the now grown-up Harry, Hermione, Ron and Draco Malfoy, and their kids.
Harry Potter movies in release order
How to watch the Harry Potter movies in release order
There are no complicated interweaving timelines to deal with if you watch the Potter movies in release date order. It’s two distinct series, with an (as-yet) incomplete set of prequels following on from the parent franchise.
That means there’s no need to introduce any kind of Star Wars-style 'Machete Order' just yet. But, if we get some massive revelation in Fantastic Beasts 3, 4 and 5, that may change.
It’s also interesting to note that there are more Harry Potter movies than there are books, with final novel The Deathly Hallows split into two parts (a trick repeated by both the Twilight and The Hunger Games series) because there was so much story to fit in.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (releasing in April 2022)
Harry Potter movies: where to watch online
How to watch Harry Potter movies online
All eight of the Harry Potter movies and the two Fantastic Beasts movies are available to stream on HBO Max (opens in new tab) in the US – which is hardly surprising, seeing as the Warner Bros-owned streaming platform will consider the hit franchise as an excellent way to attract new subscribers.
As well as this, the movies are also available to stream via Peacock, which has all eight movies on its service at the moment. (opens in new tab)You can also rent or buy the series on services like Amazon.
In the UK, all of the movies as well as both Fantastic Beasts movies are available to stream on NOW TV, (opens in new tab)and, you can rent or buy them on Amazon, iTunes and more. The complete Harry Potter series is also available on Blu-Ray. (opens in new tab)
Harry Potter movies ranked
Every Harry Potter movie, ranked
As with the Harry Potter books, opinions on which entries in the series are the best are incredibly varied and subjective. As a result, ranking the Harry Potter movies by their IMDb user scores reveals a remarkable consistency in fan response, with all eight instalments clustered between 7.4 and 8.1 out of 10.
The two Fantastic Beasts movies are noticeably the least loved releases spawned from JK Rowling's Wizarding World, a fact perhaps reflected by the second movie's near 20% drop at the box office compared to its predecessor (according to figures on Box Office Mojo (opens in new tab)).
The more successful of the two, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, made less money than all-but-one of the Potter movies (Prisoner of Azkaban). But, seeing as it had 12 years of inflation on its side, it’s debatable whether it actually outperformed the earlier film.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (opens in new tab) – 8.1
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (opens in new tab) – 7.9
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (opens in new tab) – 7.7
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (opens in new tab) – 7.7
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (opens in new tab) – 7.6
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (opens in new tab) – 7.6
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (opens in new tab) – 7.5
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (opens in new tab) – 7.4
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (opens in new tab) – 7.3
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (opens in new tab) – 6.5