“The Harry Potter” film series is one of the most famous and successful film franchises of all time. It consists of eight films, the last of which grossed nearly one and a half billion dollars at the international box office (Numbers, 2015). Based on the world famous books by J.K. Rowling, the films featured what has been called the greatest ever ensemble cast of mainly British actors, which included people as famous and established as Alan Rickman and John Hurt, alongside the then unknown Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint (WC).

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The films follow Harry, a young orphan who appears to be destined for a boring and miserable life spent largely in his Aunt’s cupboard. One day, however, he is informed that he is, in fact, a wizard and that the will be required to attend school at Hogwarts, where he will learn magic and the nature of the wizard-world. Once there he meets his friends Ron and Hermione and proceeds to discover the history of his own family, in of particular his parents and their relationship the evil Lord Voldemort. Over the course of the films, he also becomes increasingly close to the headmaster of Hogwarts, Dumbeldoore, who slowly begins to reveal the true extent of Harry’s importance in the wizard-world. Each film takes in an entire year at Hogwarts and contributes to the overall arc of the series, while also including its own plot and singular adventure, with the final year being split into two films.

Several plots and characters recur throughout the series and mysteries are set up that are only resolved in the final film. Occasionally unexpected revelations occur, for example with regard to the character of Snape who, despite appearing as an antagonist for most the films, reveals himself, at the moment of his death, to have been selflessly watching over Harry for his entire life. As such, the films combine action, comedy and occasionally heartbreak into a coming of age narrative which defined childhood for millions of children around the world.

  • “10 Greatest British Ensembles in Film History.” What Culture. 2015. Web. .
  • “Box Office History for Harry Potter.” The Numbers. 2015. Web. .