Watching the Harry Potter movies in order is meant to be a magical experience – literally. Starting off with the Boy Who Lived’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the series follows seven years of his studies under the tutelage of Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape – as well as a procession of unfortunate Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers.
To say the movies are popular would be an understatement. These big-budget adaptations of JK Rowling’s wizarding novels are up there with the most beloved – and successful – movie franchises in history, with only Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe having made more money at the worldwide box office. While two decades have passed since the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001, the eight films remain essential family viewing, with new generations of kids continuing to discover the adventures of Harry and his best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.
These days, however, watching the Harry Potter movies in order is a little more complicated than reminiscing on the boy wizard’s school days. Warner Bros has also made two movies in its Fantastic Beasts series (a third is released in April 2022), a prequel saga based in the Wizarding World of the 1920s – introducing a young Dumbledore along the way.
So, with 10 (and counting) movies in the magical saga, there’s plenty for fans to enjoy. This comprehensive guide explains how to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, both in terms of the chronology of the canon, and when they were released. We also explain where you can stream the movies at the time of writing – including its current US home on HBO Max.
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Harry Potter movies in chronological order
Here's how to watch the Harry Potter movies in chronological order, as well as the Fantastic Beasts prequel series.
There are eight Harry Potter films, and two instalments in the Fantastic Beasts to date – the third instalment of that series, now titled The Secrets of Dumbledore, will be released in April 2022, and will be set some time in the two decades between 1927 and 1945.
Warner Bros is planning for the Fantastic Beasts saga to run to five movies, so – assuming The Secrets of Dumbledore does the business 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.
So to keep things simple in the list below, 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.
(Note that outside the US, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.)
- 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 ’00s – 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
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' (see how to watch the Star Wars movies in order) – yet – though if we get some massive revelation in Fantastic Beasts 3, 4 and 5, that may change. The third Fantastic Beasts movie, The Secrets of Dumbledore, will apparate into theaters in April 2020.
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. We’re sure the extra box office didn’t hurt either…
- 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 (released in April 2022)
How to watch Harry Potter movies online
Since September 1, all eight of the Harry Potter movies have been available to stream on HBO Max in the US – which is hardly surprising, seeing as the Warner Bros-owned streaming platform will consider the hit, Warner-owned franchise as an excellent way to attract new subscribers. The movies were previously available via the Peacock service. You can also rent or buy the series on services like Amazon.
In the UK, you can't currently stream the Harry Potter movies, but you can rent or buy them on Amazon, iTunes and more. The complete Harry Potter series is also available on Blu-Ray.
The two Fantastic Beasts movies aren't currently streaming in the US or the UK.
Harry Potter movies 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). 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 – 8.1
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 7.9
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 7.7
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – 7.7
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 7.6
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 7.6
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 7.5
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 7.4
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – 7.3
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – 6.5