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Film / Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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"There is no good and evil. There is only power... and those too weak to seek it!"
"Dear Mr. Potter, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
Harry Potter reading his acceptance letter from Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the film of the first book in the Harry Potter series and was released in 2001. It was directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed the first sequel.

Harry thinks he's a normal kid, living a sucky life with the Dursleys, his aunt, uncle and cousin who hate him and all that he represents. On his eleventh birthday, Gentle Giant Hagrid shows up and tells Harry not only that he's a wizard, but a wizarding celebrity due to having survived an attack by Lord Voldemort ten years ago, somehow rendering the evil wizard MIA. It's off to Hogwarts, where Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, forming the iconic Power Trio. The three begin to suspect that someone is planning to steal the mystical stone of the title, which could be used to restore Voldemort to full power.


Retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States because, as with the book, the American publisher worried that kids would think a book with "philosopher" in the title would be boring. Of course, this was before Harry Potter was the reliable franchise it became.

This came out six years before the book series was completed, one year after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published.

Followed by Harry's second year at Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Harry, recovering from the injuries received after stopping Quirrell/Voldemort, worrying about the condition of his friends and the status of the Philosopher's Stone, and Dumbledore calmly comforting him like a father to his child. Then Dumbledore spots the wizarding candy in front of Harry, and wistfully reminiscing about the first time he tried Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.
    Dumbledore: Alas. Earwax.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the books, Harry is barely able to hold off Quirrell before Dumbledore arrives, even with the charm in his body from his mother's sacrifice, and the effort nearly kills him, rendering him unconscious for three days, with Voldemort killing Quirrell by leaving his body offscreen. Here, Harry kills Quirrell with the charm in his body, causing Quirrell to disintegrate, and is only brought down when Voldemort flies through him to escape.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Ron and Harry in the book keep their heads when in the Devil's Snare. It's Hermione who freaks out, and Ron has to yell at her to do something. In the film, Ron freaks out, Harry and Hermione get out fine, and Hermione saves Ron who's too buy panicking to escape.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Has its own page.
  • Anachronism Stew: In the scene at King's Cross, numerous trains are seen painted in the colors of the train operating companies that ran out of the station at the time of filming. Word of God puts the events of the film in 1991, several years before British Rail was privatized, so it would have been more era-appropriate for the trains to be wearing the liveries of the three passenger sectors of the time (InterCity, Regional Railways, and Network SouthEast).
  • Asleep for Days: Oliver Wood says to Harry that he was knocked out for a week after taking a Bludger to the head during his first Quidditch game.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Forbidden Forest, when Harry is cornered by the hooded figure ( aka Voldemort) who was drinking the unicorn's blood, who should show up out of the blue to scare the figure away but Firenze the centaur.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Likely intended, but a change in direction in future films amounted to nothing. The hunchbacked witch statue that served as a secret passage to Honeydukes in the third book appears when Filch is looking for Harry after the library scene. This would have established the statue before it became relevant, but it never did so.
  • Christmas Carolers: Ghosts singing an eerie Christmas song are seen during the Christmas break. It can be heard here.
  • Closet Sublet: Harry starts out living in a closet under the Dursley's stairs before receiving a mountain of letters addressed specifically to his "Cupboard".
  • Cut to the Funny: During the scene where Hagrid visits Harry on his birthday, while he talks to the Dursleys there's a set of cuts to an amusing set of shots of Dudley taking Harry's birthday cake and eating it in the back.
  • Damsel in Distress: Hermione is attacked by a troll while crying alone in the girls bathroom, and it's our two unlikely male heroes Harry and Ron who are forced to save her. (This trope tends to fly under the radar due to how Hermione seems capable of defending herself.)
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Snape is revealed to be this in the climax. Even though he's a Sadist Teacher to Harry and his friends, he was actually trying to stop Quirrell from claiming the Sorcerer's Stone. Even Harry was shocked to learn that Snape was trying to counter Quirrell's spell on his broom during the Quiditch match.
  • *Drool* Hello: The gang is alerted to Fluffy's presence by his drool on Ron's shoulder.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The scene with the snake at the zoo has the snake speak to Harry directly in English, and Harry replying likewise. Future films would render snakes untranslated and depict Harry's Parseltongue as distorted hissing.
  • Epic Rocking: Four of the soundtrack's songs are longer than 5 minutes, with "The Quidditch Match" being 8.5 minutes long.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: In the Creator/SYFY version of the film where Snape is lecturing Harry the extended version of the Potions class scene, "Aconite" is misspelled "A-K-A-N-I-T-E".
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: One lady in one of the magic portraits curtsies to the new students when they're on their way to Gryffindor tower.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: At the end of the chess game, Ron moves up to put the king in check, expecting the enemy queen to kill him. Although the trope is downplayed in that Ron didn't actually die, his one liner was badass nonetheless:
    Ron: Check.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When the gang understands they have to play their way across the protective chessboard, they take their positions before Hermione nervously asks an appropriate question:
    Hermione: You don't suppose this is going to be like... real wizard's chess, do you?
    (Ron sacrifices a pawn to an opposing pawn to test it; said pawn ends up shattered)
    Ron: Yes, Hermione... I think this is gonna be... exactly like wizard chess.
    (Cue Oh, Crap! looks between all of them)
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Harry first met Quirrell, he tries to shake his hand but he awkwardly refuses. The climax explains why.
    • When Harry's scar hurts when he sees Snape at the head table, the back of Quirrell's head, where Voldemort lies, is facing him. Harry attributed the pain to Snape's presence, when Voldemort was staring at him all along. Also, watch Snape's reaction when he sees that Harry's scar is hurting. He looks over at Quirrell, obviously suspicious of him.
    • Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus. During the Quidditch match when Snape is seen muttering an incantation, it can be briefly seen that Quirrell is also saying a spell. It turns out that his was the hex, while Snape was using a countercurse and Quirrell's concentration was killed when he was knocked over in the stands.
    • The entire Sorting Hat and Harry sequence can qualify for the last movie. The former seems very keen to put the latter in Slytherin, believing it will send him to "greatness". Harry actually has a fragment of Voldemort's soul inside him. Voldemort himself was a Slytherin, and hence, the Sorting Hat likened Harry to Voldemort in the choosing.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The sign for the Leaky Cauldron is initially blank, but words and imagery appear as Hagrid and Harry get close to it.
    • When the giant chess board is illuminated, you can see the fragments of other chess pieces surrounding the board - clearly from the previous game.
  • Funny Background Event: The young, inexperienced leads can be seen at times mouthing each other's lines during stretches of dialogue; for instance, watch Emma Watson as the trio heads to Hagrid's in the daytime towards the end of the movie.note 
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Harry kills Quirrell by grabbing his arm and face; because Quirrell cannot tolerate Harry's touch due to Voldemort inside him, he crumbles to dust.
  • Market-Based Title: The Philosopher's/Sorcerer's switch — extending to alternate recordings of dialogue as well. In France, it came out as "Harry Potter at the Wizard School", as the Philosopher's Stone is a more well-known legend in France and the book's publishers were concerned that mentioning the Stone in the title would give an important part of the plot away.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Harry, Hermione, and Ron are talking about the situation and where the Philosopher's Stone could be, they start walking up the stairs. While the audience is focused on the conversation, it's easy to miss that when they're on the stairs, the railing on the landing behind them slides into the wall. Hermione notices and is clearly concerned. She's proven right, as the railing is now out of the way, allowing the stairs to move...which takes them on a path to the trapdoor Fluffy is guarding.
  • Moral Luck: Lampshaded just after the troll incident. Prof. McGonagall awards Harry and Ron five House points each "for sheer, dumb luck". While there was some skill involved, both Ron and Harry were exceptionally lucky nevertheless.
  • Mr. Exposition: Hagrid fills this role accidentally by casually talking about things he shouldn't be talking about.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Draco steals Neville's Remembrall and when Harry confronts him on it, Draco hurls it off his broom and leaves Harry to take the fall for flying unsupervised as he grabs it; McGonagall immediately notes his precision on a broomstick despite being a first-year student and he is immediately accepted as Gryffindor's new Quidditch team Seeker.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When the three kids try to warn the teachers about something dangerous, they are usually ignored. Slightly Justified because they are first-years at Hogwarts and only 11 years old. And this is before they gained their reputation as Kid Heroes.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: Harry, Draco and Fang accidentally interrupt Voldemort's unicorn meal in the Forbidden Forest. He doesn't turn around, but he does look up, and there is blood on his lips.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: At the end of the story, all 3 characters are given scenarios to shine in. Harry with the flying keys and Ron with the living chess board. In the book, Hermione's moment was a logic puzzle involving potions. Whether because it wouldn't translate well to the screen or for time reasons, it was removed and Hermione's moment to shine became the Devil's Snare, which in the book was a joint effort from all three of them.
  • Precision F-Strike: Draco delivers a PG variant when he steals Nevile's Remembrall and jokes to his friends that Neville should have held onto it better, so as not to "fall on his fat arse." Interestingly, it's not the only the one use of profanity in the movie, but the original book had none whatsoever.
  • Reduced to Dust: Professor Quinirus Quirrell dies this way. After revealing he's carrying Voldemort and try to kill Harry, the latter noticed his touch burns Quirrell's skin, so Harry grabbed the Professor's face with his hands and he started to burn at the point of being turned into ashes. This was due to the protective charm Harry's mother left in him when she died for him.
  • Saying Too Much: Hagrid frequently lets bits of precious information slip to the three kids, and as a result "I (probably) shouldn't have said that" turns into his Catch Phrase.
  • Shout-Out: Upon learning that the Dursleys told Harry that his parents died in a car crash:
  • Simple Score of Sadness: During Voldemort's last attempt to kill Harry.
  • Skewed Priorities: Hermione after their first run-in with Fluffy:
    Hermione: I'm going to bed, before either of you find another way to get us killed — or worse, expelled.
    [Hermione walks away; Ron talks to Harry]
    Ron: She needs to sort out her priorities.
    [Harry nods in response]
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Varies between a Type 3 (Pragmatic Adaptation) and a Type 4 (Near Identical Adaptation). While there are some noticable changes made, the film is a very faithful adaptation of the book.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Soon before the climactic pursuit of the stone, Hagrid plays the opening theme on his fife.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Hagrid's Berserk Button is pushed - unlike the book, he doesn't raise his voice.
  • Uncommon Time: "Hedwig's Theme" is a waltz.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Yer a wizard, Harry."
    • "No, dear boy, I tried to kill you!" - Professor Quirrell
  • Wham Shot: Harry and his friends suspect Snape to be trying to steal the stone to revive Voldemort with. Turned out it was Professor Quirrell all along.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Our first glimpse of wizard chess shows the queen killing the Knight with its throne.

Hermione: Feels strange to be going home, doesn't it?
Harry: I'm not going home... not really.

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone


Philosophers Stone: Priorities

Hermione was more worried about getting expelled than getting killed.

How well does it match the trope?

4.7 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SkewedPriorities

Media sources:

Main / SkewedPriorities