Harry thinks he's a normal kid, living a sucky life with the Dursleys, his aunt, uncle, and cousin who dislike 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.
From there, it's off to Hogwarts, where Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, forming the iconic ¡Three Amigos!. 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 Flavour Beans.Dumbledore: Alas. Earwax.
- Actionized Adaptation: The flying key room — which the Trio originally get through quite easily thanks to Harry's Seeker skills — was changed so the rest of the keys attack Harry the moment he gets on the broom (one of them leaves a noticeable cut on his right hand), and he just barely gets the right one for the door and gets out before the rest skewer him.
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the novel, an epilogue shows Harry and his friends return to their families who are waiting for them including the Dursleys. In the film, it is omitted.
- 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 Nationality: Hagrid says he bought Fluffy from an "Irish feller" rather than a "Greek chappie". The change seems especially needless considering the original line was obviously a nod to the Greek origin of the Cerberus myth, which Fluffy is modelled on.
- Adaptational Species Change: In this film, the snake Harry talks to at the zoo is a Burmese python. In the novel, it is a boa constrictor from Brazil. However, both the novel and the film reveal the snake was bred in captivity.
- 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 busy panicking to escape. This change was probably made so that Hermione could single-handedly conquer one of the obstacles, since the one she single-handedly defeated in the book, the potions challenge, was eliminated, and there has to be something she gets fifty points for at the end.
- Adaptation Distillation: In the book, Hagrid tells Harry the truth about his parents' deaths when he first meets him, then takes him to Diagon Alley and returns him to the Dursleys for the last month before school starts. In the film, Harry learns some of the truth while with the Dursleys, but Hagrid tells him about Voldemort after they've done their shopping. Also, Hagrid seems to take Harry directly from Diagon Alley to King's Cross.
- Adaptation Expansion:
- The film has Seamus trying to turn water into rum, but he only succeeds in making it explode. This seems to be inspired by the events from the novel (both of which were also in the film) where he sets his feather alight while trying to levitate it, and Ron's attempt to turn Scabbers yellow as he also tries to perform the spell by reciting a rhyming couplet in English.
- A scene is inserted where Hermione shows Harry and Ron a cabinet of Quidditch trophies, one of which shows that Harry's father was also a Seeker. The analogue in the book is when after appointing Harry as Seeker McGonagall just says "Your father would have been proud. He was an excellent Quidditch player himself", without specifying what position he played or whether he was even on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. While his membership of the team is confirmed in later books, J.K. Rowling has separately stated that he was actually a Chaser. McGonagall's name is also on one of the other trophies, showing that she too was a Quidditch player, which isn't mentioned in the book.
- The troll fight is a bit longer in the film, where the troll swings its club at Hermione multiple times as she crawls between the different toilet stalls and over to the sinks, and the troll also grabs Harry upside-down by the legs and tries to bash him before Ron uses Wingardium Leviosa to knock the troll out.
- Adapted Out:
- Dudley's friend Piers Polkiss accompanies the Dursleys and Harry to the zoo.
- Due to jump cuts, the Keeper of the reptile house and the zoo director. In the book Harry and the Dursleys get to the hut on the rock in a rowboat lent to them by a "toothless old man"; he appears only in concept artwork for the film.
- Madam Malkin, although her name appears on a sign.
- Peeves the Poltergeist, although Rik Mayall was cast in the role and a scene was filmed, but it ended up being cut, and hasn't even been included in the deleted scenes of any home media release. Ultimately Peeves never appeared in any of the films, nor was he even mentioned.
- Irma Pince.
- Firenze is the only centaur who appears; Ronan and Bane are omitted. Bane later appears in Order of the Phoenix, but this would be Firenze's only film appearance.
- Poppy Pomfrey the Matron, but there is an unknown nurse in the Hospital wing scene at the end. It's possible that this is supposed to be Madam Pomfrey, but this is not confirmed as it's an uncredited non-speaking part.
- 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 colours 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).
- Angry Guard Dog: Hagrid's contribution to the protections around the Philosopher's Stone is a large three-headed Cerberus dog named Fluffy. When Harry, Ron and Hermione first stumble upon the room that Fluffy is guarding, he growls and barks and chases them out of the room while trying to bite them. The trope is undermined by Fluffy's tendency to fall asleep to the sound of music.
- Ash Face: Seamus Finnigan, twice - once when trying to turn water into rum, and once when attempting Wingardium Leviosa.
- 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".
- 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 Philosopher's Stone. Even Harry was shocked to learn that Snape was trying to counter Quirrell's spell on his broom during the Quidditch match.
- Denied Food as Punishment: In the book, before going to the zoo, Vernon tells Harry that if any funny stuff happens he will be in the cupboard from then until Christmas, while in the film, Vernon tells Harry that if any funny business happens, he won't have any meals for a week (although this happens in the book after the zoo incident, when Vernon says to Harry to go to his cupboard and stay there with no meals).
- Didn't Think This Through: When Malfoy rats out Harry, Ron, and Hermione to McGonagall for being out of bed after hours, he fails to consider that the only way he'd know that would be if he had also broken curfew. He's quite shocked when he learns that he'll be having detention with the three of them.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When Harry, Ron, and Hermione are running towards Hagrid's Hut, Hagrid can be heard playing Hedwig's Theme on his wind instrument.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the book, Voldemort kills Quirrell by leaving his head, causing him to die. In the film, Harry kills Quirrell by grabbing his face, causing him to turn to dust.
- *Drool* Hello: The gang is alerted to Fluffy's presence by his drool on Ron's shoulder.
- Dual Wielding: The pawns in the wizard chess scene all wield a sabre in each hand.
- Early Instalment Weirdness:
- The scene with the snake at the zoo has the snake speak to Harry directly in English, and Harry replies likewise. Future films would render snakes untranslated and depict Harry's Parseltongue as distorted hissing.
- The Hogwarts uniform is supposed to include a pointed hat according to the books, and the first film faithfully includes this detail. These are, indeed, the hats that are thrown in the air at the end of the House Cup Ceremony. After the first film, the hats are never seen again.
- Voldemort's face looks nothing like the Ralph Fiennes version from Goblet of Fire onwards. He even has a nose! He has a different voice as well, provided by Ian Hart, the actor who also played Quirrell.note
- A meta example; it's the only one with the standard Warner Bros logo instead of the shield decaying with every following movie getting Darker and Edgier.
- 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 Syfy version of the film where Snape is lecturing Harry the extended version of the Potions class scene, "Aconite" is misspelled "Akamite".
- 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. Fun fact: She's played by Violet Columbus, a daughter of director Chris Columbus, although she's not credited until the next movie.
- Eyebrows Burned Off: Seamus angrily responds to Neville that Seamus's eyebrows had grown back after the disaster in a much earlier Charms class.
- "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)
- Professor Quirrell avoids shaking Harry's hand when the two first meet at the Leaky Cauldron, hinting that he's aware of the magical protection Harry's mother's sacrifice gave him that would hurt Quirrell if he touched Harry.
- 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 chessboard 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
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ron makes one during the chessboard, letting himself get captured by the queen so Harry can checkmate the king, win the game, and be able to proceed. Thankfully, it wasn't fatal and he fully recovered the day after.
- Idiot Ball:
- Hermione says "What an idiot" word-for-word when Harry goes flying after Draco and the Remembrall.
- Vernon insults magic and threatens Harry in front of Hagrid, a half-giant with super-strength who happens to be from the Wizarding World. It's a good thing Hagrid isn't malicious, or Vernon would've probably ended up with a broken neck, or worse.
- In the film the trio chooses to visit Hagrid at night to talk about the Philosopher's Stone, which results in them getting caught and punished with detention and the loss of massive amounts of house points. Why couldn't they have gone to see him during the day, and if they had to go see him at night, why didn't they use the invisibility cloak? The book has a lesser case of this, with Harry and Hermione getting caught after leaving the invisibility cloak on the top of a tower after giving Norbert to Charlie's friends, which was something that needed to be done discreetly.
- Incompetent Guard Animal: The three-headed dog who's supposed to be guarding the Philosopher's Stone quickly falls asleep to the sound of music, as blabbermouth Hagrid reveals. The knowledge enables Harry, Ron, Hermione, and a thief to get past Fluffy.
- It's Quiet Too Quiet: Harry, Ron, and Hermione resolve to try to stop the thief, only to find Fluffy the three-headed guard dog already lulled to sleep by the thief's enchanted harp left behind to play. The trio open the trap door and peer down... only to realize that the music has stopped. Cue the mad scramble away from the waking Angry Guard Dog.
- Jump Scare: The screaming book in the Restricted Section of the library, especially with the face appearing from the middle of the book.
- 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.
- The movie doesn't cheat Quirrell jinxing Harry's broom; when Hermione is looking at Snape in the bleachers through her binoculars, Quirrell can be seen verbalizing the spell that Snape is countering next to him.
- 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.
- Never My Fault: Hermione blames Ron and Harry for their first run-in with Fluffy when, in fact, the staircase they were on "changed" to the forbidden corridor (thereby making it a complete accident). If anything, it was Hermione's fault that they encountered the monstrous dog, as she unlocked the door to its room.note
- 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. Still, considering a bunch of first years are aware of the Stone's presence should have tipped off the teachers that there was either a major security breach, or that the Stone was not as well-protected as it should be.
- 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 chessboard. 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 only the one use of profanity in the movie, but the original book had none whatsoever.
- Publicly Discussing the Secret: While on the Underground, Harry and Hagrid discuss what Harry needs for Hogwarts, including dragon-skin gloves, which Hagrid assures are from real dragons. He then also mentions that dragons are misunderstood creatures.
- Reduced to Dust: Professor Quinirus Quirrell dies this way. After revealing he's carrying Voldemort and trying 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.
- Rewatch Bonus: During the scene where Harry's being flung around on his broom, Hermione looks through binoculars and sees Snape mouthing a spell, believing he's the one jinxing the broom. However, if you look behind him, you'll see Quirrel staring intently at Harry while the rest of the teachers are panicking, showing that he's the one jinxing the broom.
- 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 Catchphrase.
- Shout-Out: Upon learning that the Dursleys told Harry that his parents died in a car crash:Hagrid: It's an outrage! It's a scandal!
- Silent Snarker: Filch's reaction to Hagrid's worry about Norbert being sent to live in a colony is to roll his eyes.
- 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 noticeable changes made, the film is a very faithful adaptation of the book.
- Tranquil Fury: When Hagrid's Berserk Button is pushed - unlike the book, he doesn't raise his voice."Never insult Albus Dumbledore in front of me."
- Twin Test: Double subverted in the scene in which Harry goes to Platform 9 and three-quarters for the first time. George and Fred Weasley bait their mother into a twin test after she correctly calls out to Fred. They trick her into thinking she called out to the wrong twin, saying that as their mother she should be able to correctly identify her own children, only for Fred to reveal immediately after that she was right the first time.
- 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.
Harry: I'm not going home... not really.