|Chris Columbus Director||previously directed Bicentennial Man|
Based on the popular book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone follows Harry Potter through his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he works to discover the secret of the Philosopher's Stone.
The movie is known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" everywhere except the USA and so every scene in which the Philosopher's Stone was mentioned was filmed twice, once with the actors saying "Philosopher's" and once with the actors saying "Sorcerer's".10 More Trivia
22 More Quotes
It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.
|Daniel Radcliffe||Harry Potter|
|Emma Watson||Hermione Granger|
|Rupert Grint||Ron Weasley|
|Richard Harris||Professor Albus Dumbledore|
|Maggie Smith||Professor Minerva McGonagall|
|Robbie Coltrane||Rubeus Hagrid|
|Alan Rickman||Professor Severus Snape|
|Saunders Triplets||Harry Potter|
|Fiona Shaw||Petunia Dursley|
|Harry Melling||Dudley Dursley|
|See Full Credits|
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a film directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel by J. K. Rowling. The film is the first in the series (of which there are seven books and eight films - the last being split in two), with the screenplay by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows a young boy called Harry Potter ( Daniel Radcliffe), who discovers that he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is there that he finds best friends in Ron Weasley ( Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger ( Emma Watson).
Warner. Bros bought the rights to create the films in 1999 and began production a year later. Rowling, wanting to retain the cultural integrity of the book, insisted that all the cast were either British or Irish. She also approved the screenplay and any changes that were made to the original story. Most of the filming was shot at Leavesden Film Studios and historical sites around the country.
Harry Potter is living with his relatives, the Dursleys, who don't treat him with much respect. On his eleventh birthday he is visited by Rubeus Hagrid, a stranger who tells him that he is a wizard, known famously in the wizarding world for surviving an attack by the evil Lord Voldemort when he was a year old. Voldemort killed Harry's parents, but his attack on Harry backfired, resulting in a lightning-bolt shaped scar on Harry's forehead and making Voldemort powerless. Hagrid invites Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After being taken shopping at Diagon Alley by Hagrid, Harry boards the Hogwarts Express from King's Cross. Here he meets Ron Weasley, a ginger-haired boy from a large family, and Hermione Granger, a witch born to non-magical parents. On arrival at the school, students are then sorted into four different houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin - by the Sorting Hat. As Harry has learned, Slytherin is the house regarded for dark witches and wizards, Harry begs the Sorting Hat not to place him there. He ends up in Gryffindor, along with his new friends Ron and Hermione.
While at Hogwarts, Harry learns magic through his lessons, and discovers more about his past that was shielded from him by the Dursleys. After being noticed by Professor McGonagall, Harry makes the Gryffindor Quidditch team as a Seeker. Later, he, Ron and Hermione stumble onto the restricted floor and find a giant three-headed dog. It is guarding the Philosopher's Stone, a source of immortality. Harry is convinced that the potions teacher he dislikes, Severus Snape, is trying to retrieve the stone in order to give Voldemort power.
Hagrid tells the trio that the dog will sleep if played music. Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to get the stone before Snape does. Once they pass the dog, they find a series of tasks they have to complete, including surviving a deadly plant, locating the correct flying key in a room full of them to unlock the next door, and winning a real and violent chess match. After passing these, Harry finds out it wasn't Snape who wanted the stone, but rather Professor Quirrel, teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Quirrel unwraps his turban to reveal Voldemort on the back of his head. Voldemort promises to bring Harry's parents back from the dead in return for the stone (which is enchanted into his pocket through the Mirror of Erised), but Harry refuses. By touching Quirrel, Harry burns him to death.
Harry wakes in the school's hospital, with Professor Dumbledore at his bedside. Dumbledore explains the stone had been destroyed, and that Harry's touch burnt Quirrel because when Harry's mother died to save him, Harry was enchanted with a love-based protection against Voldemort. As the students begin leaving for the summer break to go home, Harry realizes that he is already there - Hogwarts.
Producer David Heyman was searching for a children's book that he and his team could adapt into a widely appealing film. After his first choice, The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones, fell through his staff at Heyday Films discovered another: best-seller Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. At first he didn't act upon it, but his assistant read the book and pushed hard for it, saying it was a "cool idea". Heyman read it and was immediately taken with it and it's "human, moving" and "fiercely imaginative" nature. It wasn't long before Heyman was pitching to Warner. Bros, to merit the response from Warner's president of production, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, that "these books have a terrific following in Great Britain".
In early 1999, Steve Kloves (best known for being the writer-director of The Fabulous Baker Boys) received some descriptions of books that the studio needed adapting. Kloves admits that he "almost never read them", but that "there was this something called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone....". Kloves instantly fell in love with it and began meeting with Heyman and the studio executives. On his first meeting with J. K. Rowling, Kloves admitted he "was probably the most nervous for any meeting I've ever had", worried that she'd think he "was going to be in the business of destroying her baby". Rowling was equally concerned, admitting she "was really ready to hate this Steve Kloves, actually--this was the man who was gonna butcher my baby". However, her initial meeting settled her fears: "The first time I met him, he said to me, 'You know who my favourite character is?' And I thought, You're gonna say Ron. I know you're gonna say Ron. But he said 'Hermione.' And I just kind of melted".
Kloves said that translating Rowling's novel into screenplay was "a bitch" due to the Philosopher's Stone functioning as an establishing novel, to set the world and drive the plot for the books that follow. He also promised Rowling he'd remain utterly faithful to the book, saying "she's been the greatest asset because it's like having the bible of the story" at your fingertips. Rowling was involved as much as possible, reading every draft of the script and being in every preproduction meeting. Rowling said they allowed her a lot of input, going on to say: "I have been open and blunt about what I would and wouldn't like to see. Ultimately, the control is not mine. People don't like it when a writer comes in and runs the show. That's what they bought my book for: control".
Brad Silberling was the first to show interest in the project. Steven Spielberg is reported to also have become intrigued, but there were rumours that Spielberg wanted to take the movie in a direction against Heyman, Kloves and Rowling's wishes, such as an animated film voiced by Haley Joel Osment incorporating elements from multiple books. With Spielberg out, Warner Bros. called for others to pitch their ideas: Silberling, Rob Reiner, Wolfgang Petersen, Alan Parker, Terry Gilliam, Ivan Reitman, and Chris Columbus being named. In Columbus' two-hour audition, he described that he wanted the Muggle word to have a "darkness, that sort of edge" and the wizard world to be full of colour, mood and detail. In March 2000, Columbus was given the job after hitting all the right boxes for his wishes - a completely British cast, each book as it's own movie - and his love for the source material.
In the summer of 2000, the supporting cast began to be named. Robbie Coltrane was the first, as it had always been Rowling's wish that he played Hagrid. "They phoned and said, 'You're playing Hagrid, and we're having no arguments about it.'" said Coltrane. Other top British talent also landed roles: Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Richard Harris as Dumbledore (who was convinced by his granddaughter to take the role) and Alan Rickman as Professor Snape (also hand-picked by Rowling).
Finding the boy to play the lead role didn't prove as easy. Columbus and Heyman auditioned thousands of boys, but when July rolled round there was still no decision. Columbus was set in his choice of wanting Daniel Radcliffe, a boy whom he'd seen in a recent BBC television production of David Copperfield. However, his casting director told him that Radcliffe's parents were too protective to allow it. Columbus' casting director expressed frustration and "didn't know what [Columbus] wanted", to which he picked up a copy of David Copperfield and replied "This is what I want! This is the person I want to be in the film! It doesn't get much easier or simpler than that!". The casting director resigned a week later.
Soon after, Heyman and Kloves went to the theatre to see Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones. It was here that they ran into Radcliffe and his parents. Upon seeing Daniel, Heyman knew just how right Columbus was to be raving about him. The following morning, Heyman rang Radcliffe's father and pleaded, learning that they had been reconsidering. After meeting for tea at the Radcliffe's home, where Columbus assured that he would protect Daniel from the pressures, Harry Potter had finally been cast.
On August 21, the announcement was made that Radcliffe was Potter and that newcomers Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were to be Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. John Boorman, who'd worked on Radcliffe previously when directing him in The Tailor of Panama, said he is a "delightful and intelligent boy, full of fun". David Copperfield director Simon Curtis joked he'd "probably be best remembered as the man who discovered Daniel Radcliffe", a boy who he recalled to be witty, charming and enjoyed playing pranks on the set.
Two of Britain's film industry officials asked for the movie to be shot in England, offering assistance in securing locations, long-term use of Leavesden Studios and a change to the country's child labour laws (adding a few more working hours per week and making on-set classes more flexible). Warner Bros. accepted and filming began in October 2000 and finished in 2001, with final work done in July. Canterbury Cathedral and Inverailort Castle in Scotland were both considered as the setting for Hogwarts, but Canterbury rejected Warner Bros. due to concerns of the film's "pagan" theme. Alnwick Castle and Gloucester Cathedral were chosen as the main filming locations for Hogwarts. Other scenes were filmed in Durham Cathedral, such as the corridors and McGonagall's classroom. Filming for Privet Drive took place in Bracknell, Berkshire, however the producers ran into trouble when the shoot took two days rather than one, meaning the street's residents had to be paid more money than anticipated. Because of this, future filming of Privet Drive took place on a set in Leavesden Studios. Other locations included London Zoo, Kings Cross Station and Australia House in London for Gringott's Bank.
As the book was given a different title in America, all scenes with the actors saying "philosopher's" had to be filmed for a second time to replace it with "sorcerer's". Filming was balanced with school work, with four hours in front of the cameras and three for study. Unlike Harry, Radcliffe has blue eyes, so he had to wear green coloured contact lenses. However, they caused Radcliffe discomfort, so in some scenes computer animation was used to change his eye colour.
The world premiere for the film took place in London's Leicester Square. The cinema was transformed into a replica of Hogwarts. Thousands of fans turned up for the occasion, some dressing up in wizard hats and cloaks. Regarding the huge crowd, JK Rowling commented that "this is not what you think about when you write a book". Daniel Radcliffe said he'd never heard his name shouted so much in an hour and, despite being overwhelmed, had a fantastic experience.
The film received generally favourable reviews from critics. A total of 183 reviews on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes scores the film as "certified fresh" with an approval rating of 78% and an average score of 7/10. Among the top critics - review outlets hand-picked for their quality and respectability - there was a marginal difference in score of 77%. The general consensus is described as "Being so faithful to the book is both the movie's strength and weakness. The movie unfolds exactly as written in the book, so there is little room for surprises or discoveries. For Potter fans, what more can you ask for?". By comparison, Metacritic, which turns mainstream reviews into a normalized rating, calculated an average of 64% based on 35 reviews.
Alan Morrison for Empire called the film a "faithful adaptation" with "near-perfect casting" for the adult and child actors. He names Daniel Radcliffe for convincingly playing an ordinary child and conveying a range of different emotions. Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film his highest acclaim, citing its atmosphere and rip-roaring adventure amounting to make what Ebert thought would make the film "a classic, one that will be around for a long time". Todd McCarthy writing for Variety listed off his compliments, including the faithful script, sets and costumes, saying that Harry Potter fans will have "their dreams come true" with the film.
Although Paul Tatara for CNN thought the casting was triumphant, he didn't like how the film tried so hard to stick to everything in the novel, saying that "the so-called narrative is more like a jamboree inside Rowling's head". Tatara states that elements are introduced, such as the goblins in Gringotts Bank, then quickly advanced "in the headlong pursuit of several other painstakingly created semi-scenes". Richard Corliss for TIME shared similar criticisms, saying that in choosing to create a film true to the words he "made a movie by the numbers" with stodgy slow scenes and a "competent but charisma-free" main acting trio.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone broke the record for the highest opening weekend of all-time in the United Kingdom, making £16.3 million. In total, the film made £66.1 million in the UK alone, achieving the rank of second highest-grossing film ever in the U.K. (the first being Titanic), until both were beaten by Mamma Mia! in 2008. Similarly, in the United States, the film made $33.3 million on its opening day, breaking the record previously held by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The film went on to break its own record on the second day of release, making $33.5 million. It made $90.3 million in total during the first weekend, beating the title of highest opening weekend previously held by The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The record was held until the following May when Spider-Man made $114.8 million.
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|blog||Great Article from Shortlist on US/UK Title Changes||VioletEyedDragon|
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|review||A fair start (3 out of 5)||MrWright|
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|Name||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone|
|US Release||Nov. 16, 2001|
|UK Release||Nov. 16, 2001|
|AUS Release||Nov. 29, 2001|
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