Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 2001

Critics score:
80 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: The effects are special, but too often they're the only thing that is. They seem to drive the story, instead of the other way around. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Visually stunning Harry Potter stays true to the book but falls short of classic status. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: It's pleasant, and not nearly as hollow as, say, The Phantom Menace, but it's never truly captivating. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [A] complete triumph... Read more

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune: If the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were released in a parallel universe in which J.K. Rowling's book didn't exist, its richly envisioned world and inventive, engaging story could be appreciated in their own rights. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: An imaginative and remarkably faithful adaptation. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: The new, much-anticipated movie is a faithful, literal, only mildly imaginative rendering of that book. While no disgrace, it is certainly no classic. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: At its best, the film's visual dazzle equals the tasty wordplay of the novel. But it is overlong, overscored, and curiously misshapen. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: Potterrific! Read more

Al Brumley, Dallas Morning News: The values and lessons from the novels have translated to the film, as well as the magic. Read more

Paul Clinton (CNN.com), CNN.com: The sheer magic of the movie's spirit saves the day. Read more

Paul Tatara, CNN.com: Columbus and screenwriter Steve Kloves are so careful to avoid offending anyone by excising a passage from the book, the so-called narrative is more like a jamboree inside Rowling's head. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: This film is capable of a certain brand of magic: it may turn the faithful into Muggles. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: As it is, Harry's gotten a ride. But at a much lower altitude than his fans might have wished. Read more

Jonathan Foreman, New York Post: Remarkably faithful, consistently entertaining if overlong adapatation. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: I hear the J.K. Rowling books are great, and on the basis of this 2001 movie I'm ready to believe it. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: The movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, as the Brits might put it, quite good. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Even a Muggle director can't spoil the book's magic. Read more

Jay Carr, Boston Globe: For every flight, the film serves up equal amounts of flattened-out shortfall. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: Lovers of the book will find most of their favorite moments beautifully realized, perhaps even bigger and more wondrous than they imagined them. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: The movie needs to be stronger dramatically, with a much more appealing central performance, to be the great family-oriented screen fantasy so many wanted. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Many charms, but few surprises. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Despite the movie's pedestrian direction, our cranky old critic finds he can't deny kids the right to be enthralled. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Gets most of the book's events in, but loses much of the lightness and charm of Rowling's vision. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, despite its trickery, that plainest and least surprising of artifacts: the work of art that is exactly the sum of its parts, neither more nor less. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: The filmmakers want to show us a magical world that is, at the same time, wholly believable. They want to create matter-of-fact miracles, but what they end up with is mostly just plain matter-of-fact. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Harry Potter's first venture onto the screen is a solid blockbuster. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Two and a half hours of pure, uninterrupted enchantment. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Just as the Harry Potter books have reached a wide audience, so too does the movie appeal to audience members of all ages. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: During Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I was pretty sure I was watching a classic, one that will be around for a long time, and make many generations of fans. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: Professional entertainment with just enough human moments to squeak by. Read more

Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle: The magic mostly works. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: As a movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has no inner life -- no pulse -- of its own: It's secondhand. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: I doubt that most Harry Potter fans will mind a film that attends to their wishes so splendidly. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The picture isn't inept, just inert. Read more

Time Out: What a feast for children! Long, and engrossing. Kids will love it! Wizard! Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Though the film will undoubtedly please the young viewers who flock to it, ultimately many of the book's readers may wish for a more magical incarnation. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: A near-perfect commercial and cultural commodity. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Solid but uninspired, Harry lacks brio. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Retains (and in many cases, boosts) as much of the spirit [of the book] as you could reasonably expect. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: You can't expect perfection from muggles. Read more