Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) Revisited: Fantasy Movie Review

The latest addition to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, landed with a bit of a thud when it opened in theaters last month. The only J.K. Rowling-affiliated movie to fall short of the $100 million mark at the domestic box office, many think this version of the franchise has come to a premature end. However, Warner Bros apparently has no interest in letting the Wizarding World lie dormant, so before long, we’ll no doubt see more muggles and wizards in theaters and on HBO Max. With the franchise at a crossroads, now is the opportune moment to look back at the start of the series on the big screen, Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone depending on where you live).

While the books were already a runaway phenomenon at this point, Hollywood was unsure whether or not they would translate to the big screen. Director Chris Columbus pulled out all of the stops to make this a classy production, enlisting a who’s who of beloved English actors to fill in the adult roles. At the same time, he cast a trio of young actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, to play Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Plus, he had John Williams do the score!

As we explain in this instalment of Fantasizing About Fantasy Films, the film was a runaway smash at the box office, grossing close to a billion dollars worldwide and kicking off a franchise that would go down in history as one of the most lucrative ever. This episode is written and narrated by Jessica Dwyer, edited by Bill Mazzola, and produced by Adam Walton. 

Do you think Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone holds up over twenty years later? Let us know in the comments! 

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.