Although there are many folks out there who think the books were better than their film adaptations, the Harry Potter movies have become an essential part of the franchise. The film universe has even extended beyond the original series with 3 addtional Fantastic Beast prequels that introduced us to a new part of the wizarding world. Now that Hogwarts Legacy has arrived as well, it's a good time to revisit the Potter timeline to see where everything fits.
Whether you're new to the series or have just forgotten the proper order of the films, we've got you covered with our guides below. Take a look at how to watch the Harry Potter movies in chronological order or by release date.
How to Watch Harry Potter in Chronological Order
How Many Harry Potter Movies are There?
Although there were only 7 books in the original series, there are a total of 11 movies in the Harry Potter franchise. This includes 8 films based on the books (2 parts for the Deathly Hallows) and 3 Fantastic Beasts prequels. Outside of the films there is a Broadway play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as quite a lot of Harry Potter games — including the newest one, Hogwarts Legacy.
Where Does Hogwarts Legacy Fit in the Harry Potter Timeline?
Hogwarts Legacy takes place before any of the mainline movies sometime around the 1890s. For context, the Fantastic Beasts movies begin in the 1920s and the Harry Potter films start in the 1990s. And although it takes place before the films, there are quite a few last names in Hogwarts Legacy you'll recognize from the books and movies and Hogwarts Castle is pretty much exactly the same.
The Harry Potter Movies in Chronological Order
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Set all the way back in 1926, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was the first Harry Potter spin-off prequel to hit theaters. Considering it takes place around 70 years before Harry starts school at Hogwarts, it is the first film you'll want to watch if you're going by chronological order. The first Fantastic Beasts film focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he navigates his way through New York and the magical underpinnings of the United States.
2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Just a few months after the end of the first prequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald takes us back to England and features even more tie-ins to the original Harry Potter Movies. We get a look at a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and even get introduced to a youthful Minderva McGonagall (Fiona Glascott). The film itself largely focuses on the villain revealed in the first movie, Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).
Read our review of The Crimes of Grindelwald
3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the first film in the Fantastic Beasts series that sees a true time jump. Set 5 years after the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald, the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series largely focuses on Grindelwald himself once again — who is actually played by Mads Mikkelsen this time. There are a few time jumps due to a creature named Qilin, but most of the movie is set in the 1930s.
Read our review of The Secrets of Dumbledore.
4. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone is the first film in the original series. And while the majority of the film takes place in 1991, the true start of the film is technically 1980 — the year when Harry was born and Hagrid drops him of at the Dursley residence. Since this is the first Harry Potter movie released, it gives us our first look at Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) as well as our initial forray into wizarding world through a Muggle lens.
See more about The Sorcerer's Stone.
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second film released in the franchise and thus follows Harry's second year at Hogwarts. This places the movie between 1992 and 1993 as Harry uncovers truths of the past from giant spiders and a young ghost-like Voldemort. It also gives us our first indroduction to Professor Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) and Dobby the House Elf.
See more about The Chamber of Secrets.
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third film in the original series and coincides with Harry's third year of classes at Hogwarts — taking place in 1993. This is the first film where we start to truly see the darker side of the wizarding world as we get introduced to the likes of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall). We also get an introduction to werewolves from the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), and of course the creepy soul-sucking Dementors of Azkaban.
Read our review of The Prisoner of Azkaban.
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth movie in the original series and coincides with Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts. Taking place in 1994, The Goblet of Fire breathes new life into Hogwarts with the addition of the Triwizard Tournament and the Yule Ball. We get introduced to new important characters like Mad Eye Moody (Brendand Gleeson) and Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson). We also get our first look at a professional Quidditch tournament as well as members and faculty from other wizarding schools. This also the first film Harry comes face to face with a fully alive Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
Read our review of The Goblet of Fire.
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth film in the original series and takes place in 1995. Harry starts his fifth year of Hogwarts with a newfound family of sorts and we get our first look at some of the other members of The Order of the Phoenix like the shapeshifting Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena). We also get our first introduction to Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), who plays an important role in the coming films. There is also a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor with a penchant for cruelty that everyone gets to hate, Delores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton).
Read our review of The Order of the Phoenix.
9. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the sixth film to be released and takes place in 1996. As Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry, he is starting to truly grow up after being faced with even more death. In this film we get our first true look into the motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). We also get to see Voldemort and the Deatheaters fully on the loose as Dumbledore reveals more secrets about the prophecy Harry is a part of. Although this film starts to get pretty dark, it's also where we see more of Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) and expand her relationship with Harry.
Read our review of The Half Blood Prince.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 takes place in 1997 and coincides with the seventh and final book in the series. This is the first film that breaks up the story of a single book into two movies, and for good reason as there's a lot of story to unpack. In what would have been Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts, Harry, Hermione, and Ron instead set out into the real world to find and destroy Horcruxes. With quite a bit of action and deep character growth between Harry, Ron, and Hermione it's clear the franchise is reaching it's climax here. We also get a deeper look at the relationships between Voldemort and the rest of the Death Eaters.
Read our review of The Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the final movie in the Harry Potter series chronologically. Set in 1998, this film is a continuation of part 1 starting right where the previous film left off. As Harry and his friends reveal more information about the prophecy Harry is part of, they eventually make their way back to Hogwarts for a final showdown against Voldemort and the Deatheaters. It's an emotional battle that ends in the death of a some fan favorite Harry Potter characters, but we do get to see the true heroics of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and a rather definitive end to story.
Read our review of The Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
How to Watch Harry Potter Movies By Release Date
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)
The Future of Harry Potter
Although there are no current plans to make any new Harry Potter fims, the franchise will continue to produce new content. It was recently announced that there will be a new Harry Potter TV series based on the books. It will feature an entirely new cast and be more faithful to the books. Additionally, the success of Hogwarts Legacy has led to the developers teasing a Hogwarts Legacy 2, which would expand the Hogwarts prequel timeline even further.
Looking for more movies like Harry Pottter? Check out our guide on how to watch Lord of the Rings in order as well as our guide to Star Wars in order. And if you're looking for merch, check out our collection of Harry Potter Merchandise from the IGN store.