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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) facts for kids

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
A poster depicting a young boy with glasses, an old man with glasses, a young girl holding books, a redheaded boy, and a large bearded man in front of a castle, with an owl flying. The left poster also features an adult man, an old woman, and a train, with the titles being "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by David Heyman
Screenplay by Steve Kloves
Starring
Music by John Williams
Cinematography John Seale
Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) 4 November 2001 (2001-11-04) (Odeon Leicester Square)
16 November 2001 (2001-11-16) (United Kingdom and United States)
Running time 152 minutes
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $125 million
Money made $1.002 billion

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States and India as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, based on J. K. Rowling's 1997 novel of the same name. Produced by David Heyman and screenplay by Steve Kloves, it is the first instalment of the Harry Potter film series. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Its story follows Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins his education.

Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million ($1.65 million). Production began in the United Kingdom in 2000, with Chris Columbus being chosen to create the film from a shortlist of directors that included Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Rowling insisted that the entire cast be British, with the three leads chosen in August 2000 following open casting calls. The film was shot at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United Kingdom, from September 2000 to March 2001.

The film was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom and United States on 16 November 2001. It became a critical and commercial success, grossing $974 million at the box office worldwide during its initial run, and over $1 billion with subsequent re-releases. It became the highest-grossing film of 2001 and the second highest-grossing film at the time. The film was nominated for many awards, including Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It was followed by seven sequels, beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002 and ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011, nearly ten years after the first film's release.

Plot

Late one night, Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall, professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with the school's groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid, deliver a recently orphaned infant named Harry Potter to his only remaining relatives, the Dursleys.

Ten years later, Harry has lived a difficult life with the Dursleys. After inadvertently causing an accident during a family trip to London Zoo, Harry begins receiving unsolicited letters by owls. After he and the Dursleys escape to an island to avoid more letters, Hagrid re-appears and informs Harry that he is a wizard and has been accepted into Hogwarts against the Dursleys' wishes. After taking Harry to Diagon Alley to buy his supplies for Hogwarts and a pet owl named Hedwig as a birthday present, Hagrid informs him of his past: Harry's parents James and Lily Potter died due to a Killing Curse at the hands of the malevolent and all-powerful wizard: Lord Voldemort. Harry, the only survivor in the chaos, thus becomes well-known in the wizarding world as "The Boy Who Lived".

Harry enters King's Cross station to board a train to Hogwarts, where he meets three other students: Ron Weasley, whom he quickly befriends; Hermione Granger, an intelligent witch born to non-magical Muggle parents; and Draco Malfoy, a boy from a wealthy wizarding family, with whom he immediately forms a rivalry. After arriving at school the students assemble in the Great Hall, where all the first-years are sorted by the Sorting Hat among four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Although the Sorting Hat considers putting Harry in Slytherin with Draco, he is placed into Gryffindor alongside Ron and Hermione.

At Hogwarts, Harry begins learning magic spells and discovers more about his past and parents. After recovering the Remembrall of Gryffindor student Neville Longbottom, Harry is recruited for Gryffindor's Quidditch team as a Seeker, an extremely rare feat for first year students. On their way to the dorms one night the stair cases change paths leading Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the forbidden floor of Hogwarts. The three discover a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy in a restricted area of the school. Ron then insults Hermione after being embarrassed by her in a Charms lesson, causing Hermione to lock herself in the girls' bathroom. She is attacked by a marauding troll, but Harry and Ron save her, befriending her in the process.

The children later find out that Fluffy is guarding the philosopher's stone, an object that has the power to turn any metal into gold and produce a potion that grants immortality. Harry suspects that the Potions teacher and head of Slytherin House Severus Snape is trying to obtain the stone in order to return Voldemort to physical form. Hagrid accidentally reveals to the trio that Fluffy will fall asleep if music is played to it. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide that night to try and find the stone before Snape does. They discover an already asleep Fluffy and face a series of safeguards, including a deadly plant known as Devil's Snare, a room filled with aggressive flying keys that bruise Harry, and a giant chess game that knocks out Ron.

After getting past the tasks, Harry discovers that it was Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Quirinus Quirrell who was trying to claim the stone: Snape had actually been protecting Harry all along. Quirrell removes his turban and reveals a weak Voldemort living on the back of his head. Through an enchantment placed by Dumbledore, Harry finds the stone in his possession. Voldemort attempts to bargain the stone from Harry in exchange for reviving his parents, but Harry refuses. Quirrell attempts to kill Harry in response; however, he is instead killed after Harry ends up burning his skin, reducing Quirrell to dust and causing Voldemort's soul to rise from his ashes. Harry is knocked unconscious when Voldemort's soul passes through him.

Harry recovers in the school's hospital wing with Dumbledore at his side. Dumbledore explains that the stone has been destroyed and that Ron and Hermione are safe. Dumbledore also reveals how Harry was able to defeat Quirrell: When Harry's mother died to save him, her death gave Harry a love-based protection against Voldemort. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are rewarded with house points for their heroic performances, tying them for first place with Slytherin. Dumbledore then awards ten points to Neville for attempting to stop the trio, granting Gryffindor the House Cup. Harry returns home for the summer, happy to finally have a real home in Hogwarts.

Cast

  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter:
    An 11-year-old orphan raised by his unwelcoming aunt and uncle, who learns of his own fame as a wizard known to have survived his parents' murder at the hands of the dark wizard Lord Voldemort as an infant when he is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Columbus had wanted Radcliffe for the role since he saw him in the BBC's production of David Copperfield, before the open casting sessions had taken place, but had been told by casting director Susan Figgis that Radcliffe's protective parents would not allow their son to take the part. Columbus explained that his persistence in giving Radcliffe the role was responsible for Figgis' resignation. Radcliffe was asked to audition in 2000, when Heyman and Kloves met him and his parents at a production of Stones in His Pockets in London. Heyman and Columbus successfully managed to convince Radcliffe's parents that their son would be protected from media intrusion, and they agreed to let him play Harry. Rowling approved of Radcliffe's casting, stating that "having seen [his] screen test I don't think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry." Radcliffe was reportedly paid £1 million for the film, although he felt the fee was "not that important". William Moseley, who was later cast as Peter Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia series, also auditioned for the role. The Saunders triplets appear as Harry as a baby.
  • Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley:
    Harry's best friend at Hogwarts and a younger member of the Weasley wizarding family. A fan of the series, Grint decided he would be perfect for the part "because [he has] ginger hair". Having seen a Newsround report about the open casting he sent in a video of himself rapping about how he wished to receive the part. His attempt was successful as the casting team asked for a meeting with him.
  • Emma Watson as Hermione Granger:
    Harry's other best friend and the trio's brains. Watson's Oxford theatre teacher passed her name on to the casting agents and she had to do over five interviews before she got the part. Watson took her audition seriously, but "never really thought [she] had any chance of getting the role." The producers were impressed by Watson's self-confidence and she outperformed the thousands of other girls who had applied.
  • John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick: The ghost of Gryffindor House.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid:
    A half-giant and Hogwarts' gamekeeper. Coltrane was one of the two actors Rowling wanted most, along with Smith as McGonagall. Coltrane, who was already a fan of the books, prepared for the role by discussing Hagrid's past and future with Rowling. According to Figgis, Robin Williams was interested in participating in the film, but was turned down for the Hagrid role because of the "strictly British and Irish only" rule which Columbus was determined to maintain.
  • Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick: The Charms Master and head of Ravenclaw House. Davis also plays two other roles in the film: the Goblin Head Teller at Gringotts, and dubs the voice of Griphook, who is embodied by Verne Troyer.
  • Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley: Harry's Muggle uncle. Ian McNeice was considered for the role of Vernon.
  • Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore: Hogwarts' Headmaster and one of the most famous and powerful wizards of all time. Harris initially rejected the role, only to reverse his decision after his granddaughter stated she would never speak to him again if he did not take it. Patrick McGoohan was offered for the role, but turned it down due to health issues.
  • Ian Hart as Quirinus Quirrell:
    The stuttering Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. David Thewlis auditioned for the part; he would later be cast as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Hart also voiced Lord Voldemort, while Richard Bremmer provided his physical appearance and portrayed him as a hooded figure.
  • John Hurt as Mr. Ollivander: a highly regarded wandmaker and the owner of Ollivanders.
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape: The Potions Master and head of Slytherin House. Tim Roth was the original choice for the role, but he turned it down for Planet of the Apes.
  • Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley: Harry's Muggle aunt.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall: The Deputy Headmistress, head of Gryffindor and transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. Smith was one of the two actors Rowling wanted most, along with Coltrane as Hagrid.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley: Ron's mother. She shows Harry how to get to Platform 9+34. Before Walters was cast, American actress Rosie O'Donnell held talks with Columbus about playing Mrs. Weasley.

Additionally, Zoë Wanamaker appears as Madame Hooch, Hogwarts' flying instructor; Tom Felton portrays Draco Malfoy, a student in Slytherin and Harry's rival; Harry Melling plays Dudley Dursley, Harry's cousin; and David Bradley appears as Argus Filch, Hogwarts' caretaker. Matthew Lewis and Devon Murray portray Neville Longbottom and Seamus Finnigan, respectively, two first year students in Gryffindor; James and Oliver Phelps play twins Fred and George Weasley, Ron's brothers, while Chris Rankin appears as his other brother Percy, a Gryffindor prefect, and Bonnie Wright appears as Ron's sister Ginny. Sean Biggerstaff portrays Oliver Wood, the Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team; Jamie Waylett and Joshua Herdman play Crabbe and Goyle, Malfoy's minions; and Leslie Phillips voices the Sorting Hat. Derek Deadman plays Tom, innkeeper of The Leaky Cauldron; and Elizabeth Spriggs appears as the Fat Lady, a painting at Hogwarts.

Differences from the book

Columbus repeatedly checked with Rowling to make sure he was getting minor details correct. Kloves described the film as being "really faithful" to the book. He added dialogue, of which Rowling approved. One of the lines originally included had to be removed after Rowling told him that it would directly contradict an event in the then-unreleased fifth Harry Potter novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Several minor characters have been removed from the film version, most prominently Peeves the poltergeist, although actor Rik Mayall was cast in the role, but his scenes were ultimately cut from the film and never released. The book's first chapter, told from the viewpoint of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, is absent from the film. Harry and Draco's first encounter in Madam Malkin's robe shop and the midnight duel are not in the film. Norbert is mentioned to have been taken away by Dumbledore in the film; whilst in the book Harry and Hermione have to take him by hand to Charlie Weasley's friends. According to Kloves, it was "the one part of the book that [Rowling] felt easily could be changed". As a result, the reason for the detention in the Forbidden Forest was changed: in the novel, Harry and Hermione are put in detention for being caught by Filch when leaving the Astronomy Tower after hours, Neville and Malfoy are given detention when caught in the corridor by Professor McGonagall. In the film, Harry, Hermione and Ron receive detention after Malfoy catches them in Hagrid's hut after hours; Malfoy then receives detention as well for being out of bed. The Quidditch pitch is altered from a traditional stadium to an open field circled by spectator towers.

The book's timeline is not enforced in the film. In the book, Harry's eleventh birthday is in 1991. On the film set for 4 Privet Drive, Dudley's certificates from primary school bear the year 2001.

Distribution

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