Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
|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-adventure film directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film was the first of the Harry Potter film series. It was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter, a boy who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard, and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to begin his magical education. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The adult cast features Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman and Ian Hart.
Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million. Production began in 2000, with Columbus being chosen to create the film from a short list of directors that included Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. J. K. Rowling insisted that the entire cast be British or Irish, in keeping with the cultural integrity of the book and the film. She also approved the screenplay, written by Steve Kloves. The film was shot at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United Kingdom.
The film was released in the United Kingdom and United States in November 2001. It received a mostly positive critical reception, made more than $974 million at the worldwide box office and was nominated for many awards, including the Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. As of February 2011, it is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time.
Harry Potter is a seemingly ordinary boy, living with his hostile relatives, the Dursleys in Surrey. On his eleventh birthday, Harry learns from a mysterious stranger, Rubeus Hagrid, that he is actually a wizard, famous in the Wizarding World for surviving an attack by the evil Lord Voldemort when Harry was only a baby. Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, but his attack on Harry rebounded, leaving only a lightning-bolt scar on Harry’s forehead and rendering Voldemort powerless. Hagrid reveals to Harry that he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After buying his school supplies from the hidden wizarding street, Diagon Alley, Harry boards the train to Hogwarts via the concealed Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross Station.
On the train, Harry meets Ron Weasley, a boy from a large pure-blood wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, a witch born to non-magical parents. Once they arrive at the school, Harry and all of the other first-year students are sorted into four different houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. As Slytherin is noted for being the house of darker wizards and witches, Harry successfully begs the magical Sorting Hat not to put him in Slytherin. He winds up in Gryffindor, along with Ron and Hermione.
At Hogwarts, Harry begins learning wizardry and also discovers more about his past and his parents. Harry inadvertently makes Gryffindor’s Quidditch (a sport in the wizarding world where people fly on broomsticks) team as a Seeker, learning that his father was also a member of the team. One night, he, Ron, and Hermione find a giant three-headed dog on a restricted floor at the school. The dog is guarding the Philosopher’s Stone, an item that can be used to grant its owner immortality. Harry concludes that his potions teacher, Severus Snape, is trying to obtain the stone in order to return Voldemort to a human form.
After hearing from Hagrid that the dog will fall asleep if played music, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to find the stone before Snape does. They face a series of tasks that are helping protect the stone, which include surviving a deadly plant, flying past hundreds of flying keys and winning a violent, life-sized chess match.
After getting past the tasks, Harry finds out that it was not Snape who wanted the stone, but Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Quirrell. Quirrell removes his turban and reveals Voldemort to be living on the back of his head. Voldemort tries to convince Harry to give him the stone (which Harry suddenly finds in his pocket as the result of an enchantment by the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore), by promising to bring his parents back from the dead, but Harry refuses. Quirrell tries to kill him but Harry’s touch prevents Quirrel from hurting Harry and causes his hand to turn to dust. Quirrell then tries to take the stone but Harry grabs his face, causing Quirrell to turn into dust and die. When Harry gets up, Voldemort’s spirit forms and passes through Harry, knocking him unconscious, before fleeing.
Harry wakes up in the school’s hospital wing, with Professor Dumbledore at his side. Dumbledore explains that the stone has been destroyed, and that, despite Ron nearly being killed in the chess match, both Hermione and Ron are fine. The reason Quirrell burned at Harry’s touch was because when Harry’s mother died to save him, her death gave Harry a magical, love-based protection against Voldemort. Before Harry and the rest of the students leave for the summer, Harry realises that while every other student is going home, Hogwarts is truly his home.