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|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone|
International poster displaying the Philosopher's Stone title (left) and the American poster, designed by Drew Struzan, displaying the Sorcerer's Stone title (right).
|Directed by||Chris Columbus|
|Produced by||David Heyman|
|Screenplay by||Steve Kloves|
|Based on||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by
J. K. Rowling
|Music by||John Williams|
|Editing by||Richard Francis-Bruce|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||152 minutes|
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 based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film is the first instalment in the Harry Potter film series, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins 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. It is followed by seven sequels with the first being Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million. Production began in the UK 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 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 March 2012, it is the 13th highest-grossing film of all time and the second highest grossing film in the Harry Potter series behind the concluding film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
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, but poor, 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 team (a sport in the wizarding world where people fly on broomsticks) 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 the Forbidden Corridor on the Third Floor at the school. The trio successfully take down an escaped mountain troll and after Harry is nearly knocked off his broom by a powerful curse during one of the Quidditch matches, the trio assume that someone is trying to get past the dog. Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised which shows a person's heart's desire. The headmaster Albus Dumbledore moves the mirror and advises Harry against looking for it. Using information accidentally let slip by Hagrid, Hermione discovers that 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. Harry is caught out of bed at night and is given detention. While helping Hagrid in the dark forest Harry sees a hooded figure drinking a unicorn's blood for its healing properties. Harry concludes that the hooded figure was Voldemort and that Snape is trying to get the stone to restore Voldemort to full strength.
After hearing from Hagrid that the dog will fall asleep if played music and that he let slip this to a man in the local pub one night, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide that Snape was the man in the pub and attempt to warn Dumbledore. Upon learning he is away on business the trio conclude that Snape will attempt to steal the stone that night and resolve to find the stone before Snape does.
They face a series of obstacles: surviving a deadly plant, flying past hundreds of flying keys and winning a violent, life-sized chess match. The trio use their skills to overcome the obstacles. Hermione uses her knowledge of spells to get past the plant, Harry uses his skills as a seeker to get past the keys and Ron uses his skill at chess to win the chess match. However, Ron is nearly killed in the match and Hermione stays with Ron as Harry goes on ahead, alone.
In the final room, Harry finds out that it was not Snape who wanted the stone, but Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Quirrell. Quirrell reveals that he let the troll in and tried to kill Harry in the Quidditch match. He also reveals that Snape has been protecting Harry and trying to stop Quirrell all year. Quirrell forces Harry to look in the mirror. Due to an enchantment placed by Dumbledore, Harry finds the stone in his pocket after looking in the nearby Mirror of Erised. While trying to get Harry to answer what he has seen in the mirror, Quirrell removes his turban and reveals Voldemort to be living on the back of his head. Harry tries to escape but Quirrell starts a fire by clicking his fingers to trap him. Voldemort tries to convince Harry to give him the stone by promising to bring his parents back from the dead, but Harry refuses. Quirrell tries to kill him but Harry's touch prevents Quirrell 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 both Hermione and Ron are fine. Quirrell burned at Harry's touch because, when Harry's mother died to save him, her death gave Harry a magical, love-based protection against Voldemort. At the end of year feast, Dumbledore gives last minute house points to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville for their bravery and smarts so Gryffindor win the house cup. 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.
Rowling personally insisted that the cast be kept British. Susie Figgis was appointed as casting director, working with both Columbus and Rowling in auditioning the lead roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Open casting calls were held for the main three roles, with only British children being considered. The principal auditions took place in three parts, with those auditioning having to read a page from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, then if called back, they had to improvise a scene of the students' arrival at Hogwarts, they were then given several pages from the script to read in front of Columbus. Scenes from Columbus's script for the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes were also used in auditions. On 11 July 2000 Figgis left the production, complaining that Columbus did not consider any of the thousands of children they had auditioned "worthy". On 8 August 2000 the virtually unknown Daniel Radcliffe and newcomers Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected to play the roles of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively.
Rik Mayall was cast in the role of Peeves, a poltergeist who likes to prank students in the novel. Mayall had to shout his lines off camera during takes, but the scene ended up being cut from the film.
In 1997, producer David Heyman searched for a children's book that could be adapted into a well-received film. He had planned to produce The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones, but his plans fell through. His staff at Heyday Films then suggested Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which Heyman believed was "a cool idea." Heyman pitched the idea to Warner Bros. and the following year, Rowling sold the company the rights to the first four Harry Potter books for a reported £1 million (US$1,982,900). A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be kept strictly British, nonetheless allowing for the inclusion of Irish actors such as Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and for casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as such. Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she "didn't want to give them control over the rest of the story" by selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner Bros. to make non-author-written sequels.
Although Steven Spielberg initially negotiated to direct the film, he declined the offer. Spielberg reportedly wanted the adaptation to be an animated film, with American actor Haley Joel Osment to provide Harry Potter's voice, or a film incorporated elements from subsequent books as well. Spielberg contended that, in his opinion, there was every expectation of profit in making the film, and that making money would have been like "shooting ducks in a barrel. It's just a slam dunk. It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There's no challenge." Rowling maintains that she had no role in choosing directors for the films and that "[a]nyone who thinks I could (or would) have 'veto-ed' [ sic ] him [Spielberg] needs their Quick-Quotes Quill serviced." Heyman recalled that Spielberg decided to direct whichever project, out of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, Memoirs of a Geisha or Harry Potter, "came together first," with him opting to direct A.I.
After Spielberg left, talks began with other directors, including: Chris Columbus, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Ivan Reitman, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, M. Night Shyamalan and Peter Weir. Petersen and Reiner then both pulled out of the running in March 2000, and the choice was narrowed down to Silberling, Columbus, Parker and Gilliam. Rowling's first choice director was Terry Gilliam, but Warner Bros chose Columbus, citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire as influences for their decision. Columbus pitched his vision of the film for two hours, stating that he wanted the Muggle scenes "to be bleak and dreary," but those set in the wizarding world "to be steeped in color, mood, and detail." He took inspiration from David Lean's adaptations of Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), wishing to use "that sort of darkness, that sort of edge, that quality to the cinematography," taking the colour designs from Oliver! and The Godfather.
|"Harry Potter is the kind of timeless literary achievement that comes around once in a lifetime. Since the books have generated such a passionate following across the world, it was important to us to find a director that has an affinity for both children and magic. I can't think of anyone more ideally suited for this job than Chris."|
|— Lorenzo di Bonaventura|
Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay for the film. He described adapting the book as "tough", as it did not "lend itself to adaptation as well as the next two books." Kloves often received synopses of books proposed as film adaptations from Warner Bros., which he "almost never read", but Harry Potter jumped out at him. He went out and bought the book, and became an instant fan of the series. When speaking to Warner Bros. he stated that the film had to be British, and had to be true to the characters. Kloves was nervous when he first met Rowling as he did not want her to think he was going to "[destroy] her baby." Rowling admitted that she "was really ready to hate this Steve Kloves," but recalled her initial meeting with him: "The first time I met him, he said to me, 'You know who my favourite character is?' And I thought, You're gonna say Ron. I know you're gonna say Ron. But he said 'Hermione.' And I just kind of melted." Rowling received a large amount of creative control, an arrangement that Columbus did not mind.
Warner Bros. had initially planned to release the film over a 4 July 2001 weekend, making for such a short production window that several proposed directors pulled themselves out of the running. However due to time constraints the date was put back to 16 November 2001.
Two British film industry officials requested that the film be shot in the UK, offering their assistance in securing filming locations, the use of Leavesden Film Studios, as well as changing the UK's child labour laws. Warner Bros. accepted their proposal. Filming began in October 2000 at Leavesden Film Studios and concluded in April 2001, with final work being done in July. Principal photography took place on 2 October 2000 at Goathland railway station in North Yorkshire. Canterbury Cathedral and Inverailort Castle in Scotland were both touted as possible locations for Hogwarts; Canterbury rejected Warner Bros. proposal due to concerns about the film's "pagan" theme. Alnwick Castle and Gloucester Cathedral were eventually selected as the principal locations for Hogwarts, with some scenes also being filmed at Harrow School. Other Hogwarts scenes were filmed in Durham Cathedral over a two week period; these included shots of the corridors and some classroom scenes. Oxford University's Divinity School served as the Hogwarts Hospital Wing, and Duke Humfrey's Library, part of the Bodleian, was used as the Hogwarts Library. Filming for Privet Drive took place on Picket Post Close in Bracknell, Berkshire. Filming in the street took two days instead of the planned single day, so payments to the street's residents were correspondingly increased. For all of the subsequent film's scenes set in Privet Drive, filming took place on a constructed set in Leavesden Film Studios, which proved to have been cheaper than filming on location. Australia House in London was selected as the location for Gringotts Wizarding Bank, while Christ Church, Oxford was the location for the Hogwarts trophy room. London Zoo was used as the location for the scene in which Harry accidentally sets a snake on Dudley, with King's Cross Station also being used as the book specifies.
Because the film's American title was different, all scenes that mention the philosopher's stone had to be reshot, once with the actors saying "philosopher's" and once with "sorcerer's". The children filmed for four hours and then did three hours of schoolwork. They also developed a liking for fake facial injuries from the makeup staff. Daniel Radcliffe had to wear green contact lenses as his eyes are blue, and not green like Harry's. In some scenes computer animation was used to render his eyes green, because of Radcliffe's discomfort.
Judianna Makovsky designed the film costumes. She re-designed the Quidditch robes, having initially planned to use those shown on the cover of the American book, but deemed them "a mess." Instead, she dressed the Quidditch players in "preppie sweaters, 19th century fencing breeches and arm guards." Production designer Stuart Craig built the sets at Leavesden Studios, including Hogwarts Great Hall, basing it on many English cathedrals. Although originally asked to use an existing old street to film the Diagon Alley scenes, Craig decided to build his own set, comprising Tudor, Georgian and Queen Anne architecture.
Columbus originally planned to use both animatronics and CGI animation to create the magical creatures in the film, including Fluffy. Nick Dudman, who worked on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, was given the task of creating the needed prosthetics for the film, with Jim Henson's Creature Shop providing creature effects. John Coppinger stated that the magical creatures that needed to be created for the film had to be designed multiple times. The film features nearly 600 special effects shots, involving numerous companies. Industrial Light & Magic created the face of Lord Voldemort on the back of Quirrell, Rhythm & Hues animated Norbert; and Sony Pictures Imageworks produced the film's Quidditch scenes.
John Williams was selected to compose the film's score. Williams composed the film's score at his homes in Los Angeles and Tanglewood before recording it in London in August 2001. One of the main themes is entitled "Hedwig's Theme", Williams retained it for his finished score as "everyone seemed to like it".
Columbus repeatedly checked with Rowling to make sure he was getting minor details in the film correct. Kloves described the film as being "really faithful" to the book. He added some 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 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Several minor characters have been removed from the film version, most prominent among them the spectral History of Magic teacher, Professor Binns, and Peeves the poltergeist. The first chapter of the book is from the point of view of Vernon and Petunia Dursley the day before they are given Harry to look after, highlighting how non-magical people react to magic. The film removes this, beginning with Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid leaving Harry with the Dursleys (although McGonagall tells Dumbledore how she had been watching the Dursleys all day). Next, a month of Harry's summer, including several of Vernon's attempts to escape the constantly arriving Hogwarts letters. Harry's less than pleasant times at Mrs. Figg's are cut from the film while the boa constrictor from Brazil in the zoo becomes a Burmese Python in the film. Some conflicts, such as Harry and Draco's encounter with each other in Madam Malkin's robe shop and midnight duel, are only in the book, and not in the film. Some of Nicolas Flamel's role is changed or cut altogether. Norbert is mentioned to have been taken away by Dumbledore in the film; whilst the book sees Harry and Hermione have to take him by hand to friends of Charlie Weasley. Rowling described the scene as "the one part of the book that she felt [could easily] be changed". As such, the reason for the detention in the Forbidden Forest is also 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 also given detention when they are caught in the corridor by Professor McGonagall, while in the film, Harry, Hermione and Ron receive detention after Malfoy catches them in Hagrid's hut after hours (Malfoy however, was also given detention for being out of bed after hours). Firenze the centaur, who is described in the book as being palomino with light blonde hair, is shown to be dark in the film. Additionally the Quidditch pitch is altered from a traditional stadium to an open field circled by spectator towers. The Sorting Hat's song is axed, as is Quirrell's troll room on the way to the stone. Snapes's potion riddle is one of two deleted scenes, along with the leg-locking curse which Malfoy put on Neville.
The first teaser poster was released New Year's Day 2001. The first teaser trailer was released via satellite on 2 March 2001 and debuted in cinemas with the release of See Spot Run. The soundtrack was released on 30 October 2001 in a CD format. A video game based on the film was released on 15 November 2001 by Electronic Arts for several consoles. Another video game, for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox was released in 2003. Mattel won the rights to produce toys based on the film, to be sold exclusively through Warner Brothers' stores. Hasbro also produced products, including confectionery items based on those from the series. Warner Bros. signed a deal worth US$150 million with Coca-Cola to promote the film, and Lego produced a series of sets based on buildings and scenes from the film, as well as a Lego Creator video game.
Warner Bros. first released the film on VHS and DVD on 11 May 2002 in the UK and 28 May 2002 in the US. They later released an Ultimate Edition in the US only that included a Blu-ray and DVD. It includes the existing special features disc, Radcliffe's, Grint's and Watson's first screen tests, an extended version of the film with deleted scenes, a feature-length special Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 1: The Magic Begins, and a 48-page hardcover booklet.
The film received positive reviews from critics, garnering an 80% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its consensus says, "Being so faithful to the book is both the movie's strength and weakness. The movie unfolds exactly as written in the book, so there is little room for surprises or discoveries. For Potter fans, what more can you ask for?". It got a score of 64 out of 100 at Metacritic representing "generally favourable reviews". Roger Ebert called Philosopher's Stone "a classic," giving the film four out of four stars, and particularly praising the visual effects used for the Quidditch scenes. Praise was echoed by both The Telegraph and Empire reviewers, with Alan Morrison of the latter naming it the "stand-out sequence" of the film. Brian Linder of IGN.com also gave the film a positive review, but concluded that it "isn't perfect, but for me it's a nice supplement to a book series that I love". Although criticising the final half-hour, Jeanne Aufmuth of Palo Alto Online stated that the film would "enchant even the most cynical of moviegoers." USA Today reviewer Claudia Puig gave the film three out of four stars, especially praising the set design and Robbie Coltrane's portrayal of Hagrid, but criticised John William's score and concluded "ultimately many of the book's readers may wish for a more magical incarnation." The sets, design, cinematography, effects and principal cast were all given praise from Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter, although he deemed John Williams' score "a great clanging, banging music box that simply will not shut up." Todd McCarthy of Variety compared the film positively with Gone with the Wind and put "The script is faithful, the actors are just right, the sets, costumes, makeup and effects match and sometimes exceed anything one could imagine." Jonathan Foreman of the New York Post recalled that the film was "remarkably faithful," to its literary counterpart as well as a "consistently entertaining if overlong adaptation."
Richard Corliss of Time, considered the film a "by the numbers adaptation," criticising the pace and the "charisma-free" lead actors. CNN's Paul Tatara found that Columbus and 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." Nathaniel Rogers of Film Experience gave the film a negative review and wrote: "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone is as bland as movies can get." Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wished that the film had been directed by Tim Burton, finding the cinematography "bland and muggy," and the majority of the film a "solidly dull celebration of dribbling goo." Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times was highly negative of the film, using defamations such as "[the film] is like a theme park that's a few years past its prime; the rides clatter and groan with metal fatigue every time they take a curve." He says it suffers from "a lack of imagination" and wooden characters, "The Sorting Hat has more personality than anything else in the movie."
The film had its world premiere on 4 November 2001, in Leicester Square, London, with the cinema arranged to resemble Hogwarts School. The film was greatly received at the box office. In the United States it made $32.3 million on its opening day, breaking the single day record previously held by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. On the second day of release, the film gross increased to $33.5 million breaking the record for biggest single day again. In total it made $90.3 million during its first weekend, breaking the record for highest opening weekend of all time that was previously held by The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It held the record until the following May when Spider-Man made $114.8 million in its opening weekend. Similar results were achieved across the world. In the United Kingdom Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone broke the record for the highest opening weekend ever, both including and excluding previews, making £16.3 million with and £9.8 million without previews. The film went on to make £66.1 million in the UK alone, making it the second highest-grossing film of all-time in the country (after Titanic), until both were surpassed by Mamma Mia!.
In total, the film earned $974.7 million at the worldwide box office, $317.6 million of that in the U.S. and $657.1 million elsewhere, which made it the second-highest grossing film in history at the time, as well as the highest grossing of the year. As of 2011, it is the unadjusted 13th highest-grossing film of all-time and the second-highest-grossing Harry Potter film to date after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.
The film was nominated for three Academy Award nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score for John Williams. The film was also nominated for seven BAFTA Awards. These were Best British Film, Best Supporting Actor for Robbie Coltrane, as well as the awards for Best Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hair, Sound and Visual Effects. The film won a Saturn Award for its costumes, and was nominated for eight more awards. It won other awards from the Casting Society of America and the Costume Designers Guild. It was nominated for the AFI Film Award for its special effects, and the Art Directors Guild Award for its production design. It received the Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Live Action Family Film and was nominated for Best Child Performance (for Daniel Radcliffe) and Best Composer (John Williams).
|List of awards and nominations|
|Book: Harry Potter|
|Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.|
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