Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

  • Review Date: November 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2001

Common Sense Media says

First Potter movie is a magical ride but also intense.
  • Review Date: November 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2001





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Plenty examples of bravery and loyalty throughout this book. Harry is not afraid to stand up for those who have been compassionate towards him as well as those who he feels deserve better treatment. His generous tendencies encourage readers to use their experiences with adversity in a positive manner and the reward will be greater than they can imagine. In Harry’s case, having been the underdog since his early childhood, he uses his past experiences and turns them into the desire to treat others with respect and loyalty. 

Positive role models

Harry’s relationship with Ron and Hermione is one that demonstrates the idea behind strength in numbers when it comes to friendship. The trio is able to work together despite their respective flaws, forgive each other for their mistakes, and overcome great challenges. Harry, Ron, and Hermione also complement each other when dealing with the most normal activities in comparison to their hectic and adventurous lives. Hermione keeps Harry on track in terms of academics amidst all the other extracurricular activities they take part in.

Violence & scariness

Kids are in peril often, but at the hand of fantasy creatures most of the time. A three-headed dog chases Harry and friends. Harry and Draco see a dead and bloody unicorn and are chased by a hooded figure in the Forbidden Forest. Harry and friends fight a troll and knock it unconscious, are nearly crushed by a constricting plant, are chased by flying keys, and pummeled by a life-sized chess board. One character dies by turning to dust. Mostly friendly ghosts roam the halls; the ghost Nearly Headless Nick shows how he got the name. Flashback to the (bloodless) death of Harry's parents and much discussion about how they died and the one who killed them.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Use of a term specific to this fictional universe. “Mudblood” is a derogatory term used by the pure-blood witches and wizards to describe a person born and raised by a non-magical family. The slur is derived from the idea that these people are incompetent, especially in terms of their magic skills, and possess “dirty blood” not fit for the world of pure-blood witches and wizards.


While the candy mentioned wasn't originally real, it is now: Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Jelly Slugs, and more. And then there are the action figures, Lego playsets, wands, Band Aids... you name it.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this first movie in the Harry Potter series has some intense and scary moments. Harry Potter and friends -- who are only 11 years old here -- are in peril and get hurt, but not seriously, and most of the scares come from fantasy creatures. There's a flashback to the (bloodless) death of Harry's parents and discussion about how they died and the one who killed them.

Parents say

What's the story?

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is an orphan who lives with the odious Dursleys, his aunt, uncle, and cousin. On his 11th birthday, Harry receives a mysterious letter, but his uncle destroys it before he can read it. Letters keep coming, and the Dursleys panic and hide away on a remote island. But they're found by Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), a huge, bearded man with a weakness for scary-looking creatures. It turns out that the letters were coming from Hogwarts, a boarding school for young witches and wizards, and Harry is expected for the fall term, so Hagrid whisks him off to begin his new life as a wizard in training. On the train to Hogwarts, Harry meets his future best friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). When school begins, things really get exciting, with classes in Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts, a sport called Quidditch (a sort of flying soccer/basketball), a mysterious trap door guarded by a three-headed dog named Fluffy, and a baby dragon named Norbert. Throughout the year, Harry adjusts to his magical life and begins to come to grips with his famous status in the wizarding world and what he represents to the darker forces there. He also learns some important lessons about loyalty and courage.

Is it any good?


HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE is filled with visual splendor, valiant heroes, spectacular special effects, and irresistible characters. It's only fair to say that it's truly magical. The settings manage to be sensationally imaginative and yet at the same time so clearly believable and lived-in that you'll think you could find them yourself, if you could just get to Track 9 3/4. The adult actors are simply and completely perfect. Richard Harris turns in his all-time best performance as headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Maggie Smith (whose on-screen teaching roles extend from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to Sister Act) brings just the right tone of dry asperity to Professor McGonagall, and Robbie Coltrane is a half-giant with a heart to match as Hagrid. Alan Rickman provides shivers as potions master Professor Snape, and the brief glimpse of Julie Walters (an Oscar nominee for Billy Elliott) will make you glad you'll be seeing more of her in future movies. The kids are all just fine, though mostly just called upon to look either astonished or resolute.

A terrific book and a terrific movie. Every family should enjoy them both.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Harry Potter series. Do you like the books or movies better?

  • What themes from the first in the series pop up again in later installments?

  • What do you think about Harry and his friends going away to school? Would you ever want to do something like that?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 16, 2001
DVD release date:May 28, 2002
Cast:Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Fine Line Features
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:152 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some scary moments and mild language

This review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old Written byTokyo-Wolf23 March 20, 2011

A LIIITLE Scary but awesome

It is such a wonderful, enchanting and magical film- but I do find the man with two faces very scary. Although I haven't looked up at that part for 1 year, I still think it is too scary for me!
Don't get me wrong though, it's an awesome film! The best of the series I think!

What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byJamie and James March 15, 2010

Wait till' they're older. GREAT MOVIE!

You see, my kids don't watch a lot of movies, but sure enough, they loved the fantasy in this. Truth be told, I I probably love it more than them. Parents, kids won't really get into this movie until they're older than 7(probaby 9), but then you can't take them away from these movie-I know from experience.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old Written byannika-zaysha April 11, 2011

Good movie to start the Harry Potter series.

Very good movie with good introduction of Harry, his friends, and all the wizards and witches at Hogwarts. Wonderful account of Harry's adventure with the Philosopher's stone.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families