Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Movie Poster Image

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

First Potter movie is a magical ride but also intense.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 152 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Plenty examples of courage, teamwork, and loyalty. Friendship, standing up for others, expressing compassion, generosity, perseverance, and the triumph of the underdog are also strong themes.

Positive role models

Harry's relationship with Ron and Hermione demonstrates the idea behind strength in numbers when it comes to friendship. They're able to work together despite their respective flaws, forgive one another for their mistakes, and overcome great challenges. Hermione also keeps Harry on track academically. Harry stands up for those who've been compassionate toward him, as well as those he feels deserve better treatment; he treats people with respect and loyalty. His generous tendencies encourage viewers to use their experiences with adversity in a positive manner.

Violence & scariness

Kids are in peril often, mostly from fantasy creatures. A three-headed dog chases Harry and friends. Harry and Draco see a dead, 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
Not applicable

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 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the 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.

What's the story?

When HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE begins, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is an orphan who lives with the awful 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?


The start to the Harry Potter film series 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 Platform 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.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a terrific book and a terrific movie. Every family should enjoy them both.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Harry Potter book series that inspired Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the other movies. Do you like the books or movies better?

  • Which 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?

  • How do Harry and his friends demonstrate teamwork, perseverance, and courage in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 16, 2001
DVD/Streaming 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
Character strengths:Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
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

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Kid, 12 years old 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
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, 11 years old 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