The 15 best scenes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for its 15th anniversary
November marks 15 years since the Boy Who Lived jumped from the pages of author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and came to life on the big screen. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, premiered in the U.S. on Nov. 14 and debuted in theaters Nov. 16. The film brought to life the amazing characters so many had grown attached to in Rowling’s books and gave us a glimpse for the first time of what it might be like if the Wizarding World and all its magical wonders were real.
The movie kicked off what would become an eight-film series as each of the books that followed Sorcerer’s Stone was also translated to the screen. In honor of the 15th anniversary of the one that started it all, here's a look back at Sorcerer’s Stone and the 15 scenes that to me continue to make this film a classic!
Leaving baby Harry
The opening succeeds in setting the tone for the movie as we see Dumbledore on Privet Drive using the deluminator. Meeting with Professor McGonagall, their conversation hints at the events we know just occurred in the Wizarding World. With Hagrid’s arrival on the motorbike, the whole scene teases the magical world Harry is coming from wonderfully. As he’s left on the Dursleys' doorstep and we hear the notes of the now classic theme start to play, it’s a rather perfect way to introduce the character and universe on screen even if it does play out a bit differently from the books!
The arrival of the Hogwarts letters
How many of us would have loved for a Hogwarts letter to arrive when we were younger? Or frankly, would still love for one to arrive now! Watching all the owls deliver Harry’s letter to the Dursley’s house is one of the most enjoyable scenes in the whole series. No matter what Vernon does, there’s nothing that can stop the arrival of the letters. The best part though is when the owls are not detered by there being no post on Sunday. Vernon might think he can relax, but then there’s a brilliant avalanche of letters through the fireplace. The horror of the Dursleys and the joy on Harry’s face is just perfect.
Hagrid vs. the Dursleys
Considering how badly the Dursleys treat Harry, it was about time someone taught them a lesson and who better to do so than Hagrid. There are so many things to love about the interactions here. From Hagrid telling off the Dursleys to Harry’s face when he receives the cake and sees magic for the first time, it all leads to the classic line “yer a wizard, Harry!” Plus what better way for Harry to make an exit and begin his life as a wizard than by leaving Dudley with rather fitting pig’s tail?
The Wand Choosing the Wizard
Here we get to finally see how a wand chooses its witch or wizard. Actor John Hurt is perfect as Ollivander, giving Harry various wands for him to try before finding the right one. It’s fun to see how wands that don’t fit with the individual react and what happens when the right one is discovered. It’s also impossible not to get a chill when Ollivander leans in to tell Harry about what makes his wand quite curious.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s first meeting
Our trio comes together for the very first time on the Hogwarts Express. There’s a great dynamic between Harry and Ron as they pig out on treats from the trolley here, but it’s when Hermione finally makes an entrance that things feel right in this scene. When she introduces herself, especially to Ron, you can’t help but grin at knowing what’s ahead for them!
First time seeing Hogwarts
Up until this moment we had only imagined what Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would look like. Here we finally see it brought to life. The castle looks beautiful as the first year students approach it in their boats. Glimpsing the inside as they wait to enter the Great Hall does a good job of teasing what’s ahead as well. Add to that how we get the first meeting of Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter, then get introduced to the Great Hall and see the Sorting Hat in action and this first introduction to Hogwarts is an incredibly memorable moment.
Hermione saving the day
Even before their friendship is truly solidified Hermione is saving Harry and Ron here. When they end up on the third floor and need to hide from Filch, Hermione is the one able to open a door for them to duck into. The situation also shows how much more observant Hermione is in high-pressure scenarios. After running from Fluffy, Hermione is the only one who noticed that the three-headed dog was guarding a trap door. She then delivers one of the best lines in the film before leaving!
From Quirrell proclaiming there’s a troll in the dungeon to McGonagall giving Harry and Ron points for dumb luck, the whole sequence with the troll is unforgettable. Harry and Ron run to find Hermione when a troll is on the loose, and the three have to do what they can to survive. When teachers arrive, Hermione lies and takes the blame for them being in the bathroom despite it really being Ron’s fault that she was there in the first place. This scene acts as the turning point where the three start to trust each other and truly become friends.
First Quidditch Match
Just like with Hogwarts, we had all imagined what Quidditch might be like in action and here we were finally able to see it. Luckily the way the film portrays the game does not disappoint. If anything, it makes the game seem even more exciting! There’s much more to the scene than just giving us a glimpse of Quidditch though. The scene has it all: Harry in danger, Hermione saving him, and Harry’s first incredible catch of the Golden Snitch!
Dumbledore telling Harry about the Mirror
Harry discovering the Mirror of Erised is one of the saddest scenes in the movie. Showing his heart’s desire, he sees his parents standing at his side. More than anything, Harry wants his family. When Dumbledore discovers Harry in front of it, he explains what the mirror does and its dangers. It’s wise words from Dumbledore for the young Harry to keep in mind.
Neville stands up to the trio
In this first film we don’t know much about Neville Longbottom other than his character being shown as the clumsy, forgetful sort. In this scene though Neville’s bravery is clear. He stands up to the trio, as they’re about to sneak out of the Gryffindor Common Room to go after the stone and Neville isn’t about to let them get the House in trouble once again! Of course he’s no match for Hermione who freezes him. He’s unable to stop the other three from leaving, but it’s a great scene that shows there’s much more to Neville than meets the eye!
Seeing the kids play a giant game of Wizard Chess was both awesome and terrifying. It looked great seeing the pieces come to life. However, knowing how violently one loses pieces made it not easy to watch considering what it meant for the players. It’s nice to see Ron in control of a situation here and playing a smart game of chess to get his friends across to the other side, willing to sacrifice himself so they could achieve their goal.
Harry defeats Quirrell and Voldemort
Despite getting the stone, things don’t look good for Harry as he faces off with Quirrell and Voldemort. Resisting the promises of Voldemort, the only thing that stops Quirrell from choking Harry to death is when the young wizard grabs his hand. His touch makes Quirrell ultimately crumble to dust, defeating the two in a rather unique way. Unfortunately it doesn’t mean the end for Voldemort though who leaves the body and passes through Harry, causing the boy to pass out. It's a big moment considering it marks the first time Harry faces off against his enemy since he was a baby.
Final talk with Dumbledore
Everyone left wondering what happened between Harry and Quirrell receive their answers along with some fun Dumebledore moments in this final conversation between the two. Dumebledore explains how Lily’s sacrifice was why Harry’s touch destroyed Quirrell and that sadly this wasn’t the end of Voldemort. I love how despite the serious conversation there were light moments mixed in, from Dumbledore telling Harry the whole school knows what happened since it’s a complete secret to the Headmaster giving Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans a try again on the way out.
Gryffindor wins the House Cup
I have to admit I always feel a little bit bad for Slytherin during this scene. They just look so sad as they lose the House Cup! Of course the fact that Gryffindor very much deserves to win after everything makes up for it. Dumbledore gives out some last minute points to Hermione, Ron, and Harry though the best part is when Neville receives his points for standing up to the three. It’s really thanks to him that they win the House Cup in the end!
What’s your favorite moment from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Tell us in the comments!