Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Poster


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Alan Rickman was hand-picked to play Snape by J.K. Rowling, and received special instruction from her as to his character. Rowling even provided the actor with vital details of Snape's back story not revealed until the final novel.
Warner Bros. originally considered making the entire "Harry Potter" series as a set of CGI animated films, or attempting to combine several of the novels into a single movie. The studio's reasoning mainly had to do with concern over the rapid aging of child actors-if production ran too long on any of the films, or if production was delayed between sequels, the leading actors might have to be recast. Author J.K. Rowling vetoed both the ideas of combining books and an animated film, so the studio decided instead to produce all seven (later eight) films back to back so the same child actors could play their roles in every film.
In order to make the Dursleys' house even more unpleasant, set decorator Stephenie McMillan deliberately sought out the ugliest furnishings possible.
Robbie Coltrane was also handpicked by J.K. Rowling to play Hagrid.
The child actors in Harry Potter would do their actual schoolwork in the movie to make the school setting more real.
The Restricted Section scene was filmed in the Duke Humfrey's building at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. They have very strict rules about not bringing flames into the library. The makers of Harry Potter were the first ever to be allowed to break this rule in hundreds of years.
The last name Dumbledore means "Bumblebee" in Old English.
The Hogwarts motto, "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus", means "never tickle a sleeping dragon".
Author J.K. Rowling revealed on her website that she was considered to play Lily Potter during the Mirror of Erised scene, but she turned down the role, which instead went to Geraldine Somerville.
The filmmakers attempted to go the extra mile of matching the kid's appearances to how the novel describes them, by fitting Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) with green-colored contact lenses, and similarly make Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) wear fake buck teeth. But when Dan's eyes reacted strongly to the contacts, and Emma couldn't talk clearly with the fake teeth in her mouth, these ideas were dropped.
The inscription around the Mirror of Erised says: "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi". Reading the inscription backwards it says, "I show not your face but your heart's desire."
Tom Felton did not read any of the Harry Potter books before auditioning, and at the audition the director was asking each contender for the role of Malfoy what their favorite part in the book was. When it was his turn, Felton said his favorite part in the book was the part at Gringrotts, which is what the previous contender had just said. The director saw through this very quickly and thought it was very funny.
The scenes at Hagrid's Hut were filmed on location, albeit in a small patch of land in London not far from Leavesden Studios. The hut was demolished when the shoot wrapped in case fans of the film swamped it.
Robbie Coltrane was the very first person to be cast.
West Anglia Great Northern Trains, the company that owns "Platform 9-3/4", affixed one-quarter of a luggage trolley forwardly "disappearing" into the wall so as to allow fans (and their parents) to take pictures of themselves seeming to disappear into the wall.
The filmmakers originally wanted to use Canterbury Cathedral as a filming location for some of the Hogwarts scenes, but the Dean of Canterbury refused to allow it, saying that it was unfitting for a Christian church to be used to promote pagan imagery. Gloucester Cathedral agreed to take its place; the Dean of Gloucester, the Very Reverend Nicholas Bury, admitted to being a fan of the books. Nonetheless there was a huge media outcry in Gloucester when it was decided to use the local Cathedral as a filming location. Protesters wrote letters by the sack-load to local newspapers, claiming it was blasphemy and promising to block the film-crew's access. In the end, only one protester turned up.
Platform 9 3/4 was filmed at King's Cross, but on platforms 4 and 5. J.K. Rowling has admitted that she mixed up the layout of London's King's Cross railway station when she assigned the Hogwarts Express to platform 9 3/4, reached by using magic between platforms 9 and 10. She meant the location to be in the inter-city part of the station, but 9 and 10 are actually among the rather less grand suburban platforms. The movie conformed to the book: the platforms seen as 9 and 10 are in real life inter-city platforms 4 and 5. However, there is, in fact a "Platform 9 3/4" at King's Cross. It's located in the walkway area between the real platforms 9 and 10, as a treat for fans of Harry Potter.
Nicolas Flamel, mentioned as the creator of the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, has figured as a plot device in novels featuring characters such as Batman, Indiana Jones, and Robert Langdon of The Da Vinci Code (2006). He was (possibly) a real alchemist (born in France around 1330) who was believed by some people to have produced the Philosopher's Stone. Since there were mysterious circumstances surrounding his death in 1418, it has been rumored that he lived for hundreds of years. The book/movie gets his age right.
The movie is known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" everywhere except the USA and so every scene in which the Philosopher's Stone was mentioned was filmed twice (once with the actors saying "Philosopher's" and once with the actors saying "Sorcerer's") or redubbed (notably, one of the times Hermoine says it in the library, her face isn't shown). The reason for this was to keep the films consistent with the book series: the US publisher, Scholastic, had changed the title (and corresponding text) to "Sorcerer's Stone". The title change was done with the consent of author 'J.K. Rowling', but she has since said that she regrets having granting permission, and as a fledgling author she wasn't in a strong enough position to fight it at the time.
Director Chris Columbus has stated in interviews that he is unhappy with the visual effects in this film, saying that they were "rushed" and "never up to anyone's standards," and sought to improve them for the following film. This did not, however, prevent the film from being nominated for a BAFTA award for "Best Visual Effects."
In the film, the scar on Harry's forehead is off-center. This was done at J.K. Rowling's request. Due to the artwork on the covers of her books, many people have assumed that his scar is supposed to be in the center of his forehead. The books, however, never specify exactly where on his forehead the scar is located.
Richard Harris had trouble remembering his lines, and Daniel Radcliffe would ask him to help with running his lines, just to give Richard more practice.
At the time this film was in production, only four of the eventual seven books in the series had been published. J.K. Rowling was retained as a consultant on the film, not only to ensure consistency with the first book, but also to avoid conflicts with her vision for the later entries. It has been confirmed that at least one line of dialogue was removed from the script to avoid a contradiction with the then-unpublished "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix".
In order to give Hogwarts Castle an authentic look and feel, much of the filming was done at locations around England, including Christ Church, Oxford, Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, and Alnwick Castle. In fact, the only sets that were built for Hogwarts were the Great Hall, the Grand Staircase, and the Gryffindor Common Room. In the later films, additional sets would be built for the various classrooms and other locations around Hogwarts.
When holding auditions for the role of Hermione, the casting team traveled around to local British elementary schools to hold auditions in hope to find their actress. When they arrived at Emma Watson's school, she had no desire to audition despite nearly every single girl in her school wanting to. It was encouragement from her teacher to at least attempt the audition that made her be the last girl to audition of her whole school.
The film reveals that the 12th use for dragon's blood is an oven cleaner.
In the script, the flashbacks to Voldemort killing Harry's parents were written by J.K. Rowling herself. The producers knew she was the only one who knew exactly what happened.
Rosie O'Donnell and Robin Williams were two of the celebrities who had asked for a role in the movie without pay. However they did not film any scenes for the movie.
During filming, Daniel Radcliffe changed the screen on Robbie Coltrane's mobile phone to Turkish. Coltrane had to phone hair designer Eithne Fennel's Turkish father in order to find out Turkish for "Change Language".
The floating candles in the Great Hall were created using candle-shaped holders containing oil and burning wicks and suspended from wires that moved up and down on a special effects rig to create the impression that they were floating. Eventually one of the wires snapped due to the heat of the flame causing the candle to fall to the floor. Fortunately no one was injured, but the decision was made to re-create the candles using CGI for the following films as using real candles was determined to be a safety hazard.
In the trophy cupboard, to the right of the Quidditch trophy, you can see the "Service to the School" trophy with part of "Tom M. Riddle" engraved on it; the trophy and the name on it are confirmed by Ron in a deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
Hagrid is 8 feet 6 inches tall.
The platform attendant at Kings Cross who asks Harry, "You think you're funny, do you?" actually works for GNER. He is, however, a train manager and not a platform attendant.
Three owls play Hedwig: Gizmo, Ook and Sprout, but mainly Gizmo.
Robbie Coltrane's 6'10" body double for Hagrid is former England rugby international, Martin Bayfield.
By February 2002 this was the second highest grossing film worldwide after Titanic (1997).
Richard Harris only agreed to taking the part of Albus Dumbledore after his eleven-year-old granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again. Patrick McGoohan was originally offered the role but had turned it down due to health reasons. Ironically, Harris had health issues of his own, dying of Hodgkin's lymphoma shortly before the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
Author J.K. Rowling insisted that the principal cast be British and she got her wish, with two main exceptions - Richard Harris was, of course, Irish, and Zoë Wanamaker, though she has made her name as a "British" actress, was actually born American in the United States. Other non-Brits in the cast include Verne Troyer, born in Michigan, USA, who plays Griphook, but he's dubbed by a Brit; and Chris Columbus daughter, Eleanor Columbus, who played Susan Bones, and she never says a word. It's also been noted that Emma Watson was born in France, but to British parents, so that doesn't really count.
The tabby cat used ran away during filming and came back two days later.
At one point, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are approaching Hagrid, he can be seen playing a wind instrument. He is playing Hedwig's Theme.
Among the portraits on the shifting staircase, you can clearly see a painting of Anne Boleyn (King Henry VIII's second wife, mother of Queen Elizabeth I).
In this film, all the food that you see in the Great Hall feasts are real. Director Chris Columbus wanted a very elaborate welcome feast to match the description in the book, with roast beef, ham, turkey, and all the trimmings. Unfortunately filming under the hot stage lighting for hours at a time quickly caused the food to develop an unpleasant odor, despite the meat being changed every two days and the vegetables twice a day. For the following films samples of real food were frozen so that molds could be made of them and copies cast in resin.
In addition to Steven Spielberg, other candidates for the director's job were Jonathan Demme, Brad Silberling and Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was J.K. Rowling's initial favorite but the studio finally picked Chris Columbus to direct because he had experience directing child actors. Columbus was also asked many times by his daughter to direct and he agreed after he read her copy of the book.
On the Quidditch trophy that has Harry's father's name on it, there are additional inscriptions for M. McGonagall and R.J.H. King. The latter being a reference to John King, the supervising art director on the film.
The Wizard's chess-set Harry and Ron were playing in the Great Hall is based on the Lewis Chessmen, which date from the 12th Century. They were found in 1831 on a beach on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. In all, 93 pieces were recovered, with 11 now residing at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and 82 at the British Museum in London.
The trouble-making poltergeist Peeves (played by Rik Mayall) does not, in the end, appear in the movie nor in deleted scenes on any home editions of the film. Mayall claimed he didn't find out that he was cut from the final cut until he saw the movie himself. Ultimately Peeves was never used in any of the Harry Potter films.
The floor in the great hall is made of actual York stone. Production designer Stuart Craig had the foresight to invest a significant amount of his design budget on the stone. While this decision was questioned at the time, it proved to be a wise one, as the stone was durable enough to withstand the footsteps of hundreds of actors and several camera crews over the near decade it took to film the entire series.
In the second book of the series, "Nearly Headless" Nick invites Harry to his "deathday" party, celebrating the 500th anniversary of his demise in 1492 (a fact that fans have used to place the entire book chronology in the years 1991-1998). 1492, is, of course, the year that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage to the New World; this film's production company is "1492 Pictures", a deliberate reference to director Chris Columbus' famous namesake.
Daniel Radcliffe learned he'd won the role of Harry Potter while in the bathtub.
Julie Walters has said that had she known that fellow Midlander Mark Williams would be cast as Molly Weasley's husband Arthur in the following film, she would have played up their shared accent, feeling this would have helped signpost their family's perceived uniqueness in the magical world.
David Thewlis, who later played Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), was considered for the role of Professor Quirrell.
Liam Aiken was originally given the role of Harry, but a day later the offer was revoked when it was discovered that he wasn't British (Aiken had previously worked with director Chris Columbus).
Throughout the whole of the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe went through 160 pairs of glasses
The statue of the humpbacked witch in the corridor leading to Fluffy's chamber is a secret entrance leading to Honeydukes.
Warwick Davis, who played Professor Flitwick and the first Gringotts Goblin, also provided the voice for Griphook who was physically played by Verne Troyer.
James Phelps and Oliver Phelps, the twin actors who play Fred and George Weasley respectively, both have naturally dark brown hair which was dyed red for their roles. Similarly, Tom Felton's hair, which is also naturally brown, was bleached blond for his role of Draco Malfoy.
Ron's choice of opening in the final chess match is called Center Counter Opening (or Scandinavian Defense), which, due to its asymmetrical nature, is said to be a highly unpredictable and difficult opening for either side, that rarely results in a draw.
This movie has the distinction of opening on more screens in the USA than any other (3762).
Harry Potter's birthday is stated in the books to be 31 July 1980, as author J.K. Rowling was born on 31 July 1965. By coincidence, actor Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon) was born on 31 July 1947. Actor Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was once reported to been born on 31 July 1989, but this was merely a publicity stunt. In fact, Radcliffe was born on 23 July 1989.
The only Harry Potter film not to feature Mark Williams, who plays Arthur Weasley.
In the flying lesson the whistle 'Madame Hooch' is wearing is called a 'Boatswain's Call' and was originally used in the early Navy (before PA systems) to signal an order, because the whistle could be heard from one end of the ship to the other. It is now used in the Navy as a ceremonial whistle.
The exterior used for King's Cross Station is actually St Pancras Station which is just down the road. This was used because the facade of St Pancras is more visually appealing than that of King's Cross.
James Horner was contacted to compose the music for the film but he was unavailable because of his schedule conflict. The task ultimately went to John Williams.
Hatty Jones auditioned for Hermione Granger before it went to Emma Watson. She and Emma were the very last girls for the audition.
All the cars in Privet Drive are Vauxhalls, no matter the time period. The Dursleys own a silver 2000 Vauxhall Vectra estate. All other cars parked in the drives are Vectra estates in the present day, with Astra, Belmont and Cavalier saloons from the late 1980s in the pre-titles prologue.
Neville receives a remembrall from his grandmother but he doesn't remember what he has forgotten. In that scene, Neville is the only student without his robe on. He must have not remembered to put his robe on.
For the Gringotts interior scenes, the Australian High Commission in London was used. The exteriors are the Silver Vaults located not far from the Australian High Commission.
When filming the scenes at Gloucester Cathedral, the cathedral's modern electric signs, light switches, and door locks had to be concealed behind panels that were painted to match the rest of the stone walls. The stained glass windows were also modified to hide the fact that the building was a church; the religious symbols were covered with colored plastic filter paper to blend in with the surrounding glass. One window depicted the naked figures of Adam and Eve; they were given clothes and even the trademark Harry Potter lightning scars on their foreheads.
Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg wrote a draft of the script but was ultimately rejected by David Heyman in favor of Steve Kloves' draft. Heyman however was impressed with his draft and was subsequently brought in to write the script for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) when Kloves backed out to commit on a personal project.
The word 'bloody' appears in the film six times, along with one 'arse', one 'bugger', and two 'blasted's. This, and some very scary scenes in the haunted forest, led to its PG certificate.
This movie, the first in the 'Harry Potter' franchise, has the equal highest number of Academy Award nominations by a 'Harry Potter' movie totaling to three. The other series entry to do this was the final film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011). This is the only 'Harry Potter' movie to be Oscar nominated for the Best Costume Academy Award.
The street that Harry and Hagrid walk down to get to the Leaky Cauldron is the same street Sean Connery is parked in waiting for Catherine Zeta-Jones to leave the antiques shop in Entrapment (1999).
At one point, Harry mentions that during his trip to London, he heard Hagrid profess his love for dragons and his desire to own one. The scene that Harry describes was filmed but deleted from the movie.
Tim Roth was a leading contender for the role of Professor Severus Snape. Roth dropped out of contention, however, to pursue his role as General Thade in Tim Burton's adaptation of Planet of the Apes (2001).
Although Hermione, born 19 September 1979, is older than Harry and Ron, both born 1980, Emma Watson (the actress which plays the part of Hermione) is the youngest of the three actors.
As his audition, Rupert Grint sent a video of himself rapping while explaining why he wanted the part of Ron.
The only Harry Potter movie not to feature a stylized version of the Warner Bros. logo, although the film's theme is played over the standard logo as opposed to the original WB theme.
Almost all the scenes with Harry and/or the trio were filmed in chronological order, most notable exceptions being: The final scene in the film where the trio return home on the Hogwarts Express was the first scene filmed, followed by the scene when Harry first sees the locomotive at Platform 9 & 3/4 (the only other scene which required the actual train present). Then, the Quidditch match was the last thing filmed, mostly due to how long it took the effects departments to figure out how to do it.
In the original draft, Drew Barrymore, a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan, had a cameo.
The "Hogwart's Express" locomotive portrayed in this film, a 1937 4-6-0 "Hall" class steam engine number 5972, originally belonged to the Great Western Railway and went under the name of "Olton Hall".
When Chris Columbus was asked what type of child he wanted to play Harry Potter, he used a clip of Daniel Radcliffe from David Copperfield (1999) to show them what he wanted.
In the troll scene in the girl's bathroom, Daniel Radcliffe isn't actually on the troll's neck, because the motions would have snapped his neck; therefore, his image was digitally added.
The design for the Great Hall set was based on the hall at Christ Church, Oxford. Oxford University itself also served as a filming location.
John Williams composed a piece of music specifically for the movie's trailer without having seen a single frame of film, and it is found on the soundtrack as "The Prologue". As of March 2002, he has done this only once before, for Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991). (However, on the collector's edition of the soundtrack for Jaws (1975), a previously unreleased track appears called "Shark Attack" - this was only used in the trailer for that movie - in 1975.)
Crabbe and Goyle have no dialogue.
Steven Spielberg reportedly wanted Haley Joel Osment for the part of Harry.
Simon Fisher-Becker says he signed a four film deal to play the Fat Friar, but this was his only film he did - and nearly all of his role was then removed in post.
Director Chris Columbus wanted to work with DP John Seale and asked the studio to hire him to shoot the picture, but at that time Seale was committed to shooting Timeline (2003). However, production delays for the latter film enabled Seale to be available for the movie's photography period.
Professor Quirrell's classroom was filmed on location at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, in a room known as the Warming room. The cauldron seen in the room is not a prop but in fact came with the location. It is believed that the cauldron is over 500 years old and was used by cooks who worked for Queen Elizabeth I.
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Maggie Smith; and four Oscar nominees: Richard Harris, John Hurt, Julie Walters and John Cleese.
Robin Williams had expressed interest in playing Hagrid at one point.
Much of the stonework around Hogwarts (excluding the areas that were filmed on location) is actually plaster that has been painted and distressed to make it appear as though it is hundreds of years old.
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Gabriel Thomson was considered for the role of Harry.
At one time, Alan Parker was considered for the director's job.
After Steven Spielberg dropped out, he recommended M. Night Shyamalan for the project but he ultimately turned it down.
Despite having less than a minute of screen time and only two lines of dialogue, the un-named Head Goblin at Gringotts (played by Warwick Davis) is featured prominently on the American theatrical poster, right under Ron and Harry's faces. It is thought by many that this is because of his rather striking appearance.
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Chris Columbus, remembering his experiences with Kit Culkin during the production of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), would only audition child actors without "stage parents" during casting.
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In the warehouse section of the National Railway Museum in York there is an apparently authentic and suitably pitted and rusty white-on-orange sign saying "Platform 9 3/4", in the style that British Railways used in the 1950s and 1960s.
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Despite the objection to the Harry Potter series by certain Christian groups, several historic churches in the UK, including Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Lacock Abbey, Christ Church College Oxford, and in the later films, St. Paul's Cathedral, were used as filming locations for the series. They even inspired much of the layout and architectural details of Hogwarts.
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Producer David Heyman began the process of adapting the book into a film before it was even published.
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Caio César, a prominent Brazilian voice actor who dubbed Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and in other films, was also a military cop and passed away aged 27 in 2015, after being shot in his neck at the Complexo do Alemão slums, in Rio de Janeiro.
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The ornate ceiling of the Great Hall (including the trusses) was created entirely using CGI. In real life the ceiling consisted of nothing but studio stage lighting.
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The first of eight movies based on the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Despite many instances of Harry being noted as a "great wizard" Harry does not in fact cast a single spell during the entire movie.
Originally Daniel Radcliffe was supposed to wear colored contact lenses to turn his naturally blue eyes green (as Harry is described in the books as having green eyes) but after suffering an allergic reaction to the lenses the decision was made to drop them, and Harry's eyes remained blue for the rest of the series. Similarly, Emma Watson was originally going to wear fake teeth (as Hermione is described as having large front teeth) but she couldn't talk clearly with them in, and the teeth were dropped. There is one scene in the film in which Radcliffe and Watson are wearing their respective contact lenses and teeth; it is the final scene in the film where the trio return home on the Hogwarts Express, which actually was the first scene that was filmed.
In the book Hagrid gave Harry the flute for Christmas which he later used to lull Fluffy to sleep
Hermione performing magic on the Hogwarts Express to mend Harry's broken glasses was not in the book, it was added for the film.
In the book Harry, Hermione, Neville and Malfoy spend a night in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid for the detention but in the movie Neville is replaced by Ron.
Hermione never flies on a broom, but in the book she flies on a broom with Harry and Ron to catch the flying key.
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