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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

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It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.

Director:

Alfonso Cuarón

Writers:

J.K. Rowling (novel), Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Popularity
614 ( 33)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Radcliffe ... Harry Potter
Richard Griffiths ... Uncle Vernon
Pam Ferris ... Aunt Marge
Fiona Shaw ... Aunt Petunia
Harry Melling ... Dudley Dursley
Adrian Rawlins ... James Potter
Geraldine Somerville ... Lily Potter
Lee Ingleby ... Stan Shunpike
Lenny Henry ... Shrunken Head
Jimmy Gardner Jimmy Gardner ... Ernie the Bus Driver
Gary Oldman ... Sirius Black
Jim Tavaré ... Tom the Innkeeper
Robert Hardy ... Cornelius Fudge
Abby Ford Abby Ford ... Young Witch Maid
Rupert Grint ... Ron Weasley
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Storyline

Harry Potter is having a tough time with his relatives (yet again). He runs away after using magic to inflate Uncle Vernon's sister Marge who was being offensive towards Harry's parents. Initially scared for using magic outside the school, he is pleasantly surprised that he won't be penalized after all. However, he soon learns that a dangerous criminal and Voldemort's trusted aide Sirius Black has escaped from the Azkaban prison and wants to kill Harry to avenge the Dark Lord. To worsen the conditions for Harry, vile creatures called Dementors are appointed to guard the school gates and inexplicably happen to have the most horrible effect on him. Little does Harry know that by the end of this year, many holes in his past (whatever he knows of it) will be filled up and he will have a clearer vision of what the future has in store... Written by Soumitra

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Darkness will descend. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Warner Bros.

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The IMAX Experience See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$130,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£23,882,688 (United Kingdom), 6 June 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,687,367, 6 June 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$249,358,727, 31 October 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$796,688,549, 10 November 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A compromise of sorts was required for the character of Buckbeak. Zoologically speaking, an animal of his size would need much larger and longer wings to support him in flight, but this was deemed impractical for the design of his character. See more »

Goofs

(at around 14 mins) During his conversation with Fudge, Harry's arm switches position on the back of the chair. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Harry: Lumos Maxima!
[five times]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie opens with the silver Warner Bros. logo appearing from blackness, then the camera flies through the WB logo as it zooms in on Harry Potter's bedroom window. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the film was shot in the Super 35 process, the Full Screen DVD version Pans and Scans as if it were shot in Anamorphic Widescreen instead of properly framing it for Full Frame as most Super 35 films are. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The End of the Innocence (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cumparsita
Written by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
Performed by Alfred House Orchestra
Courtesy of Laserlight
By Arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A new director who proves equal to the task.
2 July 2004 | by BradBateSee all my reviews

Director Alfonso Cuarón has taken the images conjured by J.K. Rowling's magical words and created from her book, 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,' a film rife with visual symbolism and alive with inventive images beyond those established by the first two films in the series. Cuarón, a native of Mexico City and the acclaimed director of the completely compelling, frequently hilarious and sexually explicit coming-of-age film, 'Y tu mamá también,' was seen by many as an odd choice to follow heartland American Chris Columbus into the Harry Potter director's chair. The selection has resulted in a film darker and more mature than its predecessors, just as was the book, but it is also as approachable for young people as Cuarón's other internationally heralded work, 'A Little Princess.'

It is late in the summer. Harry (a decidedly more assertive Daniel Radcliffe, making his third appearance in the leading role) is at the Dursleys in Privet Drive, preparing for his third year at Hogwart's, when an obnoxious relative demeans his father's memory, causing Harry to lose his temper. As a result, Harry violates the rules of student witches and wizards, causing the offending aunt to inflate as a dirigible and float away into the night sky on an stream of invectives. It is a delightful opening to a film with far more serious issues to explore and frightening obstacles to overcome. Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), imprisoned at Azkaban for complicity in the murder of Harry's parents, has escaped, and is looking for Harry. The soul-stealing prison guards called 'Dementors' (Latin for mind-removers) are searching for Black everywhere, but when he and Harry meet, there are revelations which change everything.

The symbolism in the film is fascinating. Rowling is responsible for a lot of it, but Cuarón has used symbolism as a visual tool to alert the audience to impending danger and to keep tensions high. Traditionally, black-feathered birds such as ravens, crows, and vultures all have negative images associated with them; they are usually used to represent carnage, bloodshed and battle; they are thought of in terms of scavengers, messengers of the dead, and evil. Crows abound in this film, but Cuarón has extended their traditional roles, turning them into symbols of the Dementors, which fly around menacingly in black garments with feather-like hems. Even when the Dementors are out of sight (they are not allowed on the grounds of Hogwart's School) you can feel their presence in the crows.

Rowling's most obvious use of symbolism is in the name she gives the escaped prisoner Sirius Black. Sirius is a star in the constellation Canis Majoris (in mythology, Canis Majoris is one of Orion's hunting dogs; the Greater Dog), the brightest star in the sky. So, Sirius is also called the Dog Star, and everyone knows that the dog is distinguished above all other inferior animals for intelligence, docility, and attachment to man. Would she give such a name, with all its implications, to a villainous character? Not likely. But she would give it to a wizard who could change into a dog.

Among the new visual images are animal ghosts which wander the halls of Hogwart's Castle and the film's realization of Buckbeak the Hippogriff, like Sirius, falsely accused and condemned. Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and all of the established characters return. Led by Harry, all the students have matured considerably, as you would expect of 13-year-olds; they are more independent and self assured, more emotionally developed and far less childlike in their reactions and bearing. Michael Gambon is new and effective as Aldus Dumbledore, following the death of Richard Harris. Emma Thompson is wonderfully wacky as Divination Professor Sybil Treelawney; who leaps from the pages of the book and onto the screen as if Rowling had written the character specifically for Thompson. Also new is Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin (David Thewles), who comes to Harry's aid in ways that might befit his Latin name. Remus was the brother of the founder of Rome. In mythology, he was nursed by a she-wolf; Lupin means wolf-like (wolf is Canis Lupis).

The unheralded thread of creative continuity in this marvelous series, as it moves from Chris Columbus to Alfonso Cuarón to incoming director Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, now in production) is Screenwriter Steve Kloves. He and the producers have been true to Rowling's works and to Harry's fans, in ways that have always enhanced, not diminished, the author's incredible achievement.


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