Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Poster


Two actresses in the film have played the Greek goddess Thetis: Dame Maggie Smith in Clash of the Titans (1981) and Julie Christie in Troy (2004).
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In order to acquaint himself with his three lead actors, director Alfonso Cuarón had each of them write an essay about their characters, from a first-person point of view. Emma Watson, in true Hermione fashion, went a little overboard and wrote a 16-page essay. Daniel Radcliffe wrote a simple one-page summary, and Rupert Grint never even turned his in.
Ian McKellen turned down the role of Dumbledore. Having appeared as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, he said, "I had enough trouble living up to one legend. Two would be too much to hope for." He also stated it would have been inappropriate to take Richard Harris' role, as the late actor had called McKellen a "dreadful" actor.
J.K. Rowling based the dementors on her battle with depression.
Alfonso Cuarón had the idea to better establish the layout of Hogwarts, to make it seem more like a real place, and not simply a group of sets. "We started linking spaces," Cuaron said. "You see that there's the Great Hall, and right outside the Great Hall you see a hallway leading you to the staircases. And you take those staircases to the Gryffindor dorm. Or if you walk over the wooden bridge, you exit into a little garden of monoliths. When you go past the monoliths and down this specific path, you get to Hagrid's hut." Essentially the entire layout and structure of Hogwarts, and its grounds, were altered for this film, and remained more or less the same for the following sequels.
A clause in Alfonso Cuarón's contract forbade him from cursing in front of the kids on set.
(at around 1h 23 mins) Originally, the script called for Hermione to slap Malfoy as opposed to punching him. During rehearsal for the scene, Tom Felton told Emma Watson to slap him, however, he had intended for her to not actually hit him, and thus was taken by surprise when Emma smacked him across the face as hard as she could. Emma said she felt terrible about it afterwards, and didn't know what she was thinking.
To make the Knight Bus appear as if it was zipping through traffic at an extremely high speed, the scenes were filmed with the bus driving at normal speed and the rest of the traffic driving at snails pace. The film was advanced though the camera at a slower rate than it would eventually advance on screen. When the scene was played back at normal speed, the bus appears to be driving super fast.
Aware of his fondness for music, Gary Oldman presented Daniel Radcliffe with a bass guitar as a gift when they met.
Alfonso Cuarón had the idea that when the dementors approached the Hogwarts Express the rain would turn to ice. However, due to his thick Mexican accent the visual effects team misheard "ice" as "eyes". They went as far as to draft a storyboard which depicted eyes falling from the sky, which they presented to a stunned Cuarón, who instantly corrected their mistake.
Alfonso Cuarón had the idea to have Harry, Ron, and Hermione wear everyday clothes more often than their Hogwarts uniforms in order to show more of the characters' personalities. He also gave the rest of the Hogwarts students permission to wear their uniforms any way they wanted to in order to bring a greater sense of realism to the wizards' school, hence why some of the students wear the uniforms very neatly while others have the shirts and ties hanging out.
Harry Melling had lost so much weight, that the role of Dudley Dursley was almost recast. Eventually, it was decided that Melling would continue to play Dudley, and would wear a fat suit, to make him look heavier.
During the filming of the sleeping bag scene, Alfonso Cuarón, Michael Gambon, and Alan Rickman played a practical joke on Daniel Radcliffe (who had requested to have his sleeping bag next to a girl whom he liked at the time), by hiding a remote-control-operated Whoopee Cushion in his sleeping bag. According to Cuarón, Daniel tried really hard to stay in character while everyone else was laughing.
J.K. Rowling said she "got goosebumps" when she saw several moments in the film, as they inadvertently referred to events in the final two books, she stated "people are going to look back on the film and think that those were put in deliberately as clues."
Chris Columbus originally signed on to direct all of the Harry Potter films. However, he realized that by doing so, he would miss out on seeing his children grow up, and decided to pass on directing the subsequent films. He would remain on board for the third film as a producer, but after shooting wrapped, he ultimately decided to end his involvement with the Harry Potter franchise.
The bats seen flying around in Hagrid's hut are real. They were particularly challenging to train, and Daniel Radcliffe noted that they tended to urinate everywhere. The animal trainers kept the bats under control using food-rewards; they especially enjoyed banana.
The tattoos on Sirius Black's body and hands are borrowed from Russian prison gangs. They are markings which identify the person as a man to be feared and respected.
(at around 24 mins) It was Alfonso Cuarón's idea to have a Hogwarts Choir singing as the students enter the school, and he suggested using "Double, Double Toil and Trouble" from William Shakespeare's Macbeth. John Williams agreed, so the tune - and lyrics - ended up being used throughout the film, titled "Double Trouble". The Shakespeare/Macbeth motif was used to the extent of the film being marketed under the tagline "Something wicked this way comes". And, coincident or not, the lines in the play are spoken by witches, who are called the "Weird Sisters". In the novels, the Weird Sisters are a popular wizard band.
Alfonso Cuarón had never read the Harry Potter novels, or seen the first two movies, when he was offered the job of director. It was Guillermo del Toro who convinced him, saying: "Don't be stupid; read them immediately."
Filming was halted, following the vandalization of the train used as the Hogwart's Express.
Final Harry Potter film to feature a score composed by John Williams. Williams would continue to be credited throughout the film series for the main motif, "Hedwig's Theme," which was adapted by the composers for the subsequent films. Many fans hoped that Williams would return to compose the music for one of the later films, but he ultimately never did.
When designing the Marauder's Map, graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima decided to stray from the traditional rolled-up treasure map with burned edges, and designed it instead as a folding map with many layers, each representing a different level of Hogwarts Castle. The shapes of the various areas and objects depicted on the map are defined with written words as opposed to draftsman's lines. The map was printed on white paper and subsequently "aged" using a rich blend of coffee in order to give the appearance of old parchment.
Alfonso Cuarón coached Daniel Radcliffe in one scene where the latter had to act awed: "Pretend you're seeing Cameron Diaz in a G-string". It worked.
Some fans were skeptical when Alfonso Cuarón was announced as the director for this film, as his previous film, Y Tu Mamá También (2001), a road comedy about two sexually obsessed teenagers who take an extended road trip with an attractive woman in her thirties, was controversial as much as it was acclaimed, as the film contained explicit nudity and sexuality as well as frequent rude humor. However, David Heyman felt he was the perfect director for the film, as he understood the emotions of teenage boys. Author J.K. Rowling was thrilled when she learned Cuarón would be directing the film, as she had seen and loved "Y tu mamá también" and likewise felt he was an excellent choice for director.
Emma Thompson accepted the role of Professor Trelawney to impress her four-year-old daughter, Gaia Wise. Tilda Swinton was originally offered the role, but declined.
Between takes, Emma Watson liked to play with Alfonso Cuarón's hair because it was so long. She even put it in pigtails. "I'm his unofficial hairstylist," Emma said.
(at around 24 mins) The script for this film makes no mention of Professor Flitwick. Wanting to keep Warwick Davis involved, Alfonso Cuarón came up with the idea of having him play the choir director. In the next film, Mike Newell liked the look of the choir director, and wanted to keep using it. Therefore, the choir director became Flitwick, and his new look has been used for all the subsequent films.
The symbols under Sirius Black's picture on the Wanted Poster translate as "more or less human."
(at around 54 mins) During the Quidditch game between Griffyndor and Hufflepuff, the seeker racing for the Golden Snitch alongside Harry is, in fact, Cedric Diggory. This is unknown to the audience, although readers of the novels will be aware of this fact already. Cedric appears officially in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) (recast as Robert Pattinson).
Alfonso Cuarón had an idea for there to be tiny people inhabiting Hogwarts, and jumping on piano keys in one scene. J.K. Rowling firmly vetoed it, saying tiny people were completely foreign to the world of her books.
(at around 1h 1 min) Honeydukes "is floor-to-ceiling psychedelia" and includes Mexican skulls made of sugar. The cast was told that the Honeydukes candy was lacquer-coated, when in fact it wasn't, to prevent candy from disappearing between takes.
Despite his initial reluctance to accept the role of Albus Dumbledore, Richard Harris, who portrayed Dumbledore in the first two films, was determined to portray the character through the entire series. However, following the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Harris was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. During post-production on that film, Producer David Heyman went to visit Richard Harris in the hospital. Though he was very weak from his illness, Harris insisted that the role of Dumbledore not be recast. Sadly, Harris passed away shortly before production was to begin on Prisoner of Azkaban, necessitating a recast.
(at around 1h) When the Marauder's Map is opened for the first time, the name 'Newt Scamander' can be seen. This was simply meant as an Easter Egg: in the Harry Potter universe, Scamander wrote the book "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" that is mandatory reading at Hogwarts, but he isn't a teacher there. Scamander eventually got his own movie with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), where it is revealed that he is friends with Albus Dumbledore, so in 'Prisoner of Azkaban', he may be simply visiting.
Ron's fear of spiders was explained by author J.K. Rowling as stemming from a trauma when he was three years old. In retaliation for Ron's having broken his broom, his brother Fred turned Ron's teddy bear into a spider.
Warner Brothers supplied ushers at cinemas with night vision goggles to prevent illegal recording and pirating of the film.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between this film and the two previous films is the characters' costumes; incoming costume designer Jany Temime (the third costume designer the series has had) gave most of the characters completely new wardrobes, and also re-designed the Hogwarts school uniforms and Quidditch robes. Temime wanted to bring a more modern look to the characters, at the same time being careful not to make them look too trendy. The only character whose outfit did not receive an overhaul was Severus Snape, as Temime thought that the existing billowing black robe suited the character. Temime would end up designing the costumes for all of the subsequent films as well.
The statue of a one-eyed witch (which guards the passage that Harry uses to go to Honeydukes) is briefly seen in the corridor leading to Fluffy's chamber during Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).
Jany Temime wanted to establish a color scheme for the outfits of each the three main characters to further define the characters' personalities. Harry's clothes consisted of neutral colors such as grey, white and black, as she felt Harry wasn't entirely comfortable in his skin and therefore would not wear bright colors. Ron's clothes consisted of warmer tones such as brown, orange, and red, reflecting the fact that his mother used to knit sweaters for him and the style still is in him. Hermione's color scheme, consisting of blue, pink, and beige, was meant to balance out Harry's and Ron's colors and also to show a bit of Hermione's feminine side.
The only Harry Potter film not to gross over 800 million dollars worldwide.
Michael Gambon admitted later on that he saw "no point" in reading the books, so during the whole course of playing the role of Dumbledore, he never read any of them.
The last Harry Potter film to be released on VHS in 2004
Illusionist Paul Kieve served as a consultant. He taught magic to several members of the cast, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, and worked extensively to create physical magical effects. He is the only professional illusionist to have worked on any of the films, and as a result, this film includes several discrete, authentic practical illusions throughout. The 2-Disc DVD turns finding them into a game for the viewer. Kieve also makes a cameo appearance in the film, during the Three Broomsticks pub scene.
(at around 1h 6 mins) Much of the filming was done in Scotland, so the filmmakers wanted to be sure that a Highland Cow, a breed of cattle native to Scotland, appeared in the film. The large, hairy animal with big horns can be seen in front of a shop in Hogsmeade when Ron and Hermione go and look for Harry after he leaves the pub.
Gary Oldman was "surprised by how difficult it was to pull off", comparing the role to Shakespearean dialogue.
The rickety wooden bridge connecting Hogwarts to the surrounding landscape was going to be created entirely in the studio, backed by a green screen. This would enable the filmmakers to add a background digitally in post-production. While a few scenes were filmed in the studio, Alfonso Cuarón decided to film the scene where Harry talks to Professor Lupin about his parents on location in Scotland. A section of the bridge was constructed in the Highlands for the shoot, and even though it was a lot sturdier than in appeared, the extremely heavy winds proved to be a challenge.
Dudley Dursley has no lines. He only laughs at the television, and gives two gasps of surprise.
J.K. Rowling had two Grandfathers, named Stanley and Ernie. These names are used for the conductor and driver of the Knight Bus early in the film.
Alfonso Cuaron is known for his use of lengthy shots and restlessly moving cameras. Upon accepting the role of director for this film, he was advised by his close friend, fellow Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, to tone down his more eccentric film-making techniques, and instead be faithful to the previous two films.
Because he would be overseeing this film's post-production work, Alfonso Cuarón declined the offer to direct Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). Mike Newell was then chosen by Warner Brothers.
Two Persian red cats were used for the role of Crookshanks: Crackerjack and Pumpkin. The trainers saved the cats' shed fur, rolled it into balls, and clipped these onto the cats in order to achieve Crookshanks's mangy appearance.
The scene where Professor Lupin teaches Harry the Patronus Charm, to defend against the dementors, was filmed on the set that served as Dumbledore's office in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). Alfonso Cuaron liked the set and wanted to use it in this film. Since the script makes no mention of Dumbledore's office, the set was instead re-decorated as a different room entirely (referred to as the Astronomy Room in the script). It was reverted back into Dumbledore's office for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and subsequent films.
The set for Honeydukes was previously used as Ollivander's Wand Shop in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), and Flourish and Blotts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
The character of Gregory Goyle, while appearing in a few scenes, is largely absent from the film. This was due to actor Josh Herdman injuring his arm and being unable to film certain scenes. Actor Bronson Webb was cast as an unnamed Slytherin boy (referred to as "Pike" in the script) who filled Goyle's role in those scenes.
(at around 34 mins) When Buckbeak the Hippogriff is introduced, just after Ron pushes Harry forward there is a shot of the animal pooping. The CGI team believes this might be the first example of a CGI animal doing this, but the BBC miniseries Walking with Dinosaurs (1999) had done it first. This *is*, however, the first time such a scene is done for a feature film.
Although the stone circle seen in the Hogwarts Grounds was a creation of the filmmakers, it was based upon actual stone circles found throughout Britain (e.g. Stonehenge). The stones were created at Leavesden and were delivered by helicopter to Glencoe, Scotland, where they were set into holes dug into the ground. They looked so realistic that the young actors ultimately asked Alfonso Cuarón if the stones were the reason why he picked that particular location. "It's always gratifying when your work is mistaken for the real thing!" said art director Alan Gilmore.
David Thewlis was Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role of Professor Lupin. He accepted the role on advice from Ian Hart, the man who was cast as Quirrell, who told him that Professor Lupin was "the best part in the book."
The effects team spent six months creating the dementors. Originally, Alfonso Cuarón wasn't thrilled with the idea of using CGI and wanted to use more traditional techniques such as puppetry. The filmmakers tried a basic technique with a dementor puppet floating in the breeze but weren't satisfied with the way it looked. Puppeteer Basil Twist showed them a technique that involved putting the puppet in water and shooting it in slow motion with the film reversed. The filmmakers liked the way it looked but realized that this would be an impossible task, so in the end they decided to use CGI to create the dementors.
After the death of Richard Harris, many actors were considered for the vacant role of Albus Dumbledore. Christopher Lee was in the frame for a while, and there was a rumor (reported in many newspapers) that Ian McKellen was also considered. The Harris family wanted Richard's longtime friend and peer Peter O'Toole for the role but there were studio concerns over insuring O'Toole for the remaining five films. Richard Attenborough also lobbied for the role but was ultimately turned down.
Shooting for the Knight Bus sequence took place on the streets of Palmers Green, North London. The film crew, and local police, gave the spectators strict instructions to keep back during filming, and not to use flash photography, or it would ruin the take. Despite these warnings, there were still people who took pictures of the scene with flash, and at one point a driver ignored the police and the 'No Entry' and 'Diversion' signs and nearly drove into the oncoming traffic.
Among the difficulties associated with filming in Scotland was the amount of rain that fell during the shoot. During the breaks in filming, helicopters delivered large bags of gravel to the set in order to prevent it from washing out. Many of the filmmakers were concerned as to how this would affect the look of the film, although Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographer Michael Seresin insisted that it was the best look that they could have come up with.
The film broke UK box-office records, when it grossed 5.3 million pounds on its opening day of release, on May 31, 2004, making it the biggest opening day and single day of all time.
(at around 16 mins) Alex Crockford appears as the second oldest Weasley son, Charlie, in the newspaper photo Ron shows to Harry in the Leaky Cauldron.
Dawn French, who plays the Fat Lady in this film (but not in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)) was, at the time, the wife of Lenny Henry, who voiced the shrunken head on the Knight Bus.
In the opening sequence, Harry is seen practicing a spell. According to the wizarding laws, it is illegal for anyone under the age of seventeen to perform magic outside of Hogwarts. This law was an important plot point in two other Harry Potter movies/books: Chamber of Secrets, where Harry receives a warning after Dobby uses magic in the Dursley's house and Order of the Phoenix, where Harry is summoned for a disciplinary hearing after performing a Patronus charm.
Executive Producer Chris Columbus (who directed the first two films) offered the role of director to Alfonso Cuarón after watching Cuarón's A Little Princess (1995).
The film was offered to Guillermo del Toro, but he opted to do Hellboy (2004) instead. Del Toro was good friends with Alfonso Cuarón, and when he learned that Cuaron had been offered the role of director, he passionately encouraged Cuaron to take the job.
J.K. Rowling allowed Alfonso Cuarón to make minor changes to the book, on the condition that he stuck to the book's spirit. She allowed him to place a sundial on Hogwarts' grounds, but rejected a graveyard, as that would play an important part in the then unreleased sixth book.
The rating in the Netherlands for this film is "not under 9". This rating was created especially for the film, since it was judged to be too scary for 6 year olds and the next rating, "not under 12", would exclude too much of the target audience.
As part of a promotion by the toy company LEGO, in the United States, some cinemas handed out free mini-Knight Bus LEGO kits, with the purchase of a ticket.
Gary Oldman drew inspiration from Alfonso Cuarón, whom he described as having "such enthusiasm and a joy for life," and compared Sirius to John Lennon.
The top of the Knight Bus was designed to be removable so that the vehicle could pass underneath bridges.
Subplot involving the Sneakoscope concept from the novel, as well as an attempted attack on Ron in his sleep at Hogwarts by Sirius Black, were filmed (and can be partially found as additional scenes on some DVD versions) but ultimately scrapped from the finished version. Oddly enough, a small bit from the latter, Harry's lines about missing a chance to capture Black, was still featured prominently in most promotional trailers. (Source: 2-Disc DVD extras & trailers).
(at around 27 mins) Although the Dark Lord himself does not appear in the movie, a moving painting of him can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the screen when Harry and his friends walk up the stairs to discover the Fat Lady singing.
Production designer Stuart Craig has revealed that the appearance and location of Hagrid's Hut as seen in this film and subsequent films was closer to his original design for the hut, which had been compromised for the first two films due to the scenes being filmed in a small patch of land outside the studio, rather than on location in Scotland.
When filming concluded, Alfonso Cuarón found that it had "been the two sweetest years of my life," and expressed his interest in directing one of the sequels.
(at around 1h) When Harry is given the Marauder's Map by the Weasley twins, the name "Moony" is misspelled as "Mooney". While not really a mistake, there is still an interesting connection. The film's visual effects supervisor is named Karl Mooney. The spelling was changed deliberately for the in-joke.
David Thewlis had seen the first two films and had only read part of the first book, although after taking the role he read the third. He was excited about the prospect of making a children's film, and thoroughly enjoyed filming.
Two Knight Buses were built: one for exterior shots and one for interior shots. The exterior of the bus was created by taking an ordinary double-decker London bus, adding a level, and painting it purple.
The geometric staircase at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, was used as the staircase that leads to the Divination classroom. It was the only indoor area of Hogwarts shown in this film to utilize an actual location for filming, as opposed to a studio set. The first film made heavy use of the various castles and cathedrals around Britain for much of the areas of Hogwarts, with additional sets being built for the second film.
First film in the franchise to have rainy scenes at Hogwarts.
Gary Oldman suggested Sirius's hairstyle, while Alfonso Cuarón designed his tattoos.
The design of the large clock which functions as a visual motif in this film appears to be based on the Old Town Clock (also called the "Orloj" - pronounced "OR-LOY") in Prague, Czech Republic. The Orloj tells not only the time, but shows the month, the sign of the Zodiac, and shows the relative positions of the moon and sun.
This film actually marks the second time that Michael Gambon has replaced Richard Harris. Harris had previously played Inspector Jules Maigret in Maigret (1988), while Gambon took over the role in the television series Maigret (1992).
The reason for this installment of the Harry Potter franchise being so distinct from the first two, is the influence of its director, Alfonso Cuarón, whose trademark directional style is noticeable throughout. The majority of shots are filmed with a handheld camera, which gives a naturalistic style to many scenes, several shots are held for a longer than usual time without cutting, and there is a generally washed-out and darker color pallet. All of these traits are especially noticeable in Cuarón's next film, Children of Men (2006).
(at around 48 mins) Sir Cadogan, played by Paul Whitehouse, was cut almost completely out of the film. You do still see Sir Cadogan jumping through several paintings behind Ron, Harry and Hermione during the Fat Lady's disappearance.
An additional set was built for the candy shop: the cellar. Not used in the film, it was included in a special feature on the DVD release that allowed viewers to explore the shop.
The crows seen in the latter part of the film are African Pied Crows. They were raised in captivity in California, as crows bred in captivity were easier to train than wild crows. The crows typically can be found throughout Africa.
Crabbe and Goyle yet again have no (discernible) dialogue.
The lenses in Professor Trelawny's glasses were actually magnifying glasses. According to Emma Thompson, wearing them often made her feel very sick and dizzy.
The spell "Lumos" is also the name of J.K. Rowling's charity for children.
With this film, production of the Harry Potter films switched to an eighteen-month cycle, which David Heyman explained was "to give each (film) the time it required."
Rupert Grint appeared on set with his hair dyed blond, as a prank on his cast mates. Not knowing it was a prank, Daniel Radcliffe thought the script called for Ron to have blond hair.
Marc Forster was offered the job of directing this film, but declined, and did Finding Neverland (2004) instead.
At the time of its release, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) was the shortest of the Harry Potter films, despite the fact that the book was longer than both the previous books. After all eight films were released, Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) ended up being the third shortest film in the series, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), the latter of which is based on the longest book in the series.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Alfonso Cuarón): [Mexico]: References to Cuarón's Mexican nationality abound. On the fountain, in the courtyard, in front of the clock tower, there are several statues of eagles eating snakes, as on the National Seal of Mexico. Also, among the many sweets offered at Honeydukes are skulls made of sugar, known as Calaveras, which are a popular treat in Mexico on "El Dia de los Muertos," or the Day of the Dead. And, after Dumbledore says his final lines outside the infirmary, he goes down the stairs humming "La Raspa", the Mexican Hat Dance.
Hogwarts grew and expanded significantly with the third film. For the first time, the Hogwarts courtyard and bridge were seen. At the end of the bridge, rock monoliths were placed onto the hillside to evoke a Celtic feeling. The use of live-action also significantly changed the look of Hagrid's hut. In the first two films, it appeared at the end of a flat stretch, right in front of the Forbidden Forest. The third film utilized the more rugged Scottish locations to place Hagrid's hut at the bottom of a steep hillside. A large pumpkin patch was added behind the hut.
Some dubbed versions retain a voice likeness of the late Richard Harris for the character of Dumbledore, despite there being a quite different person in the role on screen. The Icelandic dub is one such case.
Emma Thompson was once married to Kenneth Branagh, who portrayed Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
M. Night Shyamalan was offered the job of directing the film, but turned it down in favor of The Village (2004)
The Dursleys have three television sets in their house; one in the living room, one near the dining table, and one in the sunroom. While not mentioned in the film, it is explained in the book that Dudley complains about the long walk from the fridge to the television in the living room.
Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films and Executive Producer of this one, was amazed how beautifully Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint matured over the series, as compared to some child actors, who lose their charm, or fail to develop into good adult actors.
This was the first film in the franchise, to extensively utilize real-life locations, as much of the first two films had been shot in the studio.
It was the first film in the franchise to be released in both conventional and IMAX theaters.
The German subsidary of Warner Bros. tried to cut down the film (as they did with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)) to secure a more commercial "Not under 6" rating. They submitted several versions but all were rejected by the German ratings board FSK for this rating. In the end the uncut version was released with a "Not under 12" rating.
Prior to its release, material related to the film was labeled with the code title "Radiator Blues".
David Thewlis was originally considered to play Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).
Has the highest number of real animal species in the franchise, including, but not limited to, a rat, a cat, a bat, a dog, a Highland Cow, an owl, a crow, to but the most obvious.
The Marauders write their names on the Marauder's Map in this order: Remus, Peter, Sirius and James. Ironically, this, when reversed, is the order in which they die, James being the first in 1981, Godric's Hollow; Sirius in 1996, Department of Mysteries; Peter in March 1998, Malfoy Manor; Remus in May 1998, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
A fire near the Glenfinnan viaduct in Scotland delayed filming of the Hogwarts Express scenes for a day.
Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (frequent collaborator of Alfonso Cuarón) was supposed to be working on this film, but due to scheduling conflicts, he was replaced by Michael Seresin.
The Shrieking Shack actually moves. During the scene where Lupin and Sirius reveal the truth about James and Lily's death to the others, the doors are moving. If you look closely, the walls are actually swaying from side to side, causing the doors to move as well, and accounts for the wood's creaking and groaning. It gives the illusion that the building is only one strong wind gust from being blown over.
Remus' tendency to nurture those around him, particularly children, is fitting, as wolves' social structure commonly involves all members of the pack looking after and teaching the pups. Yet another instance where Remus lives up to the nobler aspects of his wolfish nature. Rather ironically, he considered himself unfit for parenthood.
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J.K. Rowling has said that Remus Lupin is one of her favourite characters, and that if she could meet any of her characters, she would likely choose him.
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Other directors reportedly considered for this installment of the Harry Potter franchise, included Callie Khouri and Kenneth Branagh, star of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
Sirius and Lupin's names serve as foreshadowing for the animals into which they can transform: Sirius Black, a wizard who can transform at will into a large black dog, is named after "Sirius," the name of the brightest star in the night's sky, colloquially known as the "Dog Star" for its prominence in the constellation Canis Major, or "Greater Dog." Remus Lupin, a werewolf, is named after the Latin word "lupus", meaning "wolf." To be "lupine" is to be wolf-like or exhibit characteristics similar to a wolf. Additionally, his first name "Remus" comes from Roman mythology: the brothers Romulus and Remus, who founded the ancient city of Rome, were said to be suckled by a she-wolf.
J. K. Rowling has stated that Professor Lupin is the kind of teacher she wishes she had while she was a student. He is good-natured, kind, and able to extract the best in everyone -- for example, in spotting Neville Longbottom's lack of confidence and helping him to overcome it by teaching him how to defeat the boggart.
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Alfonso Cuarón originally wanted to move away from CGI toward puppetry. He hired master underwater puppeteer Basil Twist to help, using puppets to study the potential movement of the Dementors. Once it became apparent that puppetry would be too expensive and unable to portray the specific elements of the Dementors, Cuarón turned to CGI; however, he and his team did use footage of Dementor puppets underwater as a basis for the flowing movements of the computer-generated Dementors.
Despite Sirius Black being innocent of murdering Pettigrew and Muggles, a crime for which he was sent to Azkaban, he was not wrongly at Azkaban, per se; being an unregistered Animagus is a crime for which the sentence is, in fact, imprisonment in Azkaban.
The irony of Remus Lupin's status as a werewolf and his desire to be liked and belong is that wolves are social animals that tend to live in packs and act in the interests of all, reflecting his selfless and self-sacrificing nature. This, combined with the typically savage side of his werewolf forms presents an almost yin-yang-like inner conflict, with his human form representing the better half of his wolfish personality, such as his intelligence, kindness, adaptability, and desire to defend. All the while his werewolf form represents the more savage aspects of wolves, such as feral wrath, gluttony, and lust. Another bit of irony is in his love of chocolate, as it is poisonous to wolves and other canines.
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Is currently the 48th-highest-grossing film of all time.
Fred and George have had the Marauder's map for years, but never noticed, or mentioned to anyone about Peter Pettigrew.
Dawn French, who portrays The Fat Lady, previously played Harry Potter in various spoofs on her show French and Saunders (1987).
Last film in the franchise to be dubbed into Icelandic and Norwegian.
(at around 1h 45 mins) During the "Time Turner" sequence, you can hear the sound of a clock's second hand ticking.
(at around 12 mins) When Harry is shown getting down from the Knight Bus and entering the Leaky Cauldron, a wizard sitting inside and stirring his mug by magic, is shown reading "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking.
In order to reduce the number of scenes that would ultimately end up on the cutting room floor, screenwriter Steve Kloves and Alfonso Cuarón carefully decided which scenes from the book were essential to the plot, and which could be written out.
In the books, a Patronus charm is used as a shield from a Dementor, constructed of a powerfully happy memory or feeling, and the Dementors feed on that, rather than on the person. In the movie however, it is used mostly as what seems to be a Dementor repellent.
Neither Miriam Margolyes (Herbology Professor Pomona Sprout) nor Gemma Jones (Madam Poppy Pomfrey) returned to star in this movie, as neither character had bigger-enough roles in the book to make the final script.
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Remus Lupin being a werewolf was that as a child he was bitten by a Death Eater werewolf Fenrir Greyback.
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Gary Oldman and Timothy Spall have both played the William Shakespeare character of Rosencrantz; Oldman in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) and Spall in Hamlet (1996).
When Chris Columbus was still slated to direct, Robson Green was considered for the role of Sirius Black.
A prop made for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban makes several claims about werewolves that contradict with higher canon sources. It identifies several other ways to become a werewolf other than being bitten. These included being given the power of shape shifting via sorcery, the Lycacomia Curse, and being born to a werewolf. Pottermore, however, clarifies that the only way to become a werewolf is via the bite of a werewolf at the full moon, and explicitly denies that inheriting the disease via birth is possible. It states that werewolves can transform into their wolfish forms by a variety of means, including by will or when forced by various phases of the moon or hearing the howl of another werewolf. According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the full moon is the only thing that can transform a werewolf. It claims that the soul of a werewolf is eternally damned and cannot move on from the mortal plane upon death. However, Remus Lupin was successfully recalled from beyond the Veil using the Resurrection Stone, and thus must have "passed on".
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According to StarDate Online's Moon Phase Calculator, Remus' birth date (10 March, 1960), fell two days before a full moon.
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Remus Lupin is unique among the teachers as he calls students per their first names, not surnames. The only other teachers that are known to do this is the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and the Care of Magical Creatures professor.
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Only Harry Potter movie where Sirius and Snape meet on screen, their subsequent meeting in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) does not occur, and their meeting in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) is only heard off screen.
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This is the only film where Dumbledore does not say Harry Potter's name in any way (Harry, Mr Potter, Mr Harry Potter, Harry Potter, but not Potter). However, during the scene where everyone is sleeping in the Great Hall, Dumbledore refers to Harry as 'him' when Snape asks Dumbledore whether Harry should be warned.
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Remus Lupin mentions that no one knows what a boggart looks like when it is alone. Mad-Eye Moody, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is able to determine through his "mad" eye that a creature hiding in 12 Grimmauld Place is definitely a boggart. It is assumed that Moody knew what a boggart looked like in its true form as the boggart had not seen him and shape-shifted.
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David Thewlis struggled with making his character sound educated and sophistated due to his thick Mancunian accent.
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In the books it is mentioned that the werewolf resembles a normal wolf in appearance, save for a few distinguishing traits. This is not the case in the film, as Lupin in his werewolf form is shown as having a gaunt, humanoid, hairless appearance, with a coyote-like face and no tail.
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Chocolate presents no danger to Werewolves, despite the well known fact that chocolate is poisonous to canines, showing that the human form of the Werewolf has traits that carry over into the wolf form aside from the more human eyes. Ironically, Remus Lupin is noted for his borderline addiction to chocolate.
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It is possible that chocolate given to Harry by Professor Lupin is used to ward off the effects following meeting a Dementor as it has chemicals inside it that release endorphins, which are human chemicals in the body that make a person feel happy.
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it is notable that despite the fact that Snape and Lupin know that Sirius was aware of the passageway to the Shrieking Shack and, presumably, were convinced of his guilt, the passageway was not blocked off or guarded.
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The scene at Hogwarts includes a chorale of part of the witches chant from William Shakespeare's Scottish play Act 4. Outlander (2014) By the Pricking of My Thumbs (#1.10) is directly from the chant/play.
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According to J.K. Rowling, Sirius is the oldest of the Marauders, with a given birth date: November 3, 1959. While Peter is not revealed, based on the fact, James is the youngest (the grave stone in Deathly Hallows reveals that he was born in March 1960).
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After Richard Harris death, his family wanted Peter O'Toole to play the role of Dumbledore but he turned down.
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The cast includes three women who have won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role: Dame Maggie Smith, Julie Christie and Emma Thompson.
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Concept artist Dermot Power wanted to portray Buckbeak as a "noble beast" with "romantic magic potential", but director Alfonso Cuarón disapproved of these designs.
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Ron's boggart is a black widow spider but it's size is uncanny as black widows are much smaller, this is probably due to Ron's experience with the Acromantula colony in the previous film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
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Boggart is David Thewlis (Remus Lupin) favourite word/line from the series.
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Lupin's boggart, the full moon, indicated his dread of his transformations into a werewolf. However, the boggart failed to frighten him because it is not the moon itself he feared, but its effect on him.
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The Boggart also bears a resemblance to the Cucuy, a monster in Hispanic and Latino folklore. Like the Cucuy, the Boggart lives in dark areas such as beneath beds and inside closets, and has the ability to change its shape at will.
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Remus Lupin giving Harry private lessons on how to defeat Dementors, using a Boggart as a replacement. However, when Harry faced the Boggart the first and second time, when he failed to beat it, the Boggart/Dementor had managed to make Harry hear his mother's screams. This may imply that Boggarts can gain some abilities of the thing it morphs into. It also gained its weakness as it was easily defeated by Harry's Patronus.
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J. K. Rowling has stated that her boggart would be the same as Molly Weasley's: her loved ones dead or alternatively herself buried alive. In an earlier interview, however, before the publication of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she suggested Aragog as a possible boggart for her, as she hates spiders.
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It is unknown if Boggarts can change into intangible fears like darkness, certain sounds or mental/physical illnesses. It is also unknown how they adapt to people who are only afraid of interacting with non-sentient concepts like drowning, being alone or claustrophobia. Unless the Boggart is somehow able to engulf a person with these or similar fears it is likely they are powerless against them and might even be exposed in their actual form to these people. It is possible that the Boggart knows ways to symbolize these fears; for example, in the case of a person with Hydrophobia, showing the viewer their drowned corpse. This is supported in canon by Lord Voldemort (who feared death) seeing his own corpse, Remus Lupin (who feared his Werewolf transformation) seeing the full moon, and Hermione (who feared failure) seeing Professor McGonagall telling her that she failed all of her exams. Mrs. Weasley feared her loved ones dying, so the Boggart showed her her loved ones's dead corpses in succession, which supports this theory even further.
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In an early script for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there were several differences from the final cut of the film. The boggarts for Neville, Ron, Harry, and Professor Lupin remained the same. Parvati's, however, would have been a vampire (specifically Count Dracula) which would have been dressed like Carmen Miranda (presumably referring to her famous fruit hat outfit from the film The Gang's All Here) when the Boggart-Banishing Charm was used on it, with Dean having the cobra boggart Parvati has in the actual film.
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The "Daily Prophet" photograph of the Weasley family in Egypt featured all nine members: parents Molly & Arthur (Julie Walters, Mark Williams), and *credited* offspring Ginny (Bonnie Wright, Ron (Rupert Grint, twins Fred and George (James Phelps and 'Oliver Phelps (I)' (qv )), and Percy (Chris Rankin). The two eldest Weasleys--Charlie (Richard Fish) and Bill (Alex Crockford, who was replaced by Domhnall Gleeson for the two "...Deathly Hallows" movies) were uncredited.
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Brian Bowles and Peter Serafinowicz voiced the "Shrunken Heads" (uncredited) in "The Three Broomsticks".
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Fiona Shaw who portrays a woman loathing the supernatural and witchcraft in this film, ironically portrays a powerful witch in True Blood (2008).
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Caio Cesar, a prominent Brazilian voice actor, who dubbed Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, and in other films, was also a military cop, and died at the age of 27 in 2015, after being shot in his neck, at the Complexo do Alemão slums, in Rio de Janeiro.
Dawn French also played Harry Potter in Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do (2003).
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(At around 31:20) - The sound of the Hogwarts bell is a recording of 'Big Ben' (the bell in the Houses of Parliament, in London, UK)
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The Giant squid that lives in the Black Lake of Hogwarts was going to have its first appearance in the film franchise but was unfortunately cut from the final film.
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In Prisner of Azkaban, during the scene where the Fat Lady is refusing entrance to the common room while singing, Sir Cadogan passes by 4 times in the background, posing.
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The Marauder's Map was David Thewlis's favorite prop.
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When Chris Columbus scripted Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) it foreshadowed his future association with the Harry Potter franchise; the teenage Watson resembles Harry Potter; school experiments; Holmes has a rivalry with a fellow student, Dudley very much like Harry's with Draco Malfoy; Dudley and Malfoy both come from rich parents; cavernous libraries; sweets; train stations; the novelization uses the word potty/Potter; students being injured and needing to see the school nurse; teachers and students eating in the Great Hall; Holmes, Watson and a third character Elizabeth solving mysteries at school while Harry, Ron and Hermione do the same at Hogwarts; staircases; Harry/Holmes and Watson creeping through a school library at night; both Watson and Hagrid say "sorry about that"; the end of school term; the threat of expulsion; no family for Harry to return to, even at Christmas; Harry has a scar on his forehead while Holmes has one on his cheek; seemingly innocent teaching staff exposed as the opposite; head boys, etc.
When Chris Columbus scripted Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Watson believed Holmes obsessed over a case, even at Christmas, because unlike other boys his age, he had no family to which go home, like Harry Potter or Kevin McCallister. Columbus has ties to both the Harry Potter and Home Alone franchises.
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Peter Best was credited as "Executioner". According to the "Harry Potter Wiki" website, the character is actually named "Walden Macnair".
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Chris Columbus sold to Steven Spielberg the scripts for Gremlins (1984) and The Goonies (1985) but his career didn't fully take off until the massive successes of Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) which then led to the greater success of the Harry Potter franchise.
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Whenever a Dementor is sucking happiness or the soul out of their victim, there is a distortion in the victim's face and the air near him or her.
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Bronson Webb was listed as "Slytherin Boy". According to the "Harry Potter Wiki" website, the character's name is "Pike".
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Brian Bowles had two uncredited roles: "The Headless Horseman" (possibly a "nod of the head" to John Cleese's "Nearly Headless Nick from the first two movies), and a "Shrunken Head" in "The Three Broomsticks".
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David Thewlis (Professor Lupin), Julie Christie (Madame Rosemerta) and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) starred in Dragonheart (1996). Thewlis played King Einon and Christie played his mother, Queen Aislinn. Jason Isaacs played Lord Felton.
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Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) coincidentally played a werewolf in the horror film The Beast Must Die (1974) as Jan the pianist.
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Throughout the eight-movie series, five actresses played Pansy Parkinson: 1-Katherine Nicholson [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002); she was uncredited in both], 2-Genevieve Gaunt [Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004); hers was the first credited Pansy], 3-'Charlotte Ritchie' [Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)-originally listed as "Student", and uncredited)], 4-Lauren Shotton [Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), again uncredited as Pansy], and 5-Scarlett Byrne [Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)].
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Annalisa Bugliani, Tess Bu Cuarón: (at around 27 mins) Alfonso Cuarón's wife and their daughter are the mother and baby in the portrait next to the Fat Lady.
Ian Brown: (at around 12 mins) the singer (formerly of The Stone Roses) appears briefly in the bar at the start of the movie, reading "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. He was originally cast as the pub landlord, but the role was cut down due to time constraints.

Director Trademark 

Alfonso Cuarón: [wide-angle lenses] The film was shot entirely on wide-angle lenses, ranging between 14-24mm. Cuarón insisted on the wide-angles because he wanted to let the audience see both the foreground and the background at the same time.
Alfonso Cuarón: [Title appears at both the beginning and the end of the film] At the end of the film, the title is shown before the end credits, animated in the style of the Marauder's Map.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

(at around 16 mins) Early in the film, Harry sees a newspaper article with a photograph of the Weasley family in Egypt. Though it is never again mentioned, this is a very important plot point in the book. While on an inspection of Azkaban, the Minister of Magic had a copy of that paper, and gave it to Sirius Black, who recognized Peter Pettigrew disguised as Scabbers. This is what made him decide to break out of Azkaban, track down Scabbers at Hogwarts, and take his revenge by killing him.
Azkaban Prison, though mentioned, never actually appears in the film. Nonetheless, concept art was created by both conceptual artist Andrew Williamson and production designer Stuart Craig. Both sketches depict Azkaban as a triangular stone fortress built on the edge of a giant waterfall. When Azkaban is seen for the first time in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) the filmmakers looked to these sketches and ultimately decided to keep the triangular design but relocated the prison to an island in the middle of the ocean (closer to how it was described in the book).
Although the Marauders' Map, created by Messrs. Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail plays a large part in the film, the identities of the first three are not made clear. This is surprising as this was important to understanding this plot in the book. Moony was Lupin, who was supported by his three friends. These learned "Animagus" shape shifting techniques to sympathize with him. James Potter was Prongs the Stag (a trait passed on to the Patronus of his son Harry), Sirius Black was Padfoot the Dog, and Peter Pettigrew was, more obviously, Wormtail the Rat.
Gary Oldman says he accepted the role of Sirius Black because he "needed the work". He hadn't acted for over a year, as he had taken time off to be with his family. His last film was Sin (2003), which was filmed in 2002. He also took the role to please his sons. The part made Oldman a hero with them and their schoolmates.
Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is also known as The Dog Star. This foreshadows the fact that Sirius is the dog seen throughout the film.
The only film in the franchise, where Voldemort does not appear in some LIVING form (portrait only). It is often stated that he also doesn't appear in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and while this is technically true, Tom Riddle appears during flashback sequences.
The filmmakers wanted to stray away from the traditional werewolf and instead portray Lupin's lycanthropy as a debilitating disease. Hence, Lupin in his werewolf form is depicted as emaciated and mostly hairless, making him appear both frightening and pitiful.
(at around 46 mins) Lupin says that he was very close with Harry's mother. This may seem at odds with the book's story that Lily Evans was a close friend of Lupin's rival Severus Snape. However, J.K. Rowling revealed that after graduating from Hogwarts, Lupin still found it difficult to find paying work, because nobody wanted to employ a werewolf. James and Lily, therefore, financially supported him.
(at around 49 mins) After the Fat Lady reports that Sirius Black is in the castle, there's a short scene of the large front gate closing up. As it does, you see a full moon in the sky and hear Lupin's wolf-form howling.
(at around 1h 15 mins) When Harry sees Peter Pettigrew's name on the map, but does not actually see him in the hallway, the sound of a rat scurrying about is faintly audible.
(at around 1h 50 mins) Professor Dumbledore seemingly stalls the executioner by saying that he needs to sign the execution order, and that he has "a very long name". In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), his full name is revealed to be Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
Not only may Professor Remus Lupin's last name possibly refer to a wolf ("lupus" being the species name of the wolf), but his first name does as well. In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were the founders of Rome and were both raised by a female wolf. (In actuality, Lupin is a type of flower, and Remus actually translates to "swift".)
Lucius Malfoy was supposed to appear in the film at Buckbeak's execution and be outraged when he had escaped. However, Jason Isaacs was unavailable for filming.
(at around 43 mins) Ron's dream about spiders, making him tap-dance, is a two-in-one reference of the next book. In 'Goblet of Fire' there is an Unforgivable Curse, where you can control what someone does, taught by Professor Moody. He makes a spider tap-dance on the desk.
In the film's third act, when Harry and Hermione travel back in time using the Time-Turner, the constant ticking of a stopwatch appropriately becomes a prominent part of the musical score.
The ending of the film, in which Sirius escapes on Hagrid's hippogriff, is actually a reversal of the opening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), in which Hagrid arrives on a flying motorcycle which, the book reveals, he borrowed from Sirius.
Despite featuring the idea of a mass murder as the back story, this is, arguably, the only book/movie in the franchise where no person dies. The argument is that, while the villain in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) was destroyed, he was a manifestation of Voldemort's hocrux, and can be said never to have been alive to begin with.
The executioner sent to kill Buckbeak is actually Walden Macnair, who is later revealed in the graveyard scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), to be one of Voldemort's first Death Eaters. It was explained later by Hagrid, that Macnair was sent to the Giants to try and recruit them for Voldemort (which is why Dumbledore sent Hagrid to talk to them in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) - to keep them from claiming loyalty to Voldemort).
Ron's prediction for Harry during divination class -- that he would suffer but be happy about it -- actually rings true by the end of the movie. He suffers through the "knowledge" that Sirius killed his parents, only to find that this isn't true, and, in fact, Sirius can offer Harry a loving home.
Clocks and time are a major motif in this film. In addition to the large clock tower at Hogwarts, there are other clocks that chime at various points in the film, when an important event takes place, such as the cuckoo clock in the Dursley's house, which goes off when Harry blows up Aunt Marge, and the grandfather clock in the Hogsmeade tavern, which chimes right when Harry learns that Sirius Black is his godfather.
Timothy Spall plays a man who can transform into a rat. Spall provided the voice for the rat Nick in Chicken Run (2000).
After Hermione and Harry return to the medical wing after their Time Turning and speak to Dumbledore, Dumbledore is heard humming "The Mexican Hat Dance" as he walks down the stairs. This is a nod to the nationality of the film's director, Alfonso Cuarón.
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