In honor of our book club and the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, every weekend in October will feature a Book vs Movie, covering the first four books of the Harry Potter series. So here’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!

‘Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be famous – a legend – I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!’


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the UK on June 30, 1997. It was published in the US in 1998 with Sorcerer replaced in the title.  Harry’s birth onboard a train is famous, and the rest is history.

The film rights were sold to Warner Brothers in 1999. J.K. Rowling chose Warner Brothers because of their commitment to making the movies accurately reflect the books. She also stipulated that the cast be entirely British, and Warner Brothers readily agreed.

At the very beginning of the process, the idea of putting the first two (or even three) books together onto one movie was suggested. Chris Columbus said that picking out actions sequences like this would make a great movie, but ruin the series (the idea was quickly thrown out).

David Heyman, the producer, worked closely with Rowling from conception drawings of Hogwarts to which stores should appear in Hogsmead. Rowling gave future plot details to him and Steve Kloves (the screenwriter) and some of the actors (most notably Alan Rickman) so that the groundwork would be in place when the details were revealed in later books and their subsequent movies.

Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t found until July of 2000. Rowling approved: “Having seen Dan Radcliffe’s screen test, I don’t think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry”. Filming began in October.

Chris Columbus said: “There has been some criticism, from certain people, that we were too faithful to the book. My feeling is, if you’re a fan of the book you need to be faithful. If you love something you should be faithful to it”.


  • A huge chunk of the dialogue is straight out of the book
  • Tiny details are the same: the color of the ink on the Hogwarts letter, the color of the unicorn’s blood, etc.


  • Petunia and Dudley’s both have blond hair in the book, rather than black in the movie
  • No Peeves the Poltergeist
  • Harry and Hagrid leave shortly after Hagrid’s arrival, and Harry goes straight to Hogwarts from there
  • It’s Neville rather than Ron that gets detention and has to go into the Forbidden Forest

Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5. This is the most accurate of the Harry Potter adaptations. Deleted scenes add even more detail from the book that reflects this.