Best Performances in the Harry Potter films

I already posted my favorite music from the Potter franchise and with all the views that received, I thought I’d do another Potter-centered ranking. This time I’ll focus on performances by the many actors and actresses from all eight films (Fantastic Beasts not counting). Some of the minor roles won’t be here. If you disagree with my picks, feel free to write a comment with your personal favorites.

Warwick Davis, Professor Flitwick/Griphook– Casting Davis as Flitwick made perfect sense- he’s a wonderful character actor and his version of Flitwick was bright and knowledgable, exactly like Flitwick in the books. He also did a serviceable job playing Griphook the goblin in Deathly Hallows- Part 2.

Kenneth Branagh as Professor Lockhart– I know he only appeared in one movie. Wasn’t he just perfect? When reading the books, at least I did this, I had images in my head of different actors that could play the different roles. So when Branagh popped up in Chamber of Secrets with an accurate, self-obsessed performance it was delightful.

Matthew Lewis and Evanna Lynch as Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood– Putting these two together makes sense- they’re both good friends of the trio. These two illustrate the Potter series’ great job of keeping the same actors throughout multiple films without having to recast. Lewis and Lynch made their respective book characters come to life and it was always a delight to see them on screen.

Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy– Even more of a delight was watching Tom Felton as Draco. Talk about another perfect casting choice! Felton originally auditioned as Harry but also auditioned as Draco. I think we’re all glad he got the part. He brought the character to life and we always looked forward to seeing him mess up the trio’s plans on screen!

Maggie Smith as Professor McGonnagal– My apologies if I spelled her name wrong. Who else can you see playing this role? Smith is almost as inseparable with this character as any she’s played during her illustrious career. McGonnagal serves as a mentor, teacher, defender, and protector in the books and Smith made her all of those things in the films.

Gary Oldman and David Thewlis as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin– I’m putting these two here because they’re very similar characters. Both have secrets and both are played by two wonderful actors. Oldman continues his “I can play good guys just as well as bad guys” phase with a convincing portrayal of Harry’s godfather. Thewlis gives Lupin a tired, helpful persona that makes us all want him as a mentor.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort– Again, who else would play “he-who-must-not-be-named”? I can’t think of anyone good enough! Fiennes plays the dark wizard with an unmistakable voice and proves you don’t need a nose to be feared. Every moment he’s on screen is delightful, albeit sometimes scary, to watch.

Richard Harris and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore– First off: Harris and Gambon represent two unique versions of Dumbledore. Harris is the wise, old teacher and Gambon is the energetic fighter and discoverer. Harris played the role so perfectly in the first two films that when he sadly died and Gambon took over for Azkaban, I didn’t like Gambon’s take. It took Gambon until the sixth film to convince me, and his turn in Part 2 was about as authentic as you could make it. Two great actors playing a great wizard.

Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson as The Trio– About as perfect casting as you can get. Seriously, what else can I say about these three? They’re all wonderful actors and as the lovable trio we journeyed with them across the Wizarding World. Radcliffe had the toughest job among the three, being the lead and all, but I think he was near perfect. Same goes with Grint and Watson, who both showed a sincere development over the course of the films. All three are spitting images of the book characters. There’s just one more person, however…

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape– In the books, you grew to hate Snape. In the movies, you grew to love Snape. Every second he was on screen was a joy to watch, even when he did bad things. The late Alan Rickman made the character his own, giving us one of the all-time best anti-heroes. Deathly Hallows Part 2 is where Rickman really deserved an Oscar (shame on you, Academy!). His performance gave fans a side of Snape we never thought we’d see. Sure, its explained in the book, but seeing our favorite potions master go through his various emotional states was a brilliant sequence and amazing acting. He’s the best part of the movies and a beloved character.


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