A Film Synopsis for the First "Harry Potter" Movie

by Shae Hazelton

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is the first film installment of J.K. Rowling's highly successful Harry Potter books. The story includes background information on the main character, Harry Potter, and takes you through an introduction of his new life after he turns 11. The movie is approximately 152 minutes and while it deviates from the book, fans of the series can still enjoy the shortened adaptation.


Harry Potter is a desperately unhappy 10-year-old boy who lives with his uncle Vernon, his aunt Petunia and his cousin Dudley. His aunt and uncle force him to do the all house chores as well as live in a cupboard under the stairs. As his 11th birthday looms closer, he starts receiving mysterious letters that his aunt and uncle won't let him read. They even hide away in a remote area, but a half-giant named Hagrid appears at their door to deliver shocking news: Harry is a wizard. The letters he was receiving were enrollment invitations for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry learns that he is a bit of a celebrity in the wizard world because he survived an attack from an evil wizard named Voldemort. Voldemort terrorized the wizard community for many years and killed countless innocent people, including Harry's parents. The night Harry survived the attack Voldemort disappeared.

Shopping and Hogwarts

Harry accompanies Hagrid to the wizard market Diagon Alley to prepare for school. He learns his parents left him a substantial sum of money in the bank Gringotts. Harry witnesses Hagrid picking up a mysterious package for Dumbledore, the school's headmaster, while at the bank. After he has all his supplies, including his wizard wand, Hagrid leaves him at the train station to head to Hogwarts. He meets two friends -- Hermione and Ron -- on the way to school, as well as the pretentious Draco Malfoy. He joins his friends in the Gryffindor house at Hogwarts and quickly begins showing an aptitude for magic despite the unwanted attention he receives for his fame, even earning a spot on the school's sport team.

The Stone

Harry and his friends start to fear there is a plot to rid the school of Dumbledore and return Lord Voldemort to power. Their suspicions point towards Professor Snape, a surly man who takes a particular dislike to Harry. Using their skills of deduction, they learn the item Hagrid retrieved in Diagon Alley was the Sorcerer's Stone, which has the power to give someone everlasting life. Voldemort plans to use the stone to return to life, so Harry and his friends set out to stop that from happening. They face challenges that result in Harry confronting a weakened Lord Voldemort on his own. Instead of finding Snape with him, though, he finds Professor Quill, whom he never suspected to be evil due to his quiet nature.


Harry gets the stone before Professor Quill and Lord Voldemort. They attempt to kill him and take the stone, but a curious force burns their hands when they attempt to touch him. Knowing his advantage, Harry lashes out, destroying Professor Quill and banishing Voldemort. He wakes up in the hospital wing of the school later to personal congratulations from Dumbledore himself. Dumbledore explains that Quill was working behind the scenes to bring Voldemort back to power, but Harry's inner strength won the battle this time. Harry finishes off the year in relative peace and returns home for the summer.