Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón from a screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger respectively. The film follows Harry's third year at Hogwarts and his quest to uncover the truth about his past, including the connection recently-escaped Azkaban prisoner Sirius Black has to Harry and his late parents.

With this film, the Harry Potter series switched to a longer eighteen-month production cycle. Cuarón was selected as director from a list that included Callie Khouri and Kenneth Branagh. The cast of previous instalments returned for the film, with the additions of Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, and Emma Thompson, among others. It was the first appearance of Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore, due to Richard Harris's death in 2002. Principal photography began in February 2003 at Leavesden Film Studios. It was the first in the series to extensively use real-life locations, with sets built in Scotland and scenes shot in London. Filming concluded in November 2003.

The film was released on 31 May 2004 in the United Kingdom, and on 4 June 2004 in North America. It was the first Harry Potter film to use IMAX Technology and released into IMAX theatres. Prisoner of Azkaban grossed a total of $797.5 million worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2004. Critics praised Cuarón's direction and the lead actors' performances. It is credited for marking a notable change in the franchise's tone and directorial style, and is often considered by critics and fans alike to be the best Harry Potter film. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Music Score and Best Visual Effects, at the 77th Academy Awards in 2004. It was followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005.

Plot - After his second year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter spends another dissatisfying summer with the Dursleys. On his thirteenth birthday, Vernon's visiting sister Marge viciously insults Harry and his parents, and an angry Harry causes her to inflate and float away. Expecting to be expelled for using magic outside school, Harry flees with his belongings.

The Knight Bus takes Harry to the Leaky Cauldron, where Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge assures Harry that he will not be punished. Reuniting with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry learns that Sirius Black, a convicted supporter of Lord Voldemort, has escaped Azkaban Prison and intends to kill him. During the journey to Hogwarts, the Hogwarts Express is boarded by Dementors, ghostly prison guards searching for Black. One enters Harry's compartment, causing him to faint, but new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin repels it with a Patronus Charm. At Hogwarts, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore announces that Dementors will patrol the school until Black is captured.

Rubeus Hagrid is appointed Care of Magical Creatures teacher, but his first class goes awry when Draco Malfoy provokes a Hippogriff named Buckbeak into attacking him, and his father, Lucius, has Buckbeak sentenced to death. Returning to Gryffindor Tower, the students find the Fat Lady's portrait has been attacked, and the terrified Fat Lady warns Dumbledore that Black entered the castle. During a stormy Quidditch match, Dementors cause Harry to fall off his broomstick, which is destroyed by the Whomping Willow. He is caught trying to visit Hogsmeade by Fred and George, who give him The Marauder's Map.

Using the map, Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade and learns that Black is his godfather, but divulged the Potters' whereabouts to Voldemort and murdered their mutual friend Peter Pettigrew. Determined to ward off the Dementors, Harry convinces Lupin to teach him the Patronus Charm. After Divination class, he witnesses Professor Trelawney enter a trance and prophesies that the Dark Lord will return. Watching Buckbeak's execution, Ron's pet rat Scabbers bites him and escapes, but a large black dog drags them both into a hole at the base of the Whomping Willow. This leads the trio through an underground passage into the Shrieking Shack, where the dog is revealed to be Black, an Animagus who can transform into an animal.

Lupin appears, embracing Black as an old friend before revealing himself to be a werewolf. Snape arrives to apprehend Black, but is knocked out by Harry's Disarming spell. Lupin and Black reveal that Scabbers is actually the Animagus form of Pettigrew, who betrayed Harry's parents, faked his death and framed Black for his own crimes. Turning Pettigrew back into human form, the group heads back to the castle, but the full moon causes Lupin to transform and Pettigrew escapes. As Black fights off Lupin in their animal forms, Dementors attack Black and Harry, but an unseen figure casts a powerful Patronus. Harry falls unconscious, awakening in the infirmary with Dumbledore and Hermione.

Learning that Black has been captured and sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss, Harry and Hermione act on Dumbledore's advice and use Hermione's Time-Turner, which she was given to attend several classes at once, to go three hours back in time. They see themselves reliving the night's events, and set Buckbeak free from execution. Spotting the past Harry and Black being attacked by Dementors, Harry rescues them using a Patronus charm and realizes he was the unseen figure who saved them earlier. He and Hermione free Black, who flies away on Buckbeak, still a fugitive without proof of his innocence. Harry and Hermione return to the infirmary, rejoining their own timeline.

Exposed as a werewolf, Lupin resigns from teaching and returns the Marauder's Map to Harry. Black sends Harry a Firebolt broomstick, which he happily takes on a ride.


  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter: A 13-year-old British wizard famous for surviving his parents' murder at the hands of the evil dark wizard Lord Voldemort as an infant, who now enters his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley: Harry's best friend at Hogwarts and a younger member of the Weasley wizarding family.
  • Emma Watson as Hermione Granger: Harry's other best friend and the trio's brains.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid: The gamekeeper and new Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts.
  • Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore: The headmaster of Hogwarts and one of the greatest wizards of all time. Gambon assumed the role after Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the previous two films, died of Hodgkin's disease on 25 October 2002, three weeks before the second film's release. Despite his illness, Harris was determined to film his part, telling a visiting David Heyman not to recast the role. Four months after Harris's death, Cuarón chose Gambon as his replacement. Gambon was unconcerned with bettering or copying Harris, giving his own interpretation instead, but putting on a slight Irish accent for the role as an homage to him. He completed his scenes in three weeks. The producers originally offered the role to Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen, but scheduling conflicts forced Lee to decline whilst McKellen turned it down as he had played a similar character Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also stated it would have been inappropriate to take Harris' role, as Harris had previously called McKellen a "dreadful" actor. Harris' family had expressed an interest in seeing Harris's close friend Peter O'Toole being chosen as his replacement, but the producers felt that his age and health would become troublesome down the line.
  • Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley: Harry's Muggle uncle.
  • Gary Oldman as Sirius Black: Harry's infamous godfather, who escapes from the Wizarding prison Azkaban after serving twelve years there for being falsely accused of being the Death Eater who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort. Oldman accepted the part because he needed the money, as he had not taken on any major work in several years after deciding to spend more time with his children. He was "surprised by how difficult it was to pull off", comparing the role to Shakespearean dialogue.
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape: The Potions teacher at Hogwarts and head of Slytherin.
  • Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley: Harry's Muggle aunt.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall: Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts and head of Gryffindor.
  • Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew: A former friend of Harry's parents said to have been killed by Sirius Black, but was later revealed to have been the real Death Eater who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort.
  • David Thewlis as Remus Lupin: The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts and a werewolf. Thewlis, who had previously auditioned for the role of Quirinus Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), was Cuarón's first choice for the role of Professor Lupin. He accepted the role on advice from Ian Hart, who was cast as Quirrell, and had told him that Professor Lupin was "the best part in the book." Thewlis had seen the first two films and had only read part of the first book, although he read the third after taking the role.
  • Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney: The Divination teacher at Hogwarts.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley: Ron's mother.
  • Several actors from the previous film reprise their roles in Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry Melling appears as Dudley Dursley, Harry's cousin. James and Oliver Phelps play Fred and George Weasley, Ron's twin brothers; Chris Rankin appears as Percy Weasley, Ron's other brother and a Hogwarts head boy; and Bonnie Wright portrays their sister Ginny, while Mark Williams plays their father, Arthur Weasley. Tom Felton portrays Draco Malfoy, Harry's rival in Slytherin, while Jamie Waylett and Josh Herdman appear as Crabbe and Goyle, Draco's minions. Matthew Lewis and Devon Murray play Neville Longbottom and Seamus Finnigan respectively, two Gryffindor students in Harry's year. David Bradley appears as Argus Filch, Hogwarts' caretaker, while Robert Hardy portrays Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic.
  • Pam Ferris portrays Aunt Marge, Vernon's sister; Lee Ingleby plays Stan Shunpike, conductor of the Knight Bus; and Jim Tavaré appears as Tom, innkeeper of The Leaky Cauldron, replacing Derek Deadman from the first film. Dawn French plays the Fat Lady, a painting at Hogwarts, replacing Elizabeth Spriggs from the first film. Julie Christie appears as Madam Rosmerta, the barmaid at the Three Broomsticks. Warwick Davis appears as the conductor of the Hogwarts choir. The role was offered to him by producer David Heyman due to Filius Flitwick, Davis' original role, being absent from the script. The change in appearance for the new character later became Flitwick's look for the rest of the series.