Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Release date: May 23, 2004

Based on: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999 novel by J. K. Rowling)

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson,

Budget: $130 million

Box office: $796.7 million

As he prepares for his third year, Harry Potter learns a convicted murderer is coming after him.

While its predecessors weren’t shy about giving audiences a fair amount of dark thematic elements, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban not only drops them into a dark atmosphere, it only provides occasional glimpses of light as if the filmmakers are allowing for a brief respite in order to prepare for what comes next. . It doesn’t take long either, rapidly shifting from some humorous levity at the beginning to throwing a wave of darkness soon after. It’s a notable shift from the films before it, yet it winds up being a good adaptation of its source material despite not being completely perfect.

The new characters are done well too, especially the newly introduced Sirius Black who is not seen through most of the film. Rather, he’s only spoken of by other characters familiar with the misdeeds surrounding his name. The entire film, the trio hears how dangerous Black is, his proficiency and the ferocity of the grudge he harbors against Harry, making the reaction they have once he finally does show himself believable. Additionally, Remus Lupin as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is fascinating, immediately setting himself apart from his predecessor and treating the class with more prestige, allowing the students to challenge their abilities.

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Additionally, the main trio’s acting continues to improve in this film and it can especially be seen in Radcliffe. He is able to take the anger Harry is feeling regarding everything surrounding Black and make it realistic. Further, Oldman does what he’s best known for in taking the role he has and putting everything into it, making it seem like he really is unhinged and focused on revenge.

Nevertheless, the film isn’t entirely perfect and has a few pacing issues with unnecessary scenes. One gives the audience an extended scene which does nothing except drag on for far too long, adding nothing to the story itself. Likewise, another feels as if it was inserted entirely for the purposes of adding atmosphere to ensure the viewer is aware that the darkness found early on is set to continue throughout the film. The latter scene is interesting in and of itself and could have worked if it were executed differently, but the way it’s presented comes off a little too obvious.

This is quite an entertaining film, doing well in its progression to build off of prior stories as well as being a representation of what was to come.



AFI Awards, USA

  • Special Award (The HARRY POTTER SERIES marks the final triumphant chapter of a landmark series)

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award

BAFTA Awards

  • Audience Award
  • BAFTA Children’s Award – Best Feature Film

BMI Film & TV Award

  • BMI Film Music Award

Empire Awards, UK

  • Special Award (The “Harry Potter” films for outstanding contribution to British cinema.)

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Animation/Family (for the teaser #2)

Hollywood Film Awards

  • Production Designer of the Year

NRJ Ciné Awards

  • Top of the Box Office

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Live Action Family Film

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie – Drama/Action Adventure

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Visual Effects in an Effects Driven Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture (For the Hippogriff character)

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Public Choice Award


Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Supporting Actor (Gary Oldman)
  • Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Best Writer
  • Best Music
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

Amanda Awards, Norway

  • Best Foreign Feature Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

BAFTA Awards

  • Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects
  • Best Make Up/Hair

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Young Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Young Actress (Emma Watson)
  • Best Family Film (Live Action)

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • Best Games and Interactivities
  • Best Menu Design

Gold Derby Awards

  • Visual Effects

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Music (for “Dark”)
  • Summer 2004 Blockbuster

Grammy Awards

  • Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Italian Online Movie Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA – Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA – Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Youth Performance (Emma Watson)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Official Film Website (The Official Harry Potter Website)

People’s Choice Awards

  • Favorite Movie Fan Following (Potterheads)
  • Favorite Sequel
  • Favorite Villain Movie Star (Gary Oldman)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Youth DVD (Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection)
  • Best DVD Extras (for “Harry Potter Years 1-4”)

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie of the Summer

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Best Single Visual Effect of the Year
  • Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Soundtrack Composer of the Year
  • Best Original Soundtrack of the Year