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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4.0 324
Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson


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After directing the first two movies in the Harry Potter franchise, Chris Columbus opted to serve as producer for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and passed the baton to Y Tu Mamá También director Alfonso Cuarón. Though "immensely popular" is an understatement when it comes to Harry Potter, Azkaban is somewhat of a


After directing the first two movies in the Harry Potter franchise, Chris Columbus opted to serve as producer for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and passed the baton to Y Tu Mamá También director Alfonso Cuarón. Though "immensely popular" is an understatement when it comes to Harry Potter, Azkaban is somewhat of a departure from its predecessors, and particularly beloved among fans for its surprise ending. Prisoner of Azkaban also marks the introduction of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who has escaped from the title prison after 12 years of incarceration. Believed to have been the right-hand-man of the dark wizard Voldemort, whom Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) mysteriously rendered powerless during his infancy, some of those closest to Harry suspect Black has returned to exact revenge on the boy who defeated his master. Upon his return to school, however, Harry is relatively unconcerned with Black. Run by Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) -- who is widely regarded as the most powerful wizard of the age -- Hogwarts is renowned for its safety. Harry's nonchalance eventually turns to blind rage after accidentally learning the first of Black's many secrets during a field trip to a neighboring village. Of course, a loose serial killer is only one of the problems plaguing the bespectacled wizard's third year back at school -- the soul-sucking guards of Azkaban prison have been employed at Hogwarts to protect the students, but their mere presence sends Harry into crippling fainting spells. With the help of his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Harry struggles to thwart the Dementors, find Sirius Black, and uncover the mysteries of the night that left him orphaned. ~ Tracie Cooper

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
As noted at the time of its theatrical release, the third Harry Potter film is somewhat darker in tone than its predecessors, but the change in mood was certainly beneficial -- Azkaban is clearly the best of the series to date. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his third year at Hogwarts under an ominous cloud: A killer wizard named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from prison, and there's every indication that he's heading for the well-hidden sorcery school to do young Potter in. The bulk of the film finds Harry, accompanied by loyal friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), trying to unravel the tangled strands of a mystery, with occasional help from their favorite new teacher, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis). The relatively benign witchcraft on display in the first two Potter films takes a backseat to more malignant occultism in Azkaban; the constant threat of impending death, along with some genuinely frightening scenes involving lycanthropy, makes this installment somewhat problematic for very young viewers. Seeing it from the security of home will lessen the impact on kids, but parents might want to prepare their most impressionable children for a slightly more scary time than they would normally have at Hogwarts. Director Alfonso Cuaron skillfully employs atmospheric visual effects and gives the film a more genuinely gothic look than the earlier Potter entries. Recurring cast members Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, and Robbie Coltrane are seen to good advantage; and Michael Gambon, taking over as Dumbledore for the late Richard Harris, figures prominently in a time-shift subplot that's extremely well worked out. Oldman is suitably menacing as the accused killer, and Thewlis brings genuine warmth to his sympathetic but complex character. Prisoner of Azkaban abounds in the delightful fantasy trappings that engage a youthful sense of wonder, but the darker undercurrents of its complicated plot make it unusually engrossing for older viewers as well.
All Movie Guide
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment of what will eventually be a seven-book series, is somewhat of a teenager unto itself. As familiarity inevitably begins to set in, the mere existence a magical community is no longer enough to sustain Harry emotionally, nor is the sparkling façade of Chris Columbus' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets enough to satisfy audiences. Consequently, a then-43-year-old Alfonso Cuarón was faced with one of the key challenges of early adolescence in agreeing to direct the film -- establishing an identity and channeling the seedling stages of angst into productivity. Thankfully, Cuarón clearly remembers what it's like to be 13. From raging hormones and expanding egos to crippling self-doubt and hope despite it, the hallmarks of youth are apparent in virtually every frame of Prisoner of Azkaban. The actors, of course, play no small role: Daniel Radcliffe has improved exponentially, while Rupert Grint continues to exhibit an impressive knack for comic timing. Emma Watson is perfect as Hermione; similar to Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore, Watson emanates wit and power, and, in staying with her character, communicates a sense of harried urgency in everything she does. The veteran British actors making up the Hogwarts staff are equally impressive. Emma Thompson, in particular, is delightfully batty as the boy-who-cried-Grim divination teacher, while Alan Rickman's Professor Snape is as unfathomable and complicated as ever. Though David Thewlis offers a solid performance as the haunted Professor Lupin, Gary Oldman is perhaps the most notable newcomer to the film series. With little time to spare, Oldman manages to express the tragic but unerringly loyal nature of Sirius Black. The nature of the soul and the life-altering effects of circumstance and choice are the two key elements of Prisoner of Azkaban, and Cuarón, to his credit, has helmed a production that is all soul. Even without the rich description of the book, the essence of the characters and the world they inhabit are more apparent than they have ever been, and the CGI fits into the "Potterverse" so seamlessly, it's easy to forget that Hippogriffs (a sort of half-eagle, half-horse) aren't part of the natural world. The only real fault in Cuarón's Azkaban, as devoted fans have duly noted, is the all-too-brief Shrieking Shack showdown, and the omission of Harry's final talk with Dumbledore. Besides depriving audiences of some well-needed history (why Snape hates Sirius enough to enjoy watching the soul sucked out of his body, the extent of the friendship between the Marauders, and the significance of the stag shape of Harry's Patronus, for instance), Dumbledore's explanation concerning the vast implications of the actions we take, and the life-debt Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall) now owes Harry because of a spontaneous decision, is not just an integral aspect to Prisoner, but to the series as a whole. Yet, even with a key scene conspicuously missing, this adaptation, more than its predecessors, gives an inkling into the tremendous success of the Harry Potter franchise, because Prisoner of Azkaban finally got what Harry is about -- magic, the bonds of friendship, and a whole lot of heart.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Special Features

48-page photo book with rare images from years 1-7; Year 3 lenticular card; Two in a series of character cards

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter
Rupert Grint Ron Weasley
Emma Watson Hermione Granger
Gary Oldman Sirius Black
David Thewlis Remis Lupin
Michael Gambon Albus Dumbledore
Alan Rickman Severus Snape
Robbie Coltrane Hagrid
Peter Best MacNair
David Bradley Argus Filch
Julie Christie Madam Rosmerta
John Cleese Nearly Headless Nick
Alfie Enoch Dean Thomas
Tom Felton Draco Malfoy
Pam Ferris Aunt Marge
Dawn French The Fat Lady
Jimmy Gardner Ernie Prang
Richard Griffiths Vernon Dursley
Robert Hardy Cornelius Fudge
Joshua Herdman Gregory Goyle
Matthew Lewis Neville Longbottom
Devon Murray Seamus
Kathrin Nicholson Pansy Parkinson
James Phelps Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps George Weasley
Chris Rankin Percy Weasley
Fiona Shaw Petunia Dursley
Maggie Smith Minerva McGonagall
Timothy Spall Peter Pettigrew
Jim Tavare Tom, the Leaky Cauldron Innkeeper
Emma Thompson Professor Trelawney
Julie Walters Mrs. Weasley
Jamie Waylett Vincent Crabbe
Paul Whitehouse Sir Cadogan

Technical Credits
Alfonso Cuarón Director
J. Rowling Source Author
Izzy Acar Animator
Bruce Dahl Animator
Andrew Doucette Animator
Michael Easton Animator
Keith Johnson Animator
Sharonne Solk Animator
Kim Thompson-Steel Animator
Tim Waddy Animator
Huck Wirtz Animator
Andrew Ackland-Snow Art Director
Alan Gilmore Art Director
Steve Lawrence Art Director
Gary Tomkins Art Director
Alexandra Walker Art Director
Chris Carreras Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Paula DuPre Pesman Associate Producer
Chris Carrera Asst. Director
Jamie Christopher Asst. Director
Simon Finney Camera Operator
David Morgan Camera Operator
Alastair Rae Camera Operator
Stefan Stankowski Camera Operator
Jina Jay Casting
Michael Seresin Cinematographer
David Evans Costumes/Costume Designer
William Steggle Costumes/Costume Designer
Jany Temime Costumes/Costume Designer
Steve Weisberg Editor
Michael Barnathan Executive Producer
Chris Columbus Executive Producer
Callum McDougall Executive Producer
Mark A. Radcliffe Executive Producer
Tanya Seghatchian Executive Producer
Amanda Knight Makeup
Elizabeth Lewis Makeup
Sharon Nicholas Makeup
Jane Royle Makeup
Clare Le Vesconte Makeup
Norma Webb Makeup
Nick Dudman Makeup Special Effects
Eddie Karam Musical Arrangement
Conrad Pope Musical Arrangement
David Heyman Producer
Stuart Craig Production Designer
David Carrigan Production Manager
John Williams [composer] Score Composer
Steve Kloves Screenwriter
Timothy Blackham Sound Mixer
Richard Beggs Sound/Sound Designer
Steve Hamilton Special Effects Supervisor
John Richardson Special Effects Supervisor
Martin Bayfield Stunts
Kelly Dent Stunts
Bradley Farmer Stunts
Paul Herbert Stunts
David Holmes Stunts
Rickie Hubbucks Stunts
Tolga Kenan Stunts
Anthony Knight Stunts
Abigail Letchford Stunts
David Lewis Stunts
Mark Lisbon Stunts
Emma Mac Stunts
Marc Mailley Stunts
Gary Powell Stunts
Claire Skelton Stunts
Andy Smart Stunts
Jo Ann Thompson Stunts
Felicity Walker Stunts
Joanna Whitney Stunts


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