The Plot: The first chapter in the film series introduces the world of Harry Potter in his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unaware of his true calling, the orphan Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) lives in the outskirts of London with his nasty aunt and uncle and their spoiled brat of a son (all three are Muggles -- persons not born into the magical world). On his 11th birthday, Harry receives repeated invitations to attend Hogwarts, despite his uncle's efforts to block them. Harry is escorted by the gentle giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) to get his magical gear and go to school, whose headmaster is the wise old wizard Dumbledore (Richard Harris), and he also learns about his mysterious past: His parents were murdered by an evil wizard named Voldemort when he was just a baby, and he is now widely known as "The Boy Who Lived." Harry befriends loyal comrades Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and a mystery soon unfolds when the trio stumble upon a plot to steal the coveted Sorcerer's Stone (which can deliver the power of immortality), hidden in the dungeons of Hogwarts. At first suspecting Potions Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), it turns out that Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart) plans to use the Stone to help resurrect Voldemort.
The Highlights: Harry's magic wand chooses him in Diagon Alley; the Sorting Hat picks Gryffindor House for Harry along with Ron and Hermione; Harry's first Quidditch match, in which he captures the golden snitch -- and almost swallows it; the trio must get past Fluffy, the giant three-headed dog; Lord Voldemort reveals himself in the back of Quirrell's head.