Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince



Theatrical poster
Directed by David Yates
Produced by
Screenplay by Steve Kloves
Based on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by
J. K. Rowling
Music by Nicholas Hooper
John Williams
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel
Editing by Mark Day
Studio Heyday Films
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) 15 July 2009 (2009-07-15)[1]
Running time 153 minutes[2]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $250 million[3]
Gross revenue $933,959,197[4]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 fantasy-adventure film directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series and is produced by David Heyman and David Barron.[5] The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The supporting cast features Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton and Helena Bonham Carter.

Filming began on 24 September 2007, with the film being released in cinemas worldwide on 15 July 2009, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the corresponding novel’s release. In everywhere but the United States, the sixth film was simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3D in all countries. Due to North American theaters having a several week commitment by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,[6] the IMAX 3D release of the film occurred on 29 July, two weeks after its original release.[7]

Half-Blood Prince opened to critical acclaim along with instant commercial success, breaking the record for the biggest single-day worldwide gross of all time. In five days the film made $394 million, breaking the record for biggest five-day worldwide gross in history. With a total gross of $934 million, it became the 8th highest grossing movie of all time[8] and the second highest-grossing film of 2009 (behind Avatar). It is currently the 12th highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide unadjusted for inflation.[8] The film attained a mix of awards and nominations, including gaining recognition at the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Cinematography[9] and the 63rd British Academy Film Awards for Best Special Visual Effects and Best Production Design.[10]



Further information: Plot of the novel

Lord Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the wizarding and Muggle worlds, sending out Death Eaters to terrorise London, and has chosen Draco Malfoy for a secret mission. Severus Snape accepts Bellatrix Lestrange’s challenge to make an Unbreakable Vow with Draco’s mother, Narcissa, to protect Draco and carry out the assignment if he fails.

Harry accompanies Dumbledore to visit former potions professor Horace Slughorn, who has gone into hiding. With Harry shamelessly dangled as the lure by Dumbledore, Slughorn agrees to return to teach at Hogwarts as Dumbledore tells Harry that Slughorn’s return to Hogwarts is crucial.

Leaving Fred and George’s new shop, Harry, Ron and Hermione notice Draco and Narcissa associating with Death Eaters in Borgin and Burkes. Harry believes Voldemort has made Draco a Death Eater, but Ron and Hermione are sceptical. On the Hogwarts Express, Harry spies on Draco, who hints to his friends that he does not plan to return to Hogwarts next year. Draco discovers Harry’s presence and petrifies him and breaks his nose, but Harry is later rescued by Luna.

At Hogwarts, Harry and Ron are admitted to Slughorn’s potions class at the last minute and borrow the needed textbooks. The previous owner of Harry’s copy, the “Half-Blood Prince”, has annotated the book with additional instructions that allow Harry to excel in class. After making many spectacular saves as Keeper on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Ron becomes a Gryffindor hero and forms a relationship with Lavender Brown, leaving Hermione heartbroken. Harry discovers Hermione sobbing in the Astronomy Tower and reveals he has feelings for Ron’s sister, Ginny Weasley.

Harry spends Christmas with the Weasleys and becomes closer to Ginny. They almost share a kiss on Christmas Eve but Bellatrix and Fenrir Greyback, intent on capturing Harry, attack and burn the Burrow. Being outnumbered, they abandon their attack as Harry, Tonks, Lupin and the Weasleys watch their home burn.

Suspecting that Draco is responsible for two attempts on Dumbledore’s life, one of which nearly kills Ron (who, in his recovering state, admits that he loves Hermione), Harry confronts him and severely wounds Draco with a curse (Sectumsempra) from the Half-Blood Prince’s book. Harry, shocked that the curse causes Draco’s chest to be sliced open, retreats as Snape heals Draco. Fearing the book may be filled with more Dark Magic, Ginny and Harry hide the book in the Room of Requirement and share their first kiss.

Dumbledore shows Harry memories of a young Tom Riddle and reveals Slughorn retains a memory critical to Voldemort’s defeat. Harry retrieves the memory, learning that Voldemort wanted information for creating Horcruxes. The Horcrux safeguards a portion of the creator’s soul, granting him immortality unless the Horcruxes are destroyed. Two of Voldemort’s Horcruxes have already been destroyed: Tom Riddle’s diary and his mother’s ring. Touching the ring, Harry has a vision of Voldemort, which is noticed by Dumbledore. After discovering the possible location of another Horcrux, Dumbledore requests Harry’s help to retrieve it. They travel to a far-away cave where Harry is forced to make Dumbledore drink a mind-altering potion that hides the Horcrux, a locket. A weakened Dumbledore defends them from a horde of Inferi and apparates himself and Harry back to the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts. In the meantime, Bellatrix and several other Death Eaters enter the castle with Draco’s help.

Dumbledore first tells Harry to fetch Snape for help, but instead orders him to hide when footsteps approach. Draco reveals that he has been chosen by Voldemort to kill Dumbledore, but he is unable to follow through. Snape enters and casts the Avada Kedavra curse, killing Dumbledore and then escaping from the castle with Draco and the Death Eaters. In their wake Bellatrix casts the Dark Mark, destroys the Great Hall and sets fire to Hagrid’s hut. Harry tries to stop them, but Snape deflects Harry’s spells and Bellatrix stuns him. Snape reveals to Harry that he is the Half-Blood Prince and escapes. Harry returns to the school to find the staff and students mourning Dumbledore. Together they destroy the Dark Mark to honour Dumbledore.

Harry later reveals to Ron and Hermione that the locket Horcrux was a fake. The locket contains a message from an “R.A.B.” to Voldemort stating that he has stolen the real Horcrux with the intent of destroying it. His dying wish is that when Voldemort meets his match he will be mortal once more. Rather than return for their final year at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione vow to seek out who R.A.B. was and to find the remaining Horcruxes as they discover their journey is almost over.


  • Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort’s principal Death Eaters and Draco Malfoy’s aunt.
  • Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn, the newly appointed Potions master who held the position before.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts.
  • Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Harry’s rival and recipient of Voldemort’s secret mission.
  • Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, the legendary headmaster of Hogwarts.
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, the former Potions master and current Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, the Hogwarts Transfiguration teacher, deputy headmistress and head of Gryffindor.
  • Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew, the Death Eater who betrayed Harry’s parents to Voldemort. Spall has no lines in the film.
  • David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and Harry’s ex-Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, the Weasley matriarch and a mother figure to Harry.
  • Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, the Weasley patriarch and a father figure to Harry.

Christian Coulson, who played the young Tom Riddle in Chamber of Secrets, expressed an interest in returning in the role for flashback sequences;[11] Yates responded that Coulson was too old, nearing 30, to be playing the role.[12] Jamie Campbell Bower, who appeared in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, previously noted that he had his “fingers crossed” he would be cast as a young Riddle.[13] Bower was, however, later cast as the teenage Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Riddle’s role was played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin as a child and Frank Dillane as a teenager.

Helen McCrory appears as Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s mother and younger sister of Bellatrix. McCrory was originally cast as Bellatrix in Order of the Phoenix, but had to drop out due to pregnancy.[14] Naomi Watts was previously reported as having accepted the role,[15] only for it to be denied by her agency.[16]

Both Clémence Poésy, who has played Fleur Delacour, and Chris Rankin, who has played Percy Weasley, were interested in returning, but did not appear in the film.[17][18] After Bill Nighy expressed an interest in appearing,[19] Yates confirmed that Nighy would be his first choice for the role of Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour.[20] Scrimgeour’s character was ultimately cut from the film, but Nighy appeared in his role in Deathly Hallows.[21]



Before David Yates was officially chosen to direct the film, many directors had expressed an interest in taking the helm. Alfonso Cuarón, the director of the third film, stated he “would love to have the opportunity” to return.[22] Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell declined a spot to direct the fifth film, and was not approached for this one.[23] Terry Gilliam was Rowling’s personal choice to direct Philosopher’s Stone. When asked whether he would consider directing a later film, Gilliam said, “Warner Bros. had their chance the first time around, and they blew it.”[24]

Emma Watson considered not returning for the film,[25] but eventually decided that, “the pluses outweighed the minuses,” and could not bear to see anyone else play Hermione. Composer Nicholas Hooper returned from the last film; he included a reworking of John Williams‘s Hedwig’s Theme, which has recurred in all scores. Also maintained were costume designer Jany Temime, visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, creature and make-up effects designer Nick Dudman, and special effects supervisor John Richardson from the third film.[26]

Yates and Heyman have noted that some of the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows influenced the script of the film.[27] Much of the book’s ending has been changed, with the climactic battle in the castle and Dumbledore’s funeral being removed. Heyman commented that the end battle was removed to “[avoid] repetition” with the forthcoming adaptation of Deathly Hallows. The funeral was removed as it was believed it did not fit with the rest of the film.[28]


Stuart Craig, the production designer of the first five films, stayed on to design all the sets in Santiago of Chile.[29] Several new sets are introduced, including Tom Riddle’s Orphanage, Astronomy Tower and the Cave. Craig noted that the film used several CGI sets, noticeably the interior of the Cave where Harry and Dumbledore both go to hunt Horcruxes. The exterior of the cave scene was filmed at the Cliffs of Moher in the west of Ireland. The interior of the cave is made up of geometric crystal formations. Craig noted “Apart from the point at which Harry and Dumbledore first arrive and the island formation on which everything inside the cave happens, the set is entirely virtual, designed in the computer. We’d had our first totally virtual set on the last film, so we approached this one with a bit more confidence.”[30]


Half-Blood Prince was extensively color graded and due to the film’s overly dark tones, Warner Bros. asked Yates and Delbonnel to add more colours to the film, as they could barely see a thing on screen. After retouching some of the scenes Delbonnel realised that he had overused the grading and the final product was better.[31] Yates remarked Delbonnel’s work on the film as “The choice of angles, the extreme close-ups, the pacing of the scenes…It’s very layered, incredibly rich.”[32] It was the first film in the Harry Potter series to be nominated for a Cinematography Oscar.[9]

One of the major challenges for Delbonnel was lighting in the film. In an interview to the Academy, he said, “Some of the sets are there since the very first Potter. How could I light them in a different way? This question brought another one based on the series itself…, I thought it would be interesting to have those very intimate stories amidst this very dark mood. As if the school was a dark character. That’s when I suggested to go for this (again) dark moody variations of greys. Fortunately David Yates, and the producers liked the idea.” In reference to the cave scene Delbonnel said, “I wanted to have some kind of ‘dynamism’ with the light. I thought it could be interesting and more dramatic if the light was floating, circling above the characters faces: sometimes lighting them, sometimes hiding them in a very random and unpredictable way.” [33]


Before filming began, there was belief that filming might move from the UK, where all previous films were shot. The crew also scouted around Cape Wrath in Scotland, for use in the cave scene.[34] Filming returned to Glen Coe and Glenfinnan, both which have appeared in the previous films, to preserve the continuity of the landscape.[35]

Following a week of rehearsals, principal photography began on 24 September 2007 and ended on 17 May 2008.[36] Though Radcliffe, Gambon and Broadbent started shooting in late September 2007, some other cast members started much later: Grint did not begin until November 2007, Watson did not begin until December 2007, Rickman until January 2008, and Bonham Carter until February 2008.[37][38]

On the weekend of 6 October 2007, the crew shot scenes involving the Hogwarts Express in the misty and dewy environment of Fort William, Scotland.[35] A series of night scenes were filmed in the village of Lacock and the cloisters at Lacock Abbey for three nights starting 25 October 2007. Filming took place from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, and residents of the street were asked to black out their windows with dark blinds.[39][40][41] On set reports indicated that the main scene filmed was Harry and Dumbledore’s visit to Slughorn’s house.[41] Further filming took place in Surbiton railway station in October 2007,[42] Gloucester Cathedral, where the first and second films were shot, in February 2008,[43][44] and at the Millennium Bridge in London in March 2008.[45]

Visual effects

Tim Burke and Tim Alexander were the visual effects supervisors for the film. Tim Alexander said that completing the Inferi-attack scene took several months. He said, “It’s certainly much bolder and scarier than we imagined that they’d ever go in a ‘Potter’ movie. Director David Yates was cautious of not making this into a zombie movie, so we were constantly trying to figure out how not to make these dead people coming up look like zombies. A lot of it came down to their movement — they don’t move fast, but they don’t move really slow or groan and moan. We ended up going with a very realistic style.” He also noted that Inferi are skinnier than zombies, waterlogged and grey.[46]

About Dumbledore’s ring of fire, he noted that the effect would look as if someone sprayed propane and then lit it. He added, “We did a lot of research on molten volcanoes, which have a lot of heat going on but no actual flames, and collected a bunch of other references, including flares that burn underwater, and showed them to the Potter folks.” The visual effects team emulated these six fire parameters: heat ripples, smoke, buoyancy, viscosity, opacity, and brightness. Since the whole fire scene was very time consuming, computer graphics artist Chris Horvath spent eight months finding a faster way to conjure flames.[47][48]


Warner Bros. has spent an estimated $155 million to market and distribute the film.[3] The special edition two-disc DVD for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix contained two sneak peeks of the film,[49][50] while the US edition included an additional clip.[51] A 15-second teaser for the film was shown alongside the IMAX release of The Dark Knight.[52] The first full-length domestic teaser trailer was released on 29 July on AOL’s Moviefone website.[53] An international teaser was released on 26 October[54] and the U.S. theatrical trailer was released on 14 November.[55] Another trailer was screened on the Japanese TV station Fuji TV during a screening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on 18 January 2009.[56][57] Scenes from the film were aired during ABC Family‘s Harry Potter marathon which took place 5–7 December 2008.[58] On 5 February 2009, the first three promotional teaser posters were released, featuring Dumbledore and Harry.[59] On 5 March and 16 April 2009, new trailers were released by Warner Bros.[60]

Warner Bros and MSN ran an online Order of the Phoenix quiz, with the prize being a walk-on part in the Half-Blood Prince.[61] As with the previous films, EA Games produced a video game based on the film.[62] On 10 March 2009, it was announced that there would be a video game soundtrack, which was released on 17 March 2009.[63] On 27 March six character posters were released: Harry, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Professor Snape.[64] An English version of the international trailer and a Japanese version of the international trailer were released online 10 April.[65] On 8 May, CW Channel aired 30-second TV Spot, which focused on the romantic side of the film.[66] On 20 May, first clip from the film was released through The Ellen DeGeneres Show‘s official website, showing love-struck Ron.[67] Another clip of the film, showing Dumbledore visiting Tom Riddle’s Orphanage was released on 31 May 2009, at MTV Awards.[68]

Differences from the book

While at the middle of the series in length, the film Half-Blood Prince did add or change events in the literary canon. The book begins with a scene involving the Muggle Prime Minister. Yates and his crew debated over this scene, as well as the character Rufus Scrimgeour, but gave up the beginning of the movie to events described but not seen in the book.[69] Yates thought it would give the audience a feel for what the Death Eaters were doing if they showed the collapse of the Millennium Bridge rather than describe it.[70] As with Goblet of Fire, the Dursleys were cut, which Steve Kloves did to “break the pattern”[69] Further background of Tom Riddle was removed, such as the Gaunts because they felt it more important to concentrate on Riddle as a young boy, and an additional action scene at the Burrow was added to keep with the tone of the franchise.[69] Yates felt that they needed “an injection of jeopardy and danger” and that without it there was too much comedy and lightness.[71] A small battle scene at Hogwarts which happened during the end of the book was cut because the producers felt it too similar to the Battle of Hogwarts in the seventh book.[69]


The film was released in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Spain and Mexico on 15 July 2009.[1] It was originally set to be released on 21 November 2008,[72] but was pushed back by eight and seven months to 17 July, despite being completed. Warner Bros. executive Alan Horn noted that the move went ahead “to guarantee the studio a major summer blockbuster in 2009,” with other films being delayed due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[73] The box-office success of summer WB films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Dark Knight also motivated the decision.[74] An unnamed rival studio executive told Entertainment Weekly that the move was to “stop next year’s profits from looking seriously underwhelming after the phenomenal success of The Dark Knight,” as “they don’t need the money this year anymore.”[75] Dan Fellman, WB head of distribution, said that the studio had considered the date change for three to four weeks prior to the announcement, but gave it serious consideration a week before they came to their final decision.[76] Three months before its release in July, the date was again changed by 2 days from 17 July to 15 July, so it could open on a Wednesday like most tentpole summer movies.[77]

The date change was met with a heavily negative reaction by Harry Potter fans, as the Los Angeles Times noted: “Petitions were circulating, rumors were flying and angry screeds were being posted on Internet sites within minutes of the Thursday announcement.”[74] The move was mocked by Entertainment Weekly which had Half-Blood Prince on the cover on its “Fall Preview Issue”. Despite each being owned by Time Warner Inc., EW was unaware of the change until it was publicly announced by WB and noted that readers would now be in possession of a “Dewey Defeats Truman collectible”.[75] Several days after the announcement, Horn released a statement in response to the “large amount of disappointment” expressed by fans of the series.[78] Following the date change, Half-Blood Prince‘s release slot was taken by Summit Entertainment‘s Twilight,[79] and Walt Disney PicturesBolt.[80]

The sixth film was simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3D everywhere but the United States, due to a conflicting agreement in which Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was given a four week window by itself in IMAX in that country. Therefore, the IMAX 3D version of the film was released on 29 July 2009 there.[81] The film’s opening sequence featuring the destruction of the Millennium Bridge was in 3D.[82] The film had been chosen to be screened at the 2008 Royal Film Performance on 17 November,[83] but was not shown. Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund chief executive Peter Hore noted he was “very disappointed” with Warner Bros’ decision.[73]

Advanced ticket sales on Fandango.com for Half-Blood Prince surpassed advanced ticket sales for Transformers 2 at the same point in sale cycles. It is also in MovieTickets.com’s top 25 advance sellers of all time.[84]

Running 153 minutes (2 hours 33 minutes and 19 seconds) long,[85] Half-Blood Prince is the third longest of the series, coming behind Chamber of Secrets (161 minutes) and Goblet of Fire (157 minutes).

Box office

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince broke the then-record for biggest midnight showings, making $22.2 million in 3,000 theatres, until the new record was held by The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $26.3 million. Half-Blood Prince opened in the same Wednesday slot that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix did in 2007, which grossed $12 million in midnight runs, on its way to $139.7 million in its five-day debut in the US.[86] The film’s box office run was over on 17 December 2009.[87]

The film opened in 4,325 theatres (rising to 4,455 theatres three weeks later, becoming the largest number of theaters, till The Twilight Saga: Eclipse surprised it with the number of 4,468 theaters)[88] and grossed $58.2 million on its opening day at the top of the United States and Canadian box office, the third-highest Wednesday opening of all-time behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It is also the sixth-highest single-day gross of all time, and the second highest for a film in the Harry Potter franchise behind the following Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which made $61.1 million.[89] It earned an additional $46 million overseas for a worldwide total of $104 million, breaking the record for highest single-day worldwide gross, previously held by The Dark Knight.[90] By 20 July, the film had taken in $158.7 million in the US and $236 million from 85 other markets, for a worldwide tally of $394.7 million.[91] This broke the record for biggest ever worldwide 5-day opening, surpassing Spider-Man 3s $381 million; makes the film the fastest to reach the $350 million mark in worldwide box office of all time; and, in the US, surpasses all of its predecessors by a wide margin, achieving the sixth-largest ever 5-day opening in the US.[92] In the UK, the film grossed £19.75 million (equivalent to about $38.13 million), the highest opening for both the series and releases of 2009.[93] At the end of the film’s US box office run the total ticket sales of the film were $301,959,197,[4] making it the second most successful film in the franchise, after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.[94] As with all of the previous films in the franchise, Half-Blood Prince proved to be extremely successful globally with an estimated non-US total gross of $632,000,000, totalling approximately $933,959,197 worldwide,[4] making it the second highest-grossing film of 2009, behind Avatar, and the 12th highest-grossing picture of all time, unadjusted for inflation. It is currently the fourth highest-grossing film in the franchise, behind Philosopher’s Stone, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Order of the Phoenix.[8]

In South Africa the film opened with the number one position grossing $789,176,[95] it maintained a number one position during the second week too, with a total of $242,336.[96] In Australia, as in most of the world, the film broke records with a debut of $11,492,142 and opening at number one, maintaining a second week at number one with a total of $5,278,096 (down 54%), and grossed a total of $24,208,243.[97] In France the film debuted at $20,541,239 from 949 theatres.[98]


The film received positive reviews from film critics; it holds an overall approval rating from critics of 83% on the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes with 206 “Fresh” reviews,[99] and an overall approval rating of 88% among the site’s “top” critics.[100] The site’s general consensus categorises the film as “[d]ark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying”. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on individual reviews from critics, the film received an average score of 78 (“generally favourable”) based on 36 reviews.[101] The film scored 87/100 from professional critics at the Broadcast Film Critics Association.[102]

BBC News’s Tim Masters has praised the film’s cinematography, visual effects, production design, improved acting and darker plotline.[103]

The first review of the film came three weeks before the official release. Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com ranked the film with The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and called the film a “possible Oscar contender”. He highly praised the performance of Sir Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman and Daniel Radcliffe. He commented, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a tour-de-force that combines style and substance, special effects and heart and most importantly great performances from all of the actors young and not-so-young”.[104] Another early review came from the UK tabloid The Sun, whose anonymous reviewer called the film “masterful” and “very emotional”. The reviewer praised David Yates‘ directing and called Jim Broadbent‘s portrayal of Horace Slughorn “perfect”.[105] Devin Faraci of Chud.com called the film not only the best Harry Potter film yet, but also one of the best films of the year.[106]

Andrew Pulver of The Guardian wrote a positive review, and gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars rating.[107] Todd McCarthy of the trade magazine Variety said that the film is “dazzlingly well made” and “less fanciful than the previous entries”. He praised Alan Rickman‘s performance and he described Helena Bonham Carter as “mesmerizing” and Jim Broadbent as “grand eccentric old professor”.[108] The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt noted that the film’s first half is “jerky and explosive”, but in the second half, the film finds better footing. He adds, “Composer Nicholas Hooper, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and designer Stuart Craig deliver a singularly muscular and vigorous chapter”.[109] Screen Daily called the film “[s]tunningly shot by Bruno Delbonnel in metallic hues leavened by buttery tones and the thumping beats of Nicholas Hooper’s score bear little resemblance to the original and the overall effect is much less tween, much more grown-up”.[110]

Chris Tilly of IGN UK commented on the length of the film, saying “while on occasion it drags, the 153 run-time never feels too long, thanks in no small part to the astonishing visuals and (largely) marvellous performances,” and goes on to say, “This is by far the best-looking of the Potter films thus far,” commending the “beautiful” Quidditch match and the “stunning” finale.[111] However, Dave Golder of SFX magazine found some aspects of the film to be a disappointment, largely due to the large number of opportunities the director and screenwriter had sacrificed to devote “huge swathes of the film to subplots of Harry and his chums’ teenage romances,” but nevertheless found the film to be a large enjoyment, praising the performances of Jim Broadbent and Alan Rickman.[112]

David Stratton, of Margaret and David At The Movies, gave the film a 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars, remarking, “For non-readers [of the Harry Potter series] the films are now borderline incomprehensible”, and that the film was “a little tedious” and “generally less interesting visually than its predecessors.” He praised the cast, describing them as “consummate”, adding Sir Michael Gambon “really makes Dumbledore an imposing character” and Jim Broadbent was “wonderful”. Margaret Pomeranz, the co-host of the television show, gave the film 3 out of 5 stars.[113]

At the time of its release, J. K. Rowling stated that Half-Blood Prince was her “favourite one” of the six film adaptations.[71]

Home media

Like the previous films, a 1-Disc and 2-Disc Special Edition for the film was released on Blu-ray Disc with a Digital Copy and DVD on 7 December 2009 in the United Kingdom,[114] and 8 December 2009 in the United States.[115] The Blu-ray and DVD includes an 11 minute 38 second feature on the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter mini theme park[116] which opened on 18 June 2010 at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. Also included are deleted scenes comprising 8 scenes with a running length of 6 minutes and 31 seconds,[117] and a sneak peek of the next Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2 (2010/2011).[118] The Blu-ray and DVD released in India,[119] the Philippines, South Africa, Czech Republic and Israel on 16 November 2009, making them the first countries to get the Half Blood Prince DVD release before the UK and the US. The release date for Australia and New Zealand was 18 November and for Brazil[120] and Chile, 19 November. The Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD editions in North America includes a digital copy of the film.[115] In the United Kingdom, the DVD release became the fastest selling DVD of the year with an estimated 840,000 copies of the film sold in a few hours.[121] In the US, the DVD made a strong debut at number one in both the DVD and Blu-Ray markets widely beating out any competition with sales of 4,199,622 copies. World wide DVD and Blu-ray sales of the film show that it is the fastest selling film of 2009.[122]

On 14 June 2011, an Ultimate Edition will be released simultaineously with the Ultimate Edition of the Order of the Phoenix film on both Blu-ray and DVD, containing new bonus features, doucmentaries, and collectables.[123]


The film’s score was composed by Nicholas Hooper, who also composed the music for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The soundtrack was released on an Audio CD format on 14 July 2009, a day before the film was released in theatres.[124]

The album debuted at number twenty-nine on the Billboard 200 chart, thus making it the highest charting soundtrack among all the six movie soundtracks released.[125] It was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media, but lost to Pixar‘s Up.[126]

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for BAFTA Awards in Production Design and Visual Effects,[10] and was in the longlists for five other categories, including Best Supporting Actor for Alan Rickman.[127]

Bruno Delbonnel was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the 82nd Academy Awards , which he lost Avatar.[9] The film was also one of the final seven contenders for Best Visual Effects.[128]

Award Category Result Recipient Source
82nd Academy Awards Best Cinematography Nominated Bruno Delbonnel [9]
Art Directors Guild Award Excellence in Production Design For a Feature Film Nominated Stuart Craig [129]
63rd BAFTA Awards Best Production Design Nominated Stuart Craig
Stephanie McMillan
Best Special Visual Effects Nominated John Richardson
Tim Burke
Tim Alexander
Nicolas Aithadi
BAFTA Kids’ Vote Best Film Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [130]
Digital Spy Movie Award Best Family Film Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [131]
Gouden Flip Award Best Film Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in a Foreign Feature Film Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [132]
Grammy Award Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture Nominated Nicholas Hooper [126]
Hollywood Movie Award Hollywood Movie of the Year Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [133]
IFTA Award Best Supporting Actor Nominated Michael Gambon [134]
IGN Best Fantasy Movie Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [135]
MTV Movie Awards Best Movie Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [136]
Best Female Performance Nominated Emma Watson
Best Male Performance Nominated Daniel Radcliffe
Best Villain Won Tom Felton
Best Global Superstar Nominated Daniel Radcliffe
National Movie Awards Best Family Movie Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [137]
Best Performance Nominated Rupert Grint
Nominated Daniel Radcliffe
Nominated Emma Watson
People’s Choice Awards Favorite Movie Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [138]
Favourite Franchise Nominated Harry Potter
Best On-Screen Team Nominated Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Live Action Family Film Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [139]
RAAM Awards Film of the Year Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [140]
RAFA Awards Alan Titchmarsh Show British Film of the Year Award Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [141]
Classic FM Film Music of the Year Award Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Best Use of UK Locations in a Film Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Film of the Year sponsored by The List Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [142]
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [143]
Best Costume Nominated Jany Temime
Best Production Design Nominated Stuart Craig
Best Special Effects Nominated Tim Burke
John Richardson
Nicholas Aithadi
Tim Alexander
Scream Award Best Fantasy Film Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [144]
Best Fantasy Actress Nominated Emma Watson
Best Fantasy Actor Nominated Daniel Radcliffe
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Rupert Grint
Best Supporting Actress Nominated Evanna Lynch
Best Villain Nominated Helena Bonham Carter
Best F/X Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Best Sequel Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Holy Sh*t! Scene of the Year Won “Death Eaters Attack London” Scene
Best Ensemble Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
SFX Awards Best Film Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [145]
Switch Live Award Favourite Flick Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [146]
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie: Action Adventure Won Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [147]
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Fantasy Nominated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [148]
Choice Movie Actress: Fantasy Nominated Emma Watson [148]
VES Awards Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture Nominated David Basalla
Emily Cobb
Tania Richard
Young Artist Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated Evanna Lynch [150]


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