Box art for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

action & adventure, children & family


Voldemort is tightening his grip on Hogwarts™ and it is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry and Dumbledore work to find the key to unlock the Dark Lord's defenses.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    84%
  • Audience Score
    77%

common sense

ON for kids age 12
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
Sex
2 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Language
1 out of 5

Terrific but intense mix of love, friendship, fear, sorrow.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is no PG movie -- in all ways, it's very similar to the previous two movies, which were rated PG-13. This film continues the series' trend toward darker, more intense material. For young children, the death of a major beloved character could be extremely upsetting. Other characters are bloodied, kicked, and cursed in frightening ways, and a very scary scene involving scary, skeletal characters is sure to scare the pants off of little kids. There are also some big emotional upheavals and scary attacks. And there's notably more sexuality -- albeit playfully depicted -- than in the past movies. Because the characters are now teens, much of the interaction between them and their friends centers on getting a boy or girlfriend, and there's plenty of snogging (making out). While Harry and his friends continue as strong positive role models, other characters' motives and plans become more ambiguous. And there are also a few scenes that include alcohol consumption -- including one in which a professor serves his students.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the best age for kids (and eager parents) to start getting into the Harry Potter series. Is it OK to read all the books (and see all the movies) at the same age?
  • What do you think of the way the movie depicts the teens' romantic relationships? Are they believable? Is the story too hormone-filled for younger viewers?
  • What do we learn about Voldemort's past in this movie? Does that change the way you feel about him?
  • If you've read the book, what parts of the novel were left out? Which were faithfully adapted? How does this movie compare to the earlier ones as an adaptation?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: All in all, despite the verve that drives the grander set pieces, it's hard to avoid the sensation of a film toiling overtime to convince itself of its own solemnity.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, July 20, 2009

Fresh: It's a more mature magic. ... Now subject to the same raging hormones as any other 16-year-olds, our spell-casting heroes are learning to brew love potions this year, with results mostly played for laughs.

- Bob Mondello, NPR, Friday, July 17, 2009

Fresh: Director David Yates presides over some gorgeous CGI set pieces, but all the real magic comes from the scrum of ace British character actors.

- Cliff Doerksen, Chicago Reader, Friday, July 17, 2009

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The sixth film of the Harry Potter series continues to grow darker and eerie towards its finale. Half-Blood Prince visually sparks the human eye while providing an even more ominous feel to the story of its famed protagonist. 4/5

- fb1442511448, Monday, November 26, 2012

4 stars

The sixth film of the Harry Potter series continues to grow darker and eerie towards its finale. Half-Blood Prince visually sparks the human eye while providing an even more ominous feel to the story of its famed protagonist. 4/5

- fb1442511448, Monday, November 26, 2012

1 star

This is a film-franchise that at this point is running alarmingly fast out of steam. Where the series first two and especially the well made third installment (Prisoner of Azkaban) brought some true magic and wonder into it, this one throws it back to the level of the horribly miscalculated fourth film directed by Mike Newell. What makes this one possibly even more disappointing is the fact that it is also awfully boring and takes itself way too serious. I understand that these films are getting more and more darker while Harry is getting older, but at the same time most of the series magic is lost also. While far from accomplished films, the first two at least had magical feel in them which is completely gone ih Half-Blood Prince. The end result feels more closer to an artificial product that does not even feel like a film. Director David Yates is quite lost with all the material here and series is in a desperate need of innovation.

- emilkakko, Monday, June 25, 2012