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

Being my favorite book of the series, I awaited this one with much anticipation and the unfortunate gap between it and Order of the Phoenix (the largest in the series) was almost unbearable. I was initially a little disappointed when walking out the theater because my favorite part of the book was completely left out: the attack on Hogwarts. Now that the series is over, while I still am bummed that they didn't film it at all, I kind of agree with their decision and reasoning that it would have been too identical to the finale of the series and would have made the impact of it a little less important. That said, the film is just plain beautiful with the best cinematography of the entire series and some of its best emotion moments they ever had. The way they handled the Half-Blood Prince aspect of the storyline, although less important than the overall story arc, is not as compelling as the book, but because of they way they filmed the movie and wrote the script, it wasn't made out to be a big deal in the first place. A little unfortunate considering it is the title of the movie, but not a significant flaw like others have tried to make it out to be. Some didn't like the tone of the movie, but it is perfectly in line with the book and I find the all the hormones and jokes pretty funny. The series continues to mature and the acting is even better. Even though I thought Order of the Phoenix was better despite being a worse book, this is still a great entry.

- jlewis07, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4 stars

Being my favorite book of the series, I awaited this one with much anticipation and the unfortunate gap between it and Order of the Phoenix (the largest in the series) was almost unbearable. I was initially a little disappointed when walking out the theater because my favorite part of the book was completely left out: the attack on Hogwarts. Now that the series is over, while I still am bummed that they didn't film it at all, I kind of agree with their decision and reasoning that it would have been too identical to the finale of the series and would have made the impact of it a little less important. That said, the film is just plain beautiful with the best cinematography of the entire series and some of its best emotion moments they ever had. The way they handled the Half-Blood Prince aspect of the storyline, although less important than the overall story arc, is not as compelling as the book, but because of they way they filmed the movie and wrote the script, it wasn't made out to be a big deal in the first place. A little unfortunate considering it is the title of the movie, but not a significant flaw like others have tried to make it out to be. Some didn't like the tone of the movie, but it is perfectly in line with the book and I find the all the hormones and jokes pretty funny. The series continues to mature and the acting is even better. Even though I thought Order of the Phoenix was better despite being a worse book, this is still a great entry.

- jlewis07, Wednesday, December 19, 2012