Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Forced to spend his summer holidays with his muggle relations, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) gets a real shock when he gets a surprise visitor: Dobby (Toby Jones) the house-elf, who warns Harry against returning to Hogwarts, for terrible things are going to happen. Harry decides to ignore Dobby's warning and continues with his pre-arranged schedule. But at Hogwarts, strange and terrible things are indeed happening. Harry is suddenly hearing mysterious voices from inside the walls, muggle-born students are being attacked, and a message scrawled on the wall in blood puts everyone on his or her guard, "The Chamber Of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies Of The Heir, Beware".
IMDb   7.4 /10
Metacritic   63 %
TheMovieDb    7.7 /10
RottenTomatoes  82 %
FilmAffinity   6.5 /10
Release Date2002-11-13
Runtime2h 41mins
GenreAdventure, Family, Fantasy, Mystery
Content RatingPG (PG)
AwardsNominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 13 wins & 43 nominations.
CompanyWarner Bros., Heyday Films, 1492 Pictures
CountryUK, USA
Ron Weasley
Hermione Granger
Aunt Petunia
Dudley Dursley
Dobby (voice)
Jim Norton
Jim Norton
Mr Mason
Fred Weasley
George Weasley
Mrs. Weasley
Ginny Weasley
Percy Weasley

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, based on J. K. Rowling's 1998 novel of the same name. Produced by David Heyman and written by Steve Kloves, it is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Its story follows Harry's second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a monster that petrifies the school's denizens.

The cast of the first film returned for the sequel, with the additions of Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, and Gemma Jones, among others. It was the last film to feature Richard Harris as Professor Albus Dumbledore, due to his death that same year. Principal photography began in November 2001, only three days after the release of the first film. It was shot at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United Kingdom, as well as on the Isle of Man. Filming concluded in July 2002.

Chamber of Secrets was released in theatres in the United Kingdom and the United States on 15 November 2002. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing $879 million worldwide and becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 2002 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It was nominated for many awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Special Visual Effects. It was followed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004.


Spending the summer with the Dursleys, Harry Potter meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him that it is too dangerous to return to Hogwarts. Dobby sabotages an important dinner for the Dursleys, who lock Harry up to prevent his return to Hogwarts. Harry's friend Ron Weasley and his brothers Fred and George rescue him in their father's flying Ford Anglia.

Harry and the Weasley family are joined by Rubeus Hagrid and Hermione Granger at a book-signing by Gilderoy Lockhart, who later announces he is Hogwarts' new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Confronted by Draco Malfoy, Harry notices Malfoy's father, Lucius, slip a book into Ginny Weasley's cauldron. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at London King's Cross railway station, they take the flying car to Hogwarts; after crashing into the Whomping Willow and breaking Ron's wand, they receive detention.

In detention, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified beside a message written in blood: "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir... beware." Professor McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts' founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber containing a monster that only his Heir can control, capable of purging the school of Muggle-born students. Suspecting Malfoy is the Heir, Harry, Ron, and Hermione plan to question him while disguised using forbidden polyjuice potion, which they brew in a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle.

During a Quidditch game, Harry's arm is broken by a Bludger. Visiting him in the infirmary, Dobby reveals that he closed the barrier to Platform 9 3/4 and made the Bludger chase Harry to force him to leave the school. He also reveals that the Chamber had been opened in the past. When Harry communicates with a snake, the school believes he is the Heir. Harry and Ron learn Malfoy is not the Heir, but his father had told him a Muggle-born girl died when the Chamber was last opened. Harry finds an enchanted diary owned by former student Tom Riddle, who fifty years prior accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary is stolen and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius arrive to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to "follow the spiders". In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron meet Hagrid's giant pet spider, Aragog, who reveals Hagrid's innocence and provides a clue about the Chamber's monster.

A book page in Hermione's hand identifies the monster as a Basilisk, a giant serpent that kills people who make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims only saw it indirectly. The school staff learn Ginny has been taken into the Chamber, and nominate Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart preparing to flee, exposing him as a fraud; deducing that Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they find the Chamber's entrance in the bathroom she haunts. Once inside, Lockhart seizes Ron's broken wand to try to escape but it backfires, wiping Lockhart's memory and causing a cave-in which separates Harry from Ron and Lockhart.

Harry finds and enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious, guarded by Riddle, who reveals that he used the diary to manipulate Ginny into reopening the Chamber, and that he is Slytherin's heir and Voldemort's younger self. After Harry expresses his loyalty to Dumbledore, Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes arrives with the Sorting Hat, causing Riddle to summon the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, and the Sorting Hat eventually produces the Sword of Gryffindor, with which Harry battles the Basilisk, killing it and getting poisoned by one of its fangs in the process.

Despite his injury, Harry stabs the diary with the Basilisk fang, defeating Riddle and reviving Ginny. Fawkes' tears heal Harry, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart, earning Dumbledore's praise and Hagrid's release. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby's master, of planting the diary in Ginny's cauldron, and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk's victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid returns to Hogwarts.


  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter: A 12-year-old British wizard famous for surviving his parents' murder at the hands of the evil wizard Lord Voldemort as an infant, who now enters his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley: Harry's best friend at Hogwarts and a younger member of the Weasley wizarding family.
  • Emma Watson as Hermione Granger: Harry's other best friend and the trio's brains.
  • Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart: A celebrity author and the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Hugh Grant was the first choice for the role to play Lockhart, but due to reported scheduling conflicts he was unable to play the character. Alan Cumming was also considered for the role.
  • John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick: The ghost of Gryffindor House.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid: The half-giant gamekeeper at Hogwarts. Martin Bayfield portrays a young Hagrid.
  • Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick: The Charms teacher at Hogwarts and head of Ravenclaw.
  • Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley: Harry's abusive Muggle uncle, who despises wizards and now works as a drill company director.
  • Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore: Headmaster of Hogwarts and one of the greatest wizards of the age. Harris died shortly before the film was released.
  • Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy: Draco's father and a former Hogwarts pupil of Slytherin House who now works as a school governor at Hogwarts.
  • Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey: The magical Healer of the Hogwarts hospital wing.
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape: The Potions teacher at Hogwarts and head of Slytherin.
  • Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley: Harry's Muggle aunt.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall: The Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts and head of Gryffindor.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley: Ron's mother.

Several actors from Philosopher's Stone reprise their roles in this film. Harry Melling portrays Dudley Dursley, Harry's cousin. James and Oliver Phelps play Fred and George Weasley, Ron's twin brothers; Chris Rankin appears as Percy Weasley, Ron's other brother and a Gryffindor prefect; and Bonnie Wright portrays their sister Ginny. Tom Felton plays Draco Malfoy, Harry's rival in Slytherin, while Jamie Waylett and Joshua Herdman appear as Crabbe and Goyle, Draco's minions. Matthew Lewis and Devon Murray play Neville Longbottom and Seamus Finnigan, respectively, two Gryffindor students in Harry's year. David Bradley portrays Argus Filch, Hogwarts' caretaker, and Sean Biggerstaff as Oliver Wood, the Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Leslie Phillips voices the Sorting Hat.

Christian Coulson appears as Tom Marvolo Riddle, a manifestation of young Lord Voldemort; Mark Williams portrays Arthur Weasley, Ron's father. Shirley Henderson plays Moaning Myrtle, a Hogwarts ghost. Miriam Margolyes appears as Pomona Sprout, Hogwarts' Herbology professor and head of Hufflepuff. Hugh Mitchell portrays Colin Creevey, a first year student that is a fan of Harry's. Robert Hardy appears as Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic. Toby Jones voices Dobby, a House-elf, while Julian Glover voices Aragog, an acromantula.


Costume and set design

Production designer Stuart Craig returned for the sequel to design new elements previously not seen in the first film. He designed the Burrow based on Arthur Weasley's interest in Muggles, built vertically out of architectural salvage. Mr. Weasley's flying car was created from a 1962 Ford Anglia 105E. The Chamber of Secrets, measuring over 76 metres (249 ft) long and 36.5 metres (119.8 ft) wide, was the biggest set created for the saga. Dumbledore's office, which houses the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor, was also built for the film.

Lindy Hemming was the costume designer for Chamber of Secrets. She retained many of the characters' already established appearances, and chose to focus on the new characters introduced in the sequel. Gilderoy Lockhart's wardrobe incorporated bright colours, in contrast with the "dark, muted or sombre colours" of the other characters. Branagh said, "We wanted to create a hybrid between a period dandy and someone who looked as if they could fit into Hogwarts." Hemming also perfected Lucius Malfoy's costume. One of the original concepts was for him to wear a pinstripe suit, but was changed to furs and a snake head cane in order to remark his aristocrat quality and to reflect a "sense of the old."


Principal photography began on 19 November 2001, only three days after the wide release of the first film. Second-unit work had started three weeks before, primarily for the flying car scene. Filming took place mainly at Leavesden Film Studios in Hertfordshire, as well as on the Isle of Man. King's Cross railway station was used as the filming location for Platform 9¾, though St Pancras railway station was used for the exterior shots. Gloucester Cathedral was used as the setting for Hogwarts School, along with Durham Cathedral, Alnwick Castle, Lacock Abbey, and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. The Burrow was built in Gypsy Lane, Abbots Langley, in front of Leavesden Studios.

Roger Pratt was brought on as director of photography for Chamber of Secrets, in order to give the film "a darker and edgier feel" than its predecessor, which reflected "the growth of the characters and the story." Director Chris Columbus opted to use handheld cameras to allow more freedom in movement, which he considered "a departure for as a filmmaker." University of Cambridge linguistics professor Francis Nolan created Parseltongue, the language spoken by snakes in the film. Principal photography wrapped in July 2002.

Sound design

Due to the events that take place in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the film's sound effects were much more expansive than in the previous instalment. Sound designer and co-supervising sound editor Randy Thom returned for the sequel using Pro Tools to complete the job, which included initial conceptions done at Skywalker Sound in California and primary work done at Shepperton Studios in England.

Thom wanted to give the Whomping Willow a voice, a deep growl for which he used his own voice slowed down, equalised and bass-boosted. For the mandrakes, he combined baby cries with female screams, in order to "make it just exotic enough so that you think, 'Hmm, I've never heard anything quite like that before.'"

Thom described the basilisk as a challenge, "because it's a giant snake, but it's also like a dragon — not many snakes have teeth like that. He had to hiss, he had to roar and there were times at the end when he was in pain." He mixed his own voice, tiger roars, and horse and elephant vocalizations.

Special and visual effects

Visual effects took nine months to make, until 9 October 2002, when the film was finished.Industrial Light & Magic, Mill Film, The Moving Picture Company (MPC), Cinesite and Framestore CFC handled the approximately 950 visual effect shots in the film. Jim Mitchell and Nick Davis served as visual effects supervisors. They were in charge of creating the CG characters Dobby the House Elf, the Basilisk, and the Cornish pixies, among others. Chas Jarrett from MPC served as CG supervisor, overseeing the approach of any shot that contains CG in the film. With a crew of 70 people, the company produced 251 shots, 244 of which made it to the film, from September 2001 to October 2002.

The visual effects team worked alongside creature effects supervisor Nick Dudman, who devised Fawkes (Harry Potter) the Phoenix, the Mandrakes, Aragog the Acromantula, and the first 25 feet (8 m) of the Basilisk. According to Dudman, "Aragog represented a significant challenge to the Creature department." The giant spider stood 9 feet (3 m) tall with an 18 feet (5 m) foot leg span, each of which had to be controlled by a different team member. The whole creature weighed three quarters of a ton. It took over 15 people to operate the animatronic Aragog on set.

The Whomping Willow sequence required a combination of practical and visual effects. Special effects supervisor John Richardson and his team created mechanically operated branches to hit the flying car. A 1:3 scale set was built on stage at Shepperton Studios, which featured the fully-sized top third of the tree with a forced perspective to appear a height of over 100 feet (30 m) high. The courtyard and the tree were built in 3D. Some shots ended up being entirely digital. Jarret identified the rendering as "the biggest challenge" of the scene, because "there was just so much going on in ... It was simply massive."


John Williams, who composed the previous film's score, returned to score Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Composing the film proved to be a difficult task, as Williams had just completed scoring Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Minority Report when work was to begin on Catch Me If You Can. Because of this, William Ross was brought in to arrange themes from the Philosopher's Stone into the new material that Williams was composing whenever he had the chance. The soundtrack album was released on 12 November 2002.



Footage for the film began appearing online in the summer of 2002, with a teaser trailer debuting in cinemas with the release of Scooby-Doo. A video game based on the film was released in early November 2002 by Electronic Arts for several consoles, including GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. The film also continued the merchandising success set by its predecessor, with reports of shortages on Lego's Chamber of Secrets tie-ins.

Home media

The film was originally released in the UK, US and Canada on 11 April 2003 on both VHS tape and in a two-disc special edition fullscreen/widescreen DVD digipack, which included extended and deleted scenes and interviews. On 11 December 2007, the film's Blu-ray version was released. An Ultimate Edition of the film was released on 8 December 2009, featuring new footage, TV spots, an extended version of the film with deleted scenes edited in, and a feature-length special Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 2: Characters. The film's extended version has a running time of about 174 minutes, which has previously been shown during certain television airings.


Box office

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets held its world premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on 3 November 2002, and was released in the United Kingdom and the United States on 15 November 2002. The film broke multiple records upon its opening. In the US and Canada, the film opened to an $88.4 million opening weekend at 3,682 cinemas, the third-largest opening at the time, behind Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was also No. 1 at the box office for two non-consecutive weekends. In the United Kingdom, the film broke all opening records that were previously held by Philosopher's Stone. It made £18.9 million during its opening including previews and £10.9 million excluding previews. It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK; at the time, the fifth-biggest tally of all time in the region.

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide. It was the second-highest-grossing film of 2002 worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and the fourth highest-grossing film in the US and Canada that year with $262 million behind Spider-Man, The Two Towers, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. However, it was the year's number one film outside of America, making $617 million compared to The Two Towers' $584.5 million.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 82% based on 238 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+", the only film in the Harry Potter series to receive such grade.

Roger Ebert gave The Chamber of Secrets 4 out of 4 stars, especially praising the set design. Entertainment Weekly commended the film for being better and darker than its predecessor: "And among the things this Harry Potter does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences. This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker". Richard Roeper praised Columbus' direction and the film's faithfulness to the book, saying: "Chris Columbus, the director, does a real wonderful job of being faithful to the story but also taking it into a cinematic era". Variety said the film was excessively long, but praised it for being darker and more dramatic, saying that its confidence and intermittent flair to give it a life of its own apart from the books was something The Philosopher's Stone never achieved. A. O. Scott from The New York Times said: "instead of feeling stirred you may feel battered and worn down, but not, in the end, too terribly disappointed".

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone condemned the film for being over-long and too faithful to the book: "Once again, director Chris Columbus takes a hat-in-hand approach to Rowling that stifles creativity and allows the film to drag on for nearly three hours". Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times called the film a cliché which is "deja vu all over again, it's likely that whatever you thought of the first production – pro or con – you'll likely think of this one".


Chamber of Secrets was nominated for three BAFTA Awards: Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Special Visual Effects. The film was also nominated for six Saturn Awards. It received two nominations at the inaugural Visual Effects Society Awards. The Broadcast Film Critics Association granted it the Best Family Film and Best Composer awards, and nominated it for Best Digital Acting Performance (for Toby Jones).

AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipientsResultRef.
Amanda Awards22 August 2003Best Foreign Feature FilmHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated
Bogey Awards2002Bogey Award in PlatinumHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsWon
British Academy Film Awards23 February 2003Best Production DesignStuart CraigNominated
Best SoundRandy Thom, Dennis Leonard, John Midgley, Ray Merrin, Graham Daniel and Rick KlineNominated
Best Special Visual EffectsJim Mitchell, Nick Davis, John Richardson, Bill George and Nick DudmanNominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award17 January 2003Best Family FilmHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsWon
Best ComposerJohn WilliamsWon
Best Digital Acting PerformanceToby JonesNominated
Broadcast Music Incorporated Film & TV Awards14 May 2003BMI Film Music AwardJohn WilliamsWon
Golden Reel Awards22 March 2003Best Sound Editing – Foreign FilmRandy Thom, Dennis Leonard, Derek Trigg, Martin Cantwell, Andy Kennedy, Colin Ritchie, Nick LoweNominated
GoldSpirit Awards2003Best Recording EditionJohn Williamsbronze
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Themebronze
Grammy Awards8 February 2004Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual MediaJohn WilliamsNominated
Hugo Awards28 August–1 September 2003Best Dramatic Presentation, Long FormHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated
Japan Academy Film Prize7 March 2003Outstanding Foreign Language FilmHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards12 April 2003Favorite MovieHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated
London Film Critics Circle12 February 2003British Supporting Actor of the YearKenneth BranaghWon
MTV Movie Awards31 May 2003Best Virtual PerformanceToby JonesNominated
Online Film Critics Society6 January 2003Best Visual EffectsJohn RichardsonNominated
Saturn Awards18 May 2003Best Fantasy FilmHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated
Best Performance by a Younger ActorDaniel RadcliffeNominated
Best DirectionChris ColumbusNominated
Best CostumeLindy HemmingNominated
Best Make-upNick Dudman, Amanda KnightNominated
Best Special EffectsJohn Mitchell, Nick Davis, John Richardson, Bill GeorgeNominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards16 March 2003Most Annoying Non-Human CharacterDobby the House ElfNominated
Visual Effects Society19 February 2003Best Character Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture"Dobby's Face" – David Andrews, Steve Rawlins, Frank Gravatt, Douglas SmytheNominated
Best Compositing in a Motion Picture"Quidditch Match" – Dorne Huebler, Barbara Brennan, Jay Cooper, Kimberly LashbrookNominated