Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 British-American fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. The story follows Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts as he becomes obsessed with a mysterious textbook, falls in love, and attempts to retrieve a memory that holds the key to Lord Voldemort's downfall.
The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and is followed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Filming began on 24 September 2007, leading to the film's worldwide cinematic release on 15 July 2009, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the corresponding novel's release. The film was simultaneously released in regular cinemas and IMAX 3D everywhere except North America, where its IMAX release was delayed for two weeks.
Half-Blood Prince opened to positive reviews along with immediate commercial success, breaking the record for the biggest single-day worldwide gross. In five days the film made $394 million, breaking the record for highest five-day worldwide gross. With a total gross of $934 million, it became the 8th-highest-grossing movie of all time and the second-highest-grossing film of 2009 (behind Avatar). It is currently the 34th-highest-grossing film of all time worldwide unadjusted for inflation. It is the fifth-highest-grossing film in the franchise.
The film attained a mix of awards and nominations, including gaining recognition at the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and the 63rd British Academy Film Awards for Best Special Visual Effects and Best Production Design. Half-Blood Prince remains one of the most positively reviewed films within the series among film critics; at the time of its release, it became the third-highest-rated Harry Potter film on review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Critics praised the film's "emotionally satisfying" story, David Yates' direction, cinematography, performances; particularly those of Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, Tom Felton and Daniel Radcliffe; the visuals and Nicholas Hooper's musical score.
Lord Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the wizarding and Muggle worlds and has chosen Draco Malfoy to carry out a secret mission. Severus Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow with Draco's mother, Narcissa, to protect Draco and fulfill the assignment if he fails.
16-year-old Harry accompanies Albus Dumbledore to visit former Potions professor Horace Slughorn, who has gone into hiding but agrees to return to teach at Hogwarts. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow, where Harry reunites with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry believes Voldemort has made Draco a Death Eater, after seeing Draco taking part in a ceremony, but Ron and Hermione are skeptical. At Hogwarts, Harry and Ron are forced to borrow textbooks for Slughorn's Potions class, and Harry is stuck with a copy that turns out to be filled with helpful notes, instructions, and spells left by the book's previous owner, the "Half-Blood Prince". Using the book, Harry excels in the class and impresses Slughorn. Ron becomes Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and forms a romantic relationship with Lavender Brown, upsetting Hermione. Harry consoles Hermione, revealing that he now has feelings for Ron's younger sister, Ginny Weasley.
Harry spends the Christmas holidays with the Weasleys. On Christmas Eve, Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback set fire to the Burrow. Back at school, Ron is nearly killed when he drinks poisoned mead, a drink originally intended for Dumbledore. While recovering, Ron murmurs Hermione's name, causing Lavender to end their relationship. Harry confronts Draco and severely injures him with a Sectumsempra curse taken from the textbook of the Half-Blood Prince. Snape enters and quickly heals Draco's wound. Fearing the book may be filled with more Dark Magic, Ginny and Harry hide it in the Room of Requirement and share their first kiss.
Dumbledore shows Harry memories of a young Tom Riddle and reveals that Slughorn retains a memory critical to Voldemort's defeat. Harry eventually succeeds in retrieving the memory, and learns that Voldemort wanted information for creating Horcruxes, objects that contain pieces of his soul. In the memory, Tom asked if dividing his soul into seven pieces was possible. Dumbledore concludes that Voldemort eventually did this, and two of his Horcruxes have already been destroyed: Tom Riddle's diary and his mother's ring. After discovering the possible location of another Horcrux, Harry and Dumbledore travel to a seaside cave where Harry is forced to make Dumbledore drink a painful potion that hides the Horcrux, Slytherin's locket. A weakened Dumbledore defends them from Inferi and apparates back to Hogwarts, where Bellatrix, Greyback and more Death Eaters have entered with Draco's help through a Vanishing Cabinet.
Dumbledore instructs Harry to hide as Draco arrives, disarms Dumbledore and reveals that he has been chosen by Voldemort to kill the headmaster. However, he is unable to bring himself to do it, and Snape casts the Avada Kedavra curse instead, killing Dumbledore. Harry attempts to curse Snape, but Snape overpowers him and reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince. Harry returns to the school to find the staff and students mourning Dumbledore. Harry later reveals to Ron and Hermione that the locket Horcrux was a fake. The locket contains a message from "R.A.B.", stating that he has stolen the real Horcrux with the intent of destroying it. Rather than return for their final year at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione vow to seek out and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.
- Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.
- Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, one of Harry's two best friends.
- Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, one of Harry's two best friends.
- 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.
- Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick, the Charms master and head of Ravenclaw.
- Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Harry's rival and recipient of Voldemort's secret mission.
- Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts.
- Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, the former Potions master, current Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and head of Slytherin.
- 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. Pettigrew has no lines in this film, but appears as a servant at Snape's house.
- David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and Harry's former Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
- Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, the Weasley matriarch and a mother figure to Harry.
Differences from the book