Most of the characters in the Harry Potter series have a solid sense of humor, but twins Fred and George Weasley are the star comedians and pranksters of the series. They mostly serve as lovable scamps, pulling pranks that occasionally go too far. They’re heroes too: they passed Harry the Marauder’s Map, they created a ton of “joke” items that were actually incredibly useful, and they both fought in the final Battle of Hogwarts, with Fred losing his life in the process.
The books are full of hilarious pranks from the mischief-makers, but most of their movie screen time is devoted to telling jokes that keep the plot moving without getting too dark. Occasionally the founders of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes get to show off their magical talent with some truly incredible pranks. Here are all of their movie pranks, ranked from good to amazing.
In Goblet of Fire, the twins want desperately to compete in the Triwizard Tournament, in part because the prize is a thousand Galleons. Unfortunately, anyone under 17 is barred from entering, enforced by Dumbledore’s magical Age Line. The twins are due to turn 17 soon after the deadline to enter though, so they try to get in any way by drinking a bit of Aging Potion to trick Dumbledore’s enchantments. They make the whole thing into a joke, showboating around the Great Hall before they jump in.
If they’d managed to make it work, it would have been a great prank to prove their own magical prowess. Instead, their own trick is turned around on them by Dumbledore’s own prank. His enchantments throw the twins out and give them long white beards as harmless punishment for their own trick. They might not pull off this prank, but it’s a hilarious attempt.
When we first meet Fred and George in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, they immediately pull a small-scale prank on their mum. When she tells them to go through the barrier at Platform 9¾ ahead of Ron, to show him how it's done. Seeing an opportunity, one gets on her about confusing them: “I’m not Fred, I’m George! Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother?” Naturally, once she’s apologized, the big twist is revealed: “Only joking Mum, I am Fred.” It’s a scene lifted straight from the books and it works perfectly as an introduction to them.
It’s a classic prank that identical twins can pull at any time. This might be the only time we see Fred and George do it, but it was probably a common one, much to Molly Weasley’s frustration.
The second Fred and George are adults, and therefore allowed to perform magic outside of Hogwarts, they can’t help themselves - they have to perform magic everywhere, all the time. When they’re not developing their initial offering of products for Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, they especially delight in apparating (disappearing and appearing somewhere else) right behind people, scaring them out of their minds.
In the books, they do it to Ron a lot, to rub it in his face that he’s still too young, but in the movie Order of the Phoenix, they seem to enjoy doing it to their mum most. Her over-the-top frustration is exactly the response they’re looking for. This harmless little prank makes for easy comic relief in a series that only gets darker from here.
All through Order of the Phoenix, we spot Fred and George with the earliest iterations of what will eventually become their shop's bestsellers: Skiving Snackboxes. Each box is designed as two pills, one that makes the pupil appear violently ill and one that immediately lifts all of the “symptoms,” presumably so the pupil can enjoy a free period instead of going to class. The boxes need perfecting all throughout the year, so the twins are always testing them. They realize, of course, that the boxes also could have other less harmless uses. In the book, the twins constantly fight with Hermione over using the first year students to test their potentially-dangerous products. In the movie, they use one half of a Snackbox to draw Filch away from discovering Dumbledore’s Army in the Room of Requirement.
When Filch eats his Valentine’s Candy, he immediately breaks out into horrifying and probably painful pustules on his face. It sends him running back to Professor Umbridge’s office, which allows the group to escape undetected. Since they don’t bother to give Filch the antidote, one can only imagine how he gets it cured. Then again, Madame Pomfrey probably quickly became familiar with ways to cure people of Fred and George’s pranks.
This is the prank that is destined to go down in history as the one that establishes Fred and George as Hogwarts legends. Finally fed up with Professor Umbridge and totally ready to begin open their joke shop, the twins pull off their tour de force. In the middle of the O.W.L. examinations, Fred and George reveal their amazing fireworks show. The sparkling creations launch themselves throughout the castle, interacting with the students and portraits, before finally chasing down Professor Umbridge in the form of a giant dragon, effectively destroying the wall of her “proclamations.”
In the book, this famous prank is even bigger. They had previously set up a portable swamp in front of Umbridge’s office, which they refused to remove before they fled Hogwarts. Though the professors probably could have removed it, they didn’t, preferring to watch Umbridge struggle. Eventually, Professor Flitwick left some of it because it was “a good bit of magic.” Their fireworks also lasted for days, roaming the grounds freely and irritating Umbridge. Their prank also set off a series of pranks that came from all corners of the castle as students and professors who were inspired by Fred and George acted out. The movie made the best of it though, and it was a great symbolic ending for their time at Hogwarts.