Harry Potter movies enjoy the rare luxury of being every bit as good as the books. Sure, the print does bring that necessary richness of detail and description, but the movies' ability to compensate with stunning visuals augmented by euphonious audio is what makes them equally as epic. And while the Harry Potter producers' genius is noticeable every step of the way, it's in the wizarding battles that it really comes to shine.
With that in mind, the franchise's 8-movie run provided more than a few extraordinary duels between wizards displaying magical prowess. And today we've set aside the 10 greatest and most epic ones. Enjoy!
10 Harry Potter vs Draco Malfoy - Chamber of Secrets
Taking place in the second book, this scene introduces us with the concept of wizard duels. After Snape's and Lockhart's demonstration, Harry is brought up to the podium to face Draco Malfoy himself, who promptly cheats and attacks Harry ahead of turn. Harry quickly recovers and embarrasses Malfoy with the Rictumsempra spell. However, the scene takes an eerie twist when Malfoy uses the Serpensortia incantation to summon a snake, and Harry starts communicating with it in Parseltongue. The humor, special effects, and eeriness that define the whole franchise are all present in this one epic, short duel.
9 Sirius Black vs Remus Lupin- Prisoner of Azkaban
Though this is more a physical confrontation of two wizards than an actual duel with wands, it's still an epic and emotional scene. When the revelation of the full moon from behind the clouds caused Remus Lupin to unwillingly turn into a werewolf, Sirius jumped to protect Harry and his friends by shifting into his animagus form in an attempt to fend of Lupin's ravenous attacks.
Though he was much smaller in comparison, Sirius was able to hold his own in battle with this fearsome beast long enough for Harry to distract it. This epic battle of wolf versus werewolf really showed Twilight how it's done.
8 Harry Potter vs Severus Snape - Half Blood Prince
Okay, this may have been the most one-sided battle on this entire list, but it's also arguably the most emotional one. We can feel Harry's pain and despair at Snape for killing Dumbledore. However, for fans re-watching the movie, the scene is simply heart-breaking - knowing what Snape had to go through to protect Harry and how his bravery has always been perceived as evil by the one he was trying to protect. He even tries to use Snape's own Sectumsempra spell against him to kill him. Sob.
7 Harry Potter vs Draco Malfoy - Half Blood Prince
This moment marks the first real battle between Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter. Convinced Draco hexed a Slytherin girl, Harry chases him to the bathroom. At this point, many fans know that amount of stress Draco was under considering he was chosen to murder Dumbledore by the Dark Lord himself, which is why he cried in the bathroom.
Fans are of polarized opinion on whether Harry should have used the deadly Sectumsempra spell on Draco, causing him to bleed out from his entire body. Luckily, Snape was there to save the unfortunate Malfoy.
6 Harry Potter vs Basilisk - Chamber of Secrets
The scene with the chamber of secrets in the second Harry Potter movie left no one unimpressed. In this particular instance, he doesn't exactly duel another wizard but a monster. However, it's one of the most epic confrontations in the movies nonetheless. The Basilisk was utterly terrifying - a snake 50 feet in length. Even Aragog was afraid of it Are you saying you're braver than a 10 foot spider?
In any case, not only was the battle visually stunning but also heavily emotional: from Harry's Griffyndor courage that summoned Fawkes to the scene where Fawkes cries on Harry's wound to save his life.
5 Molly Weasley vs Bellatrix Lestrange - Deathly Hallows Part 2
The duel between these two witches managed to bring the biggest amount of excitement in the shortest amount of time. The scene only takes up about 30 seconds of the last movie, and begins with Bellatrix Lestrange casting a spell at Ginny Weasley. This is when the Weasley matriarch herself takes the stage with the famous "Not my daughter, you B*tch!" Displaying her magical ability, the badass Mrs. Weasley quickly wiped the demented grin off Belatrix's face, finishing her with a freezing incantation followed by (most likely) a Reducto straight to the heart.
4 Harry Potter vs Voldemort - Goblet of Fire
This scene holds special meaning as the main turning point that changed the entire atmosphere of the series into that of horror - a theme that would continue until the last movie. He Who Must Not Be Named was back.
However, it's not just the significance of this scene that makes it so epic; it's the entire execution and special effects. The transition from cheerful Triwizard Tournament music into the eerie atmosphere of the Riddle family tomb and the unexpected murder of Cedric Diggory left no one indifferent. It also set the stage for a truly epic confrontation.
Voldemort assuming his true form is the first moment we experience Ralph Fiennes' brilliant portrayal of the Dark Lord. He frantically commands Harry to pick up his wand before their wands clash into a green-red battle to the death. In the last moment, however, Harry's parents appear to him in the form of a protective spell that gives him enough time to run to the port key and escape.
3 Minerva McGonagall vs Severus Snape - Deathly Hallows Part 1
Cinema audiences worldwide gasped when these two great Hogwarts professors turned against one another. The scene really shows the raw strength and courage of professor McGonagall in standing up for her students - Harry in particular.Struck by Minerva's barrage of fire coming out of her wand, and realizing he's out of his league, Snape assumes the shape of a black veil and flies away. However (and this one is important!) what many fans didn't catch is that, right before he was about to break out the Great Hall's window, he bounces from one death eater to another to strip them off their wands. This really shows Snape's true intention of keeping Harry safe.
2 Harry Potter vs Voldemort - Deathly Hallows Part 2
The entire series builds up to this monumental battle between Harry Potter and Tom Riddle (Voldemort) in a final clash between good and evil.
With all of the Horcruxes destroyed we finally see Voldemort faced with his one true fear - death. Now frail and boiling with rage, he extends his wand one last time, wishing to murder Harry with all his heart. However, Harry, being the true owner of the Elder wand in Voldemort's hand, overpowers him. Ralph Fiennes did a great job of embodying Voldemort's despair and sadness in his last moments as he sheds into dust. The duel itself lacks the kind of dynamic and effects that some of the other battles of this list have, but it's nothing if not epic.
1 Albus Dumbledore vs Voldemort - Order of The Phoenix
The fifth movie is where we finally get to see Dumbledore go head to head with Tom Riddle himself, in a duel that turned out to be the most impressive display of skill ever showcased by the franchise.
"It was foolish of you to come here tonight, Tom" was Dumbledore's calm warning of what was about to happen. But the thing that makes this the greatest wizard duel in the history of cinema is the characters' use of creativity in manipulating the elements for both protection and assault, further augmented by incredible special effect work. If the battle is still hazy for you, we strongly encourage you to revisit the duel. The scene allows Harry Potter fans to finally see what a duel between two great wizards who've mastered wandless magic would look like, and it's utterly awe-inspiring.