8 Times Movie Dumbledore Was Good And 8 Times He Fell Short

8 Times Movie Dumbledore Was Good And 8 Times He Fell Short

Sometimes the movies got him right, and sometimes they made me want to go reread the books instead.

Dumbledore was one of my favorite characters when I read the Harry Potter books. I loved how whimsical and wise he was, and even as we discovered he wasn’t all he had seemed, I still loved him.

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When Harry called himself “Dumbledore’s man through and through,” I cried. I might actually be crying right now over it.

But when it came to the films, they struggled to portray him accurately. Sometimes he was perfect, and sometimes he was VERY off.

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Most of the time, the original Dumbledore (Richard Harris, who sadly passed away after the second film) was pretty accurate, and the second Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) was very inaccurate – though there are exceptions!


For example, the movie scene where Dumbledore helped the trio save Sirius then pretended to not know what they were talking about was PEAK Dumbledore.

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Dumbledore was all about subtly helping the trio and then pretending he hadn’t, or turning a blind eye to much of their rule-breaking that he had implicitly (or explicitly) encouraged. He always seemed sort of faintly amused each time.


But when he angrily demanded to know whether Harry had put his name in the Goblet of Fire, I had to roll my eyes.

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Plus he PUSHED HARRY AGAINST A WALL!! Dumbledore would NEVER physically harm a student. In fact, in the fifth book, when Umbridge started shaking Marietta, Dumbledore got HEATED.


I loved the way Dumbledore was portrayed when he visited Harry in the hospital wing in Sorceror’s Stone.

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He was wise and kid, but also silly and whimsical. This scene was taken almost word for word from the book.


But I was so angry when Dumbledore gave a half-assed apology for ignoring Harry all year in Order of the Phoenix.

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In the books, he took almost complete blame for Sirius’s death, and apologized to Harry. He also cried and gave a much longer explanation for everything. It was the first time we really saw Dumbledore as a human who made mistakes. In the movie, we got just a couple lines, and we didn’t see Dumbledore as the sentimental old man he was.


The scene where Dumbledore escaped the Ministry’s clutches was the one bright spot of the fifth film.

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He remained perfectly calm and made a dramatic exit, just like in the book.


But the majority of the Order of the Phoenix film truly did Dumbledore dirty, like when he yelled at some students after they all watched Umbridge fire Trelawney.

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In both the book and the film, Dumbledore avoided Harry in his fifth year because he worried Voldemort would use Harry’s mind to spy on him. But in the book, he was just distant, while in the film, he was borderline aggressive. That wasn’t the Dumbledore I knew and loved!


The scene where Dumbledore assured Harry he belonged in Gryffindor was perfect in the films.

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This scene was also taken almost verbatim from the books. It’s also one of my favorite Harry Potter quotes.


But the movies did Dumbledore a disservice when they took out the scene where he admonished the Dursleys for treating Harry so poorly.

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One of the biggest complaints about Dumbledore’s character was that he stuck Harry with the Dursleys. In the films this was never explained or justifed. In the books, not only did Dumbledore explain to Harry that Petunia’s blood protected him from being harmed at the Dursley’s house, but in Half-Blood Prince he also told the Dursleys off for how they treated Harry.


The scene in Half-Blood Prince where Malfoy tried to kill Dumbledore was perfect.

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Even though Dumbledore knew he was going to die, he didn’t want Malfoy to do it, because he knew it would break him.


But cutting out the scene where Dumbledore stood up to Fudge was a big mistake. HUGE!

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May I present the scene from the book: “‘You are blinded,’ said Dumbledore, his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, ‘by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius!…If your determination to shut your eyes will carry you as far as this, Cornelius,’ said Dumbledore, ‘we have reached a parting of the ways. You must act as you see fit. And I – I shall act as I see fit.'”

This scene was important because we saw Dumbledore powerful and unafraid. He didn’t care what people thought of him. He gave Fudge specific instructions for what to do to curb the rise of Voldemort, and when Fudge didn’t listen, he calmly informed the MINISTER OF MAGIC that he was going to do whatever he wanted.


The speech about Cedric was perfect in the movies.

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The Goblet of Fire film used almost the same lines from the book, but actually split it into two scenes. One where Dumbledore spoke to the whole school, and one where he spoke to Harry alone. This was really powerful, and dare I say…better than the book??


But the scene where Dumbledore drank Voldemort’s potion in the Half-Blood Prince film did not show enough of Dumbledore’s humanity.

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Gambon’s acting was great in this scene, but they cut basically all of Dumbledore’s dialogue, and you couldn’t really understand what he was saying. In the book, Dumbledore blubbered a lot more about his past mistakes. It was powerful to see Dumbledore so weak emotionally as well as physically, and the film didn’t capture this as well as it could have.


Dumbledore’s Order of the Phoenix battle with Voldemort was way better in the movies, especially when Voldemort possessed Harry…

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Obviously, seeing the battle visually helped, but it was just so much more badass. Plus, when Voldemort possessed Harry in the book, he simply tried to get Dumbledore to kill him. But in the movie, Dumbledore said this wonderful line to help Harry while he struggled to push out Voldemort.


But the movies cut out so much of Dumbledore’s humor, even in his introduction!

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In the book, the first thing we heard Dumbledore say was “‘Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!’” In the film, that line was cut, jumping to the much more serious warning about the Forbidden Forest and third floor corridor.


The King’s Cross scene in Deathly Hallows was exactly how I imagined.

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There were SO many great Dumbledore quotes in this scene. Sure, it contained a little less explanation than the book, but that was to be expected for a film adaptation.


But Dumbledore could’ve been a little harsher with Snape in the flashback scene in Deathly Hallows.

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From the book, when Snape came to Dumbledore and asked him to save Lily: “’You disgust me,’ said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little. ‘You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?'” And when Lily died and Snape said he wished he were dead, Dumbledore responded, “What use would that be to anyone?” and demanded to know if Snape felt remorse. I think this scene was important because it truly established how far Snape and Dumbledore’s relationship had come, and how far Snape had come as a character. It was also good to see Dumbledore angry and even cruel for once, especially after what Snape had done (relaying the prophecy to Voldemort, causing him to kill Lily and James Potter).

What do you guys think? Was I wrong about any of these moments? Let me know in the comments!

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