Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    This film is the sharpest since "The Prisoner of Azkaban." It is the most emotionally satisfying, blending spot-on comedy and adenoidal sexual tension, with scenes of gutsy vulnerability.
  2. As for the ever-impressive supporting cast, neither a delightfully befuddled Jim Broadbent nor a wild-eyed Helena Bonham Carter can upstage Alan Rickman, who again proves invaluable as the slithery Prof. Snape.
  3. David Yates, in his go at the helm, throws the emphasis on the gathering storm clouds even as Harry and his fellow wizardry students make further discoveries involving the opposite sex.
  4. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    It's a more mature magic than in previous Potter movies.
  5. 88
    Getting lost in the hypnotic Half-Blood Prince is what gives the movie its haunting power.
  6. The latest, meticulously atmospheric and wonderfully acted Potter adventure lands happily--broodingly, but happily---near the top of the series heap, just behind Alfonso Cuaron's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    One of the series's best, with spectacular effects, nuanced performances and witty dialogue.
  8. 88
    It flows like fast-moving lava to a climax filled with pyrotechnics. And for once in a summer blockbuster, the fireworks are both emotional and physical. The movie leaves you sated, yet wanting more -- just what you want from a series with two entries left to go.
  9. The most thoughtfully satisfying of the first six books.
  10. 75
    I admired this Harry Potter. It opens and closes well, and has wondrous art design and cinematography as always, only more so.
  11. 75
    Half-Blood Prince is the franchise's “Empire Strikes Back” -- the episode in which the pace slows down a bit, the characters deepen and mature, the good guys take a big hit, and all hell is gearing up to break loose.
  12. 75
    "HP6" is suspenseful and artfully realized. It's a definite improvement over J.K. Rowling's dimly written and exposition-clogged book.
  13. Slower and talkier than the five Potters that came before - but not necessarily in a bad way - Half-Blood Prince is a bubbling cauldron of hormonal angst, rife with romance and heartbreak, jealousy and longing.
  14. Reviewed by: Tracie Cooper
    The good news is that it comes closer than any of its predecessors, hitting the mark or coming close to it on almost all fronts. With "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" being split into two films, the final installment stands an excellent chance of getting it right.
  15. 75
    The critical question for the movies' producers is whether Harry will be as popular now that his legions of stalwarts know how it all ends. The smart money would be on answering that question with a resounding "yes!"
  16. The movie's climax takes Harry Potter into territory that is much more like epic horror than most of what the series has seen before. There is more obvious religious symbolism and apocalyptic violence as Harry emerges into his role as “the chosen one.”
  17. Director David Yates picks up where he left off with "Order of the Phoenix," assembling a nicely paced and artfully shot adventure.
  18. 63
    Installment six of the Harry Potter’ series, The Half-Blood Prince, merely gets us one movie closer to the finale, which, apparently is so big (and by big, I mean “$$$$’’) that it’s being split into two parts.
  19. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    We're marking time before the final battle between Good and Evil, with the promised darkness sitting somewhat clumsily with teen romance and humour.
  20. It’s always a pleasure to be in the company of Potter, and when looking back at the just-competent first outings – well, baby, you’ve come a long way – but still: Where’s the magic, huh?
  21. But the story is, still and all, only a pause, deferring an intensely anticipated conclusion. And it's in that exquisite place of action and waiting that this elegantly balanced production emerges as a model adaptation.
  22. By an order of magnitude --- the strongest (or at least the most mature, subtle and emotional) entry in the series thus far.
  23. 100
    The most beautiful magic in it is left unseen. And still, it emerges with absolute clarity.
  24. It was splendid! No, it’s not a larky kid-pic. We're firmly in the realm of English horror.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Generally grim, occasionally startling, and altogether enthralling sixth chapter in a movie franchise that keeps managing to surprise just when one would expect it to be puttering along on auto-broomstick.
  26. This one-of-a-kind film cycle has become as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe, providing a degree of dependability that's becoming increasingly rare.
  27. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries, this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such.
  28. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    With Half-Blood Prince, again we have a stalwart, satisfying visualization of the Rowling cosmos.
  29. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Despite the preponderance of (PG-rated) snogging, there are pleasures to be found along this movie's meandering path.
  30. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    The three leads, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione), give their most charming performances to date.
  31. Much like its young hero, played by Daniel Radcliffe, the film has begun to show signs of stress around the edges, a bit of fatigue, or maybe that’s just my gnawing impatience.
  32. For those who’ve lived with the series for more than a decade, this fateful pause may heighten the suspense. For a Muggle like me, the storm does gather slowly.
  33. 60
    We get one lovely, cheering sequence of a trashed room putting itself in order, like the untidy nursery in "Mary Poppins," but the rest of the magic here feels randomly grabbed at.
  34. Reviewed by: Cliff Doerksen
    For what it is, it's fine.
  35. 75
    This is the darkest, saddest, most sophisticated Harry Potter film yet.
  36. There's something inherently funny about the romantic predicament of Harry and Ron and Hermione. As if it wasn't bad enough having to deal with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters and all the rest, now they have to square off against... raging hormones.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 895 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 85 out of 391
  1. LuizF
    Nov 16, 2009
    The movie isn't marvellous and isn't a disaster too. For me, It's like a previous for an incredible movie that we'll see The movie isn't marvellous and isn't a disaster too. For me, It's like a previous for an incredible movie that we'll see in next november. Scenes were added, the attack on Weasley's house was espetaculary made. But, not necessary things were included and necessary facts weren't shown. Because of that scenes, I gave HP'n HBP 9. Very good movie! Full Review »
  2. Sep 23, 2011
    David Yate's Harry Potter is not magical anymore. The movie spins confusing romance between the 3 main protagonists and also focuses more onDavid Yate's Harry Potter is not magical anymore. The movie spins confusing romance between the 3 main protagonists and also focuses more on the violence of the scary Voldemort. This is not a franchise I was hoping to watch.... Full Review »
  3. SuchK
    Oct 12, 2009
    The best one yet. I saw it the day it came out and they made it 99% like the book. Awesome.