The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, addresses the wizarding media, stating that the Ministry will remain strong even as Lord Voldemort gains strength. Despite the Ministry of Magic's attempts to maintain an image of stability, the Death Eaters have made major gains after Dumbledore's death, committing mass killings of Muggles and infiltrating the Ministry itself. Harry, Ron and Hermione prepare for a journey to find and destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes, with Harry watching the Dursleys depart and Hermione wiping her parents' memories of her.
Severus Snape arrives at Malfoy Manor to inform Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters of Harry's impending departure from No. 4 Privet Drive. Voldemort commandeers Lucius Malfoy's wand, as Voldemort's own wand cannot be used to kill Harry, because the wands are "twins."
Meanwhile, the Order of the Phoenix gather at Privet Drive and escort Harry to safety, using Polyjuice Potion to create six decoy Harrys out of everyone else. During their flight to the Weasley family home at the Burrow, all are ambushed by Death Eaters. They kill Mad-Eye Moody and Harry's owl, Hedwig, injure George Weasley, and knock out Hagrid. This forces Harry to take over and drive his flying motorbike while fighting Voldemort. In the process, he destroys some power lines and causes a blackout in a Muggle city. After arriving at the Burrow, Harry has a vision of the wand-maker Ollivander being tortured by Voldemort, who claims that Ollivander had lied to him. Ollivander claimed that the only way Voldemort could kill Harry was by using another person's wand.
Scrimgeour arrives at the Burrow with Albus Dumbledore's will and distributes three items to Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Ron receives Dumbledore's Deluminator, Hermione a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry the first Golden Snitch that he ever caught in a Quidditch match. Scrimgeour reveals that Harry was also bequeathed the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. The minister states, though, that the sword was not Dumbledore's to pass on and, in any case, is missing.
The Death Eaters kill Scrimgeour. As a result, the Ministry falls to the Death Eaters and they replace him with their puppet Pius Thicknesse who is under the influence of the Imperius curse. They begin persecuting Muggle-born witches and wizards. The Ministry attacks Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding, but they had been forewarned by Shacklebolt's patronus charm and many escape. Harry, Hermione, and Ron Disapparate to to Shaftesbury Avenue in London. After they are attacked by Death Eaters in a diner, they find sanctuary at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. There they discover that the "R.A.B." from the false Horcrux locket is Regulus Arcturus Black, the younger brother of Sirius Black. Kreacher, the Black's house-elf, tells them that Mundungus Fletcher stole the real locket. Kreacher and Dobby apprehend Fletcher, who reveals that the locket is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge. Under the disguise of Polyjuice Potion, the trio infiltrate the Ministry. In the courtroom, Umbridge is interrogating a Muggle-born witch and threatens her, which enrages Harry, who then stuns Umbridge and Hermione successfully retrieves the locket. The trio escape from the Dementors by fleeing into the wilderness after accidentally revealing the location of No. 12 Grimmauld Place to Yaxley, a Death Eater.
Unable to destroy the Horcrux, they take turns wearing it to dilute its malignant power. Harry sees a vision of Voldemort interrogating and killing Gregorovitch, a renowned wand-maker, who claims that a teenage boy had once stolen the legendary Elder Wand from his shop. While Ron wears the locket, he is overcome by his negative feelings and after arguing with Harry, he leaves, upsetting Hermione. Harry and Hermione decide to go to Godric's Hollow, where they visit Harry's parents' graves and the house where they were killed. They also want to search for the Sword of Gryffindor, which Hermione deduces is able to destroy Horcruxes. After traveling a cemetery where Harry's parents are buried on Christmas Eve, they visit Bathilda Bagshot, who they believe has the Sword. They are surprised by Voldemort's snake, Nagini, who has been possessing her corpse. Hermione accidentally breaks Harry's wand as they escape into the Forest of Dean. Hermione is able to identify the mysterious thief seen in Harry's vision as Gellert Grindelwald.
When evening falls, Harry sees a Patronus in the form of a doe which leads him to a frozen pond. Gryffindor's sword lies beneath the pond's ice. Harry breaks the ice and jumps in to reach the sword. The locket around his neck attempts to strangle him, but Ron arrives just in time to rescue Harry. Despite the soul inside the locket attacking both of them, Ron manages to destroy it with the Sword of Gryffindor. Hermione is angry with Ron at first but then reconciles with him.
The trio then visit Xenophilius Lovegood to learn about a symbol seen several times on their journey. He tells them that the symbol represents the Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. Lovegood betrays them to the Death Eaters in an effort to have his kidnapped daughter returned.
The trio escape into the wilderness once more, but Snatchers appear and chase them. Harry has a vision of Voldemort learning from Grindelwald that the Elder Wand lies with Dumbledore in his grave. They are then captured and taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix Lestrange imprisons Harry and Ron in a cellar, in which they discover Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook the goblin. Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information on how they got the sword of Gryffindor. After Dobby apparates in the cellar to save them, and incapacitates Peter Pettigrew, a short battle ensues; Harry duels and disarms Draco Malfoy. Narcissa Malfoy's wand is taken by Dobby who then Disapparates the group out of the manor. Bellatrix throws her knife at them in fury. They appear on a beach outside Shell Cottage where Dobby dies in Harry's arms, having been stabbed in the stomach by Bellatrix's knife. Meanwhile, Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore's tomb and takes the Elder Wand.Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, one of Harry's best friends.
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends.
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, a Death Eater and Sirius Black's cousin and murderer.
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Harry's half-giant friend, and gamekeeper at Hogwarts.
Warwick Davis as Griphook, a goblin and former employee at Gringotts Bank. Davis replaced Verne Troyer, who portrayed the character physically in the first film, though Davis had dubbed Griphook's lines.
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater and son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, an evil, power-hungry wizard, and the leader of the Death Eaters.
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, former headmaster of Hogwarts killed by Severus Snape in the previous film.
Brendan Gleeson as Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, a member of the Order of the Phoenix.
Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Harry's Muggle uncle.
John Hurt as Garrick Ollivander, a wandmaker abducted by the Death Eaters.
Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood, the eccentric father of the trio's friend Luna.
Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy's father and a disgraced Death Eater.
Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic.
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, a double agent to the Death Eaters and the new headmaster of Hogwarts.
Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, Harry's Muggle aunt.
Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew, the Death Eater who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort.
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission.
David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and a former teacher at Hogwarts.
Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, the Weasley matriarch and a mother figure to Harry.
Part 1 was filmed back-to-back with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 from 19 February 2009 to 12 June 2010. Director David Yates, who shot the film alongside director of photography Eduardo Serra, described Part 1 as "quite real"; a "road movie" that's "almost like a vérité documentary".
Originally set for a single theatrical release, the idea to split the book into two parts was suggested by executive producer Lionel Wigram due to, what David Heyman called, "creative imperative". Heyman initially responded negatively to the idea, but Wigram asked, “No, David. How are we going to do it?”. After rereading the book and discussing it with screenwriter Steve Kloves, he agreed with the division.
The production filmed at Dartford Crossing for the dramatic chase where Hagrid and Harry are being ambushed by Death Eaters.
Stuart Craig, set designer for all of the previous Harry Potter films, returned for the final two parts. He said, "We made a very different kind of film, which was shot a great deal on location. We travelled quite far, we built sets, and they spend a lot of time in a forest," he explained. "We built forest sets and integrated them into the real forests, so there were challenges there, as you might imagine." Craig was ultimately nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Part 1.
On the wedding tent for Bill and Fleur's wedding in Part 1, Craig commented on his aim to "rather than make it an extension of the house, which is rather eccentric, homemade, we decided to make it rather elegant . . . It's lined with silk and beautiful, floating candelabra. So it's a nice contrast with the house." For the Ministry of Magic set, he noted, "This is an underground world; this is a ministry, so we went to the real ministries, the Muggle ministries – Whitehall, in London – and decided that our magical ministry was kind of a parallel universe to these real ministries."
Craig also commented on his design of Malfoy Manor, saying that it is "a very strong architectural set. The exterior is based on an Elizabethan house here in this country called Hardwick Hall and it has massive windows, and these windows are kind of blinded out. The shutters are drawn so they are like blind windows and they have a real kind of presence, an ominous presence, so that gave us the basis for a good exterior. There's an extraordinary magical roof that's added and surrounded by forest which isn't there in reality, but again is one of the devices to make it more threatening and mysterious."
The costumes for Part 1 were designed by Jany Temime, who has been the costume designer on Harry Potter productions since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Temime was involved in a controversy regarding her work on Fleur Delacour's wedding dress. She was accused of copying the design from a similar dress from Alexander McQueen's Fall 2008 collection. Temime spoke about the dress, saying that she "wanted it to be a witch wedding dress but not a Halloween dress. The dress is white but it needed to have something fantastic to it. So there is the phoenix [motif], the bird, which is a symbol of love in a way because there is rebirth, love never dies, it is born again."
After working on every film since Prisoner of Azkaban, Double Negative was asked to provide visual effects for the final instalments of the story, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 and 2. Working closely with the film's VFX Supervisor, Tim Burke, the team was led by VFX Supervisor, David Vickery and VFX Producer Charlotte Loughlane. The main team also included 3D Supervisor, Rick Leary and 2D Supervisor, Sean Stranks.
Double Negative's work for Part 1 included the corroding Warner Brothers logo and extensive environment extensions of the Burrows and its surrounds. Additional environment work was completed on Xenophilius Lovegood's home, extending it in 3D and culminating in the Death Eaters' attack. Double Negative also advanced the Death Eaters' smoke effects, with the introduction of the 'flayed man' stage in between their smokey, fluid, flying state and their live-action presence upon landing. Other work included the Patronus charm that interrupts the wedding party to inform the guests that Voldemort has taken over the Ministry of Magic.
The visual effects company Framestore produced most of the creature CGI, as in previous films, as well as the animated Tale of the Three Brothers sequence, which was directed and designed by Ben Hibon.
Composer Nicholas Hooper, who scored Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, did not return for Deathly Hallows. Instead, Alexandre Desplat was hired to compose the score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows − Part 1. The film also featured the song "O Children" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
The first official picture from the first film was released on 1 December 2009 (2009-12-01), showing Harry, Ron and Hermione in a London street. A clip was officially released on 8 December 2009 (2009-12-08) with the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Blu-ray and DVD. At the 2010 ShoWest convention, Alan F. Horn premiered unfinished footage from both films. The 2010 MTV Movie Awards premiered more footage from Deathly Hallows. Following this was the release of the official teaser poster, which shows the release date of both Part 1 and Part 2 and a destroyed Hogwarts castle. ABC Family broadcast interviews and additional scenes from both parts during their Harry Potter weekend, which began on 8 July 2010. A two-minute trailer for the film was released worldwide on 22 September 2010.
On 29 September 2010, three character posters for Part 1 of Harry, Ron, and Hermione were released by Yahoo! Movies. The following day, a Part 1 cinema poster was released featuring the trio on the run in a forest. The theatrical poster has the tagline "Nowhere is safe", and another version with no credits has the tagline "The end begins". Various other character posters for Part 1 were released on 6 October 2010, featuring Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Severus Snape and Fenrir Greyback. On 12 October, four new character posters were released. The posters are set to the theme of "Trust no one" and "The hunt begins".
On 15 October 2010, tickets began selling on Fandango for the US release of Part 1, and on 19 October, a 50-second clip featuring never-before-seen footage was aired at the 2010 Scream Awards. On 16 October, the second TV spot was released on Cartoon Network during a premiere of Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. On 25 October 2010, Yahoo! Movies released an exclusive featurette of the film. On 30 October 2010, Entertainment Weekly released two new featurettes titled "Horcruxes" and "The Story", featuring a large amount of never-before-seen footage. On the same day, the Warner Bros. Harry Potter website was updated to reveal twelve miniature clips from the film.
On 3 November 2010, the Los Angeles Times released an extended clip of Harry leaving the Burrow to find the Horcruxes, titled "No One Else Is Going to Die for Me". On 4 November, a new clip was released from the Harry Potter Facebook page, titled "The Seven Potters". Two more clips were released over the next two days, including a scene depicting a café attack and another taking place in Malfoy Manor.
On 26 August 2010, director David Yates, producers David Heyman and David Barron, and with Warner Bros. president Alan F. Horn attended a test screening for Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in Chicago. The unfinished film gained rave reviews from test screeners, some of whom labelled it "amazing and dark" and "the most perfect Harry Potter film". Others expressed that the film faithfully adapted the novel, which led to an inheritance of the "book's own problems".
Warner Bros. Pictures was originally going to release Part 1 of Deathly Hallows in 2D and 3D formats. On 8 October 2010, it was announced that plans for a 3D version of Part 1 had been scrapped. "Warner Bros. Pictures has made the decision to release Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in 2D, in both conventional and IMAX cinemas [because] we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window. Despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality." Part 1 of Deathly Hallows was released on Blu-ray 3D as a Best Buy Exclusive. Part 2 was still released in 2D, 3D, and IMAX formats.
The world premiere for Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was held in Leicester Square in London on 11 November 2010, with fans from across the world turning up – some of whom had camped for days in the square. This was followed by the Belgian premiere on 12 November and the US premiere in New York City on 15 November.
Just 48 hours prior to the official North American launch of Part 1, the first 36 minutes of the film were leaked on the internet. Even before the leak, the film was already the fifth-biggest generator of advance ticket sales in history, after selling out 1,000 cinemas across the United States. Despite widely circulating rumours that the leaked footage was a marketing ploy to generate hype for the movie release date, no screener discs had been created by Warner Bros., and executives called it "a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property".
In Australia, the film had its premiere on 13 November at Warner Bros. Movie World, located on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Three hundred people attended the viewing, which was the second official showing in the world, behind the UK premiere. The film premiered in Kuwait's release on 16 November. In Israel, Estonia, and New Zealand, the film was released on 18 November.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was released on a single and double disc DVD and 3-disc Blu-ray combo pack on 11 April 2011 in the UK and on 15 April 2011 in the US. On 28 January 2011, it was announced by Emma Watson on the Harry Potter UK Facebook page that the page's fans will get to vote for their preferred cover for the Part 1 Blu-ray. The cover with the most votes will be the cover for the disc. Voting started that same day. The DVD and Blu-ray include eight deleted scenes, with the Blu-ray Combo Pack containing an opening scene from Part 2 featuring Harry and Ollivander discussing the Deathly Hallows. Deathly Hallows – Part 1 performed well in DVD sales, selling 7,237,437 DVD units and adding $86,932,256 to the gross revenue of the film, bringing the total to $1,043,331,967.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 grossed $24 million in North America during its midnight showing, beating the record for the highest midnight gross of the series, previously held by Half Blood Prince, at $22.2 million. The film also had the third-highest midnight gross of all time, behind The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which grossed $30 million and $26.3 million, respectively. The film broke the record for the highest midnight gross in IMAX, with $1.4 million in box office sales, surpassing Eclipse, which grossed $1 million. All of these records were later topped in 2011 by the film's sequel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
In North America, the film grossed $61.7 million on its opening day, marking the sixth highest single day gross ever at the time. It became the highest opening day for a Harry Potter film in the series, a record previously held by Half-Blood Prince with $58.2 million, until it was broken by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 with $92.1 million. The film grossed a total of $125 million in its opening weekend, marking the largest opening for the franchise, previously held by Goblet of Fire and later topped by its sequel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It also was the second biggest November opening ever at the time, behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon's $142.8 million, the ninth biggest weekend opening for a film of all time at the North American box office, and the second biggest opening weekend for a 2010 film in the United States and Canada behind Iron Man 2's $128.1 million. The film stayed at the top of the box office for two weeks, grossing $75 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, bringing its total to $219.1 million.
In the UK, Ireland, and Malta, the film broke records for the highest Friday gross (£5.9 million), Saturday gross (£6.6 million), and Sunday gross (£5.7 million). Additionally, the film set the largest single day gross (£6.6 million) and the largest opening three-day gross (£18,319,721), a record previously held by Quantum of Solace, which grossed £15.4 million. As of 13 February 2011, Part 1 has grossed £52,404,464 ($86,020,929), becoming the second highest-grossing 2010 release in the country, behind Toy Story 3 (£73,405,113).
Outside North America, the film grossed an estimated $205 million in its opening weekend, becoming the sixth highest of all time, the highest for a 2010 release, and the second highest for a Harry Potter movie, behind only Half-Blood Prince. Globally, the film grossed $330 million in its opening weekend, ranking seventh on the all-time chart.
It was the highest grossing 2010 film in Indonesia ($6,149,448), Singapore ($4,546,240), Thailand ($4,933,136), Belgium and Luxembourg ($8,944,329), France and the Maghreb region ($51,104,397), Germany ($61,430,098), the Netherlands ($13,790,585), Norway ($7,144,020), Sweden ($11,209,387), and Australia ($41,350,865). In total overseas earnings, it surpassed The Philosopher's Stone ($657.2 million) to become the highest grossing Harry Potter film overseas.
On 7 April 2011, Part 1 ended its run with $295,983,305 in the United States and Canada, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2010 in these regions, and $664,300,000 from other countries around the world, for a worldwide total of $960,283,305, making it the third highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide behind Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland, as well as the 31st highest-grossing film of all time worldwide and the third highest grossing Harry Potter film in the series behind The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and The Philosopher's Stone.
Due to the success of the sequel in Germany, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 could return to No. 9 on the country's Cinema Charts with 28,000 viewers in July 2011.
Deathly Hallows Part 1 received generally positive reviews from critics. Review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 78% based on 261 reviews, with an average score of 7.1/10. The site's consensus reads, "It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate instalment for the Harry Potter series." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating to reviews, the film has a score of 65 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
The UK's Daily Telegraph also gave the film a positive review, remarking, "For the most part the action romps along, spurred by some impressive special effects," adding, "It's just slightly disappointing that, with the momentum having been established so effectively, we now have to wait until next year to enjoy the rest of the ride." Roger Ebert awarded the first part three out of four stars, praising the cast and calling it "a handsome and sometimes harrowing film . . . completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time". Scott Bowles of USA Today called it, "Menacing and meditative, Hallows is arguably the best instalment of the planned eight-film franchise, though audiences who haven't kept up with previous chapters will be hopelessly lost", while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly likewise praised the film as "the most cinematically rewarding chapter yet." In a review for the Orlando Sentinel, Roger Moore proclaimed Part I as "Alternately funny and touching, it's the best film in the series, an Empire Strikes Back for these wizards and their wizarding world. And those effects? They're so special you don't notice them." Ramin Setoodeh of Newsweek gave a negative review, writing, "They've taken one of the most enchanting series in contemporary fiction and sucked out all the magic . . . while Rowling's stories are endlessly inventive, Potter onscreen just gives you a headache." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post found the film to be "Beautifully shot but a soulless cash machine... [that] delivers no dramatic payoff, no resolution and not much fun."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects at the 83rd Academy Awards. It is the second film in the Harry Potter film series to be nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar (the previous one being Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). The film was long-listed for eight different categories, including Best Cinematography, Production Design, and Original Score, at the 64th BAFTA awards, and ultimately was nominated for Best Special Visual Effects and Make-up.