Throughout the Harry Potter series, Draco Malfoy proves he’s a Slytherin through and through. He’s ambitious, cunning, and during his time at school, like so many other wizards from his house, finds himself attracted to the darker side of the wizarding world.
Born June 5, 1980, to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, his parents brought him up to believe that being a pure-blood wizard made him better than those we were half-blood or muggle born. With a Death Eater father and a mother who shared those beliefs, it’s no surprise Draco became a bully. As he grew older, the reality of what his parents and Voldemort were trying to do clearly caused some conflict and moments of hesitation; Draco was just a boy, and while he was a bully, he hadn't quite given in to the Dark Lord's cause just yet.
With Draco turning 38 years old on his birthday this year, we wanted to look back at the character wonderfully portrayed by actor Tom Felton in the films. Draco was always fun to hate and, later, feel some sort of sympathy for. He had some great serious moments and unforgettable humorous ones — often at his expense.
Here are the 12 moments from Draco's Harry Potter journey that we still love to watch all these years later.
Meeting Harry in The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Harry and Draco meet before the sorting ceremony even begins in Sorcerer’s Stone. With Crabbe and Goyle already by his side and smug as ever, Draco makes it clear here how much he thinks he’s better than wizards like the Weasleys and tries to convince Harry he should believe that, too. The story would have been very different if Harry shook Draco’s hand, but, of course, the Boy Who Lived disagrees. This earns him a look of slight confusion from Draco and the rivalry we get to watch for the rest of the series begins.
Bookstore confrontation in The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
In Chamber of Secrets, Draco makes sure to stick around to confront Harry and the Weasleys about their run-in with Gilderoy Lockhart. Before moving to intercept them, he casually tears a page from a book to shove into his pocket. Was he just doing it to be mean or did Draco actually find something that interested him? It's a fun little moment to witness before the character gets in the way of everyone else.
While his insults and taunts in this scene are nothing we haven’t quite seen before, he delivers one especially memorable line: "Famous Harry Potter. Can't even go into a bookshop without making the front page."
Draco talking to disguised Harry and Ron in The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
When Harry and Ron take Polyjuice Potion to try and find out more information from Draco about the heir of Slytherin, we get a fascinating glimpse into how Draco acts around his friends in the Slytherin common room without others around. The scene offers some classic exchanges like Draco asking why 'Goyle' is wearing glasses and stating he didn’t know he could read, looking a bit impressed.
We learn that what Draco spouts in public he also very much believes in private; Draco attacks the Weasleys, Dumbledore, and Hermione once again with a particularly vicious comment, calling her a mudblood and stating that he hopes she dies. While his words make Draco's nature clear, there are even little things in this scene to show how terrible he is, like pocketing a present he finds and opening it.
Draco and Harry face off in The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry and Draco face off in the dueling club run by Gilderoy Lockhart in the second film. It's fun to see them in action going head to head. While Draco is clearly skilled, the duel shows that he’s not willing to play by the rules. He doesn't wait until the end of the count to start and even uses a spell he’s not supposed to. Frankly, the best part of the scene is when Harry knocks him down and Draco looks sheepishly up at Professor Snape. It reminds us he's a kid and still striving to impress the adults and authority figures in his life.
Draco proves he's both a bully and an artist in The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Draco's bullying knows no bounds. He's made it into an art form — literally.
In the third film, during the Defense against the Dark Arts class in which Snape is substituting for Remus Lupin, Draco enchants a piece of paper to fly to Harry. When Harry opens it, the art within, while not exactly museum-worthy, is moving and shows Harry getting struck by lightning and hit in the head during a Quidditch match.
Punched by Hermione in The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The few moments when people stand up to Draco or best him might not be favorites of Draco's if we asked him, but Felton plays Draco so well that these moments are ones we can’t help but love! One of those scenes is also one of Hermione Granger's best in the films: punching Draco in the face.
She does this in Prisoner of Azkaban after seeing Draco and his friends waiting to watch the poor hippogriff Buckbeak be executed at Hagrid's house. Buckbeak is going to die because of Draco's actions and his family's power. When Hermione points her wand at Draco, he immediately starts sniveling. Then when she lowers it he quickly goes back to his terrible self until she punches him. It's a deserved punch and he predictably runs away scared, demanding his friends never mention it to anyone.
Ferret Draco in The Goblet of Fire (2005)
Draco is surrounded by his posse as he once again taunts Harry, but this time Harry's response makes Draco go for his wand. Luckily for Harry, 'Mad-Eye Moody' is there and reacts first by turning the Slytherin into a ferret!
Draco's reaction as he jumps up after being turned back to a boy by Professor McGonagall is hilarious. Draco tries out his usual threats about going to his father, but he runs away scared when it doesn't get the reaction he wants. It's another prime example of how Draco thinks he's better than others, ends up bested, still tries threats, but ends up more likely to run away than really do anything. It's just the empty words of a boy who thinks he's better when he's not.
Catching an invisible Harry in The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
On the train to Hogwarts in the sixth film, Harry keeps an eye on Draco and eventually decides to use his invisibility cloak to try and learn what the Slytherin is up to. He overhears Draco saying he doesn't think he'll be back at Hogwarts next year. Draco, despite everything else, is not a complete idiot and realizes Harry is eavesdropping. He stays behind to confront and paralyze Harry. Angry about his father being in Azkaban after the events of Order of the Phoenix, he insults Harry's dead mother and hits him. It's one of the few times Draco has the upper hand and succeeds, and you can see he is a different Draco from the one we're used to. He’s older and clearly has something on his mind as this new school year starts.
Draco and Harry fight in The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
When Draco runs to the restroom in Half-Blood Prince, he is clearly struggling. Being a bully as a child is different from being asked to perform evil deeds as an adult. Draco is still young here, but he's being asked to go that step further by Voldemort and the Death Eaters.
Draco might have thought he was ready, but the reality of everything is starting to sink in. The struggle we see shows there may be some hope yet for the character. He starts to cry, but is interrupted by Harry and the Gryffindor's words make Draco use his wand. The resulting fight is impressive, though it leads to serious injuries. It's a great performance in which Felton finally gets to show there's much more to his character than what we'd seen so far.
Draco confronting Dumbledore in The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
When Draco arrives at the astronomy tower, he knows what he has to do and yet, he clearly doesn't want to kill Dumbledore. He's still a scared kid. When Dumbledore says he's no assassin, Draco insists he's done horrible things, but Dumbledore knows it's not too late for the boy. He tells Draco he once knew a boy that made all the wrong choices and he wants to help him. Draco is upset, crying, and tells Dumbledore he has to kill him or he's dead, but even when his backup arrives Draco can't quite do it. It reiterates again that Draco isn't quite on the same level as his father.
Draco and Harry meet at Malfoy Manor in The Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
This is another example of how much Draco is struggling with the current circumstances and allows Felton to show off his range. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione are captured and taken to Malfoy Manor, Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoy family are desperate to know if they really have Harry, whose face Hermione messed up to protect him. Bellatrix looks to her nephew for confirmation as they can only call Voldemort if they are absolutely sure. The family can't afford to make another mistake. However, when Draco gets close, even after pressure from his father, Draco says he can't be sure it definitely is Harry.
The Room of Requirement in The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
Harry discovers Ravenclaw’s diadem in the Room of Requirement, but Draco and his pals find Harry before he can leave. Draco wants his wand back and Harry points out Draco's hesitation in Malfoy Manor to reveal him. Draco's face once again shows the slightest reaction. Technically he should be trying to stop Harry in any way he can, but he delays even when his friends encourage him to take Harry out. His hesitation is enough for Hermione and Ron to arrive. Draco just runs away. It was one of Draco's last chances to truly show he was on Voldemort's side — and he didn’t take it.