Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore?

Steamboat Spidey

Active Member
Today On ABC Family, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is playing, then Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and last ,Goblet of Fire. I think it would be interesting to hear your guys' opinions on the two Dumbledore's. Richard was only around for two movies, while Michael was around for six movies. Personally, I think that it would be unfair to make a judgement when we haven't really seen him that much in the 'Potter' franchise. It would've been interesting to see Richard's interpretation of Dumbledore during the events in the book that Michael had acted in. So, who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore?
 

iycis

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

Gambon for sure. Harris was too frail and could never have pulled off the epic fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort at the end of Order of the Phoenix.
 

Nexus6

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I preferred Harris. I find his interpretation to be more "authentic" in some way (though I'm not sure I could be any clearer than that).

However, I DO agree that for the rest of the films, a slightly younger Dumbledore was necessary for the stories. I still liked it, just not as much. :)
 

darthgordon

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I also have these movies playing... not sure why. I have them on bluray...

I do prefer Gambon as Harris did appear too frail. Of course, I believe his health was already failing before he even took the job.

But I did enjoy both of them.
 

Polexia

New Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I agree with Nexus6. I preferred Harris. He portrayed Dumbledore more of how I picture him while I was reading the books, with a more calm/reserved demeanor. Gambon's portrayal didn't sit well with me at first, some of that calm was gone. Example: When he frantically asks Harry if he put his name into the Goblet of Fire. I couldn't see Dumbledore reacting in this way. Plus I just don't like change! But many movies later I couldn't help but appreciate/love his Dumbledore.
 

Rogue

Active Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

Gambon I think did a closer job in many ways. I seem to remember that in the book, when Harry and Dumbledore are swimming to the cave, Dumbledore is described as being quite physically fit for his age. Gambon captured that balance of old, but physically present.

Yes, there's a few times when Gambon's Dumbledore seems to "lose it" a little more than the book. In return, however, he gave us a Dumbledore with a vitality that made his later actions more believable.

Why they ever let him do that bizarre accent is beyond me, though.
 

timelordjedi777

Well-Known Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I have always thought Harris was the best.
 

outlander

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I liked Harris, he managed to convey a sense of mischief that played off well against the young actors. But I agree, he had just become too frail for the role. Had he gotten the part when he was ten years younger I'm certain I would have preferred his Dumbledore because I think he was the superior actor.

But the way things worked out; I am quite pleased with Gambon's portrayal of a younger more vigorous Dumbledore.
 

Effingham

Active Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

It's the "Doctor Who" thing -- I think we tend to prefer the first one we saw.

It's part of why Sean Connery will ALWAYS be James Bond, and Alec Baldwin will always be Jack Ryan.

That said -- of COURSE I prefer Harris. He was the one who introduced the role to me. I know he was old and frail, but had he been *able* to do the stuff, and lived, I would have loved to have seen him as Dumbledore through the whole series. I've enjoyed Gambon's performance (I always enjoy Gambon's work), but Harris set the bar.
 

Noeland

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I enjoyed the whimsy, confidence, and trustworthiness Harris brought to the role. When I saw what Gambon did with the role though, I really liked it. More whimsy, flair, and eventually power (thanks to age I'm sure). I do wonder what Harris would have done with the movies had he been younger and in them all. It would have been interesting to see him tangle with Voldemort.
 

James Kenobi 1138

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

Gambon- he was more playful and I liked that much better then Harris who seemed a little stiff.
 

Beechy McFly

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

Definitely prefer Gambon.. He was perfect for the role..
 

cboath

Master Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I definitely prefer Harris. Harris was what dumbledore was in the first 2 books. He had that air about him that he knew more than he was letting on, that there was actually something 'magical' about him. With todays tech, they could easily have had him do the action stuff 5 and 6.

Gambon's - and i think it's more of the year 3 director - went a radically different route. More hippy than anything else. Didn't ever seem to convey how much he liked harry or anything. One of the stinging things to harry in book 5 is dumbledore ignoring and seemingly avoiding him and leaving him more alone than he's been since finding out he's a wizard. Well, gambon's dumbledore seemed to convey that from the time he took the role.

I understand he was put into a no-win situation having to fill in for an acting legend who'd already started the part. The character just seemed to be missing something with him. Throughout the books he took a big interest in the trio and basically befriended them. That never translated with Gambon. Again, though, I don't know that that was him - i think it was the director.
 

PotionMistress

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I agree with many that had Richard Harris been a decade younger when cast in the part, he would have been the ideal book Dumbledore. Harris had a very powerful presence in his youth, and a fire that is legendary in UK! But he was not a saint, that is for sure, and neither was Dumbledore. That is crucial to understanding the Dumbledore character...that he was flawed.

That being said, Gambon was indeed superb, given the shoes he had to fill. And I have always felt his harshness during the GoF scenes were exactly how someone who was intensely concerned and fearful of what he knew was about to happen would act. Gambon was terrific all the way through.
 
Last edited:

Rogue

Active Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

I still have a soft spot for Nigel Planer's Dumbledore, he did a great job.

"Weeeeellllcoooooooome..... ....baaaaaack"

"I........ beeeeeeeliiieeeeeeeeeve yoooooouuuuuu....... Haaaaaaaaaaaarrrrryyyyyyyyyyy"

French & Saunders - Harry Potter Spoof part 1 - YouTube

Bonus points for spotting how many actors also appeared in the original films!
 

Java

Sr Member
Re: Richard Harris or Sir Michael Gambon- Who do you think is the "better" Dumbledore

Harris, for all the reasons previously stated. :)
 
Top