Why did Barty Crouch Jr. run of of Polyjuice Potion at the end of the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?

I mean, it takes literally weeks to prepare, as we've seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and we know that Barty Crouch Jr. stole supplies from Snape's storage. So he should have a cauldron of potion ready throughout the full year.

So how is it possible that he was so short of Polyjuice Potion that, literally five minutes after Harry came back with the Portkey, he couldn't drink another sip?

You will tell me that he thought that Harry will be killed by Voldemort, thus he doesn't have to hide, but:

  1. He still needs to escape from Dumbledore and the others wizards in Hogwarts.

  2. If he thought that he would be successful, he would've gone to the cemetery to be with the other Death Eaters.

I have no logical explanation.

  • 1
    Is this in reference to the book or movie? This feels like a movie issue...
    – DavidS
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 10:43
  • 2
    Having checked this, it does look like he runs out of Polyjuice Potion in the film. This doesn't happen in the book and you're right - it makes absolutely zero sense. For Crouch Junior to be able to pull off playing Moody for a whole year then he would've needed a continual supply of potion. Running out wouldn't have been an option. Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 11:42
  • 2
    Is the current title not considered to be a huge spoiler for Goblet of Fire? BC Jr is assumed to be dead till the end of the book, and the title strongly suggests otherwise. Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 21:07
  • 5
    @QuestionMarks given that the book came out 19 years, ago, I think we can stand a spoiler.
    – Baldrickk
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 12:41
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    @Baldrickk Given that the book came out 19 years ago, the people who fell in love with it as kids are probably just now introducing their kids to the book. If there's a title that conveys the same meaning without spoilers, I would advocate changing it out of consideration for them.
    – jmbpiano
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


The movie wants Barty-as-Moody to be a bigger secret than the book

Movie Barty is played as Voldemort's right-hand man and has several non-book scenes to introduce the character, including consorting with Voldemort at the start and making a dramatic entrance in the Quiddich Cup attack. This way we know he's evil from the start, so the scene where Barty was outed in Dumbledore's memory makes more sense. Apparently the movie Barty's plan was

  1. Voldemort kills Harry
  2. The gathering, unaware of the portkey and that he's really Barty (key difference), would slowly suspect something is wrong and send professors to look for the students
  3. Barty slips away in the ensuing confusion, probably pretending to look for the students himself

Barty didn't necessarily need more polyjuice at that point. This is bolstered by the fact that he has time to take Harry back to his chambers and doesn't begin to revert for several minutes. It's only once he realizes he needs more time, but he's out of juice, that the panic begins to set in.

This is all done so there's a big, dramatic reveal for the movie audience. This necessitated a shift in the story, however. The book has Dumbledore put the pieces together and bide his time until Barty makes his move. The movie can't do that, so it shifts to Dumbledore being slightly inept (so he can barge in in the nick of time, instead of being prepared for it) and makes Barty make a mistake so he panics. This sets up the old tried and true Villain Gloating trope moment for the movie audience to have all the little bits from the movie and pieces tied together in one neat package.

  • So, he has such confidence in the Voldemort plan that he didn't prepare more juice ? But if it was that, he knew he didn't have juice anymore and could bring Harry outside of the school, why not directly to the dark lord ?
    – TinyDoowy
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 14:23
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    I entirely disagree that the secret is bigger in the film. They telegraph it with the stupid tongue facial tic halfway through
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 15:26
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    A small point, but I also disagree that Dumbledore was prepared in the book. He says that when "Moody" took Harry away after the third task was when he knew, which is very late. He came charging into Moody's office in a very similar manner such that Harry realized for the first time why Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared.
    – Bishop
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 18:09

In the book he doesn't run out, he just forgets to take it frequently that night.

When Crouch (still appearing to be Moody) is knocked out, Dumbledore says the following.

But I think, in the excitement of tonight, our fake Moody might have forgotten to take (the Polyjuice potion) as frequently as he should have done...on the hour...every hour.... We shall see."

They then wait for the potion to wear off and see Fake Moody turn back into Crouch.

Dumbledore pulled out the chair at the desk and sat down upon it, his eyes fixed upon the unconscious Moody on the floor. Harry stared at him too. Minutes passed in silence... . Then, before Harry's very eyes, the face of the man on the floor began to change. The scars were disappearing, the skin was becoming smooth; the mangled nose became whole and started to shrink. The long mane of grizzled gray hair was withdrawing into the scalp and turning the color of straw. Suddenly, with a loud clunk, the wooden leg fell away as a normal leg regrew in its place; next moment, the magical eyeball had popped out of the man's face as a real eye replaced it; it rolled away across the floor and continued to swivel in every direction.

So, if the movie is different, then...shrug. Movie.

  • 9
    I can't remember if it's in the movie or the book, but (in one of them) Snape inspects the contents of Moody's flask, and identifies that it contains Polyjuice potion. Since this shows he still had some, and hadn't run out, it might be a useful quote to add? Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 11:00
  • 1
    The movie is a lot more "convenient" in terms of timing - you don't have the "minutes passed in silence", they just magically get there moments before Crouch is due to take another sip. (I must wonder if there is a reason for taking it hourly, instead of every 30 minutes to stay "topped up"?) Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 11:02
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    @Chronocidal Showing minutes passing is a lot more difficult to do in a satisfying way than just writing "Minutes passed", so it's not surprising that the movie changed things a bit. In regards to staying "topped up", I guess that's just not how it works - you have to wait for one effect to end, and the transformation to start to revert, before you can take another sip. Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 12:09
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    Taking it more often to stay "topped up" sounds like a recipe for an overdose. Is there a magic equivalent to narcan?
    – krb
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 13:10
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    Given that Polyjuice is hard to make, brewing skill and ingredients alike, I would definitely time my sips extremely well (if I were Barty Jr., which, alas, I'm not). Not to mention that Snape is already paranoid from a previous thievery incident. The last thing I'd want is to run out of Polyjuice twice as fast because I drank it every half-hour instead of every hour.
    – skytreader
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 13:38

I'd like to add to the other answers that Snape knew someone was stealing Polyjuice Potion ingredients; so potentially he had increased the security of the supply closet.

This may have meant that for Barty the risks of stealing more ingredients outweighed the risks of running out. Then by the time he realised it was going to be very close it was too late to steal ingredients and brew more.

  • Whilst a nice theory do you have any evidence you could edit in that he did increase security?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 11:36
  • @TheLethalCarrot Unfortunately not
    – Sam Dean
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 11:44
  • @SamDean since we know that Snape is paranoid we can assume that exactly what you said played out. Since there is also no evidence against what you said either, else TheLethalCarrot would have provided some with all of his points instead of asking you to provide evidence for it. I think that they sometimes just use that line to shut down any conversation.
    – Drmzindec
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 9:15

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