The Lord of the Rings (1978)

PG   |    |  Animation, Adventure, Fantasy


The Lord of the Rings (1978) Poster

The Fellowship of the Ring embark on a journey to destroy the One Ring and end Sauron's reign over Middle-earth.

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6.2/10
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  • John A. Neris in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Simon Chandler in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Peter Woodthorpe in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Ralph Bakshi in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Anthony Daniels in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Michael Deacon and Philip Stone in The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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User Reviews


30 May 2006 | barnabyrudge
7
| Animated version of The Lord Of The Rings - quite good, but suffers because too many unfairly compare it to the new Peter Jackson version.
More than twenty years before Peter Jackson's visionary adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, there was this 1978 animated effort from director Ralph Bakshi. An ambitious and reasonably faithful version of the story, this has sadly been rather over-shadowed by the Jackson trilogy. Indeed, many reviewers here on the IMDb (mainly those who saw the newer version first) seem to be fiercely unkind to this version.... but if one applies a little common sense, and takes into consideration the time when it was made and the technical possibilities that existed at that time, then they will realise that this is a pretty good film. Indeed, it was shortly after seeing this animated movie back in the early '80s that I sought out Tolkien's book and immediately became a lifelong fan of these richly detailed Middle Earth adventures. So, in some respects, I owe this film a degree of acknowledgement as the film which shaped my literary tastes forever.

Sauron, the Dark Lord of Middle Earth, forges an all-powerful ring that gives him incredible power. Following a great battle during which Sauron is defeated, the ring falls into possession of a king named Isildur…. but instead of destroying it he foolishly chooses to keep it. For centuries the ring passes from hand to hand, eventually coming into the possession of a hobbit named Frodo Baggins who lives in a peace-loving community known as The Shire. Frodo learns from a wizard named Gandalf that his ring is in fact The One Ring, the very same that was forged by Sauron all those centuries ago, and that its master is once again searching for it in order to restore his dark power over the entire land. Frodo embarks on a perilous journey to protect the ring with three other hobbit companions, but every step of the way they are hunted by Sauron's ring-wraiths, the Black Riders. There follow many adventures, during which a company of nine adventurers is formed to guide the ring to the only place where it can be "unmade" – Mount Doom, in the land of Mordor. The film concludes with Frodo and his best friend Sam on the borders of Mordor, closing ever nearer to their horrifying destination. Meanwhile Gandalf and the other members of the company fight off a huge army of orcs at the legendary fortress of Helm's Deep.

This version covers just over half of the original book. A second instalment was planned to bring the story to an end, but was sadly never completed. While the ending feels abrupt, it does at least end at a sensible point in the story. One has to feel a little frustration and regret that no sequel exists in which we might follow these animated heroes to their eventual goal. The animation is passable, with a nice variety of locales and characters presented in interesting detail. The music by Leonard Rosenman is suitably stirring and fits in appropriately with the epic narrative. The voice-overs are decent, too, especially John Hurt as Aragorn and Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum. On the other hand, Michael Scholes - who provides the voice for Sam - is rather campy and goofy, which is not well suited to the character. The Lord Of The Rings is a commendable attempt to visualise the staggering book on which it is based.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

André Morell previously appeared in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) opposite Sir Christopher Lee and John Le Mesurier, who played Saruman and Bilbo in Peter Jackson's movies and the BBC Radio drama. This made Morell the first of four Doctor Watsons, and Le Mesurier the first of two Bilbos, to appear in a Sherlock Holmes movie and a Middle-earth movie. Sir Michael Hordern voiced the older Watson in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), and played Gandalf in the BBC Radio drama. John Rhys-Davies voiced Watson in Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (2010), and played Gimli in Peter Jackson's movies. Martin Freeman played Watson on Sherlock (2010), and played Bilbo in Peter Jackson's movies.


Quotes

Gandalf: One ring to rule them all; one ring to find them. One ring to keep them all, and in the darkness bind them!


Goofs

The Dwarf Gimli is almost as tall as the human and Elven characters in this movie. Presumably the actor who played him in the live-action footage was insufficiently short, and it was considered impractical to shrink him in the rotoscoping process.


Alternate Versions

The voiceover at the end of the film has been changed for recent home video releases. The original voiceover, heard after the credits were over, stated (paraphrased), "And so ends the first part of the Lord of the Rings." (At the time, a second film was planned, but the studio refused to fund the film's budget.) The new voice-over, as heard on recent DVD releases as the film comes to its stunning climax, states, "The forces of darkness were driven forever from the face of Middle Earth by the valiant friends of Frodo. As their gallant battle ended, so, too, does the first great tale of the Lord of the Rings."


Soundtracks

MITHRANDIR
Music by
Leonard Rosenman
Words by Mark Fleischer

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Animation | Adventure | Fantasy

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