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.


6.2/10
29,248


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  • Simon Chandler in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Ralph Bakshi in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • John A. Neris in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • Anthony Daniels in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • John A. Neris and Trey Wilson in The Lord of the Rings (1978)
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


31 July 2006 | cdunbar-3
8
| Uniquely animated drama & characters true to source
I'm fond of this film and it vexes me that so many "reviewers" rank it below the Peter Jackson trilogy. A filmed novel is always interpretive; in particular an animated film relies on the artist's vision and should be judged on its own terms. Speaking as a purist, this is a finer homage to Tolkien than the updated version. While this film has its flaws it stays truer to the source, especially so far as the characters are concerned.

In the Jackson version Tolkien's Frodo is barely recognizable: from the first scenes he is portrayed as a weakling, constantly wavering, manipulated by forces around him and never standing on his own two feet (this is physically and metaphorically true.) You wonder why fate chose this limp biscuit to carry the one ring to the Cracks of Doom. Jackson unforgivably rewrites Tolkien and robs Frodo of his finest moment when he allows Arwen to rescue him from the Ringwraiths...Bakshi's version respects the original, presenting a Frodo who demands the wraiths "Go back and trouble me no more!" Bakshi sustains Frodo's character as Tolkien conceived it. We see his decline as the weight of his burden increases. Frodo is so pivotal to Lord of the Rings you wonder why Jackson took such liberties (he does so with numerous characters)since character development propels the plot to its inevitable conclusion. Bakshi's film better explores the companionship between Legolas and Gimli in a few judicious scenes that are completely lacking in Jackson's version. Similarly we see Boromir horsing with Pippin and Merry, furthering the idea of fellowship. For my liking the camaraderie is more developed in the animated version than the live action.

Tolkien's poetry is an important ingredient in the novels and Bakshi makes tribute to this in one of my favorite scenes: when Frodo sings the "Merry Old Inn" song, minutes before stumbling into Strider. The cheery tune is chillingly juxtaposed with the darker theme music when seconds later, invisible to his friends but visible to the wraiths, Frodo is dangerously exposed. This is one of the most atmospheric portions of the film and chills me whenever I see it.

The well documented budget/time restrictions limit this film's final impact but had it been completed it may have resonated with more viewers. As it is, it's worth a look. Even its detractors admit that Peter Jackson derived much of his inspiration from this prototype.

Critic Reviews



Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Jackson first encountered The Lord of the Rings via this movie, and some shots in his live-action trilogy were influenced by it. One such shot features Frodo and the other Hobbits hiding from a Black Rider under a big tree root, while the Black Rider stalks above them. In his version of the sequence, Jackson uses a similar shot, although he filmed it from a different angle (in the book, Frodo hid separately from the other Hobbits). A second sequence features the camera slowly revolving around Strider and the Hobbits, who stand in a circle as the Black Riders approach them on Weathertop. In his staging, Jackson also used a similar shot, although his camera was much faster, and Strider is not amongst the Hobbits. A third similarity was the depiction of Gollum losing the Ring in the prologue: both movies show similar events, but the book had no such prologue, and it runs directly counter to Tolkien's scheme for the storyline. Another similarly staged scene is Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn's discovery of Gandalf the White.


Quotes

Gandalf: I have come for your aid Saruman the White, in troubled times. The Nine are abroad, darkness approaches, the Black Riders!
Saruman: Is that all the news you have for me then?
Gandalf: Is that not enough? Sauron is moving at last!
Saruman: We can deal with Sauron ourselves ...
Gandalf: ...
Saruman: ...


Goofs

Saruman is called "Saruman the White" and "Saruman of Many Colors", yet throughout this movie he is dressed entirely in red.


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

Details

Release Date:

15 November 1978

Language

English, Sindarin


Country of Origin

USA, UK, Spain

Filming Locations

Belmonte, Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$626,649 19 November 1978

Gross USA:

$30,471,420

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,471,420

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