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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

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Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

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Top Rated Movies #8 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 196 wins & 122 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noel Appleby ...
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Elanor Gamgee (as Alexandra Astin)
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Sam
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Sadwyn Brophy ...
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Richard Edge ...
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Storyline

The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits: Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the "one ring", while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orc | epic | battle | journey | hobbit | See All (264) »

Taglines:

This Christmas the journey ends. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and frightening images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

17 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Return of the King  »

Box Office

Budget:

$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,764,458 (Austria) (19 December 2003)

Gross:

$377,845,905 (USA) (28 June 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Blu-Ray Extended Edition) | (Special DVD Extended Edition) | (DVD Widescreen Edition)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was progressing on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) in the location of Queenstown, when suddenly the town was hit with massive floods and exterior filming had to be suspended. The only available indoor facility that could be used for a studio set, was the squash court in a local hotel. Thus, the next day, the next scene to be filmed was the intense moment from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) when an obsessed Frodo sides with Gollum, and sends Sam on his way. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin baulked at having to do such a pivotal scene without preparation (Andy Serkis had not been cast at this point, so someone from the crew filled in for Gollum) but filming went ahead as planned. Astin's scenes were all successfully completed. The next day, however, the sun came out, and the floods abated, so exterior filming could resume. The intent was always to return to the squash court (where the set remained standing) to do Elijah Wood's scenes, but, for the next five weeks there was no rain to interrupt exterior filming. At the end of that period, the crew had moved to a new location. Elijah Wood finally got to do his side of the scene one year later in the same location, the squash players of Queenstown had been without a court that whole time, as the set had remained in place on the court the entire time. See more »

Goofs

When Aragorn first meets the Army of the Dead, he is holding a torch in his left hand and a sword in his right hand. When he turns around to look at the rest of the undead, his torch and sword have switched hands. He then turns around again and the torch and sword are back where they originally were. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Deagol: Smeagol, I've got one! I've got a fish, Smeag. Smeagol!
Smeagol: Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in.
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Crazy Credits

Peter Jackson's and Fran Walsh's children are listed in the credits as 'Cute Gondor children'. In the Fellowship of the Ring, they were 'Cute Hobbit children' and in The Two Towers, they were 'Cute Rohan children'. See more »


Soundtracks

Into the West
Words and Music by Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, and Annie Lennox
Performed by Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox appears courtesy of BMG Ariola Munchen GmbH
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not only the best of the "Lord of the Rings" series, but sets a new standard of epic filmmaking.
16 December 2003 | by (Washington, D.C.) – See all my reviews

Saying that this film starts where `Two Towers' left off is somewhat misleading, for the film starts a great distance from the walls of Helm's Deep. `Return of the King' opens with a flashback of Smeagol (Andy Serkis) obtaining the one ring of power and an origin of his deterioration into the creature Gollum. This opening recaptures an emphasis that was somewhat lost within the epic battles of `Two Towers,' at that's the ring. The first installment, `The Fellowship of the Ring,' provided heaps of exposition on the ring's importance and influence, and in `Return of the King,' we see it pay off, big time.

After the armies of Isengard have been defeated due to an allegiance between Theoden (Bernard Hill), the king of Rohan, and the elves, the main threat to middle earth is now concentrated in the kingdom of Mordor, controlled by the dark lord Sauron. Sauron has turned his eye towards the realm of Gondor, the last free kingdom of men, and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) must warn Denethor (John Noble), Steward of Gondor of the impending attack, while Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), heir to the throne of Gondor, and Theoden gather men to aid against the armies of Mordor. The dark lord Sauron needs only to regain the one ring of power to conquer all of middle earth, and two hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) the ring-bearer and Sam (Sean Astin), must continue their journey, directed by Gollum, to Mount Doom, the only place where the ring can be destroyed. Got all that? If not, you need to bone up on your `Lord of the Rings' before expecting to follow this film.

Since all three epics were filmed simultaneously, each individually has the feel of being part of a larger picture - except for this one. `The Return of the King' is just too big, the most epic of a set of epic films. Now that director Peter Jackson has brilliantly constructed the characters and plotlines throughout the first two films, he puts them to use.

All of the characters have their best moments within this film. The pair of mischievous hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), are no longer the tree ornaments they were from `Two Towers,' but are split-up, and take their characters in completely new directions. Aragorn, played with an unmatched sense of honor by Viggo Mortenson, is about to meet his destiny as the future king of all men, while Andy Serkis continues his expert portrayal of Gollum (Serkis' provided not only the voice of Gollum, but also assisted during production by acting out the scenes of the computer-generated character with his fellow actors).

However, the real acting triumph of the film is Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. He continues his descent into corruption with an incredible talent that many could not pull off. Wood's performance is so critical to the film because it determines the ring's power to corrupt, which, needless to say, is absolute.

The first two films established Jackson as an incredible visionary, shooting vast landscapes from his native New Zealand. With `Return of the King,' Jackson really gets a chance to show off. With, hands down, the most beautiful visuals of the trilogy, Jackson makes `Return of the King' a gorgeous feast for the eyes, while never resorting to McG level over-the-topness. Jackson stays very grounded in his characters, not letting the effects tell the story, but only assist the wonderful dialogue and characters. Think of `Return' as a mix of `Fellowship' and `Two Towers,' with enough action and character development worthy of ending a film event of this magnitude.

The bottom line, fans of the films will not be disappointed. Hardcore Tolkien lovers might be upset by plot changes and interpretations made by Jackson and the other writers, however, it is unrealistic to expect a completely true adaptation of the novels, being that film is an entirely different medium. Despite the alterations, Jackson consistently stays true to the major themes and ideas from the original text, while adding some of the finest filmmaking ever put to screen. `The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' is one of the most finely tuned and cinematically perfect films ever made. Not only the best of the trilogy, but a crowning achievement in epic filmmaking.


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