6.2/10
27,851
319 user 73 critic

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Trailer
1:20 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Director:

Ralph Bakshi

Writers:

Chris Conkling (screenplay), Peter S. Beagle (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,776 ( 389)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Return of the King (TV Movie 1980)
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two Hobbits struggle to destroy the Ring in Mount Doom while their friends desperately fight evil Lord Sauron's forces in a final battle.

Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Stars: Orson Bean, John Huston, Theodore Bikel
The Hobbit (1966)
Animation | Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A homebody hobbit finds himself going on a quest to save a dwarven treasure from a dragon in this loose adaptation of the classic novel.

Director: Gene Deitch
Stars: Herb Lass
Wizards (1977)
Animation | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, a wizard and his faire folk comrades fight an evil wizard who's using technology in his bid for conquest.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus
Fire and Ice (1983)
Animation | Fantasy | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

At the end of the ice age, an evil queen and her son are set on conquering the world using magic and warriors. The lone survivor of a crushed village fights back as does the king of Fire Keep.

Directors: Ralph Bakshi, Tom Tataranowicz
Stars: Randy Norton, Cynthia Leake, Steve Sandor
Fritz the Cat (1972)
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A hypocritical swinging college student cat raises hell in a satiric vision of various elements on the 1960s.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Skip Hinnant, Rosetta LeNoire, John McCurry
American Pop (1981)
Animation | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family of musicians whose careers parallel the history of American popular music in the 20th century.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Mews Small, Ron Thompson, Jerry Holland
Heavy Traffic (1973)
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An "underground" cartoonist contends with life in the inner city, where various unsavory characters serve as inspiration for his artwork.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Joseph Kaufmann, Beverly Hope Atkinson, Frank DeKova
Coonskin (1975)
Animation | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Rabbit, a country-born trickster, takes over the organized crime racket in Harlem, facing opposition from the institutionalized racism of the Mafia and corrupt police.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Barry White, Charles Gordone, Scatman Crothers
Short | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The great events of the war of the ring are about to unfold and the priority for Strider and Gandalf is to keep the Ring secret. Sauron is preparing to unleash his armies and Gollum is ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Bouchard
Stars: Adrian Webster, Arin Alldridge, Patrick O'Connor
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An outrageous, affectionate look at coming of age in the Eisenhower era in Brooklyn.

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Richard Romanus, David Proval, Jesse Welles
Heavy Metal (1981)
Animation | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Directors: Gerald Potterton, John Bruno, and 8 more credits »
Stars: Richard Romanus, John Candy, Joe Flaherty
Born of Hope (2009)
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set near the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth. Arathorn takes refugees to Taurdal, the village of his father, Arador. Then as Arador begins his campaign against the gathering orc bands ... See full summary »

Director: Kate Madison
Stars: Christopher Dane, Beth Aynsley, Kate Madison
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Guard Christopher Guard ... Frodo (voice)
William Squire ... Gandalf (voice)
Michael Scholes Michael Scholes ... Sam (voice)
John Hurt ... Aragorn (voice)
Simon Chandler ... Merry (voice)
Dominic Guard ... Pippin (voice)
Norman Bird ... Bilbo (voice)
Michael Graham Cox Michael Graham Cox ... Boromir (voice) (as Michael Graham-Cox)
Anthony Daniels ... Legolas (voice)
David Buck David Buck ... Gimli (voice)
Peter Woodthorpe ... Gollum (voice)
Fraser Kerr Fraser Kerr ... Saruman (voice)
Philip Stone ... Theoden (voice)
Michael Deacon Michael Deacon ... Wormtongue (voice)
André Morell ... Elrond (voice) (as Andre Morell)
Edit

Storyline

A young Hobbit known as Frodo has been thrown on an amazing adventure, when he is appointed the job of destroying the One Ring, which was created by the Dark Lord Sauron. He is assigned with three warriors including Gandelf, Aragorn, and Boromir. But it's not going to be an easy journey for the Fellowship of the Ring, on the ultimate quest to rid the Middle-earth of all evil. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

RalphBakshi.com

Country:

USA | UK | Spain

Language:

English | Sindarin

Release Date:

15 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings See more »

Edit

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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (5.1) (L-R)| Dolby Stereo (Dolby 5.1) (5.1) (L-R)

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Anthony Daniels (Legolas) is best known for playing C-3PO in the Star Wars saga. In that role, he worked opposite actors from several other Tolkien adaptations. The Rancor's keeper in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), was played by Paul Brooke, who also played Grima in the BBC Radio drama. Count Dooku was played by Sir Christopher Lee, who also played Saruman. Poggle the Lesser was originally voiced by Marton Csokas, who also played Celeborn. A Naboo guard was played by Richard Armitage, who played Thorin Oakenshield. Bruce Spence (Tion Meddon) was also the Voice of Sauron. Lastly, Supreme Leader Snoke was played by Andy Serkis, who also played Gollum. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Boromir: What is this? Why do you speak of hiding and destroying? The Ring could save all Middle Earth!
Elrond: This is Sauron's Ring! To wield it, you would have to become Sauron.
See more »

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." See more »

Connections

Referenced in South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

There is an Inn
Written by J.R.R. Tolkien
Performed by Christopher Guard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
it's almost like trying to put judgment on some brave, weird, unique piece of interpretation, that only has half its limbs
17 September 2006 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Godard once said a way to criticize a movie is to just make one, and probably the strongest kind that could be made about Ralph Bakshi's take on Tolkien's magnum opus the Lord of the Rings, has actually been made by Peter Jackson. The recent trilogy, to me, aren't even total masterpieces, but they are given enough room with each book to breath in all the post-modern techniques crossed with classical storytelling to make them very good, sweeping entertainments.

But as one who has not read the books, I end up now looking upon the two versions, live-action (albeit partly animated in its big visual effects way) and animated (albeit partly done with actual live action as the framework) in relation to just the basic story, not even complete faithfulness to the books. And with Bakshi's version, it's almost not fair in a way, as what we do see is really not the complete vision, not what Jackson really had (probably final cut). Robbed of Return of the King's big climactic rush of the story, and with the other two parts becoming rushed, I ended up liking it more for what it did within its limitations, though as such those same limitations make it disappointing.

What's interesting too, after seeing the Jackson films first- which I also slightly regret being that I might've reacted to this differently when I was younger and prior to five years ago- is that the basic elements of the story never get messed up with. Everything that is really needed to tell the Fellowship of the Ring story is actually pretty much intact, and if anything what was probably even more gigantic and epic in Tolkien's book is given some clarity in this section. The actors playing the parts of the hobbits and the other heroes, are more or less adequate for the parts, with a few parts standing out (John Hurt as Aragorn and William Squire as Gandalf).

The lack of extra characterization does end up making things seem a little face-value for those who've not even seen the other films or read the books and can't put them into context. But there is some level of interest always with the characters, and here there's a more old-fashioned sensibility amid the large aura of it being more. This is not a garden variety Disney adaptation- warts and all, this is a Bakshi film, with his underground animation roots colliding with the mythical world of Middle Earth.

And what Bakshi and his animation team bring to the film is one that ends up giving what is on screen, in all its abbreviated form, its hit or miss appeal. Along with being not totally complete as a film, or as stories, the form of the film is an experiment, to see if something can be entirely rotoscoped. The results end up bringing what seems now to be retro, but at the time of course was something that was a rough, crazy inspiration on the part of the filmmakers. Might it have been better with more traditional drawn animation? In some parts, yeah; it does become a little noticeable, as was also the case in Bakshi's American Pop, that the main characters move in such ways that are a little shaky, like some kind of comic-book form done in a different way. Still, there's much I admired in what was done.

The orcs, for example, I found to be really amazing in they're surreal surroundings. They're maybe the best part of the combination of the animation on top of the live-action, especially during parts where there isn't battle footage (that's really the real hit-or-miss section, as there isn't continuity from the good and bad rotoscoping), and the chiaroscuro comes through with big shapes on top of horseback. It's creepy in a good way. And the backgrounds, while also very rough and sometimes too sketchy, are beautiful with the mixtures and blasts of colors together. It's almost something for art-film buffs as much as for the ring-nuts.

So, how would I recommend this animated take on the Lord of the Rings? I don't know, to tell the truth. It's certainly a good notch above the other Tolkien animated film I've seen, the Hobbit (and I've yet to see the animated ROTK), and there is some real artistry going on. There's also some stilted dialog, an all-too-rushed Two Towers segment with the most intriguing character Gollum being reduced to maybe two scenes in all. And seeing something as fragmented like this ends up only reinforcing the completeness of the more recent films.

If you're a fan of the books contemplating checking this out, I would say it's worth a chance, even if it's one of those chances where you watch for forty minutes and then decide whether to stop it or not. As for it fitting into Bakshi's other films I've seen it's an impressive ambitious and spotty achievement, where as with Lynch's Dune it's bound to draw a dark, mordor-like line in the sand between those who hate it passionately and those who don't. I don't.


40 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 319 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed