The Hobbit (1977)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Family  |  27 November 1977 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 9,448 users  
Reviews: 124 user | 22 critic

A homebody hobbit in Middle Earth gets talked into joining a quest with a group of dwarves to recover their treasure from a dragon.


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Title: The Hobbit (TV Movie 1977)

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Complete credited cast:
Bilbo Baggins (voice)
Smaug (voice)
The Elvenking (voice)
Cyril Ritchard ...
Elrond (voice)
Brother Theodore ...
Gollum (voice) (as Theodore)
Paul Frees ...
Dwalin / Fíli / Kíli / Óin / Glóin / Ori / Nori / Bifur / Bofur / Bert - Troll #2 / Goblin / Spiders / Wood Elves / Lake People (voice) (as Jack De Leon)
Don Messick ...
Balin / Tom - Troll #3 / Goblin / Orc / Gwaihir - Lord of the Eagles (voice)
John Stephenson ...
Dori / Bard / Great Goblin (voice)
Glenn Yarbrough ...
The Balladeer (voice)


Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit was just minding his own business, when his occasional visitor Gandalf the Wizard drops in one evening . One by one, a whole group of dwarves drop in, and before he knows it, Bilbo has joined their quest to reclaim their kingdom, taken from them by an evil dragon named Smaug. The only problem is that Gandalf has told the dwarves that Bilbo is an expert burglar, but he isn't.... Written by Murray Chapman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 November 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Hobbit  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The song the goblins sing as they chase the dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf up the trees, "Fifteen birds in five fir trees," is taken directly from the book. See more »


When Elrond reveals the moon runes on the dwarves' map, he reads the phrased as quoted directly from the book "Stand by the grey stone...", however the phrase shown is "Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast." This is a phrase which was not written in the moon runes. See more »


Smaug: Be done with your riddles. What else brought you, lake man?
Bilbo Baggins: Revenge!
Smaug: Revenge?
Bilbo Baggins: Surely you must realize that your success has made you some bitter enemies.
Smaug: [evil chuckling] Revenge? You? HA! I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG! My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth are like swords! My claws, spears! The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath... DEATH! Well? Where are your riddles now?
See more »


Referenced in Witchcraft in the Church (2012) See more »


Written by J.R.R. Tolkien
Performed by Glenn Yarbrough
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A mixed bag
25 November 2003 | by (Washington, D.C.) – See all my reviews

I saw the Rankin/Bass 'Hobbit' for the first time when I was about eight or nine years old. I was enchanted by the movie, and I credit it with motivating me to read 'The Hobbit' and later 'The Lord of the Rings', thereby transforming me into a lifelong Tolkien fan (albeit not as die-hard as some, I admit). This is probably the highest praise I can give it.

I re-viewed the movie recently. How does it stand up now that I am older and better-versed in Tolkien? So-so, I would say. Some comments/criticisms, in no particular order:

* The movie, I now realize, was seriously hampered by time constraints. The creators attempted to squeeze a very eventful novel's story into a two-hour TV movie, with commercials. The result is that everything seems very hurried, events are piled on top of each other with great speed and moments that ought to be savored get rushed. Also, the periodic fade-outs/fade-ins for commercials are distracting.

* A product of its time, the movie is wall-to-wall with songs, most with lyrics written by Tolkien, one written originally for the film, all sung to '70s folk ballad melodies. Tolkien's elves should not sound like hippie chipmunks.

* The '70s context also gives the movie a strongly pacifist message. All scenes of fighting are rendered, somewhat awkwardly, so as to avoid any actual blood or carnage (a mortally wounded character will be glimpsed in a freeze frame that will then spin into a blur, mirroring the character's disappearance from this life, I suppose). Speeches about the glory of war are presented so as to make the advocates look ridiculous. None of this is a bad, and is even refreshing, but it is the work of Rankin/Bass, not Tolkien.

* Some of the key players are perfect: Orson Bean as Bilbo, John Huston as Gandalf, Richard Boone as Smaug and Theodore as Gollum bring great life and character to the movie. The one-on-one scenes between Bilbo and each of the other three are easily the best part of 'The Hobbit'.

Overall, the movie is best suited for the audience for whom it was intended, children. Kids will probably like it, and might even want to explore Tolkien further.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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