The Return of the King (1980)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure  |  11 May 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 2,648 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 17 critic

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


(novels), (adapted for the screen)
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Cast overview:
Aragorn (voice)
Lord Denethor (voice)
Gandalf (voice)
Samwise Gamgee (voice)
Brother Theodore ...
Gollum / Smeagol (voice) (as Theodore)
Paul Frees ...
John Stephenson ...
Sonny Melendrez ...
Eowyn / Dernhelm (voice)
Glenn Yarbrough ...
The Minstrel (voice)


This film adapts the final book of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where the Hobbits, Frodo and Samwise, struggle through the barren land of Mordor to destroy the Ruling Ring in Mount Doom. At the same time, Gandalf and the others wage a desperate battle against the forces of Sauron at Minas Tirith, but Sauron seems to have the upper hand while the source of his power, the Ring, slowly threatens to corrupt its bearers. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Story of Hobbits. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El retorno del rey  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many Tolkien fans were disappointed when Ralph Bakshi's 1978 adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" covered only the first two books of Tolkien's trilogy. When it became clear that Bakshi would not produce a sequel, Rankin and Bass finished the story for him with this TV movie. Many Tolkien fans agree that Bakshi's film was a more mature and detailed adaptation of Tolkien's stories. See more »


Many names of locations and characters are mispronounced: Gorgoroth as Gorogoroth, Minas Tirith as Mine-as Tirith (instead of Me-nas), Cirith Ungol as Sirith Ungol (insteaf of Kirith), Smaug as Smog (instead of Sma-ug), Sauron as Soron (instead of Sow-ron), Lebennin as LebEnnin (instead of LEbennin). See more »


Meriadoc Brandybuck: Nay, Pippin. Not till Bilbo has cut the cake.
See more »


Spoofed in The Whore of the Rings (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

It's So Easy Not To Try
6 January 2008 | by (arizona) – See all my reviews

Having recently seen this version for the first time in a number of years, I can see its faults, but many of the reviewers here are way too hard on it. Tolkien's masterful trilogy was unfilmable in live action before the advent of CGI, but fans were clamoring for film versions anyway, and then hated them when they arrived. Oy veh! While this Rankin/Bass version was not as good as their THE HOBBIT, I still found it to be quite entertaining on its own level, as long as you don't compare it to Peter Jackson's impeccable epics. The voice cast was great, and it was quite ambitious for Rankin/Bass, known chiefly for their animated Christmas specials.

This film's haters should listen to the lyrics of one of Glenn Yarbrough's---It Is So Easy Not To Try. Rankin/Bass tried, and Tolkien fans who have expressed outrage over this would have been angrier if no one had tried back then. Everyone here needs to take a chill pill.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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