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

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Fantasy  |  17 December 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,100,167 users   Metascore: 94/100
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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.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Noel Appleby ...
Elanor Gamgee (as Alexandra Astin)
Sadwyn Brophy ...
Richard Edge ...
Jason Fitch ...


While Frodo & Sam continue to approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, unaware of the path Gollum is leading them, the former Fellowship aid Rohan & Gondor in a great battle in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orc | epic | ring | battle | king | See All (258) »


This Christmas the journey ends. See more »


Adventure | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Return of the King  »

Box Office


$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£15,021,761 (UK) (19 December 2003)


$377,019,252 (USA) (28 May 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended edition) | (Special Extended Blu-Ray Edition)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Theoden touching the spears of his soldiers before they charge into battle was Bernard Hill's idea. See more »


While Denethor is eating in the citadel hall and is asking Pippin if he knows how to sing, he has a smear of red wine/sauce/blood on his chin. In a subsequent shot, Denethor turns to the camera and the smear is gone. It then reappears as he looks back to Pippin. See more »


[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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the theatrical version Sean Bean receives a major on- screen credit at the end of the film, even though he only appears on screen momentarily in a flashback from the first film. See more »


Featured in The Force Is with Them: The Legacy of 'Star Wars' (2004) See more »


Aragorn's Coronation
Music by Viggo Mortensen
Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien
Performed by Viggo Mortensen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

17 December 2003 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

Peter Jackson has done it. He has created an all-encompassing epic saga of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, and after coming away from the final chapter, how does this rate not only as a film on its own, but as a part of the whole?


I've never seen a series like this. A trilogy of movies created with such love and care and utter perfection of craft that you can't help but walk away and wonder how did Peter Jackson make this possible? I have always loved the original "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" series for their epic storytelling, and just for just fitting in as a great moment in cinema. This should be, will be, remembered with as much revered fondness for generations to come. They do not make films like these anymore.

As a stand alone film, it picks up immediately where "Two Towers" ends, so brush up before seeing it. I've read the books, and the anticipation of seeing some of the more profound moments in this film made me kind of view it with a rushed sense of perspective. I wanted to make sure everything in this film was done "right". And when it happened, it was. I will need to see this again to enjoy everything on a more casual level.

The cast comes through once more. The musical score retains its beauty, elegance and power. The special effects, notably Gollum again, are nothing less than breathtaking, and simply move the story along. The battles are monumentally huge and exciting. There are some liberties taken with the story, especially during the end with the homecoming, and yet, everything that needed to be covered regarding the main characters was handled. After the greatest moment of the series resolves itself, the story provided a breather. And gives a good-bye to friends seen on screen for the last three years. It was truly a bittersweet feeling in realizing that there will be no "Rings" movie in 2004. I will miss this talented group of actors.

As with the first two, the film is very long, but goes by without you ever truly realizing it. This film is so much more than a simple "fantasy" epic. It's a story about strength of character, friendship, loyalty and love. And while every member of the Fellowship has their part to play, I finally understood why some critics have said this series is a story about Sam. It's his unwavering resolve that led the quest to its victory. Sean Astin is a true credit for adding the inspirational heart to this epic. As as far as the ending goes, they ended it the way that it had to be ended. Jackson ended this film the way it should have been.

I will miss looking forward to a new "Rings" movie, but these movies provide hope that high-quality films can still be made without special effects taking over a story, bathroom humor, or a "Top 40" soundtrack. George Lucas could learn a lot from these films about how not to alienate the fanbase.

Each film has earned a "10" from me for the last two years, which for me to give is a rarity. This one, however, is as equally deserving as its two predecessors. The Academy had better not look over this film for "Best Picture" of 2003. To do so would be greatly disrespectful of the craft and care that anyone involved with these films put into them.

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