57 user 14 critic

The Return of the King (1980)

Not Rated | | Animation, Action, Adventure | TV Movie 11 May 1980
Two Hobbits struggle to destroy the Ring in Mount Doom while their friends desperately fight evil Lord Sauron's forces in a final battle.


J.R.R. Tolkien (novels), Romeo Muller (adapted for the screen)
3,341 ( 15)




Cast overview:
Orson Bean ... Frodo Baggins / Bilbo Baggins (voice)
Theodore Bikel ... Aragorn (voice)
William Conrad ... Lord Denethor (voice)
John Huston ... Gandalf (voice)
Roddy McDowall ... Samwise Gamgee (voice)
Theodore Gottlieb ... Gollum / Smeagol (voice) (as Theodore)
Paul Frees ... Orc / Goblin / Uruk-Hai / Captain Shagrat / Lieutenant Snaga / Orc Sergeant / Lord Elrond (voice)
Don Messick ... King Theoden / Easterling / The Mouth of Sauron (voice)
John Stephenson ... Gondorian Guard / Dwimmerlaik - The Witch-King of Angmar (voice)
Casey Kasem ... Meriadoc 'Merry' Brandybuck (voice)
Sonny Melendrez ... Peregrin 'Pippin' Took (voice)
Nellie Bellflower ... 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 <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Story of Hobbits. See more »


TV-G | See all certifications »

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 »


(at 9:20) The opening title card reads "The Return Of The King". Below it, the copyright line reads "RANKIN/BASS PRODCTIONS, INC. MCMLXXIX". The word "productions" is misspelled. See more »


Eowyn: Begone foul dwimmerlaik! Leave the dead in peace.
The Witch King: Come not between the Nazgul and his prey, or he will slay thee in turn.
Eowyn: Do what you will, I will hinder it if I may.
The Witch King: Hinder me? Thou fool! Dost though not know the prophecy? No living man may hinder me.
Eowyn: But no living man am I! You look upon a woman, Eowyn am I. You stand between me and my Lord and kin. Begone, or living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits feature illustrations of landscapes from the film. See more »


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

User Reviews

definately worth watching
28 August 2002 | by eowyn_in_gondorSee all my reviews

I first saw this movie when I was about four, and it has influenced the way I have felt about Tolkien for years and years and years. Yes, it has flaws - huge gaping flaws. Some of the plot lines aren't at all what they are in the book, and you jump into the end of the story and have absolutely no idea what went on before. It features the phial of Galadriel, for example, but doesn't mention who Galadriel is or how he got the phial in the first place.

But when you're four years old, what does that matter? For me, at least, it was a nice little introduction into Tolkien's epic trilogy. For parents out there, I won't lie to you - there are scary parts. I don't really remember being freaked out about it, though. Some kids might. Little boys will love it because of all the battle scenes, and little girls will love it because of Eowyn.

The scene with Eowyn and the ringwraith is very well done, in my opinion. Not completely like it was in the book, but very well done just the same. It shows us women that you can be beautiful and feminine and still kick some major butt.

Also the scene in which Sam is tempted by the ring is extremely dramatic. I'm glad that Sean Astin's performance more closely resembles this Sam rather than the 1978 Ralph Bakshi Sam. Sam is a loyal trustworthy friend who won't let people push him around without a fight, and not a gay lover.

So with all this in mind, I'd say that this movie is good for all ages. Adults who are fans of the book should see it, even if just for the sake of seeing it. I think it's more appropriate for children, though,to get them acquainted with Tolkien's work.

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USA | Japan



Release Date:

11 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Return of the King See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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