8.9/10
1,435,633
3,323 user 342 critic

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

Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $14.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Peter Jackson

Writers:

J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
241 ( 15)
Top Rated Movies #7 | Won 11 Oscars. Another 198 wins & 122 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
The Matrix (1999)
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham. The Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
Forrest Gump (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Inception (2010)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page
Fight Club (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

After the rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Gladiator (2000)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noel Appleby Noel Appleby ... Everard Proudfoot
Ali Astin ... Elanor Gamgee (as Alexandra Astin)
Sean Astin ... Sam
David Aston ... Gondorian Soldier 3
John Bach ... Madril
Sean Bean ... Boromir
Cate Blanchett ... Galadriel
Orlando Bloom ... Legolas
Billy Boyd ... Pippin
Sadwyn Brophy Sadwyn Brophy ... Eldarion
Alistair Browning Alistair Browning ... Damrod
Marton Csokas ... Celeborn
Richard Edge Richard Edge ... Gondorian Soldier 1
Jason Fitch ... Uruk 2
Bernard Hill ... Theoden
Edit

Storyline

The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Hobbits: Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the "one ring", while Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron's evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orc | battle | journey | hobbit | ring | See All (245) »

Taglines:

There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering. No freedom without sacrifice. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

New Zealand | USA

Release Date:

17 December 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$72,629,713, 19 December 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$377,845,905, 28 June 2011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,119,929,521, 25 November 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Blu-Ray Extended Edition) | (Special DVD Extended Edition) | (DVD Widescreen Edition)

Sound Mix:

DTS-ES | Dolby Digital EX | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Horses owned by the production company were placed up for auction to the cast and crew after this movie was shot. Viggo Mortensen purchased two horses, the one he rode for most of the movie, and one for Liv Tyler's riding double. See more »

Goofs

When Aragorn's party rides to the Black Gate, Eomer is shown as riding with them (he can be identified by the white plume on his helmet). When they reach the gate, Eomer is missing from most of the wide shots, although he's shown in at least one close-up. See more »

Quotes

[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

Peter Jackson's and Fran Walsh's children are listed in the credits as 'Cute Gondor children'. In the Fellowship of the Ring, they were 'Cute Hobbit children' and in The Two Towers, they were 'Cute Rohan children'. See more »

Alternate Versions

In December 2004, an extended edition of the movie was released on DVD, containing 50 minutes of new footage. It a complete re-cut of the movie and so almost every scene contains small changes in pacing, music, framing, etc. Some use slightly altered takes. Major changes are listed below (spoiler warning):
  • a) Some extra dialog in Merry and Pippin's first scene at Isengard, making them seem a little "stoned" from the pipe-weed.
  • b) A final confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman has been restored, including the final fates of Saruman and Grima Wormtongue and a slightly different acquisition of the Palantir.
  • c) The celebration at Edoras has a few extra little snippets, most notably a drinking game between Legolas and Gimli.
  • d) Right before Pippin takes the Palantir, Aragorn enters the Great Hall and has a conversation with Eowyn about a dream she had.
  • e) Extra dialog from Merry when Gandalf and Pippin leave.
  • f) An extra line of dialog when Pippin meets Denethor.
  • g) After Gandalf storms out of the White Tower, he has a long monologue explaining the history of Gondor to Pippin.
  • h) A new scene with Frodo, Sam and Gollum centered on the discovery of a ruined and defaced statue at the crossroads.
  • i) When Pippin and Gandalf are talking on the balcony, an alternate take is used in which Gandalf chokes on the smoke from his pipe.
  • j) After Frodo and Sam begin climbing the stairs, Sam warns and threatens Gollum not to betray them.
  • k) Additional footage when the Orcs cross the river showing they take the Gondorians by surprise.
  • l) More dialog from Faramir and more violence as well.
  • m) A scene in which Merry asks to serve Theoden and Gimli and Legolas wonder what is happening in Gimli's home.
  • n) After Faramir arrives in Gondor, there is a scene where Denethor confronts him for not taking the Ring, which includes an appearance by Boromir.
  • o) An additional scene between Pippin and Faramir before the former swears fealty to Denethor.
  • p) Additional dialog when Faramir is riding out of Gondor.
  • q) Additional lines from Eomer after he tells Eowyn not to encourage Merry.
  • r) An additional line of dialog when Aragorn says farewell to Eowyn.
  • s) More dialog from Legolas when he explains the Paths of the Dead. The Paths of the Dead sequence is heavily revised, including the appearance of thousands of skulls, wispy ghosts, an earthquake and Aragorn's emergence from the mountain.
  • t) We see Gothmog dismounting a warg as the siege of Gondor begins; additional action during the siege of Gondor, including the Orcs using a small battering ram on the gates and cheering on the approach of the huge battering ram, Grond.
  • u) A new scene in which Aragorn attacks the Corsair ships, which includes a cameo by Peter Jackson (he's the one killed by Legolas).
  • v) A scouting report is brought to Theoden on his way to Gondor; a conversation between Merry and Eowyn.
  • w) More footage as Denethor takes Faramir to be cremated alive.
  • x) As Gandalf is riding to rescue Faramir, he is attacked by the Witch King.
  • y) The charge of the Rohirrim is moved to after this scene.
  • z) Another line of dialog before Denethor lights his pyre.
  • aa) More action during the battle of the Pelennor, including a fight between Gothmog and Eowyn.
  • bb) After Eowyn kills the Witch King, Gothmog tries to finish her off.
  • cc) Pippin's search for Merry is much longer and he finds him at night.
  • dd) Eomer finds Eowyn on the field and mourns when he thinks she is dead. A restored healing sequence between Aragorn and Eowyn.
  • ee) A much longer fight among the Orcs in the tower of Cirith Ungol.
  • ff) After Sam rescues Frodo, we see a surviving Orc sneaking off with the Mithril shirt.
  • gg) Aragorn finds a Palantir in the White Tower and uses it to reveal himself to Sauron.
  • hh) Faramir and Eowyn meet in Minas Tirith after Aragorn leaves.
  • ii) Frodo and Sam, wearing a disguise of orc armor, are found and forced to march with a detachment of Orcs while trying to reach Mount Doom.
  • jj) Near Mt. Doom, Frodo and Sam throw away the last of their gear.
  • kk) While resting, Sam sees a star through the clouds.
  • ll) At the Black Gate, the Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Pippin, Merry, and Eomer are first confronted by the Mouth of Sauron. (This also induces a goof as his body & horse have disappeared when they retreat from the gate.)
  • mm) More dialog when Gollum (acting as Smeagol) attacks Frodo on Mt. Doom.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Episode #11.12 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Five out of five decapitated orcs
20 December 2003 | by eviltimmySee all my reviews

This is the final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and certainly doesn't disappoint like some other trilogies *coughMatrixcough*. The three films had their principal shooting all done at the same time, which lowers their overall costs and keeps a good sense of continuity for the films.

The special effects, first of all, are excellent. While there's a few little things (a reversed shot with smoke flowing back into chimneys and occasional lighting that's a bit off), by and large they're excellent. The most impressive thing about them is the sheer scale. This isn't a small or simple scene; it often includes thousands of digital characters combined with filmed actors and action, sweeping landscapes, and dozens of things happening at once. This is a good reason to see it in theatres; even on DVD, there's little details that you can only catch when it's on a massive screen.

The filming is good, although there are a few evidences of digital smoothing and cutting that can nag at the mind and eyes of a picky movie-goer. There are a few interesting shots, but most are fairly plain and straight on, getting the point across without being dazzling. New Zealand's landscapes provide a great backdrop for everything going on, and there really are some beautiful places, especially up in the mountains. I hear land prices are quite good, what with the orcs warring and everything, so you may want to look into real estate purchases now.

Sound has been said to make 75% of the emotional impact of any production. This is a loud 75%. All the sound effects are very well pulled off, sound appropriate, and are generally loud. The Nazgul screeching was bordering on painful, but in a good way. Most everything has a distinct sound, and it's rare that anything feels out of place. In some of the battles, the roof of the theatre was shaking. The soundtrack fits the movie well, and Howard Shore has done an excellent job, as with the last two films in the series.

Performances all around were good, but Sean Astin as Sam and Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn really dominated the film. They performed their roles perfectly, and came away giving a good picture of the characters. Elijah Wood seemed to be stuck with the same terrified expression on his face through most of the movie, almost Max Payne-style, and it grew old quickly. Ian McKellen, the ever-wise white wizard, had a fair bit of dialogue which he delivered well; my only complaint is he had too much in the way of wistful sayings leading to scene changes. Orlando Bloom, favorite of young teenage girls everywhere, had a few more action sequences (which got cheers from the aforementioned girls) which were quite well pulled off, but his acting wasn't much tested by this film. John Rhys-Davies continued with Gimli's joking performance; he's really too amusing to take seriously, but does a good job at it.

For the old Tolkien fans, this movie stays quite close to the book, although they did have to omit some portions, most notably the taking and retaking of the Shire and the time spent in the Halls of Healing in Minas Tirith. Hopefully some of this will show up in the Extended Edition on DVD. Shelob's attack was left until this film, and much of the time spent in Mordor was shortened for the sake of pacing, and it was a good decision.

My favorite scene would have to be the battle at Minas Tirith. The incredible scope of the battle, with the special effects, sounds, and many close-ups of pieces of the action, make for an exciting scene. The visual effects especially are stunning; the 'oliphaunts' play a big part in the action, and they're entirely created by computer. There's also some wide shots with tens of thousands of digital characters marching on the field of battle, and even the individual actions have the masses warring as a backdrop. It's worth your movie-going dollar simply to watch this on a large screen. It was also intermingled with some smaller events inside Minas Tirith, so it's not pure battle for the whole of the scene, and it keeps it from being dreary or heavy-handed.

Overall, this is a movie well worth watching, and even paying to see in a theatre. I'd recommend against bringing small children, as there are some scary images, and they'd also be a distraction during the final movie in what will probably remain the series of the decade. Not a particularly great date movie, either...this is a real, bring-your-friends big movie. Five out of five decapitated orcs (and trust me, there were a lot more than that).


328 of 438 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3,323 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed