The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. 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
The individual novel on which this movie was based, "The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien, appeared in Conrad Jarrett's (Timothy Hutton's) bedroom in Ordinary People (1980) which, like this movie, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. See more »
When Smegol/Gollom is plotting the hobbits' demise by talking to his reflection in the river he coughs and dribbles. As his face is directly above his reflection the spit should drop directly onto it but it drops 'downward' as if he were upright. See more »
Smeagol, I've got one! I've got a fish, Smeag. Smeagol!
Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in.
See more »
The credits are accompanied by preproduction sketches that appear along the left and right sides of the screen. The final sketch, in the center of the screen, is The One Ring. See more »
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, 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.
All the threads of Tolkien's magnum opus come together in the most elegant of fashions in the final part of Peter Jackson's adaptation. Humanity makes a last stand at Minas Tirith, the Hobbits travel through Mordor, our heroes try to by time for Frodo to complete his mission and the Evil Sauron gets tired of the whole game and lashes out with all his might and fury.
"Return of the King" is 4 hours of payoff, a third act in a gigantic epic rather than a mere film of its own. As such it is intensely dramatic and dynamic and you can very much sense that though peter Jackson spared no effort on the previous episodes, this is clearly his favorite. the film floats by at a thunderous pace, taking us through unforgettable moments such as the battle of Minas Tirith itself, a marvel of seamless animation and epic film-making, it demands to be seen, as it has too many jaw-dropping moments to choose from. The quieter character moments keep gaining in potency and the full weight of the stakes and their heartbreaking consequences is never in doubt.
The cast of these films have played their parts to perfection and again Jackson deserves overall credit for choosing actors that so perfectly match Tlolkien's creations: Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are their own usually excellent selves, and the hobbits remain endearing, but of all the uniformly great cast, the true standouts are Viggo Mortensen and David Wenham as the tragic Faramir, whose relationship with his brutish father is the most traumatic of the film. Jackson pushes them even further by having them sing at a few key moments (a practice employed to powerful effect by Tolkien in the books), a daring undertaking that works wonders. And though he may offer one ending too many, he does have the decency to show off each surviving character with the appropriate screen time and respect.
Now that the trilogy is complete, it can be viewed as one big film, as it should be. After 8 years, Jackson has done the impossible: he has taken Tolkien's huge legend and made films that stand on their own and have revolutionized film-making, setting the new benchmark for cinematic epics. Changes have been made to Tolkien's source novels, but they make for better, more fluid films, more faithful in spirit to Tolkien's myth than anyone had the right to hope for.
A masterpiece, whether as part of a bigger whole or on its own. Well deserving of all the high praise thrown at it, and then some...
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