8.9/10
1,461,916
3,378 user 344 critic

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

Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

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
312 ( 15)

Could Jake Gyllenhaal Save Middle-earth?

It's been 15 years since the Lord of the Rings trilogy ended, but we still can't get enough. Let's look at the stars who missed out on adventures in Middle-earth.

Find out

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
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
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
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
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, the events of 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
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
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
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
Star Wars (1977)
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 mysterious 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
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
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 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

The lightning storm effects comes from news footage in Lawrence, Kansas. See more »

Goofs

The amount of mud along with the ring in Deagol's hand lessens considerably with each shot of him looking at the ring, until the mud is completely gone by the time he is attacked by Smeagol. 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

At the end of the credits, a very long list of names from the Lord of the Rings Fan Club whom the authors want to thank to is displayed. The name of Elijah Wood is in that list. 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 »


Soundtracks

The Green Dragon
Music by David Donaldson, David Long, Steve Roche (as Stephen Roche), and Janet Roddick
Lyrics by Philippa Boyens
Performed by Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan
Courtesy of Mana Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Not only the best of the "Lord of the Rings" series, but sets a new standard of epic filmmaking.
16 December 2003 | by danlonginoSee all my reviews

Saying that this film starts where `Two Towers' left off is somewhat misleading, for the film starts a great distance from the walls of Helm's Deep. `Return of the King' opens with a flashback of Smeagol (Andy Serkis) obtaining the one ring of power and an origin of his deterioration into the creature Gollum. This opening recaptures an emphasis that was somewhat lost within the epic battles of `Two Towers,' at that's the ring. The first installment, `The Fellowship of the Ring,' provided heaps of exposition on the ring's importance and influence, and in `Return of the King,' we see it pay off, big time.

After the armies of Isengard have been defeated due to an allegiance between Theoden (Bernard Hill), the king of Rohan, and the elves, the main threat to middle earth is now concentrated in the kingdom of Mordor, controlled by the dark lord Sauron. Sauron has turned his eye towards the realm of Gondor, the last free kingdom of men, and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) must warn Denethor (John Noble), Steward of Gondor of the impending attack, while Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson), heir to the throne of Gondor, and Theoden gather men to aid against the armies of Mordor. The dark lord Sauron needs only to regain the one ring of power to conquer all of middle earth, and two hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) the ring-bearer and Sam (Sean Astin), must continue their journey, directed by Gollum, to Mount Doom, the only place where the ring can be destroyed. Got all that? If not, you need to bone up on your `Lord of the Rings' before expecting to follow this film.

Since all three epics were filmed simultaneously, each individually has the feel of being part of a larger picture - except for this one. `The Return of the King' is just too big, the most epic of a set of epic films. Now that director Peter Jackson has brilliantly constructed the characters and plotlines throughout the first two films, he puts them to use.

All of the characters have their best moments within this film. The pair of mischievous hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), are no longer the tree ornaments they were from `Two Towers,' but are split-up, and take their characters in completely new directions. Aragorn, played with an unmatched sense of honor by Viggo Mortenson, is about to meet his destiny as the future king of all men, while Andy Serkis continues his expert portrayal of Gollum (Serkis' provided not only the voice of Gollum, but also assisted during production by acting out the scenes of the computer-generated character with his fellow actors).

However, the real acting triumph of the film is Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. He continues his descent into corruption with an incredible talent that many could not pull off. Wood's performance is so critical to the film because it determines the ring's power to corrupt, which, needless to say, is absolute.

The first two films established Jackson as an incredible visionary, shooting vast landscapes from his native New Zealand. With `Return of the King,' Jackson really gets a chance to show off. With, hands down, the most beautiful visuals of the trilogy, Jackson makes `Return of the King' a gorgeous feast for the eyes, while never resorting to McG level over-the-topness. Jackson stays very grounded in his characters, not letting the effects tell the story, but only assist the wonderful dialogue and characters. Think of `Return' as a mix of `Fellowship' and `Two Towers,' with enough action and character development worthy of ending a film event of this magnitude.

The bottom line, fans of the films will not be disappointed. Hardcore Tolkien lovers might be upset by plot changes and interpretations made by Jackson and the other writers, however, it is unrealistic to expect a completely true adaptation of the novels, being that film is an entirely different medium. Despite the alterations, Jackson consistently stays true to the major themes and ideas from the original text, while adding some of the finest filmmaking ever put to screen. `The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' is one of the most finely tuned and cinematically perfect films ever made. Not only the best of the trilogy, but a crowning achievement in epic filmmaking.


807 of 982 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3,378 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

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