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

The final instalment of the rousing, hugely successful trilogy that redefined the studio blockbuster, The Return of the King won 11 Oscars to add to its box office haul.

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Alternative titles

  • Der Herr der Ringe Die Rückkehr des Königs Original German
  • The Lord of the Rings Return of the King Alternative
  • Return of the King Alternative


“With enormous energy and a passionately exacting eye for detail, Jackson has made the regressive-romantic legend live again. He has given the Tolkien myth a turbo-charged rush into the 21st century.”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 2003

The Return of the King sees hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) reach the end of his attempt to destroy the magic ring that will otherwise plunge his world into darkness. Meanwhile Middle-earth has erupted in battles between the forces of evil and good, the latter led by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen).

Taking up where The Two Towers left off, part three of the epic assumes its audience will know the first two instalments. The most spectacular of the series, The Return of the King builds towards a massive battle scene that is among the finest expressions of director Peter Jackson’s flair for action. The movie’s 11 Oscars, including awards for Best Picture and Best Director, was generally considered recognition for the trilogy as a whole.

Aragorn’s famous rallying-the-troops speech in front of the Black Gate recalls Henry V’s “Once more unto the breach”, as delivered on film by Laurence Olivier (1944) and Kenneth Branagh (1989).

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