The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

WingNut Films & The Saul Zaentz Company Released 2003


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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Movie Summary

Peter Jackson

The story picks up with a flashback which reveals how Smeagol was corrupted by the discovery of Sauron's Ring. Soon it's back to watching his attempts to lead Frodo and Sam to Mordor, where they can destroy the Ring once and for all. But Gollum is rapidly becoming less of a guide and more of a hindrance. His precious ring has darkened him too much, and even Frodo is feeling this dark influence. At the same time, Aragorn must claim his rightful place at the throne of Gondor. But Denethor, father of Boromir and Faramir and steward to the throne, is having none of it. Not even Gandalf can make him see sense. That is only one problem. King Theoden and the army of Rohan must reunite with Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas, among others, to defend the city of Minas Tirith. Hobbits, Pippin and Merry, are ready to lend their own contributions as well, as is Eowyn.


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    It's been a long time since a commercially oriented film with the scale of "King" ended with such an enduring and heartbreaking coda.

  • 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    As completely real on the psychological level as its up-to-the-moment visual effects have on the physical.

  • 100

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Represents that filmmaking rarity -- a third part of a trilogy that is decisively the best of the lot. With epic conflict, staggering battles, striking landscapes and effects, and ...

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Saruman: Tell me, what word of comfort did you give the Halfling... before you sent him to his doom? [Gandalf sighs] The path that you have sent him on can only lead to death.
      Gimli: I've heard enough. Shoot him, stick an arrow in his gob. [Legolas draws an arrow]
      Gandalf: No!

    • Gimli: [drunk] It's the dwarves who go swimming with little hairy women.

    • Eowyn: (regarding Merry) You should encourage him. You should not doubt him.
      Eomer: I do not doubt his heart, only the reach of his arm. [Gamling snickers]
      Eowyn: Why should Merry be left behind? He has as much cause to go to war as you. Why can he not fight for the ones he loves?
      Eomer: You know as little of war as that Hobbit.

    • Mouth of Sauron: (taken from extended edition) The Halfling was dear to you I see. Know that he suffered greatly at the hands of his host. [Growls] Who would've thought someone so small could endure so much pain? And he did, Gandalf. He did. [Laughs] (Aragorn rides closer) And who is this? Isildur's heir? It takes more to make a king than a broken Elvish sword. (Aragorn swiftly takes his head)

    • Gimli: Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an Elf.
      Legolas: What about side by side with a friend?
      Gimli: Aye, I could do that.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Production Budget - $94,000,000
      Domestic Gross - $377,845,905 (1st)
      Worldwide Gross - $1,119,929,521 (1st)

      Domestic Adjusted for 2013 - $511,313,861
      Worldwide Adjusted for 2013 - $1,515,526,516

    • The 'extended version' of the movie runs approximately 50 minutes longer.

    • Other Production Companies:
      WingNut Films
      The Saul Zaentz Company
      Alliance Atlantis Communications
      (Canadian distributor)
      Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)

    • Filming locations include:
      Camperdown Studios, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand
      Fernside, Featherston, Wairarapa, New Zealand
      Hinuera Valley, Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand
      Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand
      Erewhon, Canterbury, New Zealand
      Glenorchy, Otago, New Zealand
      Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand
      Central Plateau, New Zealand
      Twizel, Canterbury, New Zealand
      Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

    • Taglines:
      1. This Christmas the journey ends.
      2. There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering. No freedom without sacrifice.
      3. The eye of the enemy is moving.

    • Music:
      Into the West
      Words and Music by Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, and Annie Lennox
      Performed by Annie Lennox
      Annie Lennox appears courtesy of BMG Ariola Munchen GmbH
      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
      The Edge of Night
      Music by Billy Boyd
      Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien
      Performed by Billy Boyd
      Adapted by Philippa Boyens
      Orchestration by Howard Shore
      Aragorn's Coronation
      Music by Viggo Mortensen
      Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien

    • Academy Awards Wins:
      1. Picture
      2. Director - Peter Jackson
      3. Adapted Screenplay
      4. Editing
      5. Art Direction
      6. Costume Design
      7. Makeup
      8. Visual Effects
      9. Sound
      10. Original Score
      11. Original Song - "Into the West"


More Info About This Movie


epic adventure, epic journey, Historical, sequel, visually stunning