The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by Peter Jackson
Barrie M. Osborne
Fran Walsh
Screenplay by Fran Walsh
Philippa Boyens
Stephen Sinclair
Peter Jackson
Based on The Two Towers by
J. R. R. Tolkien
Starring Elijah Wood
Sean Astin
Viggo Mortensen
Ian McKellen
Andy Serkis
Liv Tyler
Cate Blanchett
John Rhys-Davies
Orlando Bloom
Bernard Hill
Christopher Lee
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Hugo Weaving
Miranda Otto
Karl Urban
David Wenham
Brad Dourif
Sala Baker
Sean Bean
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Editing by Michael J. Horton
Jabez Olssen
Studio WingNut Films
The Saul Zaentz Company
Distributed by New Line Cinema
New ZealandNerigan Entertainment
Release date(s) December 5, 2002 (2002-12-05) (New York City premiere)
December 18, 2002 (2002-12-18) (United States)
December 19, 2002 (2002-12-19) (New Zealand)
Running time Theatrical:
179 minutes
Extended Edition:
223 minutes
Language English
Budget US$94 million
Gross revenue US$925,282,504[1]

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 fantasydrama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings. It is the second film in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy that was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and concluded with The Return of the King (2003).

Continuing the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, it intercuts three storylines, as Frodo and Sam continue their quest to destroy the One Ring, they meet Gollum, its former owner and continue their journey towards Mordor. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli come across the war-torn nation of Rohan as well as the resurrected Gandalf, before fighting at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, whilst Merry and Pippin escape capture, meet Treebeard the Ent, and plan an attack on Isengard.

Meeting high critical acclaim, It was an enormous box-office success, earning over $900 million worldwide, outgrossing its predecessor, and is currently the 13th highest-grossing film of all time (inflation-adjusted, it is the 60th most successful film in North America[2]). The film won two Academy Awards. The Special Extended DVD Edition was released on November 19, 2003 and is now discontinued.



The film begins with a flashback to the battle between the wizard Gandalf the Grey and the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm in the Mines of Moria, in an attempt to allow the Fellowship of the Ring to escape, but this time from Gandalf’s perspective. Gandalf is pulled down to the chasm by the demon; the Fellowship believes he is dead, but he continues to fight it while falling down into a lake in the depths of the Earth. Weeks later, the hobbit Frodo Baggins continues his journey with his loyal friend Sam, as they attempt to reach Mordor by passing through the hills of Emyn Muil. One night, they are attacked by the creature Gollum wishing to retrieve “his precious“. The hobbits capture him, but Frodo understands the burden of the ring and takes pity on the creature. Realizing they are in need of a guide, Frodo persuades Gollum to lead them to the Black Gate of Mordor.

In Rohan, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are in pursuit of the Uruk-hai, who are on their journey back to Isengard with hobbits Merry and Pippin as captives. Meanwhile, King Théoden, the king of Rohan, is being put in a trance by his steward, Gríma Wormtongue, who is secretly in the service of Saruman. Orcs and Wild Men of Dunland, incited by Saruman, are freely roaming the land, burning villages, massacring the people and destroying crops. (In an attack on one of the villages, a mother sends her two children on horseback to Edoras to warn the King.) Recently, the King’s only son Théodred fell victim to them, left mortally wounded in an ambush. Théoden’s nephew Éomer interrogates Gríma, labelling him a spy: however, Gríma banishes Éomer, “on pain of death”, for undermining his authority, and Éomer sets forth to the countryside to gather the remaining loyal men of the Rohirrim. That night, Éomer’s army ambush and kill all of the Uruk-hai, thus allowing the two hobbits to flee into the forests of Fangorn. There, Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents of Middle-earth.

Frodo, Sam and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes, evading an airborne Ringwraith riding on a fell beast. When they finally reach the Black Gate, they find it shut and heavily guarded by Orcs. However, as they watch, an Easterling contingent arrives and the gate opens for them to enter. Sensing a chance, Frodo and Sam make ready to move. However, they are held back by Gollum, who confirms their fears of capture and insists that any attempt to get in via the Black Gate will only end with the One Ring returning to Sauron. He then reveals that there is another way into Mordor, hidden and unguarded. Sam is immediately suspicious, but Frodo gives him the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that he has remained loyal thus far.

Éomer later encounters Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in Rohan, who tells the group that there were no survivors of the battle the previous night, indicating that the hobbits were accidentally slain. Upon arriving at the battle site, Aragorn picks up the tracks of the hobbits and the trio follows them into Fangorn. There they are approached and temporarily subdued by a wizard masked with shining white light. Initially fearing it is Saruman, the group are amazed when he reveals himself to be Gandalf reborn (after defeating the Balrog in a battle that cost him his life), now known as Gandalf the White. The quartet proceed to Edoras, where they exorcise Saruman’s hold on Théoden and banish Wormtongue. The now awakened Théoden has to come to terms with both his son’s death and the threat of Saruman. Rather than risk open war and further harm to his people (especially after seeing the two exhausted children who finally arrived from the village), Théoden decides to flee to Helm’s Deep, a large stronghold in the Mountains. Gandalf realises that Helm’s Deep’s defences will not survive the Uruk-hai onslaught that is surely to come. He leaves to find Éomer, promising to return within five days with the 2,000 banished riders. As they lead the people of Edoras to Helm’s Deep, Aragorn and Éowyn, Éomer’s sister, form a close relationship. Aragorn tells Éowyn that Arwen, whom he loves, is leaving Middle-earth to be with her people in the Undying Lands. In the meantime, Wormtongue has fled to Orthanc and informs Saruman of a weakness in the outer wall of Helm’s Deep, which Saruman and his army of 10,000 Uruk-hai plan to exploit. Saruman dispatches his army to Helm’s Deep, ordering them to spare no one.

The 10,000 strong Uruk-hai besiege Helm’s Deep.

Having led the hobbits south from the Black Gate to the land of Ithilien, Gollum is in inner turmoil, torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his all-consuming need for the Ring. The three travellers then play witness to an ambush of Southrons by Rangers of Ithilien, who take Frodo and Sam prisoner. Meanwhile, on the journey to Helm’s Deep, the Rohirrim are attacked by Saruman’s Warg riders. During the battle, Aragorn is thrown off a cliff into a fast-flowing river below: Théoden, Legolas, Gimli and the others believe him dead and journey on to Helm’s Deep. In Rivendell, Elrond comes to his daughter Arwen and implores her to leave on the ships departing Middle-earth, escaping the troubles of these lands. When she refuses, Elrond, in a devastating speech, uses his powers of foresight and slowly tells her future if she chooses to remain in Middle-earth with Aragorn. As he is mortal, even if he succeeds in defeating Sauron and becomes King of Gondor, Aragorn will die eventually and Arwen will be left to fade away with her grief when he is gone. Once again Elrond pleads with her and she yields to him. As she leaves Rivendell, the words of Galadriel, concerning the plight of Men to defy Sauron, come to Elrond in that moment. She questions whether the Elves should wash their hands of Middle-earth and points out that the Ring has manoeuvred itself into the company of Men which it can easily corrupt. Galadriel asks if they should abandon Men to their fate, even if it condemns Middle-earth to fall under Sauron’s rule for all time.

Surely enough, Frodo and Sam have been taken to Henneth Annûn, a stronghold for the Men of Ithilien, and brought before Faramir, the younger brother of Boromir. Gollum had eluded capture and, in order to save him from death at the hands of Faramir’s hunters, Frodo accepts that he and Gollum are bound to each other. Faramir investigates further and learns of the One Ring that Frodo carries. Seeking to prove his worth to his father, Denethor, he decides the Ring shall go to Gondor. In Rohan, Aragorn washes up on the river bank and is nudged awake by the horse Brego, which formerly belonged to Théodred, and which Aragorn had set free before leaving Edoras. On the verge of collapse, he wills his horse to take him to Helm’s Deep, passing Saruman’s army of Uruk-hai on the way. His arrival at Helm’s Deep is met with relief, but is short lived as the news of the strength of the approaching horde casts doubt upon the likely survival of the defenders. As night falls, a battalion of Elves led by Haldir, arrives from Lórien, bearing word of alliance and aid from Elrond. In Fangorn forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and other Ents hold a council to decide on the role of the Ents in the war with Saruman.

The battle of Helm’s Deep begins with a flurry of arrows from the defending archers, cutting down dozens of Uruk-hai. Scaling ladders are thrown up against the Deeping Wall, and the Uruks swarm up to engage the defenders. At first the onslaught is stayed by the valour of the Rohirrim and of Aragorn and his companions. Suddenly, the gutter in the Deeping Wall is blown up by two crude explosive devices that Saruman created, allowing the Uruks entry into the outer defences. Despite Aragorn’s and Gimli’s best efforts, the Uruk-hai manage to penetrate the main gate and soon the stronghold is overrun. In the midst of battle, Haldir is slain and the few remaining Elves fall back. In the Hornburg however, the Uruks have scaled the walls and have breached the gate, forcing the defenders to retreat into the Keep. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the other Ents have decided to not have any involvement in the war, deciding rather to “weather such things as [they] have always done”. Despite this, Pippin manages to cleverly take Treebeard to the section of Fangorn Saruman has recently decimated near Isengard. Treebeard is filled with rage at Saruman’s betrayal and commands all the other Ents to seek vengeance. The Ents gather and embark upon ‘the Last March of the Ents’, straight into Isengard itself.

Meanwhile, as Théoden despairs in the besieged Keep, Aragorn refuses to give in and, remembering Gandalf’s words before he left Edoras, he takes Théoden, Legolas and the remaining Rohirrim on one last gallant ride to attack the Uruk-hai army in a desperate bid to allow the Rohirrim’s women and children to escape into the mountains. The riders storm out of the Keep and cut their way through to the fortress gate. As the riders emerge into the mass of Uruks, the first rays of dawn fall down into the valley and upon the eastern hill, Gandalf appears, accompanied by Éomer and his men. They rush down into the body of the stunned Uruks and rout them: the terrified Uruk-hai flee into Fangorn, where the Ents and their Huorn allies swiftly exact retribution. Meanwhile, at Isengard the Ents are taking control. They destroy the remaining Uruk-hai population and release the dam placed upon the river Isen, which gushes forth into the plains around Orthanc, drowning the surviving Orc defenders, quenching the fires of its industry and stranding Saruman in his tower.

Away in the East, Faramir has had the hobbits bound and taken to Osgiliath, a ruined city on the banks of the river Anduin between Mordor and Gondor. There a small battle ensues with the Orcs of Mordor, who are led by a Ringwraith again, on a Fell beast. With the help of Sam and Faramir, Frodo narrowly escapes the Ringwraith’s efforts to capture him and the Ring (it nearly cost Sam his life because the Ring tried to make Frodo kill him). In an inspired monologue as he watches the Ringwraith fly off, (and as victory scenes from the two battles are seen) Sam reflects on the state he and Frodo are in, on how their story may yet come to have a happy ending, even when so much bad had happened. Frodo is doubtful of this, (especially because he nearly killed Sam) but Sam insists that they must still hold on to what they are fighting for: each other and the fulfilment of their quest. Approaching them from the throes of battle, Faramir overhears them and realises these unassuming hobbits have a high doom before them which he can no longer hope to interrupt. He sets them free and helps them on their way. Gandalf and the others now know that things have been set in motion that cannot be undone or avoided. Sauron will surely seek retribution for the defeat of his puppet Saruman and strike at Men again, only stronger and with greater fury: as Gandalf puts it “The battle for Helm’s Deep is over. The battle for Middle-earth is about to begin“. He remarks that hope now rests with Frodo and Sam, who have resumed their journey to Mordor with Gollum. Feeling betrayed by Frodo when he delivered him into the hands of Faramir’s men, Gollum’s darker self re-emerges and he decides to reclaim the ring by secretly leading Frodo and Sam to a creature he refers to only as “her“, which Gollum’s lighter self reluctantly agrees to and leads the hobbits on through the woods as Mordor is seen in the distance.


From left to right: Karl Urban, Bernard Hill, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, and Viggo Mortensen. According to director Jackson The Two Towers is centred around Aragorn.[3]

Like the other films in the trilogy, The Two Towers has an ensemble cast,[4] and the cast and their respective characters include:

The following only appear in the Extended Edition
  • Sean Bean as Boromir: the former member of the Fellowship, brother of Faramir (flashback).
  • John Noble as Denethor: Steward of Gondor and Boromir and Faramir’s father.

In the Battle of Helm’s Deep, Peter Jackson has a cameo appearance as one of the men on top of the Gate, throwing a spear at the attacking Uruk-hai. His children and Elijah Wood‘s sister also cameo as young refugees in the caves behind the Hornburg, and Alan Lee and Dan Hennah also cameo as soldiers preparing for the battle. Viggo Mortensen‘s son Henry appears as a reluctant young Rohirrim warrior. Daniel Falconer has a cameo as an Elvish archer at the battle.[6]

Comparison to the source material

The screenwriters did not originally script The Two Towers as its own film: instead parts of it were the conclusion to The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of two planned films under Miramax.[7] However, as the two films became a trilogy under New Line, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens shuffled their scripts. The Two Towers is known as the most difficult of the Rings films to make, having neither a clear beginning nor end to focus the script.[8] Nonetheless, they had a clear decision with making the Battle of Helm’s Deep the climax, a decision affecting the whole story’s moods and style.

The most notable difference between the book and the film is the structure. Tolkien’s The Two Towers is split into two parts; one follows the war in Rohan, while the other focuses on the journey of Frodo and Sam. The film omits the opening of the book, the death of Boromir, which was used as a linear climax at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. Also, the film climaxes with the Battle of Helm’s Deep, while the book ends with the Fellowship going to Isengard and Frodo’s confrontation with Shelob, scenes which were left for the film adaptation of The Return of the King. This was done partly to fit more closely the timeline indicated by the book.

One notable change in plotting is that in the film Théoden is literally possessed by Saruman, but in the book he is simply depressed and deluded by Wormtongue. Afterwards, in the film, Théoden is still unsure of what to do, and flees to Helm’s Deep. In the book he rides out to war, only ending up besieged when he considers helping Erkenbrand. Erkenbrand does not exist in the films: his character is combined with Éomer as the Rohirrim general who arrives with Gandalf at the film’s end. Éomer himself is present during the entire battle in the book.

On the way to Helm’s Deep, the refugees from Edoras are attacked by Wargs. The scene is possibly inspired by one in the book cut from The Fellowship of the Ring where it is the Fellowship who battle them. Here, a new subplot is created where Aragorn falls over a cliff, and is assumed to be dead; Jackson added it to create tension.[9] This scene also resonates with a new subplot regarding Arwen, where she decides to leave Middle-earth after losing hope in the long-term possibilities of her love. In the book, Arwen’s role is primarily recorded in the Appendices, and she is never depicted as considering such an act.

A larger change was originally planned: Arwen and Elrond would visit Galadriel, and Arwen would accompany an army of Elves to Helm’s Deep to fight alongside Aragorn. During shooting, the script changed, both from writers coming up with better ideas to show the romance, as well as poor fan reaction.[8][10] The new scene of Arwen leaving for the West was created, and the conversation scene remains, edited to be a flashback to a conversation between them in Rivendell, on the evening before the departure of the Fellowship.[8] A conversation between Elrond and Galadriel in Lothlórien was edited to be a telepathic one.[11] Nonetheless, one major change (already filmed) remained that couldn’t be reverted: the Elven warriors fighting at Helm’s Deep, although Jackson and Boyens found this romantic and stirring and a reference to how in the Appendices Galadriel and the Elves of Lothlórien, and Thranduil of Mirkwood were first attacked by an army out of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, and then later counter-attacked and assaulted the fortress itself.[8]

Another change is the fact Treebeard does not immediately decide to go to war. This adds to the tension, and Boyens describes it as making Merry and Pippin “more than luggage”.[9] Here the hobbits make Treebeard see the full destruction, prompting his anger and decision to act. Another structural change is that the hobbits meet Gandalf the White early on, explaining why the hobbits do not react to his return when they meet him again following the destruction of Isengard. This was explained in the book by Gandalf arriving at Isengard in the middle of the night to talk to Treebeard.

The filmmakers’ decision to leave Shelob for the third film meant that Faramir had to become an obstacle for Frodo and Sam.[8] In the book, Faramir (like Aragorn) quickly recognizes the Ring as a danger and a temptation, and does not hesitate long before letting Frodo and Sam go. In the film, Faramir first decides that the Ring shall go to Gondor and his father, as a way to prove Faramir’s worth compared to his elder brother Boromir. In the film, Faramir takes Frodo, Sam and the Ring to the Battle of Osgiliath — they do not go there in the book. Jackson winks to readers with Sam’s line, “By all rights we shouldn’t even be here, but we are.” After seeing how strongly the Ring affects Frodo during the Nazgûl attack, Faramir changes his mind and lets them go. These changes dilute (or at least reshape) the book’s strong contrast between Faramir and Boromir, who in The Fellowship of the Ring attempted to take the Ring for himself. On the other hand (which can be seen only in the extended version of the film), it is actually their father Denethor, who wants the ring and urges Boromir to get it, while Faramir only wants to prove that he also deserves his father’s love. Boyens contends these plot changes were needed to keep the Ring menacing. Wenham commented on the DVD documentaries that he hadn’t read the book prior to reading the script, so the movie Faramir was the Faramir he knew. When he later read the book and noticed the major difference, he approached the writers about it, and they explained to him that if he did say “I wouldn’t pick that thing up even if it lay by the wayside”, it would basically strip the One Ring of all corruptive power.[8]

The meaning of the title itself, ‘The Two Towers’, was changed. While Tolkien considered several possible sets of towers[12] he eventually created a final cover illustration[13] and wrote[14] a note included at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring which identified them as Minas Morgul and Orthanc. Jackson’s movie names them as Orthanc and Barad-dûr, symbolic of an evil alliance out to destroy Men that forms the film’s plot point.


Production Design

Main article: Production Design of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

When Alan Lee joined the project in late 1997, Helm’s Deep was the first structure he was tasked to design. At 1:35 scale, it was one of the first miniatures built, and part of the 45 minute video that sold the project to New Line. It was primarily drawn from an illustration Lee had once done for the book, though fellow illustrator and designer John Howe suggested a curved wall. Used in the film for longshots, Jackson also used this miniature to plan the battle with 40,000 toy soldiers.[15]

As a pivotal part of the story, Helm’s Deep was built at Dry Creek Quarry with the Gate, a ramp, and a wall with a removable section and the tower on a second level. Most importantly, there was the 1:4 scale miniature of Helm’s Deep that ran 50 feet wide. It was used for forced perspective shots,[16] as well as the major explosion sequence.[15]

The film explores the armies of Middle-earth. John Howe was the basic designer of the forces of evil. The Uruk-hai were the first army approved by Jackson, and Howe also designed a special crossbow for the characters, one without the redundancy of opening to reload, the realization of an 18th century manuscript. Also created were 100 Elven suits of armour, with emphasis on Autumnal colours due to the theme of Elves leaving Middle-earth. 250 suits were made for the Rohirrim, which for Bernard Hill, even came with leather inside. Emphasized are horses and the sun, even into their swords, which took 3–6 days to forge.[17]

The Rohirrim’s capital of Edoras took six months to build on Mount Sunday, with thatched roofs, but that was simply the exterior: the buildings doubled as offices and lunch halls. The army created a road to the location, whilst the interior was filmed at Stone Street Studios with tapestries designed by Lee, and Théoden’s wooden throne created by his daughter.[16] Hill endured heavy make-up for the possession scene where his skin was pulled back and released for increased wrinkles. Dourif shaved off his eyebrows and put potato flakes as dandruff in his hair for unnerving effect.

The film also provides a look at Mordor and Gondor, in terms of Frodo and Sam’s story. Barad-dûr is seen fully in a tracking shot, a design which Howe called a mockery of Gothic Cathedrals. He and Lee fully created the Black Gate, though a typo in the script made the miniature into two.[15] The Rangers and Osgiliath, the ruined city reflecting London during the Blitz.[18] The set on a backlot was based around a bridge and reused some of Moria.[16]

Principal photography

The hill known as Mount Sunday, in Canterbury, New Zealand, provided the location for Edoras

The Two Towers shared principal photography with The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King between October 11, 1999 to December 22, 2000. Scenes in Rohan were shot early on, and Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies’ scale double Brett Beattie sustained many injuries. Mortensen broke his toe when he kicked an Orc helmet when he found the remains of the Uruk-hai and believes Merry and Pippin to be dead; this take is the one in the finished film. Bloom fell off his horse and broke his rib, whilst Beattie dislocated his knee. All three spent two days of pain for the running sequence with these injuries.[18]

Afterwards, they went on for three months filming the Battle of Helm’s Deep. John Mahaffie handled most of the night shoots. Mortensen got his tooth knocked out during the nightshoots, and Bernard Hill also got his ear slashed.[18] Nonetheless, the 700 extras had fun, insulting each other in Māori[19] and improvising scenes, such as the Uruk-hai stamping their spears before the battle begins.[18] They did get annoyed by the craftsmanship of the Art Department: the Gates were too reinforced for the Battering Ram scene.[16] Mortensen greatly respected the stunt team, and head butting them became a sign of respect.[19]

Wood and Astin were joined by Serkis on April 13, 2000.[20]

Special Effects

For The Two Towers, Weta Digital doubled their staff[21] of 260.[22] In total, they would produce 73 minutes of digital effects with 799 shots.[21] The film would feature their first challenge in creating a battle scene, as well as creating two digital characters who needed to act rather than be a set piece, unlike the previous film’s Cave Troll and Balrog.[17]


Gollum eating a fish.

Weta began animating Gollum in late 1998 to convince New Line they could achieve the effect. Andy Serkis “played” Gollum by providing his voice and movements on set, as well as performing within the motion capture suit later on. His scenes were filmed twice, with and without him. Originally Gollum was set to solely be a CG character, but Jackson was so impressed by Andy Serkis’ audition tape that they used him on set as well.

Gollum’s CG model was also redesigned during 2001 when Serkis was cast as Sméagol, Gollum’s former self, so as to give the impression Andy Serkis as Sméagol transforms into the CG Gollum. The original model can still be glimpsed briefly in the first film. Over Christmas 2001, the crew proceeded to reanimate all the previous shots accordingly within two months. Another problem was that the crew realized that the cast performed better in the versions of the film with Serkis. In the end, the CG Gollum was rotoscoped and animated on top of these scenes. They fully animated some shots such as him crawling upside down. Serkis’ motion capture animated the body while animators did the head. Gino Acevedo supervised realistic skin tones, which took four hours per frame to render.[23]

While the novel alludes to a division within his mind, the film depicts him as literally having a split personality. The two personas — the childlike Smeágol and the evil Gollum — are established during a scene in which they argue over remaining loyal to Frodo. The two personalities talk to each other, as established by contrasting camera angles and by Serkis altering his voice and physicality for each persona.


Treebeard took 28 hours per frame to render.[21] For scenes where he interacts with Merry and Pippin, a 14-foot-tall puppet was built on a wheel. Weta took urethane moulds of tree bark and applied them to the sculpt of Treebeard to create his skin. The puppet was shot against bluescreen.[17]


The musical score for The Two Towers was composed, orchestrated, and conducted by Howard Shore, who also composed the music for the other two films in the trilogy. While the scores for its predecessor and sequel won the Oscar for Best Score, the soundtrack for The Two Towers was not nominated. (Initially there was confusion over the score’s eligibility due to a new rule applying to sequels, but the Academy did declare it eligible.[24])

The funeral song Éowyn sings during her cousin Théodred’s entombment in the Extended Edition is styled to be a traditional song of the Rohirrim, and has lyrics in their language, Rohirric (represented by Old English). The song does not appear in the book, and the tune is a variation upon a theme of the rímur Icelandic folk tradition; it can be heard as part of track 7 in the 1999 recording of a musical version of the Edda by Sequentia.[25]

The soundtrack was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. The soundtrack has a picture of Peter Jackson (barefoot), the composer, and two producers crossing Abbey Road, referencing the Beatles album of the same name.



The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers received universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. On the reviewer aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 96% rating, along with an average score of 8.4/10. It also has a 100% rating when narrowed to only professional critics.[26] The Battle of Helm’s Deep has been named as one of the greatest screen battles of all time,[27] while Gollum was named as the third favorite computer generated film character by Entertainment Weekly in 2007.[28]


  • Academy Awards
  • British Academy Film Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Special Visual Effects, Orange Film of the Year (voted on by the public)
  • Empire Awards: Best Picture
  • Grammy Award: Best Score (Howard Shore)
  • Hugo Award (World Science Fiction Society): Best Dramatic Presentation — Long Form
  • MTV Movie Awards 2003: Best virtual performance (Gollum)
  • Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Costume (Ngila Dickson), Best Supporting Actor (Andy Serkis)

Home video release

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released on VHS and DVD on August 26, 2003 in the United States. The date was originally intended to be a simultaneous worldwide release, but due to a Bank Holiday weekend in the United Kingdom, some British stores began selling DVDs early as August 22 much to the ire of the film’s UK distributor, which had threatened to withhold advance supplies of subsequent DVD releases.[29]

As with The Fellowship of the Ring, an Extended Edition of The Two Towers was released on VHS and DVD on November 19, 2003 with 45 minutes of new material, added special effects and music. The 4-disc DVD set included four commentaries along with hours of supplementary material.

On August 29, 2006, a Limited Edition of The Two Towers was released on DVD. The set included both the Theatrical and Extended editions of the film on a double-sided disc along with all-new bonus material.

Blu-Ray edition

The theatrical Blu-Ray version of The Lord of the Rings was released in the United States on 6 April 2010.[30] The individual Blu-Ray disc of The Two Towers was released on 14 September 2010 with the same special features as the complete trilogy release, except there was no digital copy.[31]

Peter Jackson has said that the Extended Editions were in development for Blu-ray and would be released in conjunction with the planned theatrical release of The Hobbit.[32] In July 2009, Jackson announced that the Blu-ray version of the Extended Editions might include newly created special features.[33]


  1. ^ “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)”. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  2. ^ “All Time Box Office Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation”. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  3. ^ Head, Steve (13 December 2002). “An interview with Peter Jackson”. IGN. Retrieved 24 October 2006. 
  4. ^ Lammers, Tim (28 August 2003). “New On Video: ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers'”. nbc4. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  5. ^ Frodo calls Gollum “not so very different from a hobbit once”. In the book, however, Sméagol is described as belonging to “hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors” (The Fellowship of the Ring, “The Shadow of the Past”); Stoors are one of the three kindreds of Hobbits. In an appendix, Tolkien calls his relative Déagol (featured in the third film of the trilogy) a Stoor; therefore Sméagol must have been a Stoor himself. In a letter, Tolkien confirms that Gollum was a hobbit (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, #214).
  6. ^ J.W. Braun, The Lord of the Films (ECW Press, 2009).
  7. ^ “20 Questions with Peter Jackson”. Peter Jackson online transcript from Ain’t It Cool News. Retrieved 24 October 2006. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f From Book to Script: Finding the Story. [DVD]. New Line. 2003. 
  9. ^ a b Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. (2003). Director/Writers Commentary. [DVD]. New Line. 
  10. ^ Clint Morris (5 December 2002). “Interview: Liv Tyler”. Moviehole. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  11. ^ Editorial: Refining the Story. [DVD]. New Line. 2003. 
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    Hammond, Wayne; Scull, Christina (1995), J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, #178, ISBN 0-395-74816-X 
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  17. ^ a b c Weta Workshop. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2003. 
  18. ^ a b c d Cameras in Middle-earth: Filming The Two Towers. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2003. 
  19. ^ a b Warriors of the Third Age. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2003. 
  20. ^ Serkis, Andy (2003). Gollum: How we made Movie Magic. Harpercollins. p. 24. ISBN 0-618-39104-5
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  22. ^ Weta Digital (The Fellowship of the Ring Appendices). [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2003. 
  23. ^ The Taming of Sméagol. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2003. 
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  32. ^ Dreuth, Josh (16 April 2009). “Lord of the Rings Pre-order Now Available”. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  33. ^ Weintraub, Steve ‘Frosty’ (24 July 2009). “Peter Jackson News – THE HOBBIT, LORD OF THE RINGS Blu-ray, DISTRICT 9, THE LOVELY BONES”. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 

External links

Book: The Lord of the Rings film trilogyWikipedia Books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (film)
v · d · eThe Lord of the Rings film trilogy
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003)
See also
The Hobbit (2012, 2013)
v·d·eThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Production and reception
Related works
Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Bilbo · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir · Sauron · Saruman · Arwen · Elrond · Glorfindel · Galadriel · Celeborn · Théoden · Éomer · Éowyn · Wormtongue · Faramir · Denethor · Beregond · Gollum · Witch-king · Gothmog · Treebeard · Tom Bombadil
Adaptations and other derivative works
v·d·ePeter Jackson1980s







Bad Taste (1987) · Meet the Feebles (1989)
Braindead (1992) · Heavenly Creatures (1994) · The Frighteners (1996)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) · The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) · King Kong (2005) · The Lovely Bones (2009)
The Valley (1976) · Forgotten Silver (1995)
v · d · eMTV Movie Award for Best Movie
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1992) • A Few Good Men (1993) • Menace II Society (1994) • Pulp Fiction (1995) • Seven (1996) • Scream (1997) • Titanic (1998) • There’s Something About Mary (1999) • The Matrix (2000) • Gladiator (2001) • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002) • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2003) • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004) • Napoleon Dynamite (2005) • Wedding Crashers (2006) • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2007) • Transformers (2008) • Twilight (2009) • The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2010)