The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by Peter Jackson
Barrie M. Osborne
Tim Sanders
Fran Walsh
Screenplay by Fran Walsh
Philippa Boyens
Peter Jackson
Based on The Fellowship of the Ring by
J. R. R. Tolkien
Starring Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen
Sean Astin
Liv Tyler
John Rhys-Davies
Orlando Bloom
Sean Bean
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Cate Blanchett
Christopher Lee
Hugo Weaving
Ian Holm
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Editing by John Gilbert
Studio WingNut Films
The Saul Zaentz Company
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) 10 December 2001 (2001-12-10) (United Kingdom premiere)
19 December 2001 (2001-12-19) (United States)
20 December 2001 (2001-12-20) (New Zealand)
Running time Theatrical:
178 minutes
Extended Edition:
208 minutes
Language English
Budget US$ 93 million
Gross revenue US$ 870,761,744[1]

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 fantasydrama film[2] directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings (1954–1955). Set in Middle-earth, the story tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who is seeking the One Ring. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). The fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and eight companions form the Fellowship of the Ring, and begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.

Released on 10 December 2001, the film was highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike, especially as many of the latter judged it to be the most sufficiently faithful adaption of the original story out of Jackson’s film trilogy. It was a major box office success, earning over $870 million worldwide, and the second highest-grossing film of 2001 in the U.S. and worldwide (behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) which made it the 5th highest-grossing film ever at the time. Today it is the 20th highest-grossing worldwide film of all time. It won four Academy Awards and five BAFTAs, including Best Film and Best Director BAFTA awards. The Special Extended DVD Edition was released on 12 November 2002 and is now discontinued. In 2007, The Fellowship of the Ring was voted number 50 on the American Film Institute‘s list of 100 greatest American films. The AFI also voted it the second greatest fantasy film of all time during their AFI’s 10 Top 10 special.



In the Second Age of Middle-earth, the One Ring is forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in order to conquer the lands of Middle-earth. A Last Alliance of Elves and Men is formed to counter Sauron and during a battle on the foot of Mount Doom, Prince Isildur, son of King Elendil, who is slain by Sauron in the battle, picks up his father’s broken sword and slashes at Sauron’s hand, separating him from the Ring and vanquishing his army. However, due to Sauron’s “life force” being bound to the Ring, the Dark Lord is not completely defeated unless the Ring itself is destroyed, but Isildur, corrupted by the Ring’s power, refuses to do so. Sometime later, Isildur is ambushed and killed by Orcs, and the Ring is lost in a river. Thousands of years later, the Ring is claimed by the creature Gollum, who possesses it for centuries until it is found by Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit from the Shire.

Sixty years later, following his 111th birthday party, Bilbo leaves the Ring to his nephew and heir, Frodo Baggins. Meanwhile, the Wizard Gandalf the Grey rides to Minas Tirith to search for answers regarding Bilbo’s magic ring, only to learn that it is, in fact, Sauron’s One Ring. Gandalf returns to Bag End and tells Frodo to leave the Shire immediately with the Ring. Gandalf catches Samwise Gamgee eavesdropping by a window and decides to send him along with Frodo. Gandalf rides to Isengard to meet with Saruman the White, who reveals to Gandalf that the Nazgûl, Sauron’s chief servants, have left Minas Morgul to capture the Ring and kill whoever carries it. Gandalf attempts to flee to warn Frodo, but Saruman, who wants the Ring for himself stops him and shows Gandalf he’s on Sauron’s side. Gandalf and Saruman soon engage in an epic fight in which Saruman wins and imprisons Gandalf atop his tower Orthanc. Gandalf is then forced to watch as Saruman, following Sauron’s orders, commands the Orcs of Isengard to construct weapons of war and produce a new breed of Orc fighters called the Uruk-hai.

While travelling to Bree, Frodo and Sam are soon joined by their friends and fellow Hobbits Merry and Pippin. After encountering a Nazgûl on the road, they manage to reach Bree only to discover that Gandalf has not arrived. Instead, Frodo meets a man called “Strider“, a friend of Gandalf who agrees to lead them to Rivendell. They continue travelling and spend the night on the hill of Weathertop, where they are attacked by the Nazgûl. Strider fights off the monstrous assailants, but Frodo is grievously wounded with a morgul blade which will cause him to turn into a wraith if not attended to with the proper care. While chased by the Nazgûl, Frodo is taken by the elf Arwen to the Elven haven of Rivendell, and healed by her father, Elrond (the leader of the Elves at the battle of Mount Doom 3,000 years before). Arwen also uses her magic to cut off the pursuing Nazgûl at the Ford of Bruinen, summoning a surge of water that sweeps them away.

In Rivendell, Frodo finds Gandalf, who explains why he did not meet them at Bree and that he had escaped Orthanc and Saruman’s clutches with the help of an eagle. Later, Elrond calls a council to decide what should be done with the Ring. Elrond warns against keeping the Ring in Rivendell for long, knowing that the Elven realm could come under attack from both Mordor and Isengard. The Ring can only be destroyed by throwing it into the fires of Mount Doom, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring to Mount Doom and is accompanied by his Hobbit friends and Gandalf, as well as Strider, who is revealed to be Aragorn, the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. Also travelling with them are the Elf Legolas, the Dwarf Gimli and Boromir, the son of the Steward of Gondor. Together they comprise the Fellowship of the Ring.

The Fellowship set out and try to pass the mountain Caradhras, but they are stopped by Saruman’s wizardry. At Gimli’s insistence, they decide to seek safety and travel under the mountain through the Mines of Moria. Frodo agrees, but while travelling through the mines, they are attacked by Orcs and a Cave Troll who stabs Frodo, though he escapes death with his mithril chain mail given to him by Bilbo, and encounter a Balrog, an ancient demon of fire and shadow, at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf confronts the Balrog on the bridge, allowing the others to escape the subterranean realm, but the monster drags him into the abyss below. The group flees to the Elven realm of Lothlórien, where they are sheltered by its rulers, Galadriel and her husband Celeborn. That night, Frodo meets Galadriel, who tells him that it is his destiny to bear the Ring and ultimately destroy it. Before they leave, Galadriel gives Frodo the Phial of Galadriel, and the other members also receive gifts from them. Taking the straight path to Mordor, they travel on the River Anduin towards Parth Galen. Meanwhile, Saruman assembles a force of Uruk-Hai, led by the commander Lurtz, to hunt down the Fellowship. Saruman gives Lurtz strict instructions to kill all the members of the Fellowship but to capture all of the hobbits alive. Lurtz sets out with his Uruk-Hai at first light.

After landing at Parth Galen, Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, believing that it is the only way to save his realm. Frodo manages to escape by putting the Ring on his finger and vanishing. Boromir curses Frodo, but then realizes what he has done. Aragorn finds Frodo, and Frodo convinces Aragorn that he must go on alone. Just then, Lurtz arrives with dozens of Uruk-Hai. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli hold off the Uruk-Hai while Frodo escapes. Several Uruk-Hai attempt to capture Merry and Pippin, but Boromir arrives just in time. Boromir blows his horn of Gondor, signalling for help. Boromir manages to kill or wound several Uruk-Hai, but Lurtz shoots Boromir several times with a bow. Seeing Boromir defeated, the Uruk-Hai capture Merry and Pippin. Lurtz prepares to finish off Boromir, but Aragorn arrives just in time and engages Lurtz in a sword duel. Aragorn takes a beating during the duel but manages to stab Lurtz through, following by swiftly decapitaing him. Aragorn tries to help Boromir, but his wounds are too great. Boromir admits to attempting to take the ring, and accepts Aragorn as his king. Boromir dies with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli by his side.

Sam finds Frodo, and Frodo reluctantly lets Sam join him. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli set out to rescue Merry and Pippin. Frodo and Sam gaze out at the land before them, and then begin the last leg of the quest.


The eponymous Fellowship from left to right: (Top row) Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, (bottom row) Sam, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Gimli.

Before filming began on 11 October 1999, the principal actors trained for six weeks in sword fighting (with Bob Anderson), riding and boating. Jackson hoped such activities would allow the cast to bond so chemistry would be evident on screen as well as getting them used to life in Wellington.[3] They were also trained to pronounce Tolkien’s verses properly.[4] After the shoot, the nine cast members playing the Fellowship got a tattoo, the Elvish symbol for the number nine, with the exception of John Rhys-Davies, whose stunt double got the tattoo instead.[5] The film is noted for having an ensemble cast,[6] and some of the cast and their respective characters include:

  • Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: A hobbit who inherits the One Ring from his uncle, Bilbo Baggins. He is mostly accompanied by his best friend and fellow hobbit, Samwise Gamgee. Elijah Wood was the first actor to be cast on 7 July 1999.[7] Wood was a fan of the book, and he sent in an audition dressed as Frodo, reading lines from the novel.[8] Wood was selected from one-hundred-and-fifty actors who auditioned.[9]
  • Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: An Istari wizard and mentor to Frodo, who helps him decide what to do with the Ring. He becomes the leader of the Fellowship after it is decided to take the Ring to Mount Doom and destroy it. Sean Connery was approached for the role, but did not understand the plot,[8] while Patrick Stewart turned it down as he disliked the script.[10] Before being cast, McKellen had to sort his schedule with 20th Century Fox as there was a two-month overlap with X-Men.[9] He enjoyed playing Gandalf the Grey more than his transformed state in the next two films,[5] and based his accent on Tolkien. Unlike his on-screen character, McKellen did not spend much time with the actors playing the Hobbits, instead working with their scale doubles.[3]
  • Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee: A Hobbit gardener and friend of Frodo. When caught eavesdropping, Sam is made to become Frodo’s companion and from then on becomes very loyal. Astin, then a father of one, bonded with the eighteen-year old Wood in a protective manner similar to Sam and Frodo.[3]
  • Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn: Dubbed Strider, he is a Dúnedain ranger and the heir to the throne of Gondor. He travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor. He is unsure of whether to become King following the failure of his ancestor, Isildur, to destroy the Ring. Nicolas Cage turned down the role because of “family obligations”,[11] whilst Vin Diesel, a fan of the book, auditioned for Aragorn. Stuart Townsend was cast in the role, before being replaced during filming when Jackson realised he was too young.[8] Russell Crowe was considered as a replacement, but he turned it down after a similar role in Gladiator.[8] Producer Mark Ordesky saw Mortensen in a play and it was Mortensen’s son, a fan of the book, who convinced him to take the role.[3] Mortensen read the book on the plane, received a crash course lesson in fencing from Bob Anderson and began filming the scenes on Weathertop.[12] Mortensen became a hit with the crew, method acting by patching up his costume[13] and carrying his “hero” sword around with him offscreen.[3]
  • Sean Bean as Boromir: A prince of the Stewards of Gondor, he journeys with the Fellowship towards Mordor, although he is tempted by the power of the Ring. He feels Gondor needs no King, but becomes a friend of Aragorn. Bruce Willis, a fan of the book, expressed interest in the role, while Liam Neeson was sent the script, but passed.[8]
  • Orlando Bloom as Legolas: Prince of the Elves’ Woodland Realm and a skilled archer who accompanies the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor. Bloom initially auditioned for Faramir, who appears in the second film, a role which went to David Wenham.[8]
  • Billy Boyd as Peregrin “Pippin” Took: A Hobbit who travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor, along with his best friend Merry. He is loyal but a prankster, often being a nuisance for Gandalf. Together with Meriadoc Brandybuck (see below), he serves as a comic relief.
  • Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck: A Hobbit and a friend (and distant cousin) of Frodo. He helps him find a raft-ferry to escape the Nazgûl, and later travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor, along with his best friend Pippin. Monaghan was cast as Merry after auditioning for Frodo. Together with Pippin (see above), he serves as a comic relief.[8]
  • John Rhys-Davies as Gimli: A Dwarf who accompanies the Fellowship to Mordor after they set out from Rivendell. He is initially xenophobic towards Elves, but changes his attitude in the course of the story, particularly after meeting Lady Galadriel. Billy Connolly was considered for the part of Gimli.[8] Rhys-Davies wore heavy prosthetics to play Gimli, which limited his vision, and eventually he developed eczema around his eyes.[3]
  • Christopher Lee as Saruman the White: The fallen head of the Istari Order, who succumbed to Sauron’s will via his use of the palantír. After capturing Gandalf, he creates an army of Uruk-hai to find and capture the Ring from the Fellowship. Lee is a major fan of the book, and reads it once a year. He has also met J. R. R. Tolkien.[12] He originally auditioned for Gandalf, but was judged too old.[8]
  • Sala Baker portrays Sauron: The main antagonist and title character of the story, who created the One Ring to conquer Middle-earth. He lost the Ring to Isildur, and now seeks it in order to initiate his reign over Middle-earth. He cannot yet take physical form, and is spiritually incarnate as an Eye.
  • Hugo Weaving as Elrond: The Elven master of Rivendell, who leads the Council of Elrond which ultimately decides to destroy the One Ring. He lost faith in the strength of Men after witnessing Isildur’s failure 3,000 years before. David Bowie expressed interest in the role, but Jackson stated, “To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable.”[9]
  • Marton Csokas as Lord Celeborn: An Elf and the co-ruler of Lothlórien along with his wife Galadriel.
  • Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: An Elf and the co-ruler of Lothlórien along with her husband Lord Celeborn. She shows Frodo a possible outcome of events in her mirror and gives him the Light of Eärendil. Tilda Swinton was also a possibility to the role, but she turned it down, since she was going to play a similar role as Jadis, the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
  • Liv Tyler as Arwen: An elf, Arwen escorts Frodo to Rivendell after he is stabbed by the Witch-king. She is the daughter of Elrond and Aragorn’s lover, to whom she gives the Evenstar necklace. The filmmakers approached Tyler after seeing her performance in Plunkett & Macleane, and New Line Cinema leaped at the opportunity of having one Hollywood star in the film. Actress Helena Bonham Carter had expressed interest in the role.[8] Tyler came to shoot on short occasions, and bonded most with Bloom.[3] She was one of the last actors to be cast, on 25 August 1999.[14]
  • Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins: Frodo’s uncle who gives him the Ring after he decides to retire to Rivendell. At Rivendell, he gives Frodo a mithril mail-shirt and his own sword, Sting, which can detect the presence of nearby orcs by emitting a bluish glow. Holm previously played Frodo in a 1981 radio adaption of The Lord of the Rings, and was cast as Bilbo after Jackson remembered his performance.[8] Sylvester McCoy was contacted about playing the role, and was kept in place as a potential Bilbo for six months before Jackson went with Holm.[15]
  • Lawrence Makoare as Lurtz: The commander of Saruman’s orc forces who leads the hunt for the Fellowship as they head to Mordor.
  • David Weatherley as Barliman Butterbur: Owner of the Inn of the Prancing Pony
  • Martyn Sanderson as the Gatekeeper of Bree

Comparison with the source material

Image showing the inscriptions on the Ring.

Jackson, Walsh and Boyens made numerous changes to the story, for purposes of pacing and character development. Jackson said his main desire was to make a film focused primarily on Frodo and the Ring, the “backbone” of the story.[16] The prologue condenses Tolkien’s backstory, in which The Last Alliance’s seven year siege of the Barad-dûr is a single battle, where Sauron is shown to explode, though Tolkien only said his spirit flees.[17]

Events at the beginning of the film are condensed or omitted altogether. In the book the time between Gandalf leaving the Ring to Frodo and returning to reveal its inscription, which is 17 years, is compressed for timing reasons.[18] Frodo also spends a few months preparing to move to Buckland, on the eastern border of the shire. This move is omitted and combined with him setting out for Rivendell. Also compressed is the time between Frodo and Sam leaving Bag End and their meeting Merry and Pippin. Characters such as Tom Bombadil are left out to simplify the plot and increase the threat of the Ringwraiths. Such sequences are left out to make time to introduce Saruman, who in the book only appears in flashback until The Two Towers. Saruman’s role is enhanced: he is to blame for the blizzard on Caradhras, a role taken from Sauron and/or Caradhras itself in the book. Gandalf’s capture by Saruman is also expanded with a fight sequence.

The role of Barliman Butterbur at the Prancing Pony is largely removed for time and dramatic flow.

The events at Weathertop were also altered. The location of the fight against the Ringwraiths was changed to the ruins on top of the hill rather than a campsite at its base. When Frodo was stabbed in the book, the party spent two weeks traveling to Rivendell, but in the movie this is shortened to less than a week, with Frodo’s condition worsening at a commensurately greater rate. Arwen was given a greater role in the movie; she accompanied Frodo all the way to Rivendell, while in the book Frodo faced the Ringwraiths alone at the Ford of Bruinen. The character of Glorfindel was omitted entirely and his scenes were also given to Arwen. She was tacitly credited with the river rising against the Ringwraiths, which was the work of her father Elrond with aid from Gandalf in the book.

A significant new addition is Aragorn’s self-doubt, which causes him to hesitate to claim the kingship of Gondor. This element is not present in the book, where Aragorn intends to claim the throne at an appropriate time. In the book Narsil is reforged immediately when he joins the Fellowship, but this event is held over until Return of the King in film to symbolically coincide with his acceptance of his title. These elements were added because Peter Jackson believed that each character should be forced to grow or change over the course of the story.

Elrond‘s character gained an adversarial edge; he expresses doubts in the strength of Men to resist Sauron’s evil after Isildur’s failure to destroy the ring as depicted in the prologue. Jackson also shortens the Council of Elrond by spreading its exposition into earlier parts of the film. Elrond’s counsellor, Erestor—who suggested the Ring be given to Tom Bombadil—was completely absent from this scene. Gimli’s father, Glóin, was also deemed unnecessary.

The tone of the Moria sequence was altered. Although in the book the Fellowship only realises the Dwarves are all dead once they reach Balin‘s tomb, the filmmakers chose to use foreshadowing devices instead. Gandalf says to Gimli he would prefer not to enter Moria, and Saruman is shown to be aware of Gandalf’s reticence, and also reveals an illustration of the Balrog in one of his books. The corpses of the dwarves are instantly shown as the Fellowship enter Moria.[19]

In terms of dramatic structure, the book simply ends; there is no climax, because Tolkien wrote the “trilogy” as a single story published in three volumes. Jackson’s version incorporates the first chapter of ‘”The Two Towers” and makes its events, told in real time instead of flashback, simultaneous with the Breaking of the Fellowship. This finale is played as a climactic battle, into which he introduces the Uruk-hai referred to as Lurtz in the script. In the book, Boromir is unable to tell Aragorn which hobbits were kidnapped by the orcs before he dies. From there, Aragorn deduces Frodo’s intentions when he notices that a boat is missing and Sam’s pack is gone. In the film, Aragorn and Frodo have a scene together in which Frodo’s intentions are explicitly stated.


Jackson began working with Christian Rivers to storyboard the trilogy in August 1997, as well as getting Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop to begin creating his interpretation of Middle-earth.[20] Jackson told them to make Middle-earth as plausible and believable as possible, to think of Middle-earth in a historical manner.[21]

In November,[21] Alan Lee and John Howe became the primary conceptual designers for the film trilogy, having had previous experience as illustrators for the book and various other tie-ins. Lee worked for the Art Department creating places such as Rivendell, Isengard, Moria and Lothlórien, giving art nouveau and geometry influences to the Elves and Dwarves respectively.[21][22] Though Howe contributed with Bag End and the Argonath,[21][22] he focused working on armour having studied it all his life.[23] Weta and the Art Department continued to design, with Grant Major turning the Art Department’s designs into architecture, and Dan Hennah scouting locations.[21] On 1 April 1999, Ngila Dickson joined the crew as costume designer. She and 40 seamstresses would create 19,000 costumes, 40 per version for the actor and their doubles, ageing and wearing them out for impression of age.[13]

Filming locations

Arwen faces the Nazgûl at the Fords of Bruinen (Arrow River, Skippers Canyon).

A list of filming locations, sorted by appearance order in the movie:

Specific Location
in New Zealand
General Area
in New Zealand
Hobbiton Matamata Waikato
Gardens of Isengard Harcourt Park Upper Hutt
The Shire woods Otaki Gorge Road Kapiti Coast District
Bucklebury Ferry Keeling Farm, Manakau Horowhenua
Forest near Bree Takaka Hill Nelson
Trollshaws Waitarere Forest Horowhenua
Flight to the Ford Tarras Otago
Ford of Bruinen Arrow River, Skippers Canyon Queenstown
Rivendell Kaitoke Regional Park Upper Hutt
Eregion Mount Olympus Nelson
Dead Marshes Kepler Mire Southland District
Dimrill Dale Lake Alta The Remarkables
Dimrill Dale Mount Owen Nelson
Lothlórien Paradise Glenorchy
River Anduin Upper Waiau River Fiordland National Park
River Anduin Rangitikei River Rangitikei District
River Anduin Poet’s Corner Upper Hutt
Parth Galen Paradise Glenorchy
Amon Hen Mavora Lakes, Paradise and Closeburn Southern Lakes

Special effects

The Fellowship of the Ring makes extensive use of digital, practical and make-up special effects throughout. One noticeable illusion that appears in almost every scene involves setting a proper scale so that the characters are all the correct height. Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo, is 5 ft 6in (1.68 m) tall in real life, but the character of Frodo Baggins is barely four feet in height. Many different tricks were used to depict the hobbits (and Gimli the Dwarf) as being of diminutive stature. (In a happy coincidence, John-Rhys Davies — who played Gimli — is as tall compared to the Hobbit actors as his character needed to be compared to theirs, so he did not need to be filmed separately as a third variation of height, and is quite taller than Orlando Bloom, who played Legolas.) Large and small scale doubles were used in certain scenes, while entire duplicates of certain sets (including Bag End in Hobbiton) were built at two different scales, so that the characters would appear to be the appropriate size. At one point in the film, Frodo runs along a corridor in Bag End, followed by Gandalf. Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen were filmed in separate versions of the same corridor, built at two different scales, and a fast camera pan conceals the edit between the two. Forced perspective was also employed, so that it would look as though the short Hobbits were interacting with taller Men and Elves. Even the simple use of kneeling down, to the filmmakers’ surprise, turned out to be an effective method in creating the illusion.

For the battle between the Last Alliance and the forces of Sauron that begins the film, an elaborate CGI animation system, called MASSIVE, was developed by Stephen Regelous; it allowed thousands of individual animated “characters” in the program to act independently. This helped give the illusion of realism to the battle sequences. The “Making of” Lord of the Rings DVD reports some interesting initial problems: in the first execution of a battle between groups of characters, the wrong groups attacked each other. In another early demo, some of the warriors at the edge of the field could be seen running away. The reason was not that they were programmed for cowardice (or survival) and could not see the enemy so they ran away, but that they were initially moving in the wrong direction, and had been programmed to keep running until they encountered an enemy.

The digital creatures were important due to Jackson’s requirement of biological plausibility. Their surface was scanned from large maquettes before numerous digital details of their skeletons and muscles were added. In the case of the Balrog, Gary Horsfield created a system that copied recorded imagery of fire.


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The musical score for the Lord of the Rings films was composed by Howard Shore. It was performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Voices, and featured several vocal soloists. Two original songs, Aníron, and the end title theme “May It Be“, were composed and sung by Enya, who allowed her label, Reprise Records, to release the soundtrack to this and its two sequels. In addition to this, Shore composed “In Dreams“, which was sung by Edward Ross of the London Oratory School Schola.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released on 19 December 2001 in 3,359 cinemas where it grossed $47.2 million on its opening weekend. It went on to make $314.7 million in North America and $555.9 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $870.7 million.[24]

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring received universal acclaim from most major film critics and was one of the best reviewed films of 2001, receiving 92% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[25] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, “Peter Jackson … has made a work for, and of, our times. It will be embraced, I suspect, by many Tolkien fans and take on aspects of a cult. It is a candidate for many Oscars. It is an awesome production in its daring and breadth, and there are small touches that are just right”.[26] USA Today also gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, “this movie version of a beloved book should please devotees as well as the uninitiated”.[27] In his review for The New York Times, Elvis Mitchell wrote, “The playful spookiness of Mr. Jackson’s direction provides a lively, light touch, a gesture that doesn’t normally come to mind when Tolkien’s name is mentioned”.[28] Entertainment Weekly magazine gave the film an “A” rating and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, “The cast take to their roles with becoming modesty, certainly, but Jackson also makes it easy for them: His Fellowship flows, never lingering for the sake of admiring its own beauty … Every detail of which engrossed me. I may have never turned a page of Tolkien, but I know enchantment when I see it”.[29]

In her review for The Washington Post, Rita Kempley praised the cast, in particular, “Mortensen, as Strider, is a revelation, not to mention downright gorgeous. And McKellen, carrying the burden of thousands of years’ worth of the fight against evil, is positively Merlinesque”.[30] Time magazine’s Richard Corliss praised Jackson’s work: “His movie achieves what the best fairy tales do: the creation of an alternate world, plausible and persuasive, where the young — and not only the young — can lose themselves. And perhaps, in identifying with the little Hobbit that could, find their better selves”.[31] In his review for The Village Voice, J. Hoberman wrote, “Peter Jackson’s adaptation is certainly successful on its own terms”.[32] Rolling Stone magazine’s Peter Travers wrote, “It’s emotion that makes Fellowship stick hard in the memory … Jackson deserves to revel in his success. He’s made a three-hour film that leaves you wanting more”.[33] However, in his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote, “there is a strange paucity of plot complication, an absence of anything unfolding, all the more disconcerting because of the clotted and indigestible mythic back story that we have to wade through before anything happens at all. .[34]


In 2002, the movie won four Academy Awards out of thirteen nominations. The winning categories were for Best Cinematography, Best Effects (Visual Effects), Best Makeup, and Best Music (Original Score). Despite its praise by fans, the other nominated categories of Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ian McKellen), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Music (Best Song) (Enya, Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan for “May It Be“), Best Picture, Best Sound, Costume Design and Best Writing (Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) were not won.

As of June 2010, it is the 19th highest-grossing film worldwide, with takings of US$870,761,744 from worldwide theatrical box office receipts.[1]

The movie won the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. It also won Empire readers’ Best Film award, as well as five BAFTAs, including Best Film, the David Lean Award for Direction, the Audience Award (voted for by the public), Best Special Effects, and Best Make-up. The film was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight between Gandalf and Saruman.

In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “classic” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was acknowledged as the second best film in the fantasy genre.[35][36]

American Film Institute recognition

Home video

Theatrical and Extended release

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released on VHS and DVD on 6 August 2002.

A few months later, on 12 November 2002, an Extended Edition was released on VHS and DVD, with 30 minutes of new material, added special effects and music. The DVD set included four commentaries and hours of supplementary material.

On 29 August 2006, a Limited Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring 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.[37] The individual Blu-Ray disc of The Fellowship of the Ring was released on 14 September 2010 with the same special features as the complete trilogy release, except there was no digital copy.[38]

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.[39] In July 2009, Jackson announced that the Blu-ray version of the Extended Editions might include newly created special features.[40]


  1. ^ a b “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)”. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Willams, Karl. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring overview”. Allmovie. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g The Fellowship of the Cast. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  4. ^ Sibley, Brian (2001). The Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Guide. Harpercollins. pp. 100–101. ISBN 0-00-711908-9
  5. ^ a b Brian Sibley (2006). “Ring-Master”. Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey. London: Harpercollins. pp. 445–519. ISBN 0-00-717558-2
  6. ^ Clinton, Paul (18 December 2001). “Review: Dazzling, flawless ‘Rings’ a classic”. CNN. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  7. ^ “OFFICIAL Frodo Press Release!”. The One 9 July 1999. Retrieved 15 October 2006. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brian Sibley (2006). “Three-Ring Circus”. Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey. London: Harpercollins. pp. 388–444. ISBN 0-00-717558-2
  9. ^ a b c Gillian Flynn (16 November 2001). “Ring Masters”. Entertainment Weekly.,,253462,00.html. Retrieved 16 September 2007. 
  10. ^ “New York Con Reports, Pictures and Video”. TrekMovie. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  11. ^ Larry Carroll (7 December 2007). “Will Smith Snagged ‘I Am Legend’ From Schwarzenegger, But Can You Imagine Nicolas Cage In ‘The Matrix’?”. MTV. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  12. ^ a b Cameras in Middle-earth: Filming The Fellowship of the Ring. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  13. ^ a b Costume Design. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  14. ^ “Liv Tyler WILL be in LOTR – UPDATED”. The One 25 August 1999. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Diane Parkes (19 September 2008). “Who’s that playing The Mikado?”. Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 
  16. ^ From Book to Screen. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  17. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. (1981). The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-05699-8
  18. ^ Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens. (2002) (DVD). Director/Writers Commentary. New Line Cinema
  19. ^ Rejina Doman (7 January 2008). “Can Hollywood Be Restrained?”. Hollywood Jesus. Retrieved 31 January 2008. 
  20. ^ Russell, Gary (2003). The Art of the Two Towers. Harper Collins. pp. 8. ISBN 0-00-713564-5
  21. ^ a b c d e Designing Middle-earth. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  22. ^ a b Big-atures. [DVD]. New Line Cinema. 2002. 
  23. ^ Sibley (2001), p.90
  24. ^ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  25. ^ “The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring”. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  26. ^ Ebert, Roger (19 December 2001). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  27. ^ Puig, Claudia (18 December 2001). “Middle-earth leaps to life in enchanting, violent film”. USA Today. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  28. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (19 December 2001). “Hit the Road, Middle-Earth Gang”. The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  29. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (5 December 2001). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Entertainment Weekly.,,187102~1~0~lordofringsfellowship,00.html. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  30. ^ Kempley, Rita (19 December 2001). “Frodo Lives! A Spirited Lord of the Rings. Washington Post. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  31. ^ Corliss, Richard (17 December 2001). “Lord of the Films”. Time.,8599,188807,00.html. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  32. ^ Hoberman, J (18 December 2001). “Plastic Fantastic”. The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  33. ^ Travers, Peter (17 January 2002). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  34. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (14 December 2001). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  35. ^ American Film Institute (17 June 2008). “AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres”. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  36. ^ “Top 10 Fantasy”. American Film Institute. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  37. ^ “The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray: Theatrical Editions”. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  38. ^ Calogne, Juan (23 June 2010). “Lord of the Rings Movies Get Separate Blu-ray editions”. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  39. ^ Dreuth, Josh (16 April 2009). “Lord of the Rings Pre-order Now Available”. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  40. ^ 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.
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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)
[show]v·d·eThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
[show] Production and reception
[show] 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
J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1978) · The Return of the King (1980) · 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) · The Hunt for Gollum (2009) · Born of Hope (2009)
v·d·ePeter Jackson1980s








Bad Taste (1987) · Meet the Feebles (1989)
Braindead (1992) · Heavenly Creatures (1994) · The Frighteners (1996)
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003) ·
King Kong (2005) · The Lovely Bones (2009)
The Hobbit (2012/2013)
Bad Taste (1987) · The Frighteners (1996) · Jack Brown Genius (1997) · The Lord of the Rings film trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003) · King Kong (2005) · District 9 (2009) · The Lovely Bones (2009) · The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011) · The Hobbit (2012/2013)
Bad Taste (1987) · Meet the Feebles (1989) · Braindead (1992) · Heavenly Creatures (1994) · Forgotten Silver (1995) · Jack Brown Genius (1996) · The Frighteners (1996) · The Lord of the Rings film trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003) · King Kong (2005) · The Lovely Bones (2009) · The Hobbit (2012/2013)
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)
v · d · eBAFTA Award for Best Film
Best Film
Gladiator (2001) · The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002) · The Pianist (2003) · The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004) · The Aviator (2005) · Brokeback Mountain (2006) · The Queen (2007) · Atonement (2008) · Slumdog Millionaire (2009) · The Hurt Locker (2010) · The King’s Speech (2011)
Best Film Not in the
English Language
Best British Film
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