The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004)

 ●  English ● 3 hrs 31 mins

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In the third and final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the ultimate battle for Middle Earth continues as the war between the forces of good and evil rages on in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth. Meanwhile, away from the roving dark eye, Frodo and Sam continue to approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, unaware of the path Gollum is leading them and his ulterior motives behind the act of being a helpful guide. Will the forces of good succeed in fending off Sauron's attack until Frodo reaches Mount Doom, where the ring can be destroyed? Is the destruction of the One Ring even going to turn out to be possible?
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Did you know? The final day of filming on the trilogy actually happened over a month after this movie was theatrically released, and three weeks after the 2004 Academy Awards. Peter Jackson arranged to film one final shot of skulls on the floor in the tunnel of the Paths of the Dead, which was included in the Extended Edition of ROTK. He thought it was funny to be doing filming on a movie that had already won the Best Picture Oscar. Read More
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as Elanor Gamgee
as Frodo
as Gandalf
as Sam
as Aragorn
as Damrod
as Gollum / Smeagol
as Theoden
as Pippin
as Elf Escort
as Gamling
as Grimbold
as Galadriel
as Gondorian Soldier 3
as Faramir
as Merry
as Isildur
as Elrond
as Bilbo
as Madril
as Denethor
as Arwen
as Celeborn
as Eowyn
as Legolas
as Rosie Cotton
as Boromir


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director


Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Designer
Sound Effects Editor
Foley Artist


Production Designer

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer



Makeup and Hair

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Coordinator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital EX, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
The eye of the enemy is moving.
This Christmas the journey ends.
There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering. No freedom without sacrifice.
Audio/Video Mismatch
When Elrond comes to give the newly re-forged Narsil to Aragorn, a gust of wind suddenly blows up, knocking over a suit of armor in the background. The armor makes no noise as it crashes however.

Audio/Video Mismatch
Prior to Faramir's ride to re-capture Osgiliath, Gandalf challenges him. There is one shot where Faramir comments on the "Men of Gondor" there are a number of words before this phrase but his lips do not appear to moving.

Character Error
When Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli enter Isengard, Treebeard calls Gandalf "young master Gandalf". Gandalf was present during the creation of the world, and therefore is much older than Treebeard.

Character Error
In the Extended Edition, "Cair Andros" is mispronounced. ("Cair" should rhyme with "wire", not "fair".)

During the final battle in front of the gates of Mordor the entire army of Gondor and Rohan are on horses. But when the war begins the horses are nowhere to be seen.

After Frodo wakes up in Minas Tirith, Merry and Pippin stand in the doorway. Their height reaches the middle of the ornate door carving in the close-up, but in their next wide shot running in, they are considerably lower. When Legolas and Aragorn walk in, also in a close-up, their height is just a bit higher on the carving than the two Hobbits' heights were. Then when Sam stands in the doorway his height also reaches the center of the carving.

When Gollum drops the lembas from the bridge, you see the leaves it was wrapped in falling away, and the wafers fall generally straight down. However, when Sam finds it later, the lembas is still mostly wrapped in the leaves, with only a few morsels broken off and laying around unwrapped.

In the "Voice of Saruman Scene", Treebeard starts and ends the scene in front of Orthanc's door. Throughout the scene, Treebeard is nowhere to be seen.

When at the Black Gate, the army of men are surrounded by Orcs, then after Aragorn's "For Frodo" line, they charge across the screen from left to right. When they are running, in a shot where Gandalf is seen on the very right of the screen, you can see through some gaps and there are no Orcs, just an open field.
Fans of the film often speculate why the characters didn't just fly on the giant eagles into Mordor and drop the ring into Mount Doom. This is not, in fact, a plot hole. This was explained in the book but the film makers didn't think there would have been a need to because they felt it was obvious why they didn't do this. The eye of Sauron would have been a major obstacle. Even professor Tolkien vetoed the abuse of eagles' intervention when presented an early project of a movie from his book.

A normal major motion picture averages about 200 effects shots. This film had 1488.

Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood were given prop rings used in the movie by director Peter Jackson. They each thought they got the only one.

The movie made a 1408% profit for New Line Studios on their initial outlay.

Viggo Mortensen estimates that, during the course of filming the entire trilogy and including all takes, he "killed" every stuntman on the production at least fifty times.

The first shot of Sam's arm coming into frame holding Sting towards Shelob is actually Peter Jackson's arm

According to a magazine article, Peter Jackson hated the Army of the Dead; he thought it was too unbelievable. He kept it in the script because he did not wish to disappoint diehard fans of the book trilogy.

Billy Boyd's singing scene largely came about because Philippa Boyens went for a night out at a karaoke bar with the younger male cast members and she was very struck by the quality of his voice. Remembering that Denethor asks Pippin to sing him a song when Faramir heads off to war, she resurrected the lyrics from the novel and Boyd himself came up with the tune for it.

Since John Rhys-Davies suffered constant rashes from wearing the Gimli make-up, the make-up department gave him the opportunity to throw his Gimli mask into the fire on his last day of pick-up photography. He didn't hesitate a moment to grab and burn it.

Each of the cast members was given a gift on their last day of shooting, usually a prop that was significant to their roles. Miranda Otto received one of Eowyn's dresses and her sword, Liv Tyler received Arwen's "dying dress", Orlando Bloom got one of Legolas' bows.

The dead oliphaunt carcass used in this film is reportedly the largest prop ever built for a motion picture. According to members of the prop department, director Peter Jackson still thought it could have been bigger.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy became the most nominated film series in Academy Award history with 30 nominations, surpassing both the Godfather trilogy (28) and the Star Wars franchise (21).

In every installment of the trilogy, one character says the subtitle of the film. In Fellowship during the council scene Elrond refers to the nine as the "Fellowship of the Ring"; in the Two Towers it's Saruman who says "The Two Towers" during a voiceover; and finally in this film, Gandalf tells the steward of Gondor and he can't refuse the Return of the King.

Peter Jackson is arachnophobic and based the Shelob design on the types of spiders he feared the most.

While filming the trilogy, Viggo Mortensen got so into character that during a conversation, Peter Jackson referred to him as "Aragorn" for over half an hour without Mortensen's realizing it.

For the scene where Merry and Pippin are smoking their pipes at Isengard, Dominic Monaghan (Merry) had to drink a glass of milk beforehand to keep himself from throwing up while smoking the pipe.

The final day of filming on the trilogy actually happened over a month after this movie was theatrically released, and three weeks after the 2004 Academy Awards. Peter Jackson arranged to film one final shot of skulls on the floor in the tunnel of the Paths of the Dead, which was included in the Extended Edition of ROTK. He thought it was funny to be doing filming on a movie that had already won the Best Picture Oscar.

The opening scene - in which Smeagol discovers the Ring and starts on the slippery slope towards ultimately becoming Gollum - was actually directed by Fran Walsh. Originally it was set to appear in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), immediately after Frodo first revealed Gollum's real name.

The movie marks the second time in history that the third movie in a trilogy was nominated for Best Picture, by the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, after The Godfather: Part III (1990) and the only time that a third movie has won the Best Picture Oscar.

After the premiere in Wellington, the city held a party that went on till dawn, funded by the City Council to the tune of $400,000, with street performers, outdoor screenings, an introduction from Prime Minister Helen Clark and a giant mock-up of a Nazgul flying over the Embassy Theatre.

Shelob's shriek is the combination of several elements, including the sounds of a plastic alien toy, steam hisses (inspired by an incident where an alligator hissed at Peter Jackson's daughter Katie Jackson), and the shriek of a Tasmanian Devil.
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