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The Lord of the Rings

3.6 out of 5 stars 627 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Voices of Christopher Guard, William Squire, John Hurt. Animated version of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy adventure, covering the first two novels of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Animated. 1978/color/133 min/PG/widescreen.

Although it was ultimately overshadowed by Peter Jackson's live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic is not without charms of its own. A target of derision from intolerant fans, this ambitious production is nevertheless a respectably loyal attempt to animate the first half of Tolkien's trilogy, beginning with the hobbit Frodo's inheritance of "the One Ring" of power from Bilbo Baggins, and ending with the wizard Gandalf's triumph over the evil army of orcs. While the dialogue is literate and superbly voiced by a prestigious cast (including John Hurt as Aragorn), Leonard Rosenman's accomplished score effectively matches the ominous atmosphere that Bakshi's animation creates and sustains. Bakshi's lamentable decision to combine traditional cel animation with "rotoscoped" (i.e., meticulously traced) live-action footage is jarringly distracting and aesthetically disastrous, but when judged by its narrative content, this Lord of the Rings deserves more credit than it typically receives. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Tolkien and filmmaker highlights

Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Guard, William Squire, Michael Scholes, John Hurt, Simon Chandler
  • Directors: Ralph Bakshi
  • Writers: Chris Conkling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter S. Beagle
  • Producers: Saul Zaentz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Georgian, Thai
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (627 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MP5B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,296 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lord of the Rings" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film was considered cutting edge for its time. Ralph Bakshi was a top class animated filmmaker, having directed such great films like Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic. Watching this in the theater when I was a mere youngin I really liked it. I found it really interesting. Now, of course, Peter Jackson's versions are much better than this, but he had CGI and millions of dollars more than Bakshi did. It is blatantly unfair to trash Bakshi without acknowledging this film was made in 1978. It does end abruptly (it covers 1 1/2 books), mainly because they were hoping to do a sequel (needless to say, they never did). It has good atmosphere, great vocal performances by a British cast, great score, and the animation is very good. The rotoscoping isn't the greatest, but they still use this technique (Waking Life) today. Bakshi did what he could with the technology he had, and I think he did a damn good job....
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Format: DVD
When I was 7, my Aunt Bobby took me to see Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings at the Zigfield Theater in Manhattan. I will always remember sitting in that cavernous theater, watching the amazing story of Middle-Earth unfold, and just generally being amazed by the lushly colored animation on the gigantic screen. SO.....bear in mind as you read this that I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this much-maligned film.
That was over 20 years ago, and I think I've seen this movie once since then, so when it was released on DVD I eagerly snapped it up. So how does it hold up to the childhood memories?
Pretty good, actually.
The story is basically the same as in the book: The Hobbit Frodo is joined by eight companions in a quest to destroy the evil Ring of Sauron. The characters and locales look pretty much as one would imagine from reading the books. (This movie adapts The Fellowship of the Ring & half of The Two Towers.) I had a problem with Strider and Boromir trudging through feet of snow in nothing but their little dresses, though.....bundle up, guys!
The scenery is by turns lush (The Shire), and forbidding (The excellent Mines of Moria sequence). The problems were pretty much all the same: Bakshi's use of "Rotoscoping", or filming real actors and drawing over them. The rotoscoped portions just don't fit with the rest of the movie, and it can be QUITE jarring to look at. (Check out how all of the Orcs seem to have just 2 kinds of faces.....couldn't they at least have made different masks to film the Orc actors in????) Also troubling (in a very minor way...) was how "Saruman" was pronounced "Aruman" about half the time.
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By A Customer on August 11, 2001
Format: DVD
Given the other animated works of Ralph Bakshi, he seems a fairly unlikely candidate as director of the first film version of "The Lord of the Rings." "Fire and Ice" and "Wizards," for example, are heavy-handed, crude, and sexually frustrated - and that's not even touching down on some of his OTHER work. And yet, almost surprisingly, his vision of Tolkien's epic is possessed of the spirit of the books around which it is based.
The voice-overs are all spectacular, and the rotoscoped animation gives the characters a life that animation seldom possesses - though there are those who would argue that point, most assuredly. The animation is also suitably dark and grim, though this also translates into a visual problem, for even places that SHOULD look fair and beautiful - such as Rivendell or Lothlorien - tend to be almost gloomy and ominous. When the Fellowship enters the dark halls of Moria, however, Bakshi is in top form.
This adaptation attempts to make a single film out of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and over half of "The Two Towers," which is obviously a mistake. Because of this, there are several changes to the story that we Tolkien zealots so adore, and sometimes beloved moments are lopped out entirely. This happens most in the beginning of the film when the hobbits are on the road and making toward Bree. There is no Tom Bombadil and no fog on the Barrow Downs here (nor will there be in the upcoming Peter Jackson film, alas!). And just when you expect to see the battle with Shelob, the movie ends most abruptly without completing the narrative. A pity.
Still, Bakshi does manage to deliver a good (if not excellent), well-animated, well-acted film version of fantasy's most beloved classic.
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Format: Blu-ray
First of all I must tell you, if you already own this Ralph Bakshi's monumental animated classic Lord of the Rings (LOR) on Standard DVD and you are satisfied, have an opinion seen it, been there done that. Go no further. Duplication/upgrade is a waste period.


OKAY NOW, WHY DID I GIVE THIS "FIVE STAR RATING"? SHORT HISTORY of LOR animation and movie evolvement (in the 1970's). Hollywood up until Ralph Bakshi couldn't fathom the monumental task in bring this epic to the screen in a 3-4 hour movie. The cost and locations plus the unique history, races, weapontry etc unimaginable.

In 1978 Ralph Bakshi obtained the movie rights of LOR and figured on a limited budget with the cel animation enhanced with "ROTOSCOPE" (live action sequences with cel animated tracing and coloring. Giving us Smooth accurate movement of figures)) he could bring this epic to the big screen.

REMEMBER this was 1978 before computers, CGI this was revolutionary!!!

NOTE: 1970's animation was bad and studios were going broke. Lord of the Rings release inspired the animators to create and be more imaginative.

This 1978 Widescreen Classic was shown only in the best theaters, reserved seating only. Exclusive showings, master programs and LOR memorabilia was being sold. This movie made alot of money!!!! (I can remember standing line to purchase a ticket for a later viewing, days later!!)

WELL NOW!!!!!!!!! For the first time you experience or re-experience that THEATER EXCITEMENT once again in your BLU-RAY Home Theater with Dolby Digital Sound. WOW!!!! This is fun stuff!!
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