The Lord of the Rings

1978

The Lord of the Rings

Critics Consensus

Ralph Bakshi's valiant attempt at rendering Tolkein's magnum opus in rotoscope never lives up to the grandeur of its source material, with a compressed running time that flattens the sweeping story and experimental animation that is more bizarre than magical.

52%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 42

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 474,352
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Movie Info

Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi's literal adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is brought to the screen in a reverent, stilted way, with Bakshi forsaking his sharp-edged animated looniness for a rotoscoped dullness. Although the film's title encompasses the entire Tolkien trilogy, this longish Bakshi feature, in fact, covers only the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, and the first half of the second, The Two Towers. Given the complexity of the original story line, this unfortunately means that only those intimately familiar with the books will be able to understand what is happening in the movie. In brief, however, an evil sorcerer from a previous era created a magical ring which enables its users to call upon its tremendous powers to rule the world, but it inevitably warps them to evil. It was believed lost, but during a resurgence of magical evil in the world, Bilbo, a simple, plain-spoken hobbit, recovers it from its hiding place. The forces of good give his nephew Frodo the choice to bear the awful burden of the ring to a place where it may be destroyed.

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Critic Reviews for The Lord of the Rings

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (20)

Audience Reviews for The Lord of the Rings

  • Oct 10, 2014
    Ralph Bakshi adapts J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as an animated feature film. Co-scripted by Peter S. Beagle, only about half of the novel series is actually covered; from the forming of a fellowship to help Frodo Baggins destroy the Ring of Power to the siege at Helm's Deep. And, this leads to a rather awkward non-conclusion in which the story ends abruptly. The animation is also quite poor, combining rotoscoping with cel drawn animation; creating a bizarre style that's incredible distracting. Additionally, the coloring is extremely dark and drab, using a lot of browns and grays. Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings is an interesting attempt to bring Tolkien's work to the big screen, but it ultimately doesn't work.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2011
    Hate this animation and this music
    Sunil J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2011
    A strong hook and fair animation are met by a lack of engagement, weak editing, expendable scenes, some feeling of repetition, a cop-outastic ending and some bad dialogue. Well, at least the dialogue isn't "Two Towers" bad. Still, that's not to say that it's any where close to the live-actions in quality. Of course, I'm not here to compare, I'm here to say that Ralph Bakshi's adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" is a fair, but generally underwhelming film.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2011
    This much maligned version of Tolkien's classic story is actually very good. On the positive side it is appropriately dark (this is NOT a kids' story), it is well voiced, the genuine animation is excellent and the plot keeps pretty close to the book. On the negative side some of the animation is the inferior (and cheaper) rotoscoped live action, the sound track is a quite weak, it does not complete the story and, with no sequel, it never does. A shame because, at its best, it's excellent.
    The S Super Reviewer

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