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Happy 20th Anniversary to the Lord of the Rings Film Franchise!

Written by on December 10, 2021

On December 19, 2001, The Fellowship of the Rings premiered and in the two years following, The Two Towers and The Return of the King films were released, completing one of the most beloved film franchises in history, an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, by Peter Jackson. We’re old enough to have grown up on the awesome and classic Ralph Bakshi and animated LotR and Hobbit films from the late 70s but nothing quite compares to Jackson’s cinematic achievement.

There was a lot of excitement in the build-up to the release of The Fellowship of the Rings. The opening sequence with Galadrial narrating the historical context of The One Ring in Middle-earth pulled us in, and as soon as the Shire (and the fantastic music by Howard Shore) appeared it was obvious Peter Jackson had done right for those of us that love Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Obviously, there are quite a few differences between the books and the films, but at least for us, the films got the feeling of Middle-earth just right, and from the days of listening to the BBC radio play and reading the books when we were young, to the film adaptations now, the desire to recreate and live in Middle-earth has never subsided and is a very large part of why we created Heroes and Mortals Radio.

As everyone knows, the films went on to great critical and audience acclaim and as many of you already do, yearly (and more frequent) viewings of the “extended editions” are a tradition. As innovative as Peter Jackson’s films were, many others have ventured into Middle-earth themed films and added their own creativity, and we hope many more continue to do so in the future. Here is a short list of all the films (commercial and not) that take place in Tolkien’s Middle-earth we could find, if you know of any we’re missing, drop them in the comments and we’ll add it to the list.

The Hobbit (1977 TV Movie)
The Lord of the Rings (1978)
The Return of the King (1980 TV Movie)
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 Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
The Lord of the Rings (2022– )

Some independent, fan made, and foreign films and some films currently in development (some of these don’t seem to be available anywhere for viewing, but if you have a link, please share):

The Hobbit (1966)
The Hobbit (1991)
Hobitit (1993)
Halifirien (2009)
Born of Hope (2009)
The Hunt for Gollum (2009)
The Road to the End (A Lord of the Rings fan film) (2012)
Silmarillion: The Movie (fan-video trailer) (2013)
Le Hobbit: Le Retour du Roi du Cantal (2015)
J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” ~~ Concept Film Redux (2017)
The Last Journey (2021)
Fog on the Barrow-Downs (2022)

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