The Lord of the Rings (1978)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Ralph Bakshi directed this rotoscope-animated version of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy tales about the mythical creatures who dwell in Middle Earth.

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Animation, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Peter S. Beagle, Chris Conkling
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 11, 2001


as Aragorn

as Innkeeper
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Critic Reviews for The Lord of the Rings

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6)

It looked terrible then and it still does: cartoon characters move differently from live actors, and the attempt to duplicate natural movement ends in stylistic incoherence.

Full Review… | December 3, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Quite simply, those who do not know the characters of Middle Earth going in will not know them coming out.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Top Critic

Bakshi's version, using animation and live-action tracings, is uniformly excellent, sticking closely to the original text and visually echoing many of Tolkien's own drawings.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film is visually compelling even when murk overtakes the narrative.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Falls far short of the charm and sweep of the original story.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A showcase for inspired imagery and sheer strangeness, a near-miss magnum opus from another era, before the cult of Tolkien went Hollywood.

Full Review… | November 24, 2001
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Lord of the Rings

Hated it, bored me!

Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

Bakshi's version of Lord of the Rings, which is of course animated, is good, I enjoyed it, sometimes there are fantasy elements that can only be brought to life in the animated form. The movie follows very close to the book, and the characters look just as I expected them to. I enjoyed this version.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Now this is much better than the live action movies. Its done with rotoscoping and looks great. Very dark, brooding and alittle eerie, especially the orges and the landscapes. It really looks sooo good, the animation is also good for the time and combines some live action in there too which sounds odd but does work. The voice work is another main winner here, it makes the whole thing rise above your expectations and lift it out of the realms of a 'cartoon', every character is perfect and adds realism to the film, Hurt offering that real classic touch.

This is how the Lord of the Rings should have been.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

The Lord of the Rings Quotes

– Submitted by Tom Y (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Zach W (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Tyler H (3 years ago)

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