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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 254
Fresh: 240 | Rotten: 14

Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.

96

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 46 | Rotten: 2

Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 34,659,265

My Rating

Movie Info

The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring.

May 25, 2004

$377.0M

NCM/Fathom - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (254) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (240) | Rotten (14) | DVD (55)

With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson delivers a decent ending to his fantasy trilogy -- actually, about 12 endings.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Yes, the running time is long, and yes, those many endings in a slow, dreamy coda left me feeling spent -- better spent than I can ever remember.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Standing out amid an excellent cast is Elijah Wood, stymied by tweeness in the earlier films but here convincingly developing the character of Frodo as the embodiment of valor and self-sacrifice.

February 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some story strands are crudely abbreviated; others fail to develop elements that were already well-established.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (38)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pops your eyes, excites your senses and brings you in as close as a whisper for scenes of startling emotion.

January 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As I watched this film, an eager victim of its boundless will to astound, I found my loyal memories of the book beginning to fade.

January 6, 2004 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Return of the King, the battle for the very survival of Middle Earth and all its fantastical creations will be fought, and unless you are a congenital buzz-kill, you will feel the urgency, terror, and sweeping import of it all.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

I'm still not as blissed out by this trilogy as are hardcore fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien novels or filmgoers who revel in endless battle scenes. Still, this end chapter is as visually spectacular -- with its mythological creatures -- as movies get.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

A worthy conclusion to a modern epic. Don't worry that your expectations will be too high -- Return Of The King will exceed them all.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Peter Jackson deservedly won the best director Oscar for this powerful and enchanting concluding episode to his massively ambitious adaptation of JRR Tolkien's trilogy.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The grand finale of Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy meets the high expectations set up by its two predecessors.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

As the series grows in scope, so do the emotions. Jackson modulations of scale keep shifting between the vast and the intimate, but it's all so perfectly paced, you're gripping your chair throughout -- because it all feels so urgent.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Toledo Blade
Toledo Blade

The Return Of The King ultimately proves up to the series' increasingly difficult task: making movies that echo legends, making legends that reflect life, and reconciling it all with the fact that both legends and lives all eventually meet their ends.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

The spectacle is ramped up here more than in the preceding two movies combined.

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

When I met the barefooted scruff [Peter Jackson] two years ago, he regretted he'd never been to Birmingham to see Tolkien's inspirations at first hand.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

An insurmountable amount of extras comes second only to New Line Home Video's stunning visual and audio transfer of Peter Jackson's exhilarating and exhausting epic.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comment (1)
Slant Magazine

If this wasn't quite the best movie of 2003, it was definitely the most fun to be had at the movies all year

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

...every bit as grand, as imposing, as jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring as anything in the first two episodes. (Extended Edition)

March 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

All hail to the King.

May 12, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Comments (4)
ColeSmithey.com

This is a masterpiece of filmmaking and Jackson truly deserves an Oscar.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Comment (1)
Cinema Crazed

A tale of heroes, bonded together by friendship, it's the very special friendship between hobbits Elijah Wood's Frodo and Sean Astin's Sam that touches us most of all.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A lot of it is just hacking and slashing on a mammoth scale, which is still just hacking and slashing.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (7)
eFilmCritic.com

This is a filmmaker in the grandest tradition of the word.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

An absolutely absorbing finale which establishes the trilogy as perhaps the best mythic fable ever brought to the big screen.

April 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics | Comment (1)
Princeton Town Topics

Audience Reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I think that almost everything that can be said about this trilogy has been said already, but still I will try. There are so many films that destroyed the beauty and perfection of the novels they have been built upon, not this one. In front of an amazingly beautiful scenery, Peter Jackson was able to create a fantasy-movie, which unlike so many others before did not deal with old clichés and thus is far away from any trash-movie a lot of people had expected it to be beforehand.

Although I am sure that the cast of this film will soon be forgotten, The "The Lord of the Rings"-trilogy will stand the times and be one of the most renowned pictures of the last decade. 4 Stars 9-12-07
May 16, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
April 11, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The epic saga's final installment may prove to be its best, due to the amazing battle sequences (of which there are many), the return of an enticing plot, and the epic proportions of the entire film. The pathos is more powerful, the battles more glorious, and the plot more perilous. A brilliant end to a brilliant franchise, not a minute of the three hours seems to disappoint.
January 8, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

A spectacular cinematic achievement. Director, Peter Jackson has crafted a beautiful piece of art. A masterpiece. An astonishing special effects extravaganza of the highest arts. An amazing way to end a great trilogy. Stunning, riveting, brilliant, deeply moving, emotionally effective and breathtaking. The action is non-stop from beginning to end with incredible effects and performances from it's cast that truly will never be forgotten. Everything about this film just shouts out classic. A breathtaking piece of work, they truly saved the best for last.
December 30, 2012
allan913

Super Reviewer

    1. Denethor: Abandon your posts! Flee, flee for your lives!
    2. Gandalf: Prepare for battle!
    – Submitted by Emelyn W (4 months ago)
    1. Denethor: My line has ended.
    – Submitted by Emelyn W (4 months ago)
    1. Éowyn: I am no man.
    – Submitted by Emelyn W (4 months ago)
    1. Éowyn: I will kill you if you touch him!
    – Submitted by Emelyn W (4 months ago)
    1. Frodo Baggins: Ant thus it was. A Fourth Age of Middle-earth began. And the Fellowship of the Ring though eternally bound by friendship and love was ended. Thirtheen months to the day since Gandalf sent us on our long journey, we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight. We were home.
    – Submitted by Jean R (12 months ago)
    1. Aragorn: My friends, you bow to no one.
    – Submitted by Jean R (12 months ago)
View all quotes (100)

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December 14, 2012:
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And so it ends. Having journeyed through The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, almost...
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Foreign Titles

  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition Event (DE)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition Event (UK)
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