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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King brings Peter Jackson's mammoth adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic to a close in suitably epic fashion. Instead of starting just where the previous film left off, however, it goes far back in time to the moment the tormented creature Gollum first came to possess the One Ring. In this flashback, actor Andy Serkis (who voiced Gollum and performed his movements onset prior to the final CGI effects) finally gets to appear onscreen, portraying Gollum's former self, Sméagol. This disturbing scene serves as a potent reminder that the Ring seeks to corrupt even the well-intentioned Frodo (Elijah Wood), who is increasingly struggling with the dark power of the Ring himself. Thus, the film returns to the present, following Frodo, Sam (Sean Astin), and Gollum as they journey ever closer to the foreboding land of Mordor. They pass by the terrifying dark city of Minas Morgul, watching as the dreadful army of the Witch King sets out for the human strongholds in Gondor, and move on to the rocky stairs to Cirith Ungol, where an even darker enemy lies in wait. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fellowship reunites in Rohan, having defeated the wizard Saruman on two different fronts, at Helm's Deep and Isengard. They are not together for long, though, since the hobbit Pippin (Billy Boyd) gets into trouble, making it necessary for him and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to hastily depart for Minas Tirith, capital of Gondor. Once there, they find the steward of Gondor, Denethor (John Noble), in an unstable mental state and the city preparing for battle against the amassing forces of Sauron. Denethor unwisely sends his only remaining son, Faramir (David Wenham), back into bloody battle to prove himself. He returns nearly dead, sending Denethor over the edge of sanity.In another realm, elf Arwen (Liv Tyler) begins her journey to immortal life in the Grey Havens, on her way to leave Middle-earth -- and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) -- forever, but has a vision that causes her to once again reconsider her decision. Back in Rohan, the men are preparing to ride to Gondor's aide. Éowyn (Miranda Otto) desperately wants to join the men in battle, but her uncle, King Théoden (Bernard Hill), orders her to stay and defend Rohan if necessary. The hobbit Merry (Dominic Monaghan) also desires to ride with the men, but is denied due to his small size and inexperience. Aragorn is met there by the elf Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who brings him the re-forged Sword that was Broken (in the ancient battle with Sauron) and urges him to take a different route to Gondor. Heeding Elrond's advice, Aragorn, along with elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), takes a cavernous path through the mountains, where they meet ghoulish ghosts who betrayed Aragorn's ancestors and are doomed to eternal unrest unless they fulfill their broken oaths by aiding him. All but Frodo, Sam, and Gollum will meet on the massive battlefield of the Pelennor before the gates of Minas Tirith. The former three instead engage in a battle of wills between each other and the One Ring as they head toward the fires of Mount Doom to destroy it. Released in December 2003, The Return of the King topped even its massively successful trilogy predecessors at the box office, and went on to garner a whopping 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture -- winning in all the categories in which it was nominated and tying the record of total awards won with Ben-Hur and Titanic. ~ Dana Rowader, Rovi

  • Release date:December 17, 2003

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Howard Shore Best Score 2003 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Howard Shore Best Song 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Howard Shore Best Score 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Howard Shore Best Song 2003 Winner
Chicago Film Critics Association Howard Shore Best Original Score 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jamie Selkirk Best Editing 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jim Rygiel Best Visual Effects 2003 Winner
American Society of Cinematographers Andrew Lesnie Best Cinematography 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Andrew Lesnie Best Cinematography 2003 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joe Letteri Best Visual Effects 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Michael Semanick Best Sound 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ngila Dickson Best Costume Design 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Philippa Boyens Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Winner
Writers Guild of America Philippa Boyens Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Philippa Boyens Best Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Andy Serkis Best Supporting Actor 2003 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Peter Jackson Best Director (Runner-up) 2003 Winner
Directors Guild of America Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Jackson Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Jackson Best Picture 2003 Winner
Chicago Film Critics Association Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
Toronto Film Critics Association Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Peter Jackson Best Director 2003 Winner
Producers Guild of America Peter Jackson Producer of the Year 2003 Nominee
Writers Guild of America Peter Jackson Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Peter Jackson Best Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Sean Astin Best Supporting Actor 2003 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Randall William Cook Best Visual Effects 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Barrie M. Osborne Best Picture 2003 Winner
Producers Guild of America Barrie M. Osborne Producer of the Year 2003 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Taylor Best Makeup 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Taylor Best Costume Design 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alan Lee Best Art Direction 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Michael Hedges Best Sound 2003 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Annie Lennox Best Song 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Annie Lennox Best Song 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Christopher Boyes Best Sound 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Dan Hennah Best Art Direction 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alex Funke Best Visual Effects 2003 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fran Walsh Best Song 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fran Walsh Best Song 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fran Walsh Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fran Walsh Best Picture 2003 Winner
Producers Guild of America Fran Walsh Producer of the Year 2003 Nominee
Writers Guild of America Fran Walsh Best Adapted Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Fran Walsh Best Screenplay 2003 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Grant Major Best Art Direction 2003 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Hammond Peek Best Sound 2003 Winner

Cast

Elijah Wood
as Frodo Baggins
Ian McKellen
as Gandalf
Viggo Mortensen
as Aragorn
Sean Astin
as Samwise Gamgee
Orlando Bloom
as Legolas
Andy Serkis
as Gollum/Sméagol
Billy Boyd
as Pippin
Dominic Monaghan
as Merry
John Rhys-Davies
as Gimli
Liv Tyler
as Arwen
Bernard Hill
as King Théoden
Miranda Otto
as Éowyn
Hugo Weaving
as Elrond
Joel Tobeck
as Orc Lieutenant #1
Karl Urban
as Éomer
Ian Holm
as Bilbo Baggins
David Wenham
as Faramir
John Noble
as Denethor
Cate Blanchett
as Galadriel
Sean Bean
as Boromir

Crew

Peter Jackson
Director
Peter Jackson
Producer
Fran Walsh
Producer
Barrie M. Osborne
Producer
Fran Walsh
Screenwriter
Philippa Boyens
Screenwriter
J.R.R. Tolkien
Book Author
Peter Jackson
Screenwriter
Stephen Sinclair
Screenwriter
Andrew Lesnie
Cinematographer
Howard Shore
Composer (Music Score)
Annie Lennox
Songwriter
Jabez Olssen
Editor
Michael Horton
Editor
Jamie Selkirk
Editor
Grant Major
Production Designer
Rob Otterside
Art Director
Philip Ivey
Art Director
Mark Robins
Art Director
Joe Peter Bleakley
Art Director
Rick Porras
Co-producer
Jamie Selkirk
Co-producer
Bob Weinstein
Executive Producer
Michael Lynne
Executive Producer
Mark Ordesky
Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein
Executive Producer
Robert Shaye
Executive Producer
Alan Lee
Set Designer
Dan Hennah
Set Designer
Ngila Dickson
Costume Designer
Richard Taylor
Costume Designer
David Farmer
Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Hedges
Sound/Sound Designer
Christopher Boyes
Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Semanick
Sound/Sound Designer
Ethan Van der Ryn
Sound/Sound Designer
Hammond Peek
Sound/Sound Designer
Carolynne Cunningham
First Assistant Director
Amy MacLean
Casting
Victoria Burrows
Casting
Ann Robinson
Casting
Liz Mullane
Casting
John Hubbard
Casting
Mike Hopkins
Supervising Sound Editor
Alex Funke
Visual Effects
Richard Taylor
Creature Effects
Richard Taylor
Makeup Special Effects
Richard Taylor
Model Effects
Christian Rivers
Conceptual Design
Randall William Cook
Visual Effects
Joe Letteri
Visual Effects
George Marshall Ruge
Stunts Coordinator
Jim Rygiel
Visual Effects Supervisor
Geoff Murphy
Second Unit Director
John Mahaffie
Second Unit Director
Ethan Van der Ryn
Supervising Sound Editor
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