The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: November 15, 1978
DVD Release Date: September 11, 2001
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Critic Score: 50% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

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

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TV Guide

Tolkien fans, who are familiar with novels, will find it enjoyble, while others may be confused by the action.

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Variety Staff

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

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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

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Sabadino Parker

Innovative and beautiful, cheesy and disjointed.

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Time Out

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.

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Glenn Gaslin

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

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Empire Magazine

What most people remember is the mix of the live-action tracing within the traditional animation and just how effectively creepy it managed to be, but for the time this did a pretty good job of adapting the dense novels.

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More reviews for The Lord of the Rings

Flixster Audience Score: 64% Flixster User Reviews
Bethany Murphy
Hated it, bored me!
EightThirty .
11/03/2010 (DVD) A brave attempt but it didn't do it for me. It was probably legendary at its released date and I must say, there were some pretty… More
Aj V
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… More
Tim Salmons
It's not the best adaptation of the story, but it does bear that unmistakable Bakshi mark of quality. I enjoy it mostly for that reason.
Phil Hubbs
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… More
Conner Rainwater
An extremely bizarre and chaotic version of Lord Of The Rings. It would make absolutely no sense to someone who isn't familiar with the series and has some… More