The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

2001 film by Peter Jackson

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 fantasy epic movie directed by Peter Jackson, serving as the first part to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Lord of the Rings. The film is set in Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle-earth and tells the story of Frodo Baggins, who is a small humanlike creature known as a "hobbit". Frodo receives a powerful ring from his uncle Bilbo. The ring is sought after by its original creator, the evil Lord Sauron, who wants to use its power to conquer Middle-earth. Frodo and eight companions, who form a group known as the "Fellowship of the Ring", find themselves on a quest to the volcano Mount Doom in Sauron's territory Mordor, which is the only place where the ring can be destroyed. It was highly praised by critics and audiences, and, like its sequels, is now considered one of the best movies ever made. It got nominated for 14 Academy Awards.

The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring
Directed byPeter Jackson
Screenplay by
Based onThe Fellowship of the Ring
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Produced by
CinematographyAndrew Lesnie
Edited byJamie Selkirk
Music byHoward Shore
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • 22 December 2001 (2001-12-22)
Running time
181 minutes
  • New Zealand
  • United States
Budget$94 million
Box office$804 million

The movie's prologue, narrated by the elf Lady Galadriel, explains that thousands of years ago, during the Second Age of Middle-earth, the rulers of elves, dwarves, and humans (known in Middle-earth as "Men") were given magical rings known as the "Rings of Power". But the evil Lord Sauron created the powerful One Ring in Mount Doom in his land of Mordor so he could rule all the other rings and conquer Middle-earth. An alliance of Elves and Men then defeated Sauron and his armies in Mordor, with Sauron being defeated by Isildur, a man of the kingdom Gondor. Isildur took the Ring and was corrupted by it, but the ring left him, allowing him to be killed by orcs. Thousands of years later, it was found by a hobbit, Smeagol, who kept it for centuries and became very attached to it; the ring slowly drew him mad, and turned him into the monster Gollum. However, the ring left him, too, and was found by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who was on an adventure when he found it.

Sixty years later, Bilbo Baggins is celebrating his 111th birthday in the Shire, a peaceful land where hobbits live. He also reunites with his old friend, the wizard Gandalf. During Bilbo's birthday party, when he is doing a speech, he pulls a prank on those attending by using the ring to disappear in front of them. Gandalf is alarmed and follows Bilbo to his house, where he finds that Bilbo is attached to it. He convinces Bilbo to leave the ring, and everything else he owns, to his nephew Frodo. Bilbo then leaves the Shire for one last adventure. Gandalf investigates the ring and discovers that it truly is the One Ring. He also learns that Gollum has revealed the location of the ring to Sauron's orcs. Gandalf returns to the Shire, warning Frodo that he must leave for the village Bree, promising to meet him there.

Frodo begins his journey with his friend and gardener, Samwise Gamgee, better known as "Sam". Meanwhile, Gandalf meets with the wizard Saruman in his fortress Isengard, but discovers Saruman has allied with Sauron. Saruman battles with Gandalf and imprisons him. As Frodo and Sam continue their journey, they are joined by two other hobbits, Merry and Pippin. The four hobbits find themselves being chased by the Nazgûl, a group of evil Men under Sauron's control who are drawn to the ring. They arrive at Bree, but Gandalf never arrives because he was imprisoned. They meet a mysterious man named "Strider", who promises to guide them to the elf land of Rivendell. However, the Nazgûl ambush the hobbits at one point. Strider rescues them and fights them off, but not before the Witch-King, the Nazgûl leader, stabs Frodo with a Morgul blade, which will slowly turn him into one of the Nazgûl if he isn't healed. Arwen, an elf and Strider's love interest, finds the group and helps Frodo to Rivendell, where the elves heal him. Gandalf escapes Isengard on a large eagle to Rivendell. Arwen's father, Lord Elrond, holds a council meeting of elves, men, dwarves, and Frodo and Gandalf. The council decides the Ring must be destroyed in Mount Doom. Frodo decides to take the Ring, accompanied by Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, elf Legolas, dwarf Gimli, Boromir of Gondor, and Strider, who is revealed to actually be Aragorn, who is meant to be the king of Gondor. The group is named the "Fellowship of the Ring". The night before the Fellowship leaves, Bilbo, who now lives in Rivendell, gives Frodo his sword, Sting, which glows blue when orcs are nearby, and a chainmail shirt made of a strong material known as "mithril".

The Fellowship journeys to the Gap of Rohan, but discover it is being watched by birds (of a species known as "Crebain") who spy for Saruman. They decide to walk through the mountain pass of Caradhras instead, but Saruman uses magic to create a storm. The Fellowship is forced to travel through the Mines of Moria, a mine which used to belong to dwarves. They find out the dwarves there are dead. They are then ambushed by a lake monster. The entrance collapses, trapping them inside. Pippin ends up accidentally awakening the orcs in the mines, leading to a battle. They also kill a cave troll during the battle. The Fellowship then begins running from the orcs, but the orcs flee when an ancient demon known as a "Balrog" awakens. Gandalf saves the Fellowship from the Balrog, but sacrifices himself in doing so.

Grieved, the Fellowship reaches Lothlórien, a place of elves. Galadriel, the queen of Lothlórien, tells Frodo that only he can complete the quest and one member of the Fellowship will try to take the Ring. Meanwhile, in Isengard, Saruman has created an army of Orc/Men hybrids known as "Uruk-hai" to find and kill the Fellowship. The Fellowship travels by river to the lawn Parth Galen, where Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, as Galadriel predicted. Then, the Uruk-hai scouts, led by a Uruk-hai named "Lurtz", attack the Fellowship. Merry and Pippin distract them to protect Frodo, but are then surrounded; Boromir then comes to their rescue, but Lurtz shoots him multiple times with his bow. The Uruk-hai take Merry and Pippin as they flee. Aragorn then kills Lurtz and comforts Boromir as he dies.

Meanwhile, Frodo stands at the river by which the Fellowship traveled to Parth Galen, hesitant to continue his quest. He is motivated when remembering something Gandalf said to him in the Mines that people cannot always control what happens to them, but they can choose how to use their time. With this motivation, he gets on a canoe and begins paddling away, having made the decision to go to Mordor alone. Sam finds him and begins swimming to him, despite Frodo telling him to go back. Sam nearly drowns, but Frodo saves him and pulls him onto the canoe. Sam reminds Frodo of a promise he made to Gandalf not to leave him, and they tearfully embrace. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli set out to save Merry and Pippin, while Frodo and Sam look towards Mordor from the mountain pass of Emyn Muil, where Frodo tells Sam he's glad he's with him. The two continue their journey.