The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring poster
Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by Peter Jackson
Barrie M. Osborne
Tim Sanders
Fran Walsh

Elijah Wood
Ian McKellen
Liv Tyler
Viggo Mortensen
Sean Astin
Cate Blanchett
John Rhys-Davies
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Orlando Bloom
Christopher Lee
Hugo Weaving
Sean Bean
Ian Holm
Andy Serkis

Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Editing by John Gilbert
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release 19 December 2001
Running time 178 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $93 million
Gross revenue $871,530,324
Followed by The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954–1955). It is the first installment in the The Lord of the Rings film series, and was followed by The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003), based on the second and third volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

Set in Middle-earth, the story tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who is seeking the One Ring. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). The fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and eight companions who form the Fellowship of the Ring begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.

Released on 10 December 2001, the film was highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike who considered it to be a landmark in filmmaking and an achievement in the fantasy film genre. It has continued being featured on critic's lists of the greatest fantasy films ever made as of 2013. The film was a massive box office success, earning over $871 million worldwide, and becoming the second highest-grossing film of 2001 in the U.S. and worldwide (behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time.

As of 2013, it is the 32nd highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. It was nominated for thirteen Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards ceremony, winning four for Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for five British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Director BAFTA awards. The Special Extended Edition was released to DVD on 12 November 2002 and to Blu-ray Disc on 28 June 2011. In 2007, The Fellowship of the Ring was voted No. 50 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 greatest American films. The AFI also voted it the second greatest fantasy film of all time during their 10 Top 10 special.


In the Second Age, the Dark Lord Sauron created magical rings to give to leaders of the peoples of Middle Earth. Sauron gave three rings to the Elves, seven rings to the Dwarves, and nine rings to the Humans. However, Sauron also secretly created another ring, called the One Ring, which allows him to control the carriers of the other Rings, thereby allowing him to conquer Middle-earth. But, in a battle against Sauron, Prince Isildur cuts the Ring from Sauron's hand, destroying his physical form.

However, there is a catch; Sauron's life force is bound to the Ring, allowing him to survive while the Ring also survives. Isildur, corrupted by the Ring's power, refuses to destroy it. When Isildur is killed by Orcs, the Ring is lost in a river for 2,500 years. The Ring is found by Gollum, who has the ring for 500 years, allowing him to live for a very long time, but corrupting his mind, but one day, the Ring separates from Gollum, and remains that way until it is found by the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

Sixty years later, Bilbo is celebrating his 111th birthday, and he decides to leave his birthplace of the Shire and retire in Rivendell, and leaves the Ring to his nephew, Frodo Baggins. Upon learning the Ring belonged to Sauron, the Wizard Gandalf the Grey warns Frodo that Sauron's forces will come for him, and has Frodo leave the shire accompanied by his friend Samwise Gamgee. Gandalf rides to Isengard to meet with the head of his order, Saruman the White, who reveals that Sauron's servants, the Nazgûl, have been sent to capture the Ring. Saruman reveals himself to be in service to Sauron and imprisons Gandalf atop his tower. Saruman commands Sauron's Orcs to construct weapons of war and produce a new breed of Orc fighters: the Uruk-hai.

While travelling to Bree to meet with Gandalf, Frodo and Sam are joined by Merry and Pippin, who are stealing some crops from Farmer Maggot's farm, and are nearly captured by the Nazgûl. The four reach Bree after travelling down the Brandywine River and meet the mysterious ranger Aragorn (Isildur's descendant) at the Prancing Pony Inn who hides them from their pursuers and agrees to lead them to Rivendell since Gandalf hasn't arrived. The group rests at Weathertop where they are attacked by the Nazgûl after a campfire lit by Sam, Merry and Pippin reveals their location, and Frodo is wounded by a Morgul blade, but Aragorn arrives and scares off the Nazgûl with fire. Frodo is saved by the Elf Arwen, who uses her magic to summon a surge of water that sweeps away the pursuing Nazgûl after a lengthy pursuit to the borders of her land. Arwen takes Frodo to Rivendell where her father, Elrond, heals him; he briefly reunites with Bilbo, who has visibly aged since his separation from the Ring. Bilbo gifts him mithril armor and Sting.

Gandalf escapes Saruman's tower with the aid of Gwaihir the eagle and travels to Rivendell. Elrond calls a council of the races still loyal to Middle-earth to decide what should be done with the Ring. He reveals that the Ring can only be destroyed by throwing it into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged, as he himself tried to get Isildur to destroy it. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring to Mordor, accompanied by Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, and Aragorn. They are joined by the Elf Legolas, the Dwarf Gimli, and Boromir, a man of Gondor, to form the Fellowship of the Ring.

Hindered by Saruman's magic, the Fellowship are forced to travel through the abandoned underground Dwarf city of Moria. As they travel through the caverns, Frodo and Gandalf notice that Gollum is following them at a distance; Gandalf explains how he is drawn to the Ring through both desire and hatred, "much as he loves and hates himself". Inside a dwarf tomb, the Fellowship is ambushed by Orcs and a Balrog, an ancient demon of fire and shadow. Gandalf confronts the Balrog, allowing the others to escape, but both Gandalf and the Balrog fall into an abyss. Mourning Gandalf's apparent death, the group flees to the forest of Lothlórien, where they are sheltered by its rulers, the Elves Galadriel and Celeborn. That night, Galadriel informs Frodo that it is his destiny to destroy the Ring. Meanwhile, Saruman assembles a force of Uruk-hai to hunt the Fellowship, instructing them to retrieve the hobbits alive and kill the others.

After leaving Moria's caves and then arriving at Parth Galen, Boromir, after hinting that the ring should be used as a weapon to fight against Mordor, eventually gives in to the Ring's corruption and tries to take it from Frodo, believing it is the only way to save the people of Gondor. Heeding Galadriel's warning that the Ring will eventually corrupt the other members of the Fellowship, Frodo escapes by the Ring's power of invisibility; though Boromir almost immediately regrets his actions, Frodo talks with Aragorn and decides to continue his journey alone.

The Uruk-hai arrive, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli attempt to hold them off while Frodo escapes. Merry and Pippin lead the Orcs away from Frodo until they are cornered. Boromir arrives to redeem himself and protect them, killing many Uruks until he is shot fatally by the Uruk-hai's leader, Lurtz. Merry and Pippin are captured by the rest of the Uruk-hai. Aragorn slays Lurtz, and Boromir dies with Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas by his side. The three set out to rescue Merry and Pippin, while Frodo lets Sam join him in his journey to Mordor.


  • Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: A hobbit who inherits the One Ring from his uncle, Bilbo Baggins. Wood was the first actor to be cast on 7 July 1999. Wood was a fan of the book, and he sent in an audition dressed as Frodo, reading lines from the novel. Wood was selected from 150 actors who auditioned.
  • Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: An Istari wizard and mentor to Frodo. Sean Connery was approached for the role, but did not understand the plot, while Patrick Stewart turned it down as he disliked the script. Before being cast, McKellen had to sort his schedule with 20th Century Fox as there was a two-month overlap with X-Men. He enjoyed playing Gandalf the Grey more than his transformed state in the next two films, and based his accent on Tolkien. Unlike his on-screen character, McKellen did not spend much time with the actors playing the Hobbits; instead he worked with their scale doubles.
  • Liv Tyler as Arwen: An elf and Aragorn's lover. The filmmakers approached Tyler after seeing her performance in Plunkett & Macleane, and New Line Cinema leaped at the opportunity of having one Hollywood star in the film. Actress Helena Bonham Carter had expressed interest in the role. Tyler came to shoot on short occasions, unlike the rest of the actors. She was one of the last actors to be cast, on 25 August 1999.
  • Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn: Dubbed Strider, he is a Dúnedain ranger and the heir to Gondor's throne. Daniel Day-Lewis was offered the part at the beginning of pre-production, but turned it down. Nicolas Cage also received an offer, declining because of "family obligations", while Vin Diesel, a fan of the book, auditioned for Aragorn. Stuart Townsend was cast in the role, before being replaced during filming when Jackson realised he was too young. Russell Crowe was considered as a replacement, but he turned it down after taking what he thought to be a similar role in Gladiator. Day-Lewis was offered the role for a second time, but declined again. Executive Producer Mark Ordesky saw Mortensen in a play. Mortensen's son, a fan of the book, convinced him to take the role. Mortensen read the book on the plane, received a crash course lesson in fencing from Bob Anderson and began filming the scenes on Weathertop. Mortensen became a hit with the crew by patching up his costume and carrying his "hero" sword around with him offscreen.
  • Sean Astin as Samwise "Sam" Gamgee: A Hobbit gardener and Frodo's best friend. Astin, who had recently become a father, bonded with the 18-year-old Wood in a protective manner, which mirrored Sam's relationship with Frodo.
  • Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: An Elf and the co-ruler of Lothlórien along with her husband Celeborn.
  • John Rhys-Davies as Gimli: A Dwarf who accompanies the Fellowship to Mordor after they set out from Rivendell. Billy Connolly, who was considered for the part of Gimli, will portray Dáin II Ironfoot in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy. Rhys-Davies wore heavy prosthetics to play Gimli, which limited his vision, and eventually he developed eczema around his eyes. Rhys-Davies also played Gimli's father Glóin during the scene where the fellowship is forged.
  • Billy Boyd as Peregrin "Pippin" Took: A Hobbit who travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor.
  • Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck: A Hobbit and distant cousin of Frodo. Monaghan was cast as Merry after auditioning for Frodo.
  • Orlando Bloom as Legolas: Prince of the Elves' Woodland Realm and a skilled archer. Bloom initially auditioned for Faramir, who appears in the second film, a role which went to David Wenham.
  • Christopher Lee as Saruman the White: The fallen head of the Istari Order, who succumbed to Sauron's will via his use of the palantír. Lee is a major fan of the book, and reads it once a year. He has also met J. R. R. Tolkien. He originally auditioned for Gandalf, but was judged too old.
  • Hugo Weaving as Elrond: The Elven master and Lord of Rivendell, who leads the Council of Elrond which ultimately decides to destroy the One Ring. David Bowie expressed interest in the role, but Jackson stated, "To have a famous, beloved character and a famous star colliding is slightly uncomfortable."
  • Sean Bean as Boromir: A prince of the Stewards of Gondor, he journeys with the Fellowship towards Mordor. Bruce Willis, a fan of the book, expressed interest in the role, while Liam Neeson was sent the script, but passed.
  • Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins: Frodo's uncle who gives him the Ring after he decides to retire to Rivendell. Holm previously played Frodo in a 1981 radio adaption of The Lord of the Rings, and was cast as Bilbo after Jackson remembered his performance. Sylvester McCoy, who would later play Radagast the Brown Wizard in The Hobbit, was contacted about playing the role, and was kept in place as a potential Bilbo for six months before Jackson went with Holm.
  • Andy Serkis as Gollum: a wretched hobbit-like creature, owner of the Ring for centuries, who guides Frodo on his quest; voice and motion capture. This character appears briefly in the prologue. In Mordor, only can hear his voice shouting and in Moria, only appears his eyes and his nose.

Lord of the Rings Films vte
Films The Fellowship of the RingThe Two TowersThe Return of the King
Characters Aragorn • Arwen • Bilbo • Boromir • Celeborn • Denethor • Elrond • Éomer • Éowyn • Faramir • Frodo • Galadriel • Gandalf • Gimli • Gollum • Legolas • Merry • Mouth of Sauron • Old Man Willow • Pippin • Radagast • Sam • Saruman • Sauron • Shelob • Théoden • Tom Bombadil • Treebeard • Witch-king • Wormtongue

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