The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) is the last volume of the three-part series of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, The Lord of the Rings. True to expectations, the concluding movie was as much a success as the preceding films. However, like the film before, The Return of the King did better in terms of financial success.
With a budget of $94 million, it grossed $1.146 billion at the Box Office. This makes it the first and only film in the novel adaptation series to cross the billion-dollar mark. From the beginning to the end of the film, it had powerful back-to-back scenes.
Although there was not a 100% adaptation of the novel, Peter Jackson directing gave a near-perfect representation. As a rundown of the film’s storyline and screenplay, here are seven captivating scenes from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Sméagol and the One Ring
The film begins by taking viewers back to before Gollum was in possession of the Ring. Sméagol and his hobbit cousin, Déagol, are fishing in a river. Déagol finds the One Ring and begins to admire it. However, Sméagol’s mind is soon corrupted by the Ring.
To have sole possession of the Ring, Sméagol kills his cousin, Déagol. We learn from the previous film series that Sméagol has been in possession of the Ring for about 500 years. His obsession with the Ring will ultimately corrupt both his mind and body.
To keep the Ring all to himself, Sméagol hides in the Misty Mountains. He becomes known as Gollum.
Gollum Frames Sam
Never truly forgiving Frodo for handing him over to Faramir, Gollum plots to take the Ring for himself. Gollum is proof of what the Ring can do to the body and mind, but Frodo has Sam to watch over him.
Gollum seeks to exploit the “divide and conquer” strategy. So, he frames Sam for eating their dwindling food supplies. Then, Gollum throws away the food supplies and plants crumbs on Sam to make it more convincing.
Frodo, whose mind is drained by the Ring, believes Gollum’s accusations. Food may be too little a reason to send away a friend that has been through thick and thin, but Frodo is not one to be trusted to make the right decisions. Nevertheless, Gollum succeeds as Frodo tells Sam to go back home.
Frodo Gets Attacked By Shelob
Shelob is a giant spider with a lair hidden in the mountains on the way to Mordor. With Gollum as a guide, he leads Frodo right into Shelob’s lair. Frodo is lucky at first and confronts Gollum for leading him into harm’s way. Realizing Gollum is after the Ring, Frodo tries to fight him off. Gollum falls down a chasm.
With Gollum out of the way, Frodo is confronted by Shelob again, who overpowers Frodo by paralyzing him and spins a web around him as food. Sam returns to fend off the giant spider and wounds him.
Sam misjudges Frodo’s paralyzed body for death. Sam takes the Ring intending to complete the mission. However, he realizes a little too late that Frodo is still alive. Now, he must venture into Orc’s lair to rescue his friend.
Denethor Is Set on Fire and Jumps to His Death
Not one to have a sound mind, Denethor goes completely mad when he believes Faramir is dead. For a son who never misses an opportunity to insult, Denethor chooses to burn himself and his son’s “corpse” on a pyre.
Pippin quickly alerts Gandalf before he completes his plans. Gandalf knocks Denethor off the pyre while Pippin jumps in to rescue Faramir. Falling back into the pyre, a burning Denethor runs out and jumps off a cliff to his death.
Éowyn Kills the Witch-King
Éowyn challenges the Witch-King after he injures her uncle, Théoden. Théoden is thrown around by the Witch-King’s Nazgûl and crushed by his horse. However, Éowyn prevents and kills the Nazgûl from devouring her uncle.
The Witch-King, confident he can’t be killed by a man, dares Éowyn.
“You fool… no man can kill me.”
With Merry’s help weakening the Witch-King, Éowyn reveals herself and graciously stabs the Witch-King in his face with her sword.
“I am no man.”
Aragorn Returns with the Army of the Dead
With the Andúril reforged sword in his hand, Aragorn takes Legolas and Gimli into The Paths of the Dead. He convinces the Army of the Dead to fight for Middle-earth one last time, promising to set their ghost free from the curse.
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic scenes in the movie, Aragorn charges toward Gondor in what seems like lone madness. Then, an Army of the Dead appears from nowhere, killing all Orcs in the path. An almost-surrendered war is won!
Frodo in Mount Doom
All three volumes lead to the final moments at Mount Doom when Frodo should complete his mission. Overtaken by the Ring’s lust, Frodo wears the Ring. Gollum jumps in to save it for himself, biting off Frodo’s finger in the process.
Frodo and Gollum fall off the cliff and hang on for dear life. Sam comes to Frodo’s rescue while Gollum and his precious Ring fall into the ever-hungry lava.
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