How many Lord of the Rings films are there? Who were the cast and characters - and when did they come out

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

The final instalment in the trilogy won 11 Oscars, tying with Titanic and Ben Hur as the film with the most awards in history

The highly-anticipated series will cover some of the stories that didn’t make the cut for the Lord of the Rings films.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The streaming series is the most expensive TV show ever made costing an eye-watering $175 million.

Amazon has already renewed it for five seasons, with work on the second season rumoured to have already kicked off.

But what if you’ve never watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, what are they about and who starred in them?

Here’s everything you need to know about the Lord of the Rings films.

*Beware spoilers for the Lord of the Rings films below

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
(L-R 1st row to 2nd row)  Actors Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood and Director Peter Jackson (Pic: Getty Images)(L-R 1st row to 2nd row)  Actors Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood and Director Peter Jackson (Pic: Getty Images)
(L-R 1st row to 2nd row) Actors Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood and Director Peter Jackson (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

How many Lord of the Rings films are there?

There are three Lord of the Rings films which tell J.R.R. Tolkien’s story of Frodo Bagans and his journey from The Shire.

They were filmed by Director Peter Jackson in the early 2000s amongst dramatic scenery in New Zealand.

Each film has an impressive run time, lasting around 3 hours, with cinemas offering viewers a halfway interval break during their release.

As well as Lord of the Rings, there are also three Hobbit films, which follow the story of Frodo’s uncle Bilbo and the adventures that led him to have the ring.

Here are the Lord of the Rings films:

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first Lord of the Rings film is set after the Hobbit trilogy.

It gives us an introduction to Middle Earth, with Frodo Baggins finding himself in possession of his uncle Bilbo’s ring.

The young hobbit, along with his four friends Merry (Meriadoc), Pippin (Peregrin) and Sam (Samwise) begin the perilous journey to Mordor, where they aim to throw the ring in the fire of Mount Doom to destroy it.

Along the way they are helped by Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, Gimli and Gandalf.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sauron’s Nazgul and Orc army who want the ring are never far behind.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

In the second film, we pick up where we left off, with the group being split up.

Sam and Frodo are making their way to Mordor and come face to face with Gollum, who featured in The Hobbit.

Whilst Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are looking for Merry and Pippin who were captured by the orcs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We are introduced to the besieged city of Rohan and meet tree shepherds, the Ents.

The main purpose of the second film is to build the momentum for the huge battle that will fall upon Middle Earth in the finale.

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

The final film in the instalment, we follow Sam and Frodo as they try to make their way to Mordor to get the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

However, Gollum isn’t making the process an easy one, playing tricks and trying to turn the young pair against one another.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The rest of the group battle it out in a huge war against Sauron’s dark forces to save Gondor and win the war against evil.

But will Frodo be able to destroy the ring in time?

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was critically-acclaimed and won 11 Oscars, tying with Titanic and Ben Hur as with the film with the most awards in Academy history.

Who were the cast and characters?

Lord of the Rings featured a star-studded cast.

The trilogy helped shape the careers of many actors including Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Dominic Monaghan.

The cast of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at  the 76th Annual Academy Awards in 2004 (Pic: Getty Images)The cast of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at  the 76th Annual Academy Awards in 2004 (Pic: Getty Images)
The cast of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at the 76th Annual Academy Awards in 2004 (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Here is the cast for Lord of the Rings:

  • Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins
  • Sean Astin - Samwise Gamgee
  • Billy Boyd - Pippin Took
  • Dominic Monaghan - Merry Brandybuck
  • Sir Ian McKellan - Gandalf
  • Orlando Bloom - Legolas
  • Christopher Lee - Sauruman
  • Iam Holme - Bilbo Baggins
  • Viggo Mortensen - Aragorn
  • Andy Serkis - Gollum
  • Liv Tyler - Arwen
  • Cate Blanchett - Galadriel
  • Sean Bean - Boromir
  • John Rhys-Davies - Gimli
Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, embracing in a golden forest clearing (Credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video)Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, embracing in a golden forest clearing (Credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video)
Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, embracing in a golden forest clearing (Credit: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video) | Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

When can I watch Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The highly anticipated series will be dropping on Friday 2 September, with new episodes being added weekly.

Amazon has committed to five seasons, with works for the second one rumoured to already be underway.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.