One of the epic fantasy stories, The Lord of the Rings was based on the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Director Peter Jackson adapted the fantasy books into six movies – The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings has clinched the highest number of awards – 475 out of 800 across award ceremonies. These also include its record for the highest number of Academy Awards for a single movie franchise – 17 wins of 37 nominations. The film series also bagged 17 Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards (2002), 75th Academy Awards (2003), and 76th Academy Awards (2004).
Which of The Lord of the Rings movies should you watch first? One should watch the movies in chronological order as that helps connect every event as shown in the film.
This fantasy series depicts a battle between good and evil in the fictional universe of Middle-earth where humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and hobbits live.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Fellowship of the Ring depicts the journey of Bilbo (Ian Holm) and his nephew Frodo (Elijah Wood). Sixty years after Bilbo obtained the One Ring during his journey with the dwarves, Bilbo is visited by Gandalf (McKellen) before Bilbo leaves for an adventure. He gives the ring to Frodo, who, with Gandalf’s help, learns about the return of Sauron. Frodo and Gandalf want help from others – Hobbits – Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan), the dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), the elf Legolas (Bloom), men Boromir (Sean Bean) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). These nine characters comprise the core team, they decide that Frodo should be the Ring-bearer and destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom located in Mordor. Unfortunately, to become successful in the journey, Frodo needs to confront powerful orcs and Saruman, who has joined hands with Sauron.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
In this sequel to the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo compels Gollum to help, and Sam reaches Mount Doom while other friends carry out their mission when Saruman starts threatening the Rohan Kingdom. Meanwhile, Gandalf becomes more powerful and becomes Gandalf the White and joins the forces to eliminate orcs in the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
In this movie, you get to see new characters such as Boromir’s brother Faramir (David Wenham), Rohan’s king Théoden (Bernard Hill), his nephew Eomer (Karl Urban), and his niece Éowyn (Miranda Otto).
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The Return of the King portrays the epic conclusion of the famed series. In this movie the future of Middle-earth is at a crossroads; the human army, led by Aragorn, comes together to destroy Sauron’s forces at Minas Tirith. In another part of the story, Frodo and Sam reach Mount Doom with Gollum, unaware that Gollum intends to betray them in order to get the One Ring back.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
This film is the first of the Hobbit trilogy; it’s based on Tolkien’s 1937 novel, The Hobbit. The story starts 60 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The central character, a Hobbit – Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), is asked by the wizard – Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) to help 13 dwarves, commonly known as Thorin and Company, led by Thorin Oakenshield II (Richard Armitage), to reclaim their lost homeland – Erebor from the notorious dragon – Smaug.
Events like how Bilbo got the elven dagger Sting are mentioned in this film which becomes relevant in the movies that chronologically come after. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman the White (Christopher Lee) are also important characters apart from Gollum, Gandalf and Bilbo.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Continuing on from the previous movie, Bilbo, Thorin and Company, and Gandalf, continue on their mission to enter the Lonely Mountain to defeat Smaug. Along the journey, they are confronted by a giant spider – Shelob. They form unexpected allies with the elves– Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and a human– Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), who has the only weapon that can kill Smaug. Meanwhile, Gandalf sees the return of Sauron as the Orcs prepare to help Smaug.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
In the third part of The Hobbit trilogy, the dragon–Smaug escapes the Lonely Mountain and plans to destroy the nearby human population. In the meanwhile, Thorin declines to honor his promise made to Bard as he becomes possessive of the vast treasure in the mountain and commits to finding the Arkenstone. In the meantime, to retake control from the dwarves, the Orcs reach the Lonely Mountain. As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, the dwarves have to decide whether to join the men and Thranduil’s army to destroy the Orcs.