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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen)

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It’s likely more trees have been sacrificed than Saruman ever destroyed to make the tons of paper needed for the pre- and post-publicity and press coverage for Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film, the first in his epic trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings . Elijah Wood plays Frodo, a tiny hobbit from the even smaller settlement of the Shire who becomes involved in the fight to save Middle Earth from Sauron, the evil Lord who only needs the Ring of Power to gain complete power. Taking on the burden of ring-bearer, he and the Fellowship of the Ring, led by magician Gandalf (Ian McKelen) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson) begin the journey to Mordor, Sauron’s stronghold, where the ring was forged and where it must be destroyed. But Sauron and his ally Saruman (Christopher Lee, the only member of the cast to have met Tolkien) also seek the One Ring…

The production of the film was equally epic. Over 3,000 people were involved in the 16-month shoot in New Zealand, with a budget of $300m for shooting alone. In return for tax breaks, New Zealand is estimated to have benefited to the tune of $200m from the film and subsequent tourism. But the investment was worth it, both financially and artistically, with even the initially suspicious descendants of Tolkien, the guardians of his literary estate, endorsing Jackson’s vision while the millions of fans of the book voted with their feet, keeping the film in the top ten lists around the world for weeks on release and setting records for DVD sales.

Artistically, the look of the film coupled with a cast of the famous and (then) not-so-famous saw every character superbly realised (even John Rhys-Davies, the tallest member of the cast, became a convincing Gimli, the dwarf in the fellowship). If there was one loser, it was Miramax, who turned down the chance of funding the two films originally planned. The producers went to New Line Cinema who, after the pitch, decided it had to be made as three films. The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.

production details
New Zealand – USA | 178 minutes | 2001

Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books

cast
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee
Liv Tyler as Arwen Evenstar
Orlando Bloom as Legolas
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck
Billy Boyd as Peregrin “Pippin” Took
Sean Bean as Boromir
Andy Serkis as Gollum / Witch-king of Angmar (voice)
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
Christopher Lee as Saruman
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Marton Csokas as Celeborn
Craig Parker as Haldir
Lawrence Makoare as Lurtz
Sala Baker as Sauron / Lugdush
Sarah McLeod as Rose “Rosie” Cotton
Alan Howard as The Ring (voice) / Sauron (voice)
Noel Appleby as Everard Proudfoot
Megan Edwards as Mrs. Proudfoot
Mark Ferguson as Ereinion Gil-galad
Brent McIntyre as Witch-king of Angmar
David Weatherley as Barliman Butterbur
Cameron Rhodes as Farmer Maggot
Harry Sinclair as Isildur
Peter McKenzie as Elendil
Michael Elsworth as Círdan
Katie Jackson as Bell Boffin
Billy Jackson as Minto Boffin
Martyn Sanderson as Harry Goatleaf
Ian Mune as Bounder
Victoria Beynon-Cole as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Lee Hartley as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Sam La Hood as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Chris Streeter as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Jonathan Jordan as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Semi Kuresa as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Clinton Ulyatt as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Paul Bryson as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Lance Fabian Kemp as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Jono Manks as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Ben Price as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Phil Grieve as Hero Orcs / Goblins / Uruks / Ringwraiths
Norman Forsey as Hamfast “Gaffer” Gamgee (extended edition)
Lori Dungey as Mrs. Bracegirdle (extended edition)
Brian Sergent as Ted Sandyman (extended edition)
William Johnson as Old Noakes (extended edition)
Peter Corrigan as Otho Sackville-Baggins (extended edition)
Elizabeth Moody as Lobelia Sackville-Baggins (extended edition)
Timothy Bartlett as Robin Smallburrow (uncredited)
Jørn Benzon as Rúmil (uncredited)
Micha Kemp as Calaglin (uncredited)
Ben Britton as Fereveldir (uncredited)
Jonathan Harding as Dínendal / Erestor (uncredited)
Jason Secto as Nestadion / Orophin (uncredited)
Bret McKenzie as Figwit (uncredited)
Matt Appleton as Saelbeth (uncredited)
Sam Kelly as Silindë (uncredited)
Gino Acevedo as Sindri (uncredited)
Xander Forterie as Uri (uncredited)
Rich Mayberry as Linnar (uncredited)
Tom Walsh as Fredegar “Fatty” Bolger (uncredited)
Peter Jackson as Albert Dreary (uncredited)
Sabine Crossen as Rivendell Elf (uncredited)
Jarl Benzon as Last Alliance Elf (uncredited)
John Howe as Ring King of Men (uncredited)
Alan Lee as Ring King of Men (uncredited)
Zo Hartley as Hobbit (uncredited)
Liz Merton as Hobbit (uncredited)
Riley Brophy as Hobbit Child (uncredited)
Taea Hartwell as Hobbit Child (uncredited)
Shane Rangi as Witch-king (uncredited)
Grant Roa as Uruk-hai (uncredited)
Chris Reid as Orc (uncredited)
Samuel E. Shore as Orc (uncredited)
Rachel Clentworth as Goblin (uncredited)
Thomas Robins as Hand of Gollum (uncredited)

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