Lord of the Rings movies in order: Which one should you watch first?

Lord of the Rings movies in order: Which one should you watch first?

Hollywood has released some of the best classic fantasy films over the years. You will not fall short of a movie to binge-watch, from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Princess Bride, and Pan’s Labyrinth. But despite some of these films being iconic, many of them cannot match the entertainment value of The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson and based on the novel by the same name. However, you need to watch the Lord of the Rings movies in order of release to enjoy them.

Lord of the Rings movies in order
Lord of the Rings cast. Photo: @lordoftherings_official
Source: Instagram

Watching The Lord of the Rings in order of release to its story flow can improve your viewing experience. However, people who have read the book, including The Hobbit, may find that watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy first and then The Hobbit based on how Peter Jackson released them omits some key plot points found in the latter. But watching The Lord of the Rings movies in order of release makes much sense if you only prefer the film franchise.

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How many Lord of the Rings movies are there?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy only has three movies. These are:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

But before the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there used to be other animated films based on The Lord of the Rings novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. These were:

  • The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi (1978) – Animated.
  • The Return of the King by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr (1980) – Animated.

In many ways, the two animated films stayed faithful to the novel than the trilogy by Peter Jackson.

What comes first, Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit?

Lord of the Rings movies in order
Lord of the Rings: The Biggest Things Jackson's Trilogy Left Out. Photo: @lordoftherings_official
Source: Instagram

Determining what comes first between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit can be confusing. Ideally, as far as the books and movies go, reading or watching The Hobbit first is the best idea.

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That is because the events in The Hobbit happen chronologically before The Lord of the Rings. Furthermore, specific things occur in The Hobbit that set up most of the Lord of the Rings events.

Many people do not prefer the chronological order of release. So instead, they watch The Lord of the Rings first, then The Hobbit later, precisely how Peter Jackson released the movies. Alternatively, you can start by reading The Hobbit, then watch The Lord of the Rings, and finally watch The Hobbit.

You can of course opt to read The Lord of the Rings too. However, that is a long read that will take you lots of time to complete. Another point to note is that if you were to watch the movies in order of their time, you would have to start with The Hobbit (1, 2, and 3) and follow it up with The Lord of the Rings (1, 2, and 3).

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As noted, The Hobbit has lots of information and story elements that are enjoyable in The Lord of the Rings. Therefore, watching the films in chronological order of release may not make sense. In that case, the best order would be:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring serves as a prologue for the whole franchise. You then follow it up with The Hobbit.

Lord of the Rings movies in order

What is the sequence of the Lord of the Rings movies? The sequence follows the order of the release of the movie. If you are not sure about the best order to follow, you can never go wrong with the Lord of the Rings in order of release as follows:

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first movie in Peter Jackson’s film series. It is an epic film set in the fictional world of Middle-earth. The Fellowship of the Ring introduces the key characters and the broad story arc of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In the movie, a meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions begin a journey to destroy the powerful one ring. The ring is an evil incarnate, with an insatiable lust for power created by Lord Sauron.

If they do not destroy it, they may not save middle-earth from the evil Lord Sauron. But do they have what it takes to win, or will the dark powers of Lord Sauron overcome them?

Lord of the Rings movies in order
The Eye of Sauron, as depicted in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Photo: @lordoftherings_official
Source: Instagram

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

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The film is the middle child of The Lord of the Rings movies because it does not have a beginning or an end. However, it maintains the style, momentum, and integrity that made the first film brilliant.

The movie continues the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring and tells the story of Frodo and Sam as they match towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring. But the fellowship is broken after the death of Boromir.

That leaves Frodo and Sam with little hope, and no protection as they go to Mordor to face the evil Lord Sauron, whose forces have increased in power and his allies have grown.

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

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the final instalment in the Lord of the Rings film franchise. It continues with the story of Frodo and Sam as they make their final journey towards Mordor to destroy the one ring. The result is one of the enormous battle scenes ever put in a film.

The movie sees the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil. They fight to control the future of Middle-earth. It also sees Frodo and Sam getting help towards Mordor as they seek to destroy the one ring. Meanwhile, Lord Sauron’s evil army comes face to face with a fearless force.

What order do the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies go in?

The order of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies go in the following manner:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

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After The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit in order of release is as follows.

  • An Unexpected Journey (2012).
  • The Desolation of Smaug (2013).
  • The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).

But when it comes to the books, The Hobbit comes first, then The Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has three movies, including The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). But before the release of the Lord of the Rings movies in order by Peter Jackson, there were also other animated films, The Lord of the Rings (1978) by Ralph Bakshi and The Return of the King (1980) by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr.

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