How to Watch Chronologically or by Release Date

Lord of the Rings Movie series rocked the movie industry in the early 2000s, grossing nearly $3 billion at the box office and winning a total of 17 Academy Awards – a record the trilogy still holds to this day. Peter Jackson‘s adaptation of JRR Tolkien‘s series has shown that a fantasy film can be a huge hit if done right. The Hobbit Trilogy, a prequel series that graced the big screen a decade later, might not have been as great as its predecessor, but it’s still amazing in its own right.


The tremendous popularity of the Tolkien franchise continues with Prime Video The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerwhich premiered in September. The Rings of Power is the most expensive TV series of all time – a whopping 465 million dollars! That’s far more than the budget of game of Thrones and will make it the most expensive TV show ever made.

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With the season 1 finale coming to Prime Video on October 14th, you might want to revisit Middle-earth by watching Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. We’ve got two lists for you here: first, in order of release date, and second, in chronological order for your convenience. You can try any of them and get the most out of your binge watch.


The Lord of the Rings movies in release date order

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – December 19, 2001
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – December 18, 2002
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – December 17, 2003

RELATED: Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ review: A fantasy epic beyond comparison

The Hobbit films in release date order

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – December 14, 2012
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December 13, 2013
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – December 17, 2014

The Hobbit films in chronological order

The Hobbit The series was released a decade later Lord of the Rings trilogy, but serves as a prequel within the story chronology. The films are based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and follow the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin baron), Frodo’s uncle. So if you want to follow a timeline consistent with Tolkien’s novels, that’s where you should start The Hobbit Trilogy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The first film in The Hobbit Trilogy, An unexpected Journey was a financial success. It grossed over $1.017 billion at the box office, more than The Fellowship of the Ring and The two Towers. The story begins with an old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), who begins to write down the whole story of his adventure, which took place 60 years ago. He describes how Gandalf (Ian McKellen), realizing his latent thirst for adventure, lures Bilbo to join a group of dwarves to help them on their quest to the Lonely Mountain. It is the same book where Frodo sees further The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kingwhich makes the connection even more interesting.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The second movie in The Hobbit series saw the debut of Smaug, one of the last remaining great dragons of Middle-earth, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. The film delves deeper into Bilbo’s character as he proves to be a brave and reliable ally for the dwarves in retrieving the Arkenstone from Smaug’s stolen treasures. Desolation of Smaug also surpassed both The Fellowship of the Ring and The two Towerswhich grossed $959 million worldwide.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The last movie in the series The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is of particular importance for several reasons. It was Ian Holms and Christopher Lee‘s final live-action appearances before her death in 2020 and 2015 respectively. Lee played the role of Saruman the White in both series and we see his character in all his glory in this film. Conflicts arise between the forces of humans, elves, and dwarves, drawing the attention of Sauron’s forces, and Bilbo finds himself in the midst of a terrible war. The film ends on a note similar to the beginning The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ringand thus completes Bilbo’s saga.

The Lord of the Rings Movies in Chronological Order

Lord of the Rings series completely revolutionized the fantasy genre. Directed by Peter Jackson, the films are based on the eponymous trilogy of novels published between 1954 and 1955 and written by JRR Tolkien. Chronologically, these films are set 60 years after Bilbo’s adventures The Hobbit series and show the delivery of the ring of power to Frodo (Elijah Wood), who now has to set out on his own to save the world.

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

The film that started and turned everything Lord of the Rings to a global phenomenon. Even after multiple reruns, audiences can still feel the excitement of Frodo and his eight companions (who form the Fellowship of the Ring) as they begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring of Power can be destroyed . It was the fifth highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release, grossing $880 million worldwide on its initial release. After the home video release, Jackson released an expanded edition of the original three films. The extended community of the ring extends the runtime from 178 minutes to 228 minutes, a whopping 3 hours and 48 minutes.

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

After the story of The Fellowship of the Ring, The two Towers deals with four different storylines. The group is split after an ambush by the orcs in the final film, while also missing a key member. Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their journey towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, encounter and join Gollum (Andy Serkis) whom Bilbo faced during the events of The Hobbit‘s story. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) stumble across the nation of Rohan on the brink of annihilation and are surprised to meet a risen Gandalf. Cheerful (Dominik Monaghan) and Pippi (Billy Boyd) escaped from the clutches of the Orcs, met Treebeard the Ent and with his help plan an attack on Isengard, Saruman’s stronghold. The Extended Version turns this 179 minute film into a 235 minute film.

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

The last movie in Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the return of the King has blown away film fanatics around the world. It was a masterpiece, acclaimed by both critics and audiences alike, and considered a milestone in filmmaking and the fantasy film genre. the return of the King shows Middle-earth’s last stand against Sauron. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and the rest of the Forces of Light join forces in a seemingly impossible battle against Sauron and his forces in Minas Tirith to give Frodo a chance to destroy the One Ring. The epic battles, scores, landscapes and directions are simply breathtaking. No wonder this film still shares the record for most Oscars won by a single film. In addition, the extended version increases the already amazing runtime from 201 minutes to 252 minutes! That’s over four hours! Those brave enough to attempt a full iteration of the enhanced editions prepare for a nearly 12-hour marathon.

https://collider.com/how-to-watch-lord-of-the-rings-hobbit-movies-in-order/ How to Watch Chronologically or by Release Date

Sarah Ridley

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