The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic high fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the third and final installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, following The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Two Towers (2002), preceding The Hobbit trilogy (2012–2014).
Released on 17 December 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King received rave reviews and universal acclaim, and became one of the greatest critical and box-office successes of all time. It was only the second film to gross $1 billion worldwide ($1.12 billion), becoming the highest grossing film released by New Line Cinema, as well as the biggest financial success for Time Warner in general, until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($1.31 billion) surpassed The Return of the King's final gross in 2011. The film was the highest-grossing film of 2003and, by the end of its theatrical run, the second highest-grossing film in history. As of January 2016, it is the thirteenthhighest-grossing film in history.
At the 76th Academy Awards, it won all 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated, therefore holding the record for highest Oscar sweep. The wins included the awards for Best Picture, the first and only time a fantasy film has done so; it was also the second sequel to win a Best Picture Oscar (following The Godfather Part II) and Best Director. The film jointly holds the record for the largest number of Academy Awards won with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic(1997).
- Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: a young hobbit who continues his quest to destroy the One Ring.
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf the White: an Istari wizard who travels to aid the Men of Gondor, acting as a general at the Siege of Gondor.
- Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn: a Dúnedain ranger with claims to the throne of Gondor.
- Liv Tyler as Arwen: Elrond's daughter and Aragorn's true love.
- Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee: Frodo's loyal hobbit gardener and companion.
- Sala Baker as Sauron: the Dark Lord of Mordor and the Ring's true master, who is waging war across Middle-Earth once more.
- Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: the Elven-Queen of Lothlórien who is aware the time of the elves is at an end.
- John Rhys-Davies as Gimli: a dwarf warrior and companion to Aragorn along with Legolas. Rhys-Davies also voices Treebeard: the ent leader.
- Bernard Hill as Théoden: the King of Rohan who, after triumphing at Helm's Deep, is preparing his troops for the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
- Billy Boyd as Pippin Took: a hobbit who came along with his cousin Frodo and is now caught in the wars.
- Dominic Monaghan as Merry Brandybuck: another cousin of Frodo's who becomes an esquire of Rohan.
- Orlando Bloom as Legolas: an elven prince of Mirkwood and skilled archer who aids Aragorn in his quest to reclaim the throne.
- Hugo Weaving as Elrond: the Elven-King of Rivendell and father of Arwen.
- Miranda Otto as Éowyn: Théoden's niece, who wishes to prove herself in battle and starts to fall in love with Aragorn.
- David Wenham as Faramir: a prince of the Stewards of Gondor and Captain of the Rangers defending Osgiliath, who seeks his father's love in vain.
- Karl Urban as Éomer: Éowyn's brother, who serves as Chief Marshal of the Riders of Rohan and heir to his uncle's throne.
- John Noble as Denethor: the Steward of Gondor and father of Faramir and Boromir, whose grief over Boromir's death and despair over Mordor's superior numbers drive him into madness during the Siege of Gondor.
- Andy Serkis as Gollum: a wretched and treacherous hobbit-like creature who kept the Ring for centuries and now guides Frodo and Sam into Mordor.
- Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins: Frodo's elderly uncle, who has rapidly aged after giving away the Ring.
- Marton Csokas as Celeborn: the Elven-King of Lothlórien.
- Lawrence Makoare as the Witch-King of Angmar: the lord of the Nazgûl, who leads Mordor's assault on Minas Tirith. Makoare also plays Gothmog: an Orc commander, who is voiced by Craig Parker.
- Thomas Robins as Déagol: Sméagol's cousin.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
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