Parents' Guide to

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Outstanding, but much violence and scariness.

Movie PG-13 2003 200 minutes
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 42 parent reviews

age 13+

The Greatest Achievement in Fantasy and in Grand Epics in Movie History.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the single greatest achievement in film making of the new millenium. The acting: superb! The direction: outstanding! The story: breathtaking! The special-effects: mind-blowing! The battles: utterly moving and, quite frankly, awesome! PARENTS: Although this film, in my opinion, is a must-see, it is extremely violent for a PG-13. Battles include, fire, lots of gore, and scary images of monsters and orcs. Simply put, this is a great movie. I loved it and many others I know enjoyed it highly, and they don't usually like these types of films. I very highly recommend it! Thanks for reading - Movie Man

This title has:

Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
2 people found this helpful.
age 12+
A very detailed and delightful fantasy film amazing characters and landscapes. Totally fine for 10 - 12 and above. Very violent fight scenes including decapitations and blood spurts, mostly offscreen but, something very graphic and gory it also has some drinking and smoking weed, has very positive messages.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (42):
Kids say (177):

As with the first two chapters, Peter Jackson's rendition of the Tolkien classic is astonishing. Every detail is just right, and from the struggles of three very small creatures to stay alive as they scale sheer rock to the huge battles with hundreds of thousands of warriors, every moment is vivid, exciting, and moving. That means not just Middle Earth citadels, a giant spider, and thousands of phantom combatants, but also smaller moments of equal power. Sam and Gollum each try to make Frodo mistrust the other. There are villains, grotesque and powerful, weak and greedy. And there are heroes, loyal, brave, devoted, honorable.

The tone of The Return of the King is epic and majestic, the battles brilliantly staged, the vistas magnificently conceived. But it's still all about the story. Characters learn and deepen. Even little Pippin and Merry go from cute comic relief to genuine heroes. There is so much going on that some characters seem like not much more than cameo guest appearances, especially Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchette). And the post-ending endings, after more than three hours, may seem a bit too much. But this is still an epic to satisfy the most devoted Tolkien fans, and viewers who are new to Middle Earth. In its own way, it is as thrilling an adventure in storytelling on film as the quest it portrays.

Movie Details

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