The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers



Outstanding adventure, but very violent battle scenes.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: December 16, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 179 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Theme throughout of sacrifice made in an immense struggle against evil; a tormented king must send his people to likely death in battle, including kids; Frodo must continue carrying the ring despite the pain it inflicts on him. Talk of mercy and compassion for the grotesque Gollum, understanding the creature despite his treachery. An immortal Elf princess considers choosing love over living forever. Evil forces of the dark wizards equated with industrialization, forest clear-cutting and mechanized development.

Positive role models

The valor of kings, princes, and warriors are exalted, even little children who go to battle. Negotiating a peace, it's suggested, is for traitors and cowards, though this is an utterly evil, all-or-nothing enemy. The ring-obsessed, degraded creature Gollum is described as not beyond redemption (no other bad guys are given this courtesy).


Thousands of battle casualties in death by arrows, spears, and swords and one gigantic explosion. Threats of cannibalism. Orcs are dismembered and decapitated and, in once case, apparently devoured by other Orcs (with some gore). Gollum tears up freshly killed rabbits to eat. Hand-to-hand combat and tussling with Gollum. People fall from great heights.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Hard to ignore the original Tolkien books, not to mention a plethora of video games, movie tie-in action figures, role-playing games, plus the movie sequels and other existing adaptations.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Pipe smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that violence in The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers includes countless battle casualties in death by arrows, spears, swords, monster-stomping, fatal plunges, and explosions. For all the monster gore, pet-loving kids may be most disturbed when a hungry creature tears up fresh-killed rabbits to eat. There is nightmarish imagery of ghoulish things, dead and alive, that may be too much for some. Once-heroic character smokes. The story starts right where the previous Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring left off. Viewers not familiar with the first film (or J.R.R. Tolkien's novels) will be very confused.

What's the story?

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS follows the members of the remaining fellowship and cuts back and forth between their adventures. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) find a twisted creature called Gollum who embodies the story's struggle between good and evil. Once utterly corrupted by his attempts to steal the ring, the remaining good within him begins to awaken under Frodo's kindness, but that may not be reliable enough for him to become the faithful guide they need. Meanwhile, Frodo's Hobbit friends Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) are caught up with Treebeard and the Ents (tree creatures of enormous size). Also meanwhile, the human warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) try to get help from King Theoden (Bernard Hill), who has been enchanted into befuddlement so that they can fight the vicious Uruk-hai throng of White Wizard villain Saruman (Christopher Lee).

Is it any good?


The Two Towers will satisfy Tolkien devotees and those who are new to the stories looking for an epic with a heroic quest and a lot of action (and a little romance). The first movie had a lot of thundering hoofs and meaningful looks and introduction of characters and portents of doom. This one flings us from cliffhanger to (literal) cliffhanger, with mighty legions hurtling into battle. Every moment on screen is filled with masterfully handled detail.

The vast New Zealand landscapes are a perfect realization of Tolkien's Middle Earth. The vast armies of hulking monsters stretch back for miles, and Gollum, computer animated but based on the movements of actor Andy Serkis (who also provided the voice), is as real as any of the humans. The human actors hold their own, giving gravity and heart to the effects and panoramas. The only drag on the proceedings is Aragon's love triangle, which feels like something between a distraction and a placeholder.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many representations of the war between good and evil. King Theoden comes back. Gollum may be coming back. Where else do you see the dualities expressed?

  • What does it mean to say that Saruman has "a mind of metal and wheels and no longer cares for growing things"?

  • At several points, characters have to decide when to fight and when to give up or retreat. What do they consider in making that decision? What should they consider?

  • Why is it important to Gollum that Frodo calls him by his old name?

  • Why do Sam and Frodo wonder if they will ever be included in songs or tales?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 18, 2002
DVD release date:August 26, 2003
Cast:Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
Director:Peter Jackson
Studio:New Line
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Wild animals
Run time:179 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:epic battle sequences and scary images

This review of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCoop° June 12, 2011

awsome movies!

I REALLY LOVE ALL THE FILMS! so the're might be some violence, but you can see it's fake, like those orcs, they really don't look real, but if youre kid has a weak stomach, than i coul understand,, GREAT MOVIES!:D
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old January 25, 2011

Great movie! Not for under 11!

9? 8? Seriously.I read the books first then watched them.A rule I have is: If they can't read the books they shouldn't watch the movie.This is because children are watching movies way too old for them now.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byEzio432 September 26, 2010


READ MY REVIEW OF FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. NOT MUCH WORSE EXCEPT SARUMAN AND THE ORCS MAY SCARE KIDS YOUNGER THAN 8. There is no more topless statuary in Rivendell, which didnt really matter in the first film but Common Sense Media here seems like it wants the first amendment abolished. You know what that means(i think it may be another amendment but i think its first)? IT MEANS KIDS DO NOT HAVE THE FREEDOM TO SEE ANY MOVIES OR VIDEOGAMES WITH BAD CONTENET! If that amendment is abolished, that will happen, which makes CSM, kind of communist. It also restricts kids from seeing art with nudity. WHO CARES? its not like real nudity and they are drew by expert artists.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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