Parents' Guide to

The Return of the King (1980)

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Cartoon tale is darker, more complex than others in series.

Movie NR 1980 98 minutes
The Return of the King (1980) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+


age 10+

Do not watch! It really sucked!

This movie was plain bad!All of the scenes in here are more faked "animation" than any animation movie I've seen ever! This had some intense violence!

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (5):

Created by TV-fantasy specialists Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, who earlier made a fine cartoon version of The Hobbit, The Return of the King is darker and more complicated. Launching right into it like this abandons two earlier bookfuls of backstory and crucial character development. The herky-jerky narrative seems to leapfrog ahead in the storyline, then dawdle over repetitive ballads and juvenile-seeming musical numbers. Some characters, like Aragorn (just the King in the title, that's all) are almost lost altogether in the shuffle. Pluses are some voiceover performances (especially Roddy McDowell as a tough Samwise) and an epilogue that's clearer even than Tolkien about what's to become of hobbits, wizards, and elves in the modern age. Animation (done by Japanese but dissimilar from the general look of "anime") is okay but not exceptionally eye-filling.

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