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  The Return of the King Extended Edition Movie Script Index

The Return of the King

released 17th December 2003

Return of the King


Return of the King opens with a flashback to the days when Gollum was Smeagol, and he is out fishing on the lake with his cousin Deagol.  Deagol is dragged overboard by a large fish he has hooked, and whilst under water, sees something gleaming in the water.  When he surfaces he sees it is a ring.  Smeagol senses that this is a special ring, and asks for it as his birthday present.  Deagol senses its pull and refuses, in the ensuing fight, Smeagol murders Deagol.  We are then shown shots of the gradual decline of Smeagol as he is ostricised by his community and forced to live alone in the caves.  The Ring brings to him "unnatural long life" and his appearance changes as does his behaviour.  He talks to himself as a split personality, being both Smeagol and Gollum.

We are then taken to the present day, and see Gollum urging Sam and Frodo to hurry, as he hears the forces of Sauron gathering towards the Black Gate.

Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, Theoden and Eomer advance to Isengard where Treebeard is guarding Saruman in his tower.  The surroundings are flooded and Merry and Pippin are perched upon a wall enjoying the contents of Saruman's larder.  It is here that Pippin discovers the Palantir of Saruman and Gandalf takes it from him for safe keeping.

The movie then cuts to the Golden Halls of Edoras where a feast of celebration for the victory of the Battle of Helms Deep is taking place.  Later that night, Pippin feels the pull of the Palantir, and takes it from Gandalf in his sleep, and looking into it, reveals himself to Sauron.  Sauron beleives that Pippin is the one who holds his Ring.  With this in mind, Gandalf sees no other choice but to take Pippin with him as he rides to Gondor to waken Denethor (steward of Gondor) to the desperate trouble that he is in.

Meanwhile, we see the Lady Arwen riding to the Grey Havens to take the last ship to Valinor as she leaves Middle Earth.  On her journey she has a vision of her son with Aragorn, and abandons her journey and returns to Rivendell to plead with Elrond, her father, to remake the sword that cut the Ring from Saurons hand and to give it back to its rightful heir Aragorn in his time of need.

Once at Minas Tirith, the white city of Gondor, Denethor decries Gandalf, claiming he knows all.  He asks of the death of his son Boromir, and confessing that Boromir died saving him, Pippin pledges his allegiance to Gondor.

At this time Frodo, Sam and Gollum reach Minas Morgul, the home of the Witch King, the most deadly servant of Sauron, the one that no man can kill.  At the base of its entrance are the long steps to Shelobs Lair, which the hobbits take, not knowing the fate that awaits them.

The next day, Pippin is seen lighting the beacon of Gondor, awakening Rohan to the call of Gondor as Faramir and his men try to stop the orcs taking over the river city of Gondor, Osgiliath. Theoden on seeing the beacons lit rouses his people to goto Gondor's aid and tells them to all meet at Dunharrow.

Faramir and his men are defeated and return to Minas Tirith, where he reveals to Gandalf that he met Frodo two days ago and told him of where they were headed. Denethor meanwhile is disgusted at his son's retreat from Osgiliath and orders him to return to take back the city.

On the Stairs Gollum convinces Frodo that Sam wants to take the Ring from him, and in an ensuing conflict, Frodo orders Sam to return home, and goes alone with Gollum into the cave.

Back at Dunharrow Theoden is dismayed at the few numbers of men who have arrived to fight in battle.  That evening Elrond arrives to give Aragorn the reforged sword, Andruil, and advises him to gather extra forces by calling on the Dead who live under the mountain.  They have an oath to fulfil to the heir of Isildur and with Andruil he hopes they will follow him to Minas Tirith, aid them in battle, and hence be freed of their oath, and be left in peace.

The next day the forces gathered at Dunharrow leave for Minas Tirth, together with Eowyn in disguise as a man, carrying before her Merry.  At the same time Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter the paths of the dead, where Aragorn asks the dead to follow him.

Faramir returns to Minas Tirith as the only survivor, badly wounded.  Denethor on seeing his son, abandons his post and bids his men do the same.  But Gandalf stands in his stead, and orders the men to defend their city against the great forces of orcs and men of Sauron who have come to attack.

Frodo enters the cave alone, Gollum has abandoned him.  He wanders through the caves, and is chased by Shelob a giant spider and narrowly escapes her and her webs, to be caught then by Gollum who tries to strangle him, but Frodo throws off.  Exhausted he falls to the floor, to see a vision of Galadriel reminding him of his task.  He stumbles onwards.

Sam meanwhile, cannot leave Frodo, and returns to the cave to see Shelob sting Frodo and spin a tight web around his lifeless body.  He stabs her with Frodo's sword sting, and eventually wounds her so badly, she retreats back into her cave.  Seeing Frodo lifeless, he panics and takes the Ring from him, assuming he alone will have to finish this journey.  Hearing orc footsteps he hides, and overhears them say that Frodo is not dead, but sleeping.  Dismayed, he follows them to the Tower of Cirith Ungol where Frodo is taken to the topmost room.

The Rohirrim arrive in time to aid the defences of Minas Tirith and join the battle.  At this time Denethor is preparing a funeral pyre for himself and his son.  Pippin alerts Gandalf to this, and between them they rescue Faramir from the fire, but Denethor is caught alight, and dives to his death from the top of the cliff.

Meanwhile Mumakil (giant elephant type creatures) arrive in the battle and the Rohirrim fight to kill them.  The Mumakil are backed up by the Nazgul on their fell beasts, the Witch King amongst them.  He attacks Theoden knocking him from his horse.  On seeing this Eowyn rushes towards them and cuts off the head of the Witch Kings beast.  Laughing the Witch King reminds her that no man can kill him, and attacks her.  Merry jumps up and stabs him in the leg, distracting him.  Eowyn removes her helmet to reveal she is "no man" and kills the Witch King.  Theoden dies.

Aragorn in the meantime has arrived on the Black Ships with Legolas and Gimli, and the army of the Dead.  Soon the battle is over, as the Dead defeat Sauron's forces.  Aragorn releases them from their oath.

Sam fights the orcs remaining in Cirith Ungol, and releases Frodo, returning the Ring to him.

Aragorn encourages those left to attack the Black Gate to divert Sauron's attention from Frodo and his move into Mordor, as they still beleive he is alive.

On the slopes of Mount Doom, Frodo is worn down by the weight and pull of the One Ring.  Sauron's eye is scouring Mordor looking for him when Aragorn and the remaining soldiers arrive at the Black Gate.  His eye is drawn to them.  

Sam carries Frodo up the Mount as he is no longer able to carry himself.  Suddenly they are attacked by Gollum.  Frodo escapes and with new strength runs into Mount Doom.

Aragorn and his army fight in vain hope against the vast forces of Sauron.

Once in the Mount, Sam urges Frodo to drop the Ring into the fires, but Frodo cannot, and claims it as his own, and puts it on.  Gollum rushes in and tries to wrestle the Ring from him, finally biting it from his finger.  Frodo battles to reclaim it, and in the ensuing struggle, Gollum falls into the fires, still clutching the Ring and dragging Frodo with him.  Sam drags Frodo to safety and they run out of the Mount as it explodes behind them.  At the same time, the eye of Sauron collapses, and a great chasm appears in the ground of Mordor, taking with it its buildings and those forces of Sauron unable to escape.

Frodo and Sam are rescued from Mount Doom by Gandalf and the Eagles and taken to Minas Tirith were they are reunited with their friends.  Aragorn is crowned as King Elessar of Gondor, and Elrond brings Arwen to him.

After the ceremonies, the hobbits return to the Shire, where Sam weds Rosie Cotton.  However Frodo finds that he is having difficulty settling back into life in the Shire.  Gandalf arrives one evening, with Bilbo taking him to the Grey Havens to sail to Valinor with the elves.  The four hobbits accompany them.

At the Grey Havens, Elrond, Galadriel and Celeborn wait.  They say their farewells and Bilbo boards the ship with them.  Gandalf turns to the hobbits and tells them that he is going on the ship too, his task has ended, then turns to Frodo and says "it is time".  The hobbits cannot beleive that Frodo is leaving, and tearfully say goodbye.

Returning to the Shire, the last scene is of Sam and Rosie and their two children going into their home.

contributed by Elril Galia

Return of the King


In 2004 the movie won 11 Academy Awards out of 11 nominations, equalling the records previously set by "Titanic" and "Ben Hur", it also became the first movie to be nominated in 11 categories and to WIN ALL ELEVEN!. The winning categories were for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screen Play,  Best Original Song, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.

It is listed as the seventh highest grossing film during its theatrical run, with takings of
$376.959 USA dollars from world-wide theatrical box office receipts (movie ticket sales).

(Source: http://movieweb.com/movies/box_office/alltime.php December 2004).

Fun facts

Viggo Mortensen estimates that, during the course of filming the entire trilogy and including all takes, he killed every stuntman on the production at least fifty times.

Broke the international box office record for an opening weekend, bringing in nearly $250 million.

The live-action Rohan army is made up of several hundred New Zealander extras, who responded to an open casting call for anyone who could ride a horse.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy became the most nominated film series in Academy Award history with 30 nominations, surpassing both the Godfather trilogy (28) and the Star Wars franchise (21).

To get enough extras for the Battle of the Pelennor fields, a few hundred members of the New Zealand army were brought in. They apparently were so enthusiastic during the battle scenes that they kept breaking the wooden swords and spears they were given.

Like Billy Boyd earlier in the film, Viggo Mortensen also composed the tune and sung the part to the song Aragorn sings at his coronation. The translation of the Elvish words runs "Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth I am come. In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world." This is, according to the lore of Middle Earth, the same verse Elendil sung when he first arrived in Middle Earth from Númenor.

Dominic Monaghan was allergic to the elven cloaks the Fellowship wore. Before scenes were shot, Peter Jackson used to joke around and say "Are we ready to go? Does Dom have his cape on?"


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