J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy-adventure-drama film released in 1978. Directed by Ralph Bakshi, the film is known for its extensive use of rotoscoping, as well for being as accurate as it can be to its source material, while maintaining its vision.
Unlike Peter Jackson's adaptations of the novels, all released between 2001 and 2003, the 1978 film is known to cover only half of the novels, stopping midway through books III and IV, as well as covering the main key events of the first half. It also originally included the Part One subtitle, but it was dropped because Warner Bros. felt that audiences wouldn't want to watch half of the film, and when the film was released, new studio management took over and canned Part Two.
It is known that the studio interfered a lot during production, from changing Saruman's name to Aruman to giving out an extremely low budget. Rumors also circulate that several scenes were deleted from the final cut. Evidence of these deleted scenes float around on the internet, in the form of promotional screenshots, early screenplays and galleries containing images of the scenes on Ralph Bakshi's own website.
It is rumoured that a total of 12-15 Minutes of finished animation were deleted, and seeing how the movie paced itself, it could be a big number.
- An extended sequence of Bilbo's birthday party. The film was intended to begin here, instead of the released versions where it begins with the history of the One Ring.
- Extra scenes of Gandalf discussing with Bilbo in Bag End about the Ring.
- Gandalf saying goodbye to Bilbo You will keep an eye on Frodo, won't you? Two eyes, as often as I can spare them.
- Frodo reading the Ring-inscription in Bag-End
- Transition to the History of the Ring, the film was intended to have no Narration, so it only makes sense that the History of the Ring scene is moved to a later point, not only because it makes sense because the original version wouldn't have narration, but because it's more accurate to the book.
- Only seen in an old blurry photo of a jigsaw puzzle case, The 4 Hobbits sleeping on a fireside.
- A longer intro for the Council of Elrond scene, possibly what the narrator says, but through the characters in the scene.
- Only seen in storyboard form, The Fellowship struggling through Caradhas
- Only seen in storyboard form, Frodo taming Sméagol, with more dialogue from the book
- The Three Hunters (Aragorn, Legolas and Gmili) meeting the old man at the hill (storyboarded)
- Gandalf fighting the Balrog (can be seen on Ralph Bakshi's website)
- Extra scenes of the Battle of Helm's Deep
- The original ending narration, in the Theatrical Cut, the film ends at the Dawn of Helm's Deep with Narration from William Squire saying So thou ends, the first part of the History of The War of the Ring, this was removed in later releases such as the 2001 VHS/DVD and so forth to The Forces of Darkness have been driven forever from the face of Middle-Earth by the valiant friends of Frodo, as their galant battle ended, so thou ends the first tale of The Lord of the Rings. The reason for this change in unknown
- The original ending. In the screenplay, the film was supposed to end at the scene of Gollum leading Frodo and Sam to The Black Gates, not ending so suddenly and serving as a better cliffhanger, this was moved to an earlier point in the film, and leaving the Victory at Helm's Deep scene as the film's final scene.