Story

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first movie in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. The movie is based closely on the well-loved book of the same name, written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1950s.

The Fellowship of the Ring tells the story of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a humble hobbit thrust unexpectedly into a treacherous quest to save the lands of Middle Earth from the Dark Lord, Sauron. To do this, Frodo must destroy Sauron’s evil Ring of Power (‘the one ring to rule them all’). Sauron (Sala Baker) created the Ring centuries earlier to rule Middle Earth. When the Ring is lost to him, he makes it his purpose to get it back and unleash his evil power on Middle Earth.

Gandalf (Ian McKellan), a well-loved wizard, knows that hobbits are the only race in Middle Earth pure enough of heart to carry the Ring safely to the land of Mordor. This is the only place where it can be destroyed. Gandalf gives this responsibility to Frodo, and Frodo hesitantly sets out on this heroic journey. He’s guided on his quest by his hobbit friends, Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). Also going with him is the Fellowship of the Ring, a group formed to represent all the free races of Middle Earth.

Themes

The supernatural; Armageddon; death

Violence

This movie features continuous intense action violence, including scenes of blood and other injury. For example:

  • The movie shows wars between good and evil, where people and creatures get killed by swords, knives, bows and arrows, catapults and balls and chains. Various scenes show bodies, including one scene where a dead body floats down a river with arrows sticking out of it and blood flowing. We also see the severed heads of Orcs.
  • Sauron and his army torture Gollum. He’s heard screaming in pain.
  • The Ringwaiths are dark, ghostly riders who hunt Frodo and the hobbits for the Ring. They stab Frodo with a sword and almost kill him.
  • Two very popular characters are killed during the movie, Gandalf and Boromir. Gandalf is killed when he’s attacked by a dark dragon. He falls into the fiery pit of hell. Boromir is killed in war by the Orcs, who repeatedly shoot him with bows and arrows. Blood drips from his mouth before he collapses and is left to die. He’s found by his friend Aragon, who holds him until he dies.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Many scenes in this movie show supernatural monsters and creatures. This includes the Orcs, which are frightening and disgusting. These creatures are evil and want to harm Frodo and the Fellowship. When Sauron creates his army of Orcs, they’re born from slimy eggs. They create weapons and roar angrily as they prepare to attack Frodo and the Fellowship.
  • After years of being affected by the Ring, Gollum is a crippled, creepy character who’s obsessed with the Ring and intent on getting it back at any cost.
  • The hobbits and the Fellowship are all visibly traumatised when Gandalf and Boromir die.
  • Frodo and the hobbits are hunted by the Ringwaiths, who are dark, ghostly, armoured hunters on large black horses, also with armour. They’re menacing and scary. In one scene, they knife Frodo through his shoulder, almost killing him. 

From 8-13

In addition to the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could particularly disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Frodo has a premonition of his town being burned to the ground by Sauron. His vision shows hobbit children and grown-ups running in fear.
  • Frodo and Aragon are caught on a collapsing bridge. They escape safely.
  • Samwise Gangee almost drowns at the end of the movie. Frodo rescues him, but the scene is frightening because Sam struggles for breath and then gives up.
  • Boromir’s body is put into a boat and sent down a river. It floats until it goes over a waterfall and disappears. 

Over 13

Some children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • The hobbits drink ale out of pint glasses during Bilbo Baggins’s farewell party. Bilbo sometimes slurs his speech during his farewell toast.
  • The hobbits go into a pub to escape from the Ringwaiths. Most of the people in the pub are drinking, and many are drunk.
  • Bilbo talks about smoking weed.
  • Gandalf smokes a pipe. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There’s no nudity in this movie. There’s only minimal sexual activity, including a scene where Arwen and Aragon kiss. 

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie has some mild coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an epic tale of good and evil. It’s also the story of an unexpected hero who risks all on a quest to save his homeland.

The main messages from this movie are to do with friendship and loyalty. Sam’s commitment and loyalty to his dear friend Frodo is beautifully expressed throughout this movie, as are other friendships such as Gandalf’s friendship with Bilbo and the hobbits. There’s also the Fellowship’s loyalty to each other and to Frodo and his friends.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include trust, selflessness, loyalty and responsibility for the greater good.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the following:

  • Good and evil is a strong theme throughout this movie. You could explore these concepts in reference to today’s world.
  • The narrator says that ‘no matter your size, we all have a part to play in humanity’. You could talk about what part you and your family plays ‘in humanity’.