J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, set in Middle-earth, have been the subject of various film adaptations. There were many early failed attempts to bring the fictional universe to life in screen, some even rejected by the author himself. The first depictions of Middle-earth on film were realized in 1966 as a short cartoon film. In 1978 the first big screen adaptation of the fictional setting was introduced in The Lord of the Rings. The story was more or less completed with the animated television special The Return of the King. In 1985, Middle-earth was depicted in a live-action film for the first time by an adaptation produced in the Soviet Union. In 1993, a live-action television miniseries titled Hobitit was aired by the Finnish broadcaster Yle.
New Line Cinema released the first part of director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film series in 2001 as part of a trilogy and several actors and roles were introduced once again in a trilogy in The Hobbit film series. There have also been fan films of Middle-earth such as The Hunt for Gollum and Born of Hope, which were uploaded to YouTube on May 8, 2009 and December 11, 2009 respectively.
Collectively, the franchise has received a record 38 Academy Award nominations, winning 17, and one special award, also a record. Along with The Godfather trilogy, it is one of two film series to date to have received three Best Picture nominations. The third film in Peter Jackson's trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, was the first and, as of 2017, only fantasy film to win Best Picture, as well as the second sequel to do so after The Godfather Part II. Furthermore, it is currently the only threequel to win the award. Along with Titanic and Ben-Hur, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King holds the record for Academy Awards won by a single film and is the only one of the three films to win every category for which it was nominated.
First live-action versions
Peter Jackson's film series
The Lord of the Rings
Crew and other
Box office performance
Public and critical reception