In 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien, an English author, wrote a children’s book titled “The Hobbit.” This book went on to become one of the most beloved franchises across books, films, and television. Following the success of “The Hobbit,” which tells the story of a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins and his adventures in the mystical world of Middle Earth during the Third Age, Tolkien continued with a sequel series called “The Lord of the Rings.”
Taking place 60 years after the events of “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” introduces us to a diverse group of characters on a quest to defeat the malevolent One Ring. These stories gave rise to some of the most cherished adaptations in film and television history. In total, there are six films and one TV show that bring Tolkien’s “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” books to life, captivating audiences around the world.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy consists of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name. The movies are titled The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). Extended editions of each film were released on home video a year after their theatrical release.
The Hobbit series is also directed by Peter Jackson. The films are subtitled An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).
Here we’ve put together a handy guide for anyone wondering how to watch all the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies in chronological or release date order.
The most straightforward approach to watching the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies is in the order they were released. Directed by Peter Jackson, the franchise commenced with the first film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” which premiered in 2001 and achieved tremendous success. The trilogy’s subsequent installments swiftly followed, as all three films were shot concurrently. “The Two Towers” debuted in 2002, followed by “The Return of the King” in 2003.
Following the initial release of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, nearly a decade passed before viewers could once again journey to Middle Earth. Directed by Peter Jackson as well, the “Hobbit” trilogy commenced in 2012, with the films being released in rapid succession, mirroring the pattern of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Why did Peter Jackson direct the Lord of the Rings first and then The Hobbit?
In 1995, when Peter Jackson initially embarked on the project, his vision was to create three movies: one based on “The Hobbit” and two based on “The Lord of the Rings.” However, complications arose as it became apparent that the production and distribution rights for “The Hobbit” were owned by different entities. As a result, the decision was made to proceed solely with “The Lord of the Rings” at that time. The journey of this project was fraught with various production challenges, including changes from two movies to one, and even the possibility of no movies being made. However, following the resounding success of “The Lord of the Rings” movies, the team turned their attention back to “The Hobbit.”
Bringing “The Hobbit” to the screen took considerable time and effort. Firstly, the rights to the novel needed to be obtained, which involved negotiations and acquiring the necessary permissions. Secondly, legal conflicts between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas added further delays to the project. Nonetheless, after overcoming these obstacles, everything was eventually resolved, and the films based on “The Hobbit” were successfully made.
Set in Middle-earth, 60 years after “The Hobbit,” The Lord of the Rings began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 children’s book The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings is written in stages between 1937 and 1949. So if you want to watch the events as they actually unfold in Middle Earth, you would start with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012).
If you also want to watch the show, Season 1 of Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” shoudl be the first, which takes place in Middle Earth’s Second Age, as opposed to both trilogies’ Third Age settings.
Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, lives a peaceful life among his fellow hobbits in the Shire. However, everything changes when the wizard Gandalf, portrayed by Ian McKellen, arrives and convinces Bilbo to join a group of dwarves on a quest. Their goal is to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor, which has been taken over by dangerous forces.
During their journey, Bilbo encounters numerous perils, including orcs, goblins, and other threats. Along the way, he has a significant encounter with Gollum, played by Andy Serkis, and comes across a seemingly ordinary gold ring. Unbeknownst to Bilbo, this ring holds great importance for the fate of Middle Earth, though he doesn’t fully grasp its significance.
As Bilbo ventures into unfamiliar territories, he discovers that this seemingly simple ring is connected to events that are beyond his comprehension. His world expands, and he becomes a part of a larger story that he could never have anticipated.
Thorin Oakenshield and his companions find themselves relentlessly pursued by Azog and his party of Orcs. Seeking refuge, they are guided by Gandalf to the home of Beorn, a shape-shifter who can transform into a bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur by the mysterious Necromancer, who commands him to gather his forces for an impending war. Azog assigns his son Bolg the task of hunting down Thorin.
Under the protection of Beorn, the company is led to the borders of Mirkwood. It is here that Gandalf makes a startling discovery—an ancient ruin marked with the ominous Black Speech. Prompted by this finding and a previous request from Galadriel, Gandalf sets out to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. He advises the company to stay on the designated path before departing on his own.
Once inside the dense forest, the group becomes disoriented and falls into the clutches of enormous spiders. Bilbo, aided by the power of the invisibility ring, manages to free the dwarves. However, as Bilbo becomes increasingly reliant on the ring, he begins to sense its corrupting influence. This becomes evident when he accidentally drops the ring and resorts to brutal violence to reclaim it after killing a spider.
After successfully reclaiming the kingdom of Erebor and its immense treasure from the fearsome dragon Smaug, Thorin Oakenshield, portrayed by Richard Armitage, becomes consumed by his desire for the Arkenstone. Despite the perilous consequences and the efforts of Bilbo the Hobbit, played by Martin Freeman, to dissuade him, Thorin’s pursuit of the precious gem tests his friendships and integrity.
Meanwhile, the dark lord Sauron launches a surprise attack on the Lonely Mountain, sending hordes of Orcs to threaten the delicate balance of Middle Earth. As the world teeters on the brink of destruction, the races of Men, Elves, and Dwarves must make a pivotal choice. They must decide whether to set aside their differences, unite their forces, and stand together to overcome the imminent peril or face certain annihilation.
The fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance as these diverse races grapple with the weighty decision before them. Their unity, strength, and resilience will determine whether they can triumph over the encroaching darkness or meet their demise.
The destiny of civilization hangs in the balance as the ancient One Ring, lost for countless years, becomes the coveted target of relentless and formidable forces. However, by a twist of fate, this powerful artifact falls into the possession of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, portrayed by Elijah Wood, thrusting him into the realms of legend.
As Frodo assumes the responsibility of being the Ringbearer, a daunting and perilous journey awaits him. His mission: to undertake the monumental task of destroying the One Ring in the very fires of Mount Doom, where it was originally forged. The weight of this mission rests solely on Frodo’s shoulders as he sets forth to fulfill his role in shaping the future of the world. It is #9 in IMDb Top 250 Movies list.
As Frodo and Sam continue their perilous journey towards Mordor, accompanied by the unpredictable Gollum, the rest of the fellowship faces a crucial battle. They unite to confront Saruman, who has joined forces with Sauron, commanding an army from Isengard. It is #13 in IMDb Top 250 Movies list.
Gandalf and Aragorn take charge, leading the forces of Men in a decisive confrontation against Sauron’s army. Their goal is to divert Sauron’s attention away from Frodo and Sam, who are making their way to Mount Doom with the crucial One Ring. It is #7 in IMDb Top 250 Movies list. Want to watch more IMDb Top 250 Movies?
All 6 movies are produced by New Line Cinema, an American film and television production studio owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is also distributed by New Line Cinema. The Hobbit trilogy is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. So all The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies are available to stream on Max.
HBO Max changed to Max on May 23, 2023 with all new plans. There are three plans to choose from:
With Ads – $9.99/month or $99.99/year (16% savings)
Ad Free – $15.99/month or $149.99/year (over 20% savings)
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Ad-free and Ultimate Ad Free subscribers can download movies and tv shows on your phone or tablet to watch offline, although you are limited to 30/100 downloads at one time (across all profiles and devices). Once your account has 30/100 downloads, you’ll need to delete downloads on a device before you can download something. Unwatched downloads expire after 30 days or 48 hours after you start watching (or when the show or movie leaves the Max service). Once expired, you can renew or delete a download. If the titles leave Max, there is no way to renew.
Max itself doesn’t offer free trial, however, if you have Hulu subscription, you can access HBO Max as add-on, which offers free 7-day free trial. How to get HBO Max from Hulu? Hulu itself also offers one month free trial on its $7.99/month ad-supported plan and $14.99/month ad-free plan.
You can also get Max free trial from Amazon Prime Video.
If you prefer not to subscribe to a streaming service, you still have options to enjoy the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies. You can find them available for rent on platforms such as Prime Video, Fandango Now, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft, and Vudu. Additionally, the films can also be purchased, with prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99, depending on the specific title.
During your free trial or subscription, whether ad-supported or ad-free, you can use Pazu HBO Max Video Downloader to download The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies to MP4 and watch them whenever you want, even after cancelling HBO Max subscription.
Pazu HBO Max Video Downloader is developed to download 1080p movies and TV shows from HBO Max to MP4/MKV on Mac and Windows. After that, you can watch the HBO Max MP4 downloads on any device without HBO Max app. What’s more the downloads will never expire.
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