How to Watch LOTR and Hobbit Movies in Order

Ready for a Middle-Earth marathon? Here’s how to watch Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies in chronological order or by release date

LOTR and Hobbit Movies in Order

The Lord of the Rings and its prequel, The Hobbit, are two of the most beloved fantasy franchises ever created. These movies will take you on a magical journey through Middle-Earth, populated by elves, dwarves, wizards, evil orcs and their giant troll companions, and even the terrifying Eye of Sauron. It’s a world filled with breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable characters, all of whom are caught up in a sweeping epic story.

Watching the trilogy and its prequel can be an unforgettable experience, as long as you know the proper viewing order. Read on to find out how to watch The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies in order.

The Hobbit Movies in Order (by Release Date)

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13, 2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 17, 2014)

The Hobbit Movies in Order (Chronologically)

The best way to start your Middle-Earth movie marathon is to begin with The Hobbit movies. These are a prequel to The Lord of the Rings and tell the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire who embarks on an epic quest to reclaim stolen treasure. Watching the Hobbit movies in order will help you better understand the characters, but most importantly, the story behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - The Goblin King battle scene
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey – The Goblin King battle scene
  • Duration: 2h 49m
  • Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a hobbit living in The Shire, who is recruited by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to join a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug, a dragon battled by dwarves in ancient times. In spite of his comfort and familiarity with The Shire, Bilbo rises to the challenge and proves himself a courageous hero with a daring heart.

He sets out on an epic adventure that leads him through dangerous lands full of orcs, trolls, and goblins. Throughout his journey, he encounters powerful immortal beings like the Elven King (Hugo Weaving), and a mysterious creature named Gollum (Andy Serkis). This creature possessed the Ring of Power for over 500 years, and in this part, we get to see how the ring came to be in his hands.

Along the way, Bilbo and his companions, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and thirteen dwarves, face incredible dangers, which make this first movie in the series a thrilling, action-packed ride.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Tauriel and Legolas fighting orcs
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Tauriel and Legolas fighting orcs scene
  • Duration: 2h 41m
  • Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

The second part of The Hobbit series, The Desolation of Smaug, follows Bilbo and the dwarves as they make their way to the Lonely Mountain. This time, however, they have new allies, the elves Tauriel and Legolas. As the group approaches their destination, they face more dangerous creatures and obstacles, including the giant spiders of Mirkwood, a group of orcs led by Azog, an orc-chieftain of Moria, and eventually, Smaug himself.

As the group attempts to reclaim Erebor from the dragon, Bilbo must confront Smaug and try to put an end to his destructive reign. Along the way, he also must face difficult choices and moral dilemmas, as well as confront his own fears. You will also witness some heartwarming moments between Bilbo and his dwarf companions, as well as some funny moments with the hobbit himself.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Thranduil the Elven King scene
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thranduil the Elven King
  • Duration: 2h 24m
  • Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

In the last part of The Hobbit series, The Battle of the Five Armies, Bilbo and his companions have finally reached their destination. But this time, not only they must fight the ferocious dragon Smaug but also the massive armies that have come to take back Erebor for themselves.

This movie is packed with intense battle scenes, showing the courageous fight of our heroes against the armies of elves, dwarves, humans, and orcs. In addition to the spectacular special effects and action sequences, this movie also contains many heartfelt moments between Bilbo and the dwarves, as well as some intense confrontations with Smaug. Is the most thrilling and action-packed part of the trilogy, showing an epic battle that will determine the fate of Middle Earth.

The Lord of The Rings Movies in Order (by Release Date)

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (December 19, 2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (December 18, 2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (December 17, 2003)

The Lord of The Rings Movies in Order (Chronologically)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship - Frodo and his hobbit companions
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship – Frodo and his hobbit companions
  • Duration: 2h 58m
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, and it is the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Set in Middle-Earth, this film follows a group of nine individuals, known as the Fellowship of the Ring, which is formed by Gandalf, Aragorn and Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, Frodo Baggins and his three hobbit companions, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Their mission is to destroy the powerful Ring of Power, forged by Sauron in Mount Doom.

The journey takes them through many dangerous lands, where they must face powerful enemies and use their courage, strength, and friendship to overcome them. But the heaviest burden lies with Frodo, as he alone must carry the Ring to its destruction, while his dear friend Sam follows him faithfully.

This movie is filled with thrilling action sequences and spectacular visual effects, and if you have already watched The Hobbit trilogy, you will recognize some of the characters, like the Elven King, Gandalf, and Gollum.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Gimli preparing for battle
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Gimli preparing for battle
  • Duration: 2h 59m
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

The second movie in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers follows the Fellowship’s journey through Middle-Earth as they continue their quest to destroy the powerful Ring of Power. The plot focuses on the struggles of two groups, one led by Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli seeking to reclaim the lost kingdom of Gondor, and another led by Frodo and Sam trying to reach the Cracks of Doom in Mordor.

Both sides must face powerful enemies, including the forces of Sauron and Saruman, as well as treacherous creatures like Uruk-hai, enormous oliphaunts, and talking trees.

At the same time, Frodo and Sam must battle an even more powerful enemy – their own inner struggles between courage and fear. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a thrilling movie packed with spectacular action sequences and captivating visual effects.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Gandalf fighting The Witch-King of Angmar
LOTR: The Return of the King – Gandalf fighting The Witch-King of Angmar
  • Duration: 3h 21m
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Finally, the last movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is The Return of the King. This movie follows Frodo and Sam as they make their way toward Mount Doom, struggling against the powerful forces of Sauron, Saruman, and the Ringwraiths, the nine powerful spirits who seek to capture them. On the other side, Aragorn must fight the armies of Mordor and unite the kingdoms of Middle-Earth to face Sauron’s forces.

If you are enthusiastic enough to watch the entire Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies, be prepared as it will take around 12 hours to watch them all. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the time, so grab your popcorn and get ready for this epic adventure!

Cosmin
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Cosmin is a full-time blogger and web designer with a huge passion for medieval-themed entertainment - whether it's playing medieval strategy games, watching movies, or reading books about that time period. This led him to create Medievalfun, the ultimate resource for all the fun and historical knowledge related to the Middle Ages.