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20 Unforgettable Moments from Ralph Bakshi’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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In 1978 animator Ralph Bakshi created his animated version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Long before those annoying iPod commercials were even conceived, Bakshi used rotoscoping, a cheaper animation technique that involves tracing over footage of live actors, to produce his animated segments. The result was a truly unique epic that danced whimsically on the border between beautiful and downright wacky. Here are 20 priceless moments from Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings for your viewing pleasure. Honestly we don’t know whether to be amused or thoroughly creeped out.

Note: Be sure to give the images enough time to load!

  1. When Frodo was like “Say whaaaaaaa?!” to Gandalf:


  2. When the creepy-as-heck ringwraith went looking for the hobbits:


  3. …And the suspense was almost too much for Frodo.

    This is how I look when I stub my toe.

  4. There was the time we met cartoon Legolas. Slightly less gorgeous than Orlando Bloom.

    Only slightly.

  5. It wasn’t long before Sam was fawning over Legolas like a fan boy:


  6. …But Legolas was kind of a punk to him.


  7. Also, were you as disappointed as we were with Aragorn’s serious lack of combat skills?


  8. And Legolas got all upset for some reason:


  9. That time we realized one of the Nazgul was wearing a cowboy hat (see the third one from the left).


  10. And the time Gandalf dazzled us with his magic hands:


  11. “Mom, is he safe?”


  12. Who can forget when Bilbo had a royal freak out over the ring?

    I think he just had to sneeze real bad.

  13. And afterward Frodo kind of zoned out there for a bit:

    14FrodoZoneOutThis is me every day as a teenager.

  14. That time when Bilbo wouldn’t eat his vegetables and Gandalf was like “SIDDOWN AND EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!”


  15. …And then Bilbo made himself feel better by imagining Gandalf as a cinnamon roll.


  16. Gandalf had his shining moments. Remember how content he was with himself after he opened the secret door to Moria?


  17. And who could forget the first time they met the smokin’ hot Galadriel? Frodo was just kind of awkward.

    19FrodoAndGalOh look, there’s the time I (almost) asked that senior girl to dance with me at Homecoming.

    Sam gave it his best shot.20SamAndGal

    And Boromir was kind of over her already.

    Am I the only one who thinks Galadriel is basically a cartoon Morgan Stradling?

  18. When Frodo saved three paychecks’ worth to buy Galadriel a ring and she was all “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I don’t like guys with hairy feet. Get lost.”


  19. That time Sam got drunk and got all up in the camera:


  20. And finally, the super sassy diva, Gollum:


Hope you enjoyed these animated moments from The Lord of the Rings. Check out the Animation Addicts Podcast this Friday for the release of of our Lord of the Rings episode!

Okay, here’s one more:


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About Mason Smith

Mason is a rigger/animator at Triseum Games. He's also a grad student at Texas A&M working on his Master's thesis. He loves talking about animation, watching old Godzilla flicks, listening to 80s music, and drawing cartoons. Bottom text.