Middle-Earth Unearthed: Where Was Lord of the Rings Filmed?

Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed

The Lord of the Rings book, written by J.R.R. Tolkien was released as a children’s book in 1937. The very first Lord of the Rings movie was released in 2001 entitled Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings. For the purpose of the article, we’ll be focusing on this movie. It was the start of a fantastic franchise of movies. So Where was Lord of the Rings filmed? Let’s check out the story first.  

What Was Lord of The Rings All About?

This movie is the first installment in the Lord of the Rings franchise. The story takes place in Middle Earth where Elves and Dwarves live. Bilbo Baggins celebrates his 111th birthday and leaves on one last adventure. He leaves all his possessions behind for his nephew, Frodo, which also includes a mysterious ring that contains very special powers.

When Gandalf drops by, Frodo shows him the ring. Gandalf realizes that this is the ring that has the power to destroy mankind and must be destroyed. In order to destroy the ring, Frodo must travel to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it. Along the way he encounters both friend and foe.

Who Was In Lord of The Rings?

This movie had an all-star cast with Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Alan Howard, Sean Astin, Sala Baker, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, and many more.

Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed
(courtesy of IMDb.com)

Who Directed Lord of The Rings? 

The movie was directed by Peter Jackson. Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson wrote the screenplay. Jackson is best known for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also directed King Kong (2005), The Lovely Bones (2009) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014). 

Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed?

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was shot entirely in New Zealand. Director Peter Jackson chose to shoot all three movies in his native country, taking advantage of its diverse kinds of landscapes and climates. He also used many local crew members who knew the area well and could help him get from location to location quickly. The Lord of the Rings locations included some of the most stunning landscapes of New Zealand, such as Mount Ngauruhoe, Matamata and Queenstown. 

Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed
(courtesy of IMDb.com)

Did Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Receive Any Awards?

This was a highly successful movie that grossed $898.2 million worldwide with an estimated budget of $93 million. It was nominated for many awards across many categories. 

Some of the awards include the British Academy Film Awards for Best Special Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Film, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Ian McKellen).  

Technical Information

The movie is quite a long one and runs for almost three hours (178 minutes). It was filmed using a number of different cameras with the Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo lenses. The cameras used were the Arricam ST, Arriflex 35 III, Arriflex 435, Arriflex 535, Arriflex 535B, Mitchell cameras, Movicam Compact and Moviecam SL.

Fun Facts About Lord of The Rings

Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed - BTS
  • David Bowie was interested in playing the role of Elrond but his celebrity held him back.
  • Peter Jackson originally wanted the Aragorn character to be played by either Russell Crowe or Daniel Day-Lewis but both turned it down.
  • J.R.R. Tolkian signed the rights away in 1968 for $15,000. 
  • Twenty-eight Hobbit holes were built for the Shire and each one had to be different.
  • 1,800 Hobbit feet were made for the movie.
  • Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins) never worked on location. All his scenes were done against a green screen.

Can You Visit the Set of Lord of The Rings?

Most everything was torn down after the movie was completed. However, the village of Hobbiton was turned into a museum and you can certainly visit it. Walking tours are available. 

What is New Zealand Famous For?

Aside from New Zealand’s connection to the Lord of the Rings franchise, you may be interested to learn that only 5% of the population is human. The rest of the population belongs to animals. New Zealand is also famous for rugby, sheep, kiwi fruit, Manuka honey, its indigenous Maori culture, and beautiful landscape.

Unique Places in New Zealand

There are so many beautiful places to visit in New Zealand, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. So here are a few unique places you might consider:

  • Motueka Saltwater Baths, Nelson Tasman
  • Oparara Arches West Coast
  • Mount Stokes, Marlborough Sounds
  • Castlepoint, Wairarapa
  • Stewart Island, Southland Marokopa Falls, Waikato

Things to Do in New Zealand

Even if you aren’t a Lord of the Rings fan, you can still enjoy a tour of the Hobbiton village. Other things to do include:

  • Hike through Abel Tasman National Park
  • See the volcano at White Island, Whakaari
  • Visit Pohutu, the biggest active geyser
  • New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute 
  • Check out the Glowworm Caves

 These are just a few of the many things you can do in New Zealand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you visit where Lord of the Rings was filmed?

Yes. You can visit the village of Hobbiton which was turned into a museum. Visitors can take a walking tour through the Hobbiton movie set, the Hobbit hole of Bag End, and the Green Dragon Inn.

Was any of The Lord of the Rings filmed in Ireland?

The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand.

What forest was Lord of the Rings filmed in?

Lake Wakatipu was used in The Fellowship of the Ring for scenes in Lothlorien, the ancient forest of Middle Earth. 

Final Thoughts

If you plan to visit New Zealand, make sure you have plenty of time and plenty of money. New Zealand has a very high cost of living when compared to other countries. Take into consideration the travel time to get there and time zone changes. You’ll probably need a few days just to get over your jet lag. 

Summer in New Zealand is between December and March. You can expect nice long, warm days giving you extra time to enjoy the country.

Have you ever visited New Zealand? What was your experience? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Where Was Lord of the Rings Filmed | Where Was Lord of The Rings Filmed

Director: Peter Jackson

Date Created: 2001-12-19 14:34

Editor's Rating:

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Alanna Birmingham

Alanna Birmingham is a professional freelance writer and a Film Aficionado who adores watching, writing, and being involved in all elements of filmmaking. Her writing repertoire includes films, filmmaking, travel, and electronic gadgets. When she’s not writing she’s hanging out at the beach or taking walks in the woods. She has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and works with her local community musical theater group.

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