National Geographic Explores the Fascinating Parallels between Real-Life History and the Characters, Places and Events Brought to Life in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’


Companion DVD to Blockbuster Film Trilogy Available at Retail Dec. 16; DVD Available for Pre-Order Nov. 18; $5 Movie Coupon Packaged with DVD for Limited Promotion

In anticipation of the December 17 release of the third installment of New Line Cinema’s “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, National Geographic is releasing its latest “Beyond the Movie” DVD, “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in retail stores Tuesday, December 16–one day prior to the release of the feature film. Retailers can pre-order the DVD through Warner Home Video Tuesday, November 18. Consumers can order the film in DVD or VHS directly by calling 1-800-627-5162. The DVD, available for the suggested retail price of $24.98, will be packaged with movie coupons good for up to $5 off admission to see “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in theaters for a limited time.

Narrated by acclaimed actor John Rhys-Davies (who portrays Gimli in the film trilogy), “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” features commentary from leading historians, field experts and the cast members themselves, who explore the real-life counterparts to the epic events and characters brought to life in the highly anticipated third installment of “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.

Intercut with footage from the three “The Lord of the Rings” films, the DVD offers compelling insight into the timeless human themes that resonate throughout “The Lord of the Rings” and real-life history – from what motivates reluctant heroes to accomplish great deeds for their country to the roles that counselors have played in determining the course of their nation’s future.

From the incorrigible William Wallace, who fought for the freedom of his country, to the brave Theodore Roosevelt, who rose from self-imposed exile to become one of the foremost leaders of his country, “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” illuminates the parallel personality traits and personal experiences that motivate Aragorn and the other heroes of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Similarly, the DVD analyzes Aragorn’s reluctance to assume the role of king to Queen Elizabeth I’s similar struggle between her personal interests and her duty.

Among other compelling analyses, the DVD traces parallels from the fictional world of “The Lord of the Rings” to historic people and events such as Benjamin Franklin as wise counsel to the United States and Rasputin’s ill-fated influence over the dynastic Romanov family. Supplemented by the cast’s own insight into their characters, “Beyond the Movie — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” offers an intuitive, riveting perspective on the rich and diverse characters that populate Middle Earth.

Additional DVD features include:

— Photo Gallery
— “Lord of the Rings” Quiz
— Exclusive bonus footage not included in the broadcast version of the show

“Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” will premiere on the National Geographic Channel Friday, Dec. 19, at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.

Fans of the film trilogy can explore the world of Middle Earth even further with “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” which was released in December 2001. Also available in VHS and DVD, the video examines Tolkien’s extraordinary world by delving into the fascinating parallels between real-life myths, events and languages and the fictional world of Middle Earth.

“Beyond the Movie” is an innovative television documentary series from National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F) created to complement and help audiences explore the most compelling real-life questions inspired by today’s feature films.

Designed as a multi-media initiative to provide rich resources for movie-going audiences, “Beyond the Movie” draws upon the vast resources of the National Geographic Society, including the heralded photo archives, print publications,, maps, posters, home video, DVD and classroom materials, to offer greater insight into history, science and natural events for those who love movies and want to know more about the real stories that inspire them.

National Geographic Home Video titles are distributed by Warner Home Video (WHV), a Time Warner Company, operating in 57 countries including the United States and Canada. WHV is one of the world’s leading suppliers of pre-recorded videocassettes and videodiscs and is a market leader in family entertainment.