fotr-movie-posterOn December 18, 2001, introduced a new feature on our site: Ringer Reviews“A database of reviews from Tolkien fans all over the world, whether you loved, liked or hated the film this is where you can express your feelings in words and celebrate with your fellow fans the release of the first installment in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.” Twenty-four hours later, fans had posted 3,000 reviews. By Christmas the count was up to 6,700 and on January 19, 2002, a month after FOTR opened, over 10,000 reviews had been submitted.

Today the count stands at 15,084 reviews. Unfortunately, the individual reviews reside on our old site and have been archived. But, we thought it might be fun to revisit some of the overall results, more of which can be found at the Ringer Reviews link above.

Of the 15,000+ reviews, the overall average rating of FOTR came in at 4.7 out of 5. Fans could also rank ten attributes of the movie, the results of which follow (from highest to lowest), :

  • 4.85  costume design (Oscar nominee)
  • 4.8    cinematography (Oscar winner)
  • 4.77  art direction
  • 4.74  tie – special effects & make-up (both Oscar winners)
  • 4.71  acting (Oscar nominee – Best Supporting Actor, Ian McKellen)
  • 4.67  directing
  • 4.48  music (score) (Oscar winner)
  • 4.42  screenplay
  • 4.32  editing (Oscar nominee)


Almost all of the categories above went on to earn Oscar nominations and/or Oscar wins (Best Visual Effects, Best Original Music Score, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup), as well as countless other awards (a story for later this week). So, the overall ratings by TORn readers were spot on with a general consensus about the high quality of the trilogy’s first installment.

aragorn-boromirIn addition to the above categories, reviewers could rank the performances of a number of the actors, again on a scale of 0 to 5. Not surprisingly, Ian McKellen’s performance as Gandalf ranked the highest at 4.91. Viggo Mortansen’s Aragorn and Sean Bean’s Boromir all but tied for second place with Viggo’s performance ranked at 4.73 and Sean’s at 4.71. Rounding out the top 5 were Elijah Wood’s Frodo (4.68) and Christopher Lee’s Saruman (4.65).

Other attributes of the film also all scored above 4.0 including Peter Jackson’s directing (4.72), where and how the movie ended (4.62) and the terror of the Balrog (4.29). However, a few things weren’t quite as popular: changes to Arwen’s character (3.76), no Tom Bombadil (3.74) and the addition of Lurtz (3.71).

All in all, the Ringer Reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring offered a valuable outlet for fans as well as an interesting glimpse into the overall fan reactions to our first journey into Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth. Stay tuned for a look at some reviews from TORn staff later this week!