movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by drogo who calls this a... "scene by scene" spoiler.
Movie opens with scene of Deagol and Smeagol fishing. Deagol is pulled underwater by a large fish in a serio-comic scene. Deagol finds the Ring. Smeagol is relieved to see Deagol crawl up on the bank, and then spies the Ring. Smeagol throttles Deagol.
Quick scenes showing transformation from Smeagol into Gollum. v. effective.
Cut to scene of Sam and Frodo resting in a culvert of the Osgiliath sewer (I presume) Frodo cannot sleep. Sam wakes up, the two talk about conserving the lembas for the 'return journey'. Sam Frodo and Gollum continue toward Mordor, Frodo obviously weary.
Next scene, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, ride to Isengard. I think Theoden and Eomer are with them, but in background. They meet Merry and Pippin at the gates, the hobbits enjoying the spoils of War, smoking and feasting-and Merry seems a tad stoned!
(Scene of Gandalf confronting Sauruman was cut here, would HAVE LIKED TO SEE IT)
Pippin spies the palantir in the waters and picks it up. Gandalf snatches it from him. Pippin looks after the Wizard with a light in his eyes.
Cut to Edoras-Merry and Pip sing and dance on a table for the enjoyment of the revelers. Gandalf and Aragorn watch smiling. Eoywn brings Aragorn a cup and bids him drink from it, her love showing in her eyes. Aragorn gives back the cup, slightly averting his eyes and walks away. Theoden approaches Eowyn and approves of her choice of Aragorn as a prospective mate. (?)
Gandalf and Aragorn speak of Frodo and Sam-Gandalf is convinced that Frodo is still alive.
Cut to Frodo and Sam asleep. Smeagol is awake and speaks to his reflection (Gollum) in a pond, together they plot to take the hobbits to the stair and the tunnel and let 'her' kill them. Sam overhears the conversation-(a very nice effect when Smeagol drops a stone into the water and when the ripples clear, Sam is standing there.) Sam attacks Gollum. Frodo comes to Gollum's rescue.
Sam tries to convince Frodo that Gollum means to kill them, and that he is a villain. Frodo takes Gollum by the hand and leads him away-there is a moment for Gollum to look back at Sam with a smile-very nasty and Sam is the picture of frustration.
Back to Edoras. Everyone is asleep. Pippin wakes up to approach Gandalf who sleeps with the palantir under his arm. Pippin replaces the wrapped palantir with a chamber pot. Merry wakes up to ask Pippin what he is doing. Pippin unwraps the seeing stone, we see swirling in the orb.
Outside Aragorn is smoking a pipe. He goes to stand with Legolas who is watching Mordor. Legolas can feel Sauron's eye watching.
Inside, Pippin wakes the palantir, which begins to glow, he holds it in his hands and writhes (effectively) on the floor in pain, Merry shouts.
Legolas turns to Aragorn. "He is Here!" (meaning Sauron.)
Aragorn and Legolas break into the room to find Pippin with the glowing palantir. Gandalf wakes. Aragorn grabs the palantir from Pippin to send it rolling across the floor. Gandalf covers the globe.
Gandalf goes to Pippin who lies prone on the floor. He questions Pippin as to what he saw. Pippin saw a tall city with a white tree in flame. (Minas Tirith.) And so the Enemy's plan is revealed. Gandalf is relieved that Pip did not tell Sauron of Frodo or the Ring.
Next day, Theoden is in council, Aragorn tells of the coming need of Gondor, but Theoden is reluctant to assist those who did not come to Rohan in its time of need. Gandalf will ride to warn Minas Tirith.
In a very moving scene, Merry and Pippin follow Gandalf to the stables, Merry tells Pippin that Sauron believes he (Pippin) has the Ring. Gandalf puts Pip before him on Shadowfax. Pip is heartbroken when he realizes (too late) that he and Merry will be separated.
Gandalf and Pip ride off, Merry runs over to a tower, Aragorn running after him, to watch the White Rider and the hobbit disappear into the distance. Aragorn comforts Merry.
Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith, very neat shot of the city rising at the spur of the mountains. We see it as very prosperous, and the shot follows Gandalf and Pippin as they ride up through the seven levels, at last reaching the summit, where a broad courtyard reaches out into a point, like the deck of a great ship. Pippin sees the White Tree-but it is dead.
At the doors of the Citadel, Gandalf exhorts Pippin not to speak of the death of Boromir, or of the Fellowship and the Quest. They enter into a hall flanked by statues of dead kings. Denethor, the Steward sits on a chair below the Throne of Gondor, holding a broken horn on his lap. Pippin recognizes this as Boromir's.
Flashback to Boromir's death defending Merry and Pippin. Pippin, overcome at the memory, offers his service to Denethnor. Gandalf waves Pippin away with his staff.
Denethor, bitter at the death of his favoured son, tells Gandalf he does not need his assistance, and that he will not be supplanted in the rule of Gondor by a 'Ranger from the North.' Gandalf tells Denethor that that will not be his decision to make.
Pippin and Gandalf are in chambers, Pippin is looking at his new livery as a Guard of the Citadel, and hopes he will not have to fight.
Gandalf mentions one whom he knows he will have to fight-the Witch King of Angmar, Lord of the Nine-who stabbed Frodo at Weathertop. (flashback here)
We see a scene of the Witch King preparing his armor.
Cut to Frodo and Sam and Gollum, hiding beside the road at the entrance to the City of Minas Morgul-all lit in green and very creepy.
Gollum encourages the hobbits to climb the hidden stair, steep and treacherous. Frodo is drawn to the City, and staggers in the road, clutching his shoulder wound where the Witch King stabbed him.
Gandalf and Pippin discuss the fate of Frodo and Sam, and Gandalf tells Pippin that there was 'never much hope, a fool's hope.' that they would succeed.
When Sam grabs Frodo back, it seems to set off an alarm. Sam drags Frodo into hiding just as the Witch King rises from the ramparts on the back of a winged steed.
A white light shoots into the sky from Minas Morgul, that can be spied from the balcony on Minas Tirith, where Gandalf and Pippin stand.
As Gollum and Sam and Frodo writhe in their hiding place, clutching their ears at the ringing sound-the gates of Minas Morgul open and out issue the armies of the Witch King. The hobbits and Gollum go unnoticed.
Scene of Osgiliath, orcs in boats approach the city, Faramir and his men brace for an attack. Fighting commences, and the men fight bravely, but then are overwhelmed by the Nazgul, who come out in force. Faramir is forced to call a retreat.
Faramir leads the men out of the city, as they ride they are attacked by the Nazgul on winged steeds, who swoop down and pluck off the riders. Gandalf spies this from Minas Tirith and has the soldiers open the gates to ride out-but not before putting PIPPIN on the horse with him. (?)
Gandalf comes to the aid of Faramir's company by shooting a white light out of his staff and driving off the Ringwraiths. Once Faramir and his men are safe in the city, Gandalf speaks to the captain, who admits they have utterly lost Osgiliath. Faramir looks on Pippin in wonder, and admits that this is not the first hobbit he's seen. He tells Gandalf he saw Sam and Frodo and that they are on their way to the pass of Cirith Ungol. Gandalf blanches at the name.
Cut to Frodo and Sam climbing the stair. Gollum is tempted by the Ring, and Sam knows it, but instead of reaching for the Ring, Gollum helps Frodo, and plants suspicions in Frodo's mind that Sam wants the Ring.
Faramir meets with his father. Denethor chides him for the loss of Osgiliath which Boromir fought to maintain. Denethor admits that he would rather have lost Faramir. Very effective scene where Faramir agrees to a suicide mission to retake Osgiliath to win his father's favor. Very nice that Pippin is there to witness it.
Gollum watches the sleeping hobbits and decides to make mischief. He opens Sam's pack and throws away the lembas. He then sprinkles crumbs on Sam's cloak (!) Sam wakes up to find Gollum 'sneaking' and argues with him. Frodo wakes up. Sam decides to give Frodo some food and discovers the loss of the lembas and accuses Gollum. Gollum accuses Sam-they fight, Sam beats Gollum in the face. (!)
Frodo separates them, he reminds Sam that Gollum cannot eat the lembas. Gollum reinforces the idea that Sam wants the Ring. Sam confesses to wanting to help Frodo all that he can. Frodo mistrusts Sam AND TELLS HIM TO GO HOME! (boo! hiss! shock horror!)
Sam weeps, Frodo leaves with Gollum!
Meantime, back in Gondor, Gandalf encourages Pippin to climb to the top of Minas Tirith and light the signal beacons. Pippin succeeds and word is sent by beacon light across the mountains. The signal is seen by Aragorn, who runs into Theoden's council and asks for Rohan's help.
Theoden agrees! (yeah!) Rohan musters for war. Aragorn is surprised to learn that Eowyn will go with them, she replies it is just to the encampment, but Aragorn discovers she has packed her sword!
Switch of scenes to a forest, elves are riding to the Havens and Arwen is with them. She has decided to take ship, she watches an elf child run into the woods and sees a vision of Aragorn-grey haired and King of Gondor, holding a boy-the boy is wearing the Evenstar pendant and she knows him as her own son. A very beautiful scene, she turns her horse about and rides back to Rivendell.
Once in Rivendell she confronts Elrond with the news of her vision. She has decided to stay in Middle Earth, and tells her father that there is now no ship that can bear her to the Undying Lands.
Back in Gondor, we see Faramir and his men prepare for their suicide mission, women throw flowers before the soldiers. (little cameo of PJ's kids here)
Pippin serves Denthenor, the steward is eating a rich meal and asks Pippin to entertain him. Pip confesses that he can sing, but has no songs rich enough for his surroundings. Denethor bids him sing, and we hear Pip's beautiful voice singing a sad song as the Gondorians begin a futile charge against the enemy. Beautiful shot here of the calvary in sunlight with Minas Tirith behind them.
Pippin weeps at the end of his song.
The Enemy marshals its armies against Gondor, large siege towers pushed by trolls and thousands of orcs, they begin the bombardment of the city.
Meantime, The Rohorrim call their allies to them in their encampment near Dunaharrow. The horses are spooked near the mountain. Gimli asks why, and is told that the pass is haunted. Aragorn looks into the cleft of the mountain and sees something, but is called away.
Eoywn is in her tent with Merry, giving him armor as an esquire to King Theoden. Merry is excited, but Eomer teases Eowyn about encouraging him. Eowyn wants Merry to fight for his friends and his right to defend those whom he loves.
Arwen calls for her father to remake the sword of kings, and recites a passage from the book in a very effective way-scenes of elves remaking the sword.
Theoden and Aragorn worry over the lack of strength to help Gondor. A hooded and cloaked figure appears-Aragorn enters Theoden's tent to be confronted by Elrond himself bearing the sword. He tells Aragorn that Arwen is accepting a mortal life, and will die unless Sauron is destroyed. He tells of the ships sailing up Anduin that will take Gondor from the south unless they are stopped. He bids Aragorn take up his destiny, take Andruil that is Narsil reforged and go by the Paths of The Dead.
Aragorn prepares to leave alone. Eoywn tries to dissuade him. He sees her love for him, and tells her she loves but a shadow and a dream, he cannot return her love. He rides to the Pass of Dunaharrow. Gimli and Legolas join him. The Riders watch their passing into the shadow with confusion.
Theoden tells his men that they will not survive the battle, but they go on nontheless.
Back in Mordor, Gollum and Frodo have reached the entrance to the tunnel. Gollum tells Frodo he must go in or go back, Frodo is afraid, he stumbles in the dark and Gollum is lost.
Frodo finds himself surrounded by orc corpses and something sticky, he calls out for Gollum and stands afraid. He whispers Sam's name.
Falling down, entangled, Frodo recalls the phial that Galadriel gave him and pulls it out of his pocket, speaking elvish words--it comes alight and he discovers he is in an awful den filled with spider's web. He sees the spider behind him and runs. (in my opinion, the music score is a tad bombastic in this scene)
Frodo is caught in a web, kicking his legs suspended in mid-air (looks a little hokey) Gollum taunts him from a safe distance. The spider approaches.
Far down the mountain, Sam is weeping and slips down the stairs, landing on a ledge. On this ledge he finds the discarded and broken lembas. Fighting anger, he gets up and turns around to reclimb the stair.
Frodo fights back, cutting the web with Sting, and so escapes the tunnel, as he lies recovering, Gollum jumps on him, Frodo fights back again and throttles him.
Gollum pleads that the Precious made him (attack), and Frodo releases him, He tells Gollum that he must destroy the Ring if he and Gollum will ever be free--only to have Gollum leap on him again.
Frodo and Gollum fight and Frodo throws Gollum off and down into an abyss! For a moment Frodo fears he will die-and is transported in thought to Lorien, where Galadriel tells him he must do this deed and destroy the Ring-Frodo comes back to himself in Mordor.
Scenes of the attack on Gondor, the gates open to reveal a lone horse dragging a body-it is Faramir, the only survivor of the attack. His body is carried to the citadel and shown to Denethor. The Steward despairs, ranting on how Theoden and Rohan have abandoned them--looking out from the top of Minas Tirith on the vast army of Mordor below.
Pippin runs to Faramir and kneels beside him, saying that Faramir still lives, and to bring medicine.
Denethor becomes mad and calls to the soldiers to flee. Gandalf retaliates by beating him down with his staff (!) and so rallies the troops!
The Army of Mordor fire missiles into Minas Tirth which prove to be the served heads of Gondorian soldiers, they begin to crush the city with boulders thrown from catapults. Here we have the scene of Gandalf assisting the defense of the city, and the siege towers approach Minas Tirith. Pippin assists Gandalf by stabbing a orc, but Gandalf tells Pippin to return to the Citadel.
Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas enter the Paths of The Dead. Aragorn first, then Legolas, and Gimli chides himself for fearing to go underground where an elf does not and follows.
The three enter a vast hall under the mountain, and are there confronted by the ghost of a king, green lit and menacing (v.cool!) they are told the way is shut. They are then surrounded by the army of the dead-(one of the great scenes in the film)-Aragorn names himself the Heir of Islidur and calls on them to help him in the battle and vows to break the curse holding them.
Back to Gondor, Gandalf rallies the troops, Denethor takes himself and Faramir to the tombs, where he plans on burning them both in a funeral pyre. Pippin despairs, knowing that Faramir yet lives. Denethor picks Pippin up and throws him out the door, releasing him from his service, angry and ashamed, Pippin goes looking for Gandalf.
The Rohirrim prepare to depart their camp. Theoden tells Merry that he must stay, none of the Riders will carry him. The Eored pass by, Merry is suddenly picked up by a Rider-who is Eowyn, who tells him he shall ride with her. Merry is delighted and says 'yes milady.'
Pippin runs down to Gandalf-the gate has been breached by the great battering ram in the shape of a wild boar, lit with fire, named after the Mace of the First Dark Lord, so you can hear the orcs chant 'Grond, Grond.'
Gandalf calls a retreat past the first circle. Pippin finds Gandalf and tells him of Faramir's jeopardy.
We see Denethnor pouring oil over himself, and standing in the pyre with Faramir at his feet. Gandalf on Shadowfax bursts through the doors. Denethnor sets himself and Faramir on fire. Pippin leaps off of Shadowfax to land on Faramir and roll him off the pyre, patting out the flames on his clothes. (go Pip!) Denethenor begins to burn and leaps off the pyre to run out the hall.
In an (intentionally?) funny moment, Gandalf says 'and so passes a noble house' as Denethnor runs along the length of the parapet and throws himself off to fall down the levels of Minas Tirith aflame.
Frodo is wandering in a narrow cleft of the mountain pass and sees the tower of Cirith Ungol in the distance. Unbeknowst to him, Shelob is crawling right above his head. As Frodo looks behind him, he is stung right in the chest. Close-up of Frodo's face in reaction, beginning to foam at the mouth, is held for a long time, before he falls back abruptly.
Frodo is prone in the spider's arms and is spun around until he is thoroughly wrapped in sticky web, becoming merely a white shape.
Sam appears with Sting and the phial and tells Shelob-Don't you touch him you filth!
Shelob drops Frodo and starts after Sam. A battle ensues with Shelob forcing Sam up the wall, Sam holding off her pinchers with his hands. At last Sam recovers Sting (which was dropped) and holds it up while Shelob pounces on him. Badly wounded, the spider retreats.
Sam runs up to Frodo and pulls down the web covering his face, Frodo looks sickly white with blank eyes. Sam fears Frodo is dead and weeps over him. "don't go to sleep, don't go where I can't follow.'
But the scene is truncated. Sam hears orc voices and goes into hiding, leaving Frodo alone.
Orcs find Frodo and reveal by their conversation that Frodo is not dead, only stunned by the spider venom. the orcs pick up Frodo and carry him off. Sam curses himself and follows.
Back in Minas Tirith, Gandalf and Pippin wait through the attack. Pippin asks Gandalf about dying, and in a passage from the book, Gandalf equates death to merely another journey, 'where the veil lifts as rain cloud, and you see white shores and a far green country beneath a swift sunrise.' Pippin is comforted, but the Witch King arrives on the back of a winged steed.
At this moment the Rohirrim arrive, their horns sound for battle.
We see Theoden arrange his forces, and encourage them by riding up and down the row. Eowyn looks away so he does not know her. The Rohans chant death, death, death-and we see Eowyn and Eomer and Merry say the words, and they charge.
The orcs are beaten down in the charge, unable to withstand the cavalry. The Witch King flies away from Minas Tirth to aid his forces on the field. After successful charges the orcs are scattered, then we see the great Mumak- oliphants begin to advance.
The Rohirrim regroup to charge. Scenes of the horsemen trying to battle the oliphants.
Eomer spears a great Hadarim captain, forcing that oliphant down into another. Eowyn bids Merry take the reins and guide their steed while she attacks an Oliphant from beneath with a sword in each hand and brings down the beast.
Meantime, black ships appear sailing down the Auduin, and they are met at the quay by Sauron's orcs. An orc captain hails the ship but none answer, until Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli leap over the side and draw their weapons. The orcs laugh, until Aragorn calls his army, and the Dead run straight out of the sides of the ships, over the water and fall upon the orcs.
In the field the oliphants are being defeated. Merry and Eowyn are thrown off their horse when one of them comes down. Theoden, unknowing, stands in the sunlight, looking over the destruction and calls his horsemen to him-then he sees the Witch King flying straight for him on his winged steed.
Theoden is brought down. The Witch King urges his fell beast to feed on the king and a solider stands in his way. The solider then hews off the head of the beast.
The Witch King, enraged, comes after the solider with a great mace, shattering the soldier's arm and shield. The Witch King tells the solider that 'no man can slay the Lord of The Nazgul.' The solider re moves his helm and is revealed as Eowyn.
At this moment Merry-who stands behind the Witch King, stabs him behind the knee. Eowyn uses this moment to strike, stabbing the Witch King through his helm. The Lord of The Nine then begins to writhe, as if he is being crumpled from the inside, his armor falls empty to the ground, but Merry and Eowyn are also overcome and fall down senseless.
The Dead follow Aragorn. Gimli and Legolas resume their orc-slaying competition. Legolas has a scene in which he uses the harness of a Mumak to swing about whilst firing arrows at the drivers. He cuts the tower off the back of the oliphant and slays it with three arrows to the head, gracefully stepping down the trunk as it falls dead.
Gimli witnessing the performance, tells Legolas that it still counts as only 'one.'
We see the tower of Cirith Ungol, where Frodo has been made captive, the orcs have stripped him to the waist, taking his cloak, shirt and mithril vest. His hands are bound in front of him. Frodo panics when he cannot find the Ring, but tries to stay still.
The orcs begin to fight over the mirthril shirt, a large orc pushes another down the stairs, killing him, then all the orcs begin to fight each other.
The Dead mass over the field and enter Minas Tirith and defeat Saurons' army. They return to the Pelennor so that Aragorn will release them from their curse. Despite Gimli's plea that they make good allies, Aragorn bids them rest now they have fulfilled their vow, and the Dead army disappear.
Eowyn comes upon the dying Theoden and they bid each other goodbye-Theoden will go to his fathers, in honor.
Pippin finds Merry on the field and goes to comfort him. Merry asks Pippin if he will 'leave him.' Pippin consoles Merry and covers him with his cloak.
Sam approaches the tower, the phial in his hand. There are a pair of vulture statures to either side of the door, but Sam walks in unhindered. He finds the courtyard strewn with orc bodies. Only a few orcs are alive, walking down the staircase. They see Sam's shadow and are afraid, but when Sam walks out they attack.
Sam beats them off the stairs with Sting, calling one for (Rosie Cotton or Frodo), one for the Shire, and one for his old gaffer!
Up in the tower, Frodo tries to loosen his bonds, an orc with a whip threatens him, but the orc is caught short by the sight of a gleaming blade coming from out his chest. Sam has stabbed him from behind.
Frodo calls out to Sam and apologizes for sending him away. Frodo babbles that the orcs took everything, but Sam reveals that he has the Ring, and shows it to Frodo. (This scene is handled quite quickly leaving out the tenderness of the book)
Frodo asks for the Ring back. Sam holds it for along moment-then hands it to Frodo. Frodo sighs and loops the chain around his neck gratefully, and then tells Sam he cannot come between him and his doom. Sam tells Frodo that he can't leave clad in nothing but his skin, end of scene.
Outside the tower we see two figures in armor, looking out over Mordor where all the orcs are encamped. The figures are masked but we learn they are Frodo and Sam. They despair over making their way across the plain of Gorgoroth undiscovered.
Back to Gondor, in the Throne Hall, Gimli sits and smokes in the stewards seat while Gandalf, Eomer, Aragorn, Legolas and Elrond(?) confer. Gandalf despairs for Frodo. Aragorn tells all assembled that they must help Frodo, and he plans on leading an assault on Mordor so that will empty the plain of Sauron's armies, so Frodo can arrive at the mountain.
Aragorn's army issues from Minas Tirith. Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and Merry and Pippin are in the vanguard. Sam and Frodo watch in amazement as Sauron calls his armies north.
The long walk across Gorgoroth, we find the hobbits without their armor, they share a flask of water, which Sam tells Frodo is the last, there's nothing for a return journey.
Aragorn's army approaches the black gate.
Frodo and Sam stagger across the plain. Frodo is caught in a beam of the Eye and cannot move. Sam calls to him from were he cowers on the ground.
At this moment Aragorn approaches the gate. The Eye of Sauron is brought round and Frodo falls in a swoon. Sam takes Frodo in his arms and asks him if he remembers the Shire. Frodo confesses that he cannot see anything, he is naked in the dark, and all he can see is a wheel of fire. (excellent acting on Elijah's part here.)
The gate opens, Gandalf and Aragorn and attendants gallop back toward the lines and we see the host of Mordor behind them, vastly outnumbering their small army.
Frodo tries to climb up the Mountain of Doom and fails. Sam vows that he cannot carry the Ring, but he can carry Frodo and puts Frodo over his shoulder and continues up the Mountain. (Go Sam!)
Aragorn urges his men to fight, riding up and down the ranks. We see the armies of Mordor surround the Men of The West.
Sam has carried Frodo to the portal of the Crack of Doom. Suddenly Gollum appears above them and pounces down upon Frodo. Sam fights with Gollum and beats his head with a rock. Sam looks back to see Frodo scrambling up the mountainside toward the entrance.
Aragorn and his men stand before the might of Sauron's army. Aragorn in now on foot. We see Sauron as a great Eye, and the Eye calls to Aragorn, as if promising him something.
Everything stills, Aragorn slowly turns back to his men, and Gandalf and says 'for Frodo.' and charges the orc army alone.
Two little figures spring immediately after the King, Merry and Pippin-then the rest of the host follow, with Legolas and Gimli.
Sam enters the Sammath Namur. He calls for Frodo, and sees him standing at the end of the long walk, the end of which juts out over a pool of molten rock. Frodo is oblivious, staring at the Ring in his hand.
Sam exhorts Frodo. Frodo holds out the Ring on its chain-and hesitates. Sam asks Frodo to 'let it go.'
Frodo studies the Ring. He turns to Sam. He breaks the Ring off its chain. He looks at Sam.
Sam says 'no.'weeping.
(some truly scary acting from Elijah here-)
Frodo looks at him steadily, placing the Ring in one hand and putting out the finger of his other hand-and smiles.
Sam shouts 'no!'
Frodo (says the Ring is mine) puts it on and vanishes.
The Eye of Sauron turns abruptly. The Nazgul scream above the battlefield.
Sam is struck from behind.
We see Gollum leap -Gollum is surrounding something with his arms and legs suspended in mid-air.
The Nazgul fly their winged steeds toward Mount Doom.
Gollum continues to struggle. Sam shouts for Frodo.
We see Gollum bite and gnaw the air-suddenly Frodo is visible on his knees, his arm stretched over his head-he brings his bleeding hand down into our line of view, Gollum has bitten Frodo's finger off and holds the Ring.
Sam goes to assist Frodo while Gollum gloats. Frodo is furious and leaps up to attack Gollum, fighting with him on the edge of the precipice for the Ring.
Gollum and Frodo go over the edge. We see Gollum falling with a serene look on his face, curling covetously around the Ring. He falls into the molten rock. His face looks bewildered as he sinks, the lava drinking him in. For long moments the Ring sits on the lava untouched.
Sam finds Frodo clinging onto the ledge. He reaches down for him. Frodo just hangs with an indescribable expression of loss. Sam pleads for Frodo to reach for him.
On the lava bed, letters appear glowing on the Ring, and it melts into nothingness.
Frodo looks at Sam for a long moment, wanting nothing more than to let go. Sam screams to him-'dont you let go' and Frodo reaches up for Sam's hand.
At the black gate the armies suddenly stand still, a cloud appears above the Black Tower, Sauron's eye changes color and begins to dart around. The Tower collapses slowly, all the while Sauron's eye flares brilliantly, just as the tower hits the plain, a giant explosion shatters the tower to dust, and a cloud of debris flies out and engulfs Sauron's army.
The plain falls away in a great chasm, taking the large part of Sauron's army with it, leaving the Men of The West unharmed. The Army cheers. We see Merry shout 'Frodo!'
Then Aragorn's face appalled, as the top of Mount Doom explodes. We see Pippin weeping and calling for Frodo.
Frodo and Sam run from the Sammanth Namur. Once out in the open, Frodo exclaims-'It's gone! Free of the power of the Ring.
Frodo and Sam cling together and walk down the mountainside, which is erupting all about them, they find momentary safety on a pillar of rock.
Frodo delights in that he can recall the Shire once more. Sam is weeping, regretting that he knows now he loves Rose Cotton and wished he could have married her. Frodo looks at Sam, sorry that he brought him to this end and holds Sam in his arms. Frodo says that he is glad that Sam is with him, 'here at the end of all things.' Fade to black.
Scene opens with the sight of Sam and Frodo on their rock amidst the destruction, lying unconscious. We see three eagles appear in the distance. Gandalf rides the first. We see Frodo picked up by one eagle, then Sam by the next eagle. Frodo's face in close up as he is carried aloft through the clouds.
Frodo is in a room in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith. He slowly wakes to find Gandalf at the foot of the bed. He says the wizard's name in wonder, and Gandalf smiles on him and laughs. Frodo laughs in return, much as he did long ago, at their meeting in the Shire.
The door opens and Merry and Pippin run in, leaping into the bed with Frodo, and he hugs them. Then Gimli enters, then Legolas, and then Aragorn, and all look down on Frodo and smile, and Frodo smiles at them.
Then Frodo sees Sam, and the smile leaves his face, but his expression is peaceful, full of joy and love for his dearest friend.
Next scene is the pinnacle of Minas Tirith, where the people have gathered. We see Gandalf standing before the Citadel, Gimli brings Gandalf a crown, and Gandalf sets it on the brow of a man, we see the man as Aragorn.
He turns to face his people as King. He sings them a blessing, and white petals fall through the air.
Legolas meets Aragorn before the people near the White Tree-now in flower. The two share a long glance and cross arms.
Legolas stands aside so that Aragorn may look behind him to where Elrond stands. Arwen is revealed behind the standard she carries.
Aragorn is amazed, and approaches slowly, then he and Arwen embrace and kiss spontaneously and the crowd cheers, among them Eowyn and Faramir, looking very happy together.
Aragorn and Arwen come at last to the four hobbits, dressed in their Shire trousers and weskits-without cloaks or livery- and the hobbits bow to the King and Queen, but Aragorn tells them they should bow to no one, and to the amazement of Merry and Frodo and Pippin and Sam, standing shoulder to shoulder, the King and Queen and the entire population of Minas Tirith bow down to them.
Then we see a map of Middle Earth, and Frodo narrates the end of the tale, how he and Merry and Pippin and Sam returned to peace in the Shire, dressed in their finery, receiving stares from their neighbors (old Proudfoot for one)
The Travellers meet once more in the Green Dragon, distant and apart from their fellows, and they all raise their glasses to one another silently. Then Sam spies Rosie across the counter and taking a drink, gets up to talk to her, the other hobbits look on, and Frodo smiles.
Sam and Rosie are wed, and Merry, Frodo and Pippin are in attendance, cheering.
We see Frodo wandering by himself in a very empty Bag End, telling us in narrative that he has not been able to return as his friends have returned.
We see Frodo at work on his book, in the same study at Bag End. He writes on the title page. There and Back Again, a hobbit's tale by Bilbo Baggins and The Lord of The Rings, by Frodo Baggins.
Sam comes in with congratulations on finishing the book. Frodo complains that his wound still bothers him and it will never heal.
An outdoor shot of a covered wagon, travelling down the road, Frodo narrates that Bilbo is about to make one more journey. The hobbits are on ponies, following.
Inside the wagon Frodo sits with a ancient Bilbo. And Bilbo asks after his Ring. Frodo confesses that he lost it, with haunted eyes. Bilbo says it would have been nice to hold the Ring again, and Frodo holds Bilbo close to him, saying nothing.
The hobbits come to the Grey Havens, where Elrond, Galadriel and Celeborn wait for them on the quay beside the Last Ship. They invite Bilbo to come with them, for the time of the elves has ended. Bilbo smiles and Elrond assists him on board.
Gandalf says farewell to the hobbits, for he shall also go. Sam, Merry and Pippin weep, but Frodo looks nervous.
Then Gandalf calls to Frodo. Sam turns to Frodo and asks if he is going to leave. Frodo tells him 'the Shire was saved, but not for me.' He hands Sam the book he and Bilbo wrote, saying. 'The last pages are for you.'
Frodo turns and hugs Merry. Then he turns and holds Pippin. Last of all Frodo holds Sam in his arms, then kisses him on the forehead, and their heads bend down so they touch.
Frodo walks away with Gandalf. He stands on the ship, looking back to his friends and smiles gently at them, he looks happy, astonishingly beautiful. Throughout this farewell Frodo has never shed a tear. The shot holds for a long moment.
Merry, Pippin and Sam are weeping, and they smile back.
We hear Frodo's voice telling Sam that he should not be torn in two, that he has much to live for, to be and to do. We see Sam walking up to Number Three Bagshot row and his daughter Elanor, and Rosie holds his son Frodo in her arms.
Sam says. 'well, I'm back.' and the little family goes into number three and the yellow door shuts behind them.
Black screen appears with white lettering saying "The End"
NOTE FROM DAN, THE MOVIE SPOILER: A reader felt it was important to explain further...
An important detail that is left out of this review, and could be easily overlooked by people who havent read the books, is that at the end, Gandalf is shown wearing the Third Ring Narya the Great, with a red stone. He had been the keeper of the third elven ring all along, like Galadriel and Elrond; and now that the One Ring had been destroyed, the power of the three elven rings was also over.
Thats what made the ending so bittersweet. Not only was Frodo unable to enjoy living out his days in the Shire, but the elves no longer had any power in Middle Earth and had to pass on over the sea together with Gandalf.