Top 15 LOTR Best Scenes Worth Watching Again

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Journey back to Middle Earth with these 15 scenes. Frodo will be waiting.

What are the best scenes to watch if you need to take a quick trip with the Fellowship?

So if you are a fantasy geek like me or just a lover of good movies, then you know that Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is awesome. But let’s face it, those things are really really long, and, however much we may adore them, few of us have the 9 hours (or 12 if you watch the extended versions, which you should) to spend reveling in Middle Earth. So what’s a girl to do? Watch the best scenes of course! Here are 15 scenes from LOTR you should definitely watch again. 

1. Bilbo’s Birthday Party

So far there has been little mention of rings and evil. It is Bilbo’s birthday, and everyone is ready to have a good time. Who doesn’t love a party?

  • In a trilogy full of epic battles and inspiring moments, why is a scene of domestic tranquility worth watching again? Precisely because it is one of the few scenes of this type. At this party, we get a sense of what our heroes are fighting for as we journey alongside them through darkness and danger for the next 9 hours. The smiles, the wide-eyed children, the laughter, and the food paint us a picture of what is worth protecting from Sauron.
  • Also getting to see our characters carefree before the start of the adventure makes the changes they will go through much more profound. Frodo is smiling and joking, Sam is trying to work up the courage to approach Rosie, Gandalf is dancing, and Pippin and Merry are causing mischief. Within this scene lies the enormity of these characters’ sacrifice. It is Frodo’s smiling face here that makes his slow decline so tragic.     

2. A Knife in the Dark

Frodo and his hobbit companions, along with mysterious stranger Strider, have set out to take the Ring to Rivendell. On the old watchtower of Amon Sul, the Ringwraiths finally manage to catch up to them, and the hobbits begin to realize they may be in over their heads. 

  • This scene does a great job of putting things in perspective. Unless you have been really out of touch for the past 70 years, you know that Frodo is ultimately going to succeed. The good guys are going to win. However, in this scene, you get a sense of how hopelessly outmatched they are. The hobbits are lighting fires while being followed, Frodo can’t even hold onto his sword, and Sam, Pippin, and Merry get pushed aside with ease. It’s hard to believe this bunch is going to help save the world. Without this moment to ground us, their ultimate success loses some of its wonder. 
  • The other thing that this scene does so well is the reveal of the Ringwraiths. When Frodo gives in to temptation and slips on the ring, he gets a front-row seat to what is underneath those creepy black robes. But it is not exactly the monsters he was expecting. Sure they may be misty and white, but those shapes, those faces, are undeniably human. When the hood is pulled back, the monsters underneath are revealed to be men. In a story with a heavy focus on evil’s ability to corrupt, it is a fantastic moment. 

3. The Council of Elrond 

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

After bringing the ring to Rivendell, Frodo’s job should be done. However, when the leaders of Middle Earth gather to discuss the ring’s fate, tensions rise. It becomes clear that the adventure is just getting started. 

  • This scene brilliantly establishes the personalities of the nine members of the fellowship and their relationships. Watching it again you can see Legolas’s loyalty to Aragon, Frodo’s quiet turmoil, Boromir already suffering from temptation, Gandalf’s pain and frustration, Sam’s devotion to Frodo, and Pippin’s carefree attitude. In seven minutes, with very little action, this scene lets us know who the fellowship is. It is a masterclass in subtle and quick characterization that is so worth a second and third watch to catch all of those telling expressions. 
  • The first shot of the fellowship all together will forever be iconic and for good reason. Until this final shot, this scene consists of shots with only one individual in the frame at a time. However, when the fellowship is formed we get a single shot with all nine characters. This shot shows them as a unit while at the same time making their differences incredibly obvious. This one-shot is a beautiful picture of how a common goal can overcome boundaries between people, and for this alone you should watch this scene.  

4. “You Shall Not Pass”  

The Mines of Moria have turned out to be a rather nasty place. Pursued by orcs, the Fellowship makes a dash for the exit, but there’s something much worse than orcs after them. Gandalf is the only one who stands a chance against the Balrog. 

  • It’s no surprise to anyone that this scene is on here. “You Shall Not Pass” is both a great line and a great moment that requires little added fanfare on my part. Watching Gandalf stare down a fiery demon will always be an epic moment in fantasy. But there are a few other reasons this scene deserves a second watching. 
  • Take a moment to appreciate the Balrog. The design and execution are stunning. The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, and it is easy to forget how great the Balrog looks nearly twenty years later. Designing and executing fantastical creatures can often go very wrong, and the Balrog deserves some love for how very right it is.
  • We tend to focus on Gandalf in this scene, and for good reason, but the response of the other characters merits a second glance. The different reactions are so detailed. Aragorn pauses as if he is thinking about running down to help but turns as Boromir calls for help. Frodo has to be held back lest he run to Gandalf. Legolas, the immortal, looks dazed and confused. Pippin collapses, and Merry tries to comfort him even as he himself grieves. All of these little moments, as well as the great loss of sound in the soundtrack, make this scene a poignant rendition of grief as well as a great Gandalf moment.

5. The Departure of Boromir

Having given his life in an attempt to protect Merry and Pippin from the Orcs, Boromir shares some parting words with Aragorn. 

  • While Boromir’s last stand is also worth watching again, his actual death scene is the high point for me because it is here, through his final words, that we rest assured in the true change in the heart of Boromir. 
  • Even as he lays dying Boromir shows concern for the hobbits. His first words to Aragorn are to tell him that Merry and Pippin have been captured. He uses some of his last breaths to ask about Frodo. His time is almost up, yet Boromir is using that time to attempt to right his failures. Honestly, this is the moment when I respect Boromir the most. In this scene, we get to see the noble person Boromir is when finally freed from the Ring’s influence. 
  • The other element of Boromir’s last words is, of course, his acceptance of Aragorn as King of Gondor. This itself is staggering. The deaths of warrior figures are usually full of glory and triumph, but Boromir spends his final moments protecting those less powerful than himself and then submitting and showing respect to another man. There is humility in Boromir’s final moments which makes this death scene stand out among many of a similar kind in movies. Instead of glorifying a violent death, the departure of Boromir highlights friendship and sacrifice.

6. The Story as Seen from Lorien

Elrond has foreseen Arwen’s fate and encourages her to leave Middle Earth with the other elves. From Lorien, Galadriel speaks to Elrond, and a momentous decision must be made. 

  • This is perhaps the strangest choice on this list because this scene is relatively easy to skip over without a second thought. It just seems like a recap of what has happened thus far, which is entirely unneeded if you have been watching the movie. However, as Galadriel fills Elrond in on our story thus far, another story is also being told, and for this it is worth watching again.
  • For various reasons, which lie in the depths of Middle Earth lore, at the time at which the Lord of the Rings takes place the elves are leaving Middle Earth. Ultimately the fight against Sauron for Middle Earth is not their fight. Elrond struggles in this scene with whether to help men fight Sauron. This scene asks the question: Is it worth it to fight and die for someone else’s freedom? 
  • All of that recap business plays into this question. The strength of the ring-bearer is failing, and it looks as if men will once again fall to temptation. Elrond was there the last time this happened. He watched Isildur fail to destroy the ring. Now he must decide if he will leave men to their fate or once again fight with them to save their world. 
  • This scene, as insignificant as it may initially seem, captures both continuing faith in the goodness of humanity (even after seeing people at their worst) and that sometimes fighting against evil means protecting people other than your own. This scene confronts some of life’s hardest questions, and I sincerely encourage you to watch it again. 

7. The Forbidden Pool 

Sam and Frodo have been captured by a group of men from Gondor. When these men find Smeagol taking a swim in their forbidden pool, Frodo must make a decision about their guide.

  • This scene can seem a bit underwhelming, but for me, it is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the whole trilogy. Here are a couple of reasons why.
  • Frodo agonizing over whether to save Smeagol is a small moment that shows how hard right and wrong can be. Frodo wants so badly to do the right thing. But by helping the men capture Smeagol, Frodo breaks the fragile trust which had been building between the two. As a result, it isn’t long before Gollum emerges once again as the dominant personality. What makes it even more tragic is there seems to have been little else Frodo could have done.
  • When Smeagol’s trust in Frodo is betrayed, the damage is irrevocable. Once the men of Gondor have beaten Smeagol, the Gollum side of his personality slips back into control. When Gollum turns around and screams “My precious!”, not only are you a little scared but you also know that any chance Smeagol had at redemption is gone. Gollum is back to stay. This is Smeagol’s final fall, and, as such, it is a pivotal point in the story that should be revisited. 

8. Forth Eorlingas 

Trapped in the Hornburg after the siege on Helm’s Deep, King Theoden must decide whether to ride out and meet his foe. Things look fairly grim, but Aragorn knows to look for hope with the coming of dawn. 

  • While the latter half of this scene may be more exciting, Theoden’s decision to ride out to meet the Orcs is just as much worth watching again. You can see the sweat on Aragorn’s and Theoden’s faces and the bags under Theoden’s eyes. This man is exhausted, yet as the light shines on a new day he chooses to rise with it. I for one am fairly useless after a night with no sleep, so I can hardly imagine the inner strength Theoden has the draw on to ride out of the Hornburg. 
  • Speaking of the dawn, the way this scene is shot just perfectly matches the overall metaphor. The use of sun flashes and Gandalf’s white costume have us constantly reminded that day has come. The brilliant light coming from the Rohirrim and Gandalf seems to drive back the Orcs. It is a perfect example of matching the filming choices to the content, and there’s just something purely satisfying about that.
  • Perhaps the whole dawn at the end of a hard night can seem a bit cheesy, but remember this is only the end of the second movie. There is much more suffering ahead. With this knowledge, the whole dawn at the end of the night becomes less of a magic fix to a bad situation and more of a mindset. The dawn in this scene is about deciding to get up and fight another day. Yes, Gandalf sweeps in and saves everyone, but this is not the end of the fight, not even close. 

9. The Tales that Really Matter

It’s the end of the second movie, and our heroes have faced quite a few hardships with many more ahead. As Frodo considers giving up, Sam must find a way to encourage him.

  • I don’t think there’s any speech quite as moving as this one by Sam. His words overlaid with the scenes of the victories at Isengard and Helm’s Deep is a beautiful piece of editing. 
  • Besides being beautifully put together, this scene is a loving testament to the power of words. Frodo is ready to give up even though they still have so far to go, but Sam rallies him with nothing but a small speech. Not only do these words give hope to Frodo, but I guarantee that viewers watching can’t help but feel a little stir of emotion themselves. In a movie trilogy based on one of the most beloved book series of all time, I don’t think it gets any better than this moment in which we are reminded what words can do.
  • Also, Sam’s speech is actually about stories and the way they make us feel. You just have to appreciate that layering. Sam could easily be talking about the Lord of the Rings itself. It’s the type of thing that just brings you that little hint of satisfaction.

10. Pippin’s Song (Edge of Night)

The Steward of Gondor, Denethor, has sent his remaining son Faramir on a hopeless mission to take back Osgiliath. Pippin, knowing that Faramir has been sent on a suicidal task, is forced to sing for Denethor as he eats. 

  • There comes a time when you are reading a good book or watching a good movie or listening to a good song that you know you have hit upon something of quality. Maybe it cannot be expressed in words, but the feeling is there all the same. For me, this scene is like that. I do not think I will ever be able to satisfactorily put into words what makes this such a great scene, but I will try. If I fail to do it justice though, simply watch it again, and I trust it will speak for itself. 
  • This scene has a sense of quiet devastation that is truly remarkable. Watching Faramir’s men ride to their doom, being unable to stop what you know is coming as the Orcs draw back their bowstrings, is a grave reminder that we cannot stop all suffering. And yet Pippin’s song is also a reminder that even if we cannot stop the suffering we should still take time to feel sorrow. There is something almost beautiful in Pippin’s grief, especially next to Denethor’s appalling indifference, which serves to ensure us that to grieve is natural and right at times. 
  • Also let me say here that the use of the soundtrack plays a huge role in making this scene so effective, as well as pretty much every other scene on this list. The soundtrack for these movies is incredible, and its effective use is part of what makes all 15 of these scenes worth watching again. 

11. Eowyn versus the Witch King

After sneaking along to Gondor in Rohan’s army, Eowyn is on the battlefield at Minas Tirith. When King Theoden finds himself facing the business end of a Nazgul, it will be the people he tried to leave behind that prove most loyal.

  • First of all this scene demands to be watched again, so you can appreciate the fact that Merry sneaks up and stabs the Witch-King in the back of the knee! I love Eowyn, but she would have been quite dead without Merry’s help. 
  • Secondly, although we all love the part where Eowyn rips off her helmet and stabs the Witch-King, the beginning of this fight displays what’s so great about these movies. Eowyn is scared. You can see it in her eyes as she takes in that giant mace, but she doesn’t back down. Again and again, these movies say that war is not about glory. These characters fight to protect those they love, and Eowyn is doing precisely that here. 
  • Lastly, let’s face it, Eowyn ripping off her helmet, declaring “I am no man” and then stabbing the Witch King right in the face (or lack of face I guess) is a wonderfully satisfying moment. I will forever wish I could be that much of a badass, and be honest you do too.

12. Sam Fights Shelob

Even though in an earlier gut-wrenching scene Frodo tells him to go home, the ever-loyal Samwise Gamgee refuses to be left behind. As any good hero, he makes his appearance just in the nick of time. It is Sam versus a giant spider. The life of Frodo and the fate of the Ring hang in the balance. 

  • The Lord of the Rings has no shortage of epic battles, but for me, this one captures the essence of bravery better than all the rest. It is not an elegant fight. Sam is not a warrior. You can see Sam shake as he rushes to attack Shelob, and his defiance despite this fear is what makes this moment so inspiring to watch. 
  • If you need to know what the LOTR is about at its core, this is the scene for you. The Lord of the Rings centers around the ability of little people (hobbits) to make a difference in the fight against great evil. That sounds nice on paper, but it doesn’t hit home until you watch Sam successfully fighting off the monstrosity that is Shelob. This scene will make you believe that the little guy really can make a difference, and there’s no way the LOTR would be the same without it. 
  • The end of this scene, after Sam drives off Shelob, deserves a shout out as well. When hiding from the Orcs, Sam realizes that he has made a grave error: Frodo isn’t dead! This could be a moment to collapse into despair, and you can see the horror start to affect Sam. 
  • However this horror is quickly replaced by a grim determination, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the Orcs that stand in between Sam and his Mr. Frodo. From the showdown between hobbit and spider to this look of absolute resolve, the whole scene is an epic moment of resilience in the face of the worst possible odds.

13. “For Frodo”

Terribly outnumbered and with little hope that Frodo will succeed in his quest, this is the last stand against Sauron. When it comes time to lead the charge, Aragorn has only two words with which to inspire them. 

  • Unfortunately, the true impact of this scene is often missed because the theatrical releases cut a previous scene that contains important information. Watch the Mouth of Sauron here to see what I mean: 

    Basically, in the Mouth of Sauron, one of Sauron’s officers comes out and throws Frodo’s mithril coat at our heroes, leading them to believe that Frodo has been tortured and killed. 

  • How does this change the charge at the Black Gate? This whole battle was meant to be a distraction to give Frodo a chance to destroy the ring. But now with Frodo presumably dead all hope is lost. The charge then is no longer a desperate attempt to defeat Sauron. Instead, it becomes a last act of defiance, spitting in the face of death. With that knowledge, it is hard not to feel stirred when Pippin and Merry rush headlong after Aragorn. 
  • The Mouth of Sauron scene gives such a different tone to Aragorn’s charging words: “For Frodo.” Yes, this whole battle was meant to help Frodo, but now with Frodo’s mithril coat in Gandalf’s hand (which you can actually see in one of the shots) that “For Frodo” means so much more. It seems like they have already lost, but Aragorn still fights to avenge the friend who tried so hard to save them all. Those two little words contain every last bit of the defiance and hope that our heroes have left, and it is enough to propel them into one last battle. 

14. Sam Carries Frodo

Frodo and Sam have reached the very slopes of Mount Doom. However, the ring has become an unbearable burden. Frodo cannot go another step. It is up to Sam to find a way to help his friend down this last stretch.

  • You probably saw this one coming, but I ask you, how could I not put this scene on here? If you have any doubts that Sam is the hero of this story, watching him sling Frodo over his back like a sack of potatoes and trudge up the mountain will erase them all. I especially love this moment because it shows that being a great friend means helping even when you can’t take away the burden. 
  • This scene is one, a great life lesson about caring for other people, and two, an example that being the hero isn’t always about being the main character with the magical object. Sometimes being a hero doesn’t mean being chosen for a special task, it just means stepping up when the going gets rough. 
  • Also, when Sam tries to get Frodo to remember the Shire, is not only a touching moment but exceptionally well-placed. Here at the end of their journey, as far from the Shire as they can possibly get, Sam takes a moment to remember what they are fighting for. By this point, the viewer has been on this journey for almost nine hours as well. This reminiscing about the Shire is a subtle touch that renews the sense of urgency to the quest for both the characters and us.

15. The Grey Havens

The battle is over, the quest is completed, but things in Middle Earth can never be the same. The elves are leaving for the Undying Lands and with them goes Gandalf and one more member of the fellowship.

  • It is slightly odd that I put this scene on here. I dislike watching it because it makes me tear up every time. You can call me a wimp, but don’t tell me you didn’t shed a tear when Sam and Frodo say goodbye. However, without this parting scene, the Lord of the Rings would lose so much of what makes it a compelling and moving story.
  • As much as it may pain us to watch, Frodo leaving in this scene gives the Lord of the Rings so much more weight. Things cannot simply go back to normal. Sure good wins, but war and suffering leave a mark on people that cannot be ignored. As Frodo says “The Shire has been saved, but not for me.” 
  • Even when good wins, there is an aftermath to tragic events that can be so easy to ignore in stories, and the Lord of the Rings deserves so much respect for acknowledging that. So grab a tissue and watch it again because this final scene is one of the key moments that takes the Lord of the Rings from good to great.
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Elizabeth hails from the farmlands of Georgia, but she has spent enough time wandering in the lands of Middle Earth, Hyrule, and Westeros to consider herself a native of many places.
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