Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (movie)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a film released in December 2002, directed by Peter Jackson. It is the second part in a trilogy of films, following The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, also directed by Jackson. It is an adaptation of the book The Two Towers, the second part of the three-volume novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, although some of the later events are held over to the third movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Table of contents
1 The cast
2 Synopsis
3 Filming Locations
4 Deviations From the Source Material
5 Awards History - and Critics Opinions
6 Video Release
7 External links

The cast

Seen in extended version only:

In addition to many characters returning from the first film, The Two Towers featured Éowyn, a princess yearning to be a warrior; Théoden, a troubled king; and his treacherous counselor, Gríma Wormtongue. These humans were largely overshadowed by special effects creatures including treelike Ents, the pterodactyl-like flying steeds of the Nazgûl, and, especially, Gollum, widely acclaimed as the first fully realized CGI character in a live-action film. His movements and facial expressions were modeled on the actor who provided his voice. Only glimpsed in the first film, Gollum here becomes a pivotal character with the potential to change the fate of the story's world; he wrestles with inner demons and becomes a source of friction in Sam and Frodo's previously unshakeable friendship.


Warning: this section contains spoilers not just for The Two Towers but also for The Return of the King.

The surviving members of the Fellowship of the Ring have split into three groups. Frodo and Sam face many perils on their continuing quest to save Middle-Earth by destroying the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Merry and Pippin escape from the Orcs and must convince the Ents to join the battle against evil. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas encounter a mysteriously transformed Gandalf and battle Saruman's army at Helm's Deep.

Filming Locations

Specific Location
in New Zealand
General Area
in New Zealand
Plains of RohanGreenstone StationKinloch
RohanPoolburn LakeIda Valley
EdorasMount SundayRangitata Valley
Dead MarshesKepler MireTe Anau
The Black GateRangipo DesertLake Taupo
Helm's DeepHayward's HillLower Hutt

Deviations From the Source Material

Jackson's The Two Towers differs from Tolkien's in several important ways. Interviews with Jackson and the other writers on the extended DVD version of the movie make it clear that they are fully aware of the implications of these changes in terms of the original story, and have chosen to make them not out of ignorance but in order to make the story work better in terms of motion picture storytelling.


Tolkien divided The Two Towers in two distinct parts. The first told the stories of Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf. The second concerned Frodo and Sam. Jackson chose to intercut between the two to present the events in chronological order.


Jackson and his co-writers added several events to the story, notably:

Two important events from Tolkien's The Two Towers did not make it into the film, but were held over for the next one:


Two of the characters in the film are presented somewhat differently than their counterparts in the book:

Awards History - and Critics Opinions

Academy Awards: Winner - Visual Effects, Sound Editing. Nominee - Best Picture, Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Best Editing, and Best Sound.

American Film Institute: Digital Effects, Production Design, Movie of the Year

Apex Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Viggo Mortensen), Best Production Design, Best Original Song Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup

2003 Art Directors Guild: Best Production Design (Period or Fantasy feature Film)

Austrailian Film Awards: Best Foreign Film

British Academy Film Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Special Visual Effects, Orange Film of the Year (voted on by the public)

Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Digital Acting Performance (Gollum)

Central Ohio Film Critics: Best Cinematography

Cinemarati Awards: Best Film, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Director (Peter Jackson), Best Film Editing

Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics: Best Director (Peter Jackson)

Empire Awards: Best Picture

Golden Satellite Awards: Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble, Best Visual Effects

Golden Trailer Awards: Best Action Trailer

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Guild Awards: Best Character Makeup, Best Character Hair Styling, Best Special Makeup Effects

Hugo (World Science Fiction Society): Award for Best Dramatic Presentation

International 3-D Awards (computer graphics industry): Best Feature Film VFX (Weta)

Kansas City Film Critics: Best Director

Las Vegas Film Critics: Best Director (Peter Jackson), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects

Phoenix Film Critics Awards [1]: "Best Picture", "Best Ensemble Acting", "Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium", "Best Cinematography", "Best Production Design", "Best Visual Effects", and "Best Makeup" "Gollum's Song", the theme played during the end credits, won the award for "Best Original Song". The song was written by Howard Shore and sung by the Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini.

Rotten Tomatoes Awards: Best Film

Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Costume (Ngila Dickson), Best Supporting Actor (Andy Serkis)

Visual Effects Society Awards: Best Special Effects, Best Effects in Art Direction, Best Visual Effects in Photography, Best Models and Miniatures, Best Performance by an Actor in an Effects Film, Best Character Animation in a Live-Action Feature Film, Best Compositing and Visual Effects in an Effects-Driven Film

Followers of the Oscars predicted that the movie had a poor chance of winning Best Picture, because it received no other nominations in the major Oscar categories (Director, Actor and Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress and Screenplay). This proved to be true, though the film did win the Academy Award for Visual Effects. It has been speculated that the Academy is biding its time for the concluding film, Return of The King, to be released so that they can honour Peter Jackson for creating such a successful and acclaimed film trilogy.

Video Release

The theatrical edition of the movie was released on VHS and DVD on Tuesday, August 26, 2003. The DVD was a 2-disc set with extras on the second disc. This was intended to be a simultaneous worldwide release, but some British stores began selling the videos on Friday 22 because it was a Bank Holiday weekend, much to the ire of the film's UK distributor, which has threatened to withhold advance supplies of subsequent video releases.

An extended version of the movie including 42 minutes of additional material was released on video on November 18, 2003. One of the additional scenes features Sean Bean and John Noble, who do not appear in the theatrical version, in a flashback in which brothers Boromir and Faramir are seen together with their father Denethor. This is available on VHS and on a 4-disc DVD set, with the movie on discs 1 and 2 including four audio commentaries by the crew and actors, and extensive bonus material on discs 3 and 4. There is also a "Special Edition" DVD package containing the 4-disc set, a sculpture of Gollum, a booklet about the process of designing Gollum for the movie and a short DVD documentary on the process of designing collectible scultures based on the movies' characters and artifacts.

In December, 2003 there were also limited back-to-back theatrical releases of the extended versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers followed by premieres of The Return of the King, in all nine hours and seventeen minutes long.

External links