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The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King [2003] [PG-13]



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


» - ★★★★
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» IMDb Listing

The final installment in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical trilogy: Elijah Wood returns as Frodo, the Hobbit keeper of the ring that, unless it is destroyed, will bring the end of humankind in Middle Earth. Accompanied by loyal Hobbit Sam (Sean Astin) and the cursed and transformed Hobbit Gollum, Frodo struggles to reach the mountain where he can destroy the ring in fiery lava. Meanwhile his friends, the warriors Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the wizard Gandolf (Ian McKellen) prepare for the final battle against the evil wizard Saruman and his Orcs. Also with Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis and Liv Tyler. Directed by Peter Jackson. [3:30]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - Two human characters kiss and hug in a few scenes. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. A character wears a loincloth.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - There are several battle scenes, mostly between Orcs and humanoid characters. The Orcs are brutish, with malformed faces and heads and sharp teeth; and the humanoids include humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc. (and will be collectively referred to henceforth as "humanoids" and "humanoid characters" so that we do not give away too much of the plot). There are also other monstrous and animal-like creatures (henceforth referred to as "creatures"). An extended battle scene shows many humanoids on horseback charging, Orcs take aim with arrows and let them fly, and huge creatures move wooden structures filled with many Orcs. Dismembered heads are catapulted over a stone wall and boulders are catapulted into stone walls breaking them to rubble (humanoids run and scream when they hit). Large bits of a stone structure are launched into crowds of Orcs and we hear crunching when they hit and crush them, humanoids are swept off high walls by flying dragons and crash to the ground below, and huge creatures are pummeled with arrows. Large flaming blocks are launched into a fortress, and a flaming battering ram pounds on a gate and breaks through allowing hordes of Orcs to pour inside: we see Orcs biting their victims, and we see hyena-like creatures tearing and biting at victims. Enormous armored elephants march into the battle with spikes on their tusks and many Orcs on their backs: the elephants swing their tusks and trunks knocking many humanoids on the ground and through the air, and humanoids are crushed under their feet. One elephant trips another knocking them both to the ground, an Orc is hit in the chest by a sword, and an elephant is slashed on the legs by a sword and falls to the ground dumping its riders. Horses ride into a line of Orcs, they fire arrows into the horses and riders, and others charge and crush many Orcs as they ride through. Another clash of armies with much slashing and stabbing occurs, and a humanoid is crushed under a creature's foot. Orcs move toward a garrison on a river bank, they draw their swords, humanoids inside the garrison prepare for attack, and they fight: swords clank and slash, some characters are run through, some are slashed, some are hacked, and more Orcs pour into the garrison. A humanoid bleeds from the mouth, a humanoid gasps for air and a spear is thrust into his chest, and many Orcs are hit with arrows. Humanoids face an army of ghost Orcs (they are ethereal skeletons covered with decayed, glowing skin), and one humanoid swings his sword at one of the ghosts, and then grabs him by the throat (we hear a crunch). An army of Orcs and an army of ghost Orcs fight and we see a field strewn with many bodies. A humanoid jumps on another humanoid, they wrestle, one bites the finger off the other (we see a bloody stump), and one is thrown over a cliff and sinks into lava. A humanoid pours oil over himself and another humanoid while they are on top of a pile of kindling; he lights the oil, he is knocked off the pile and lands on the floor, the other character is pushed off, and one character is kicked into the flames by a horse, he screams, runs while in flames and falls off a high wall. Two humanoids fight, one holds the other by the throat, they wrestle, one is thrown over a high cliff, and we hear him scream on the way down. A humanoid is attacked by an enormous spider, and he runs (he runs into bodies wrapped in webs hanging from the ceiling), the spider chases him, chomping with its large fangs, the humanoid is caught in a web, struggles to free himself with his sword, but the spider sneaks up behind the humanoid and stabs him in the stomach with its stinger (the humanoid foams at the mouth, falls motionless to the ground and is wrapped with a web). A humanoid with a sword fights a spider, the spider snaps at him, he pokes the spider with his sword, the spider screams and nearly pokes the humanoid with its stinger, but he stabs the spider which then convulses. A humanoid is bitten and thrown through the air by a dragon, he lies with blood on his mouth and with his horse lying on top of him. A humanoid hacks the dragon's head off, fights with its rider (an Orc) who swings a spiked ball on a chain and a sword; the humanoid is hit in the arm, the Orc grabs the humanoid around the throat, and the Orc is stabbed in the back by another humanoid while the first humanoid stabs the Orc through the head (the Orc disintegrates and its clothes fall to the ground). An Orc threatens a humanoid, and another humanoid stabs the Orc in the back. Two Orcs fight, one is kicked down a hole, others fight with him when he lands below, then more join the fight. A humanoid climbs up the leg of an elephant, shooting arrows as he climbs, the elephant's platform breaks spilling many Orcs onto the ground below. A humanoid beats another humanoid with a stick. Two humanoids fight: they wrestle on the ground, one bites the other's hand, and one grabs the other around the throat and chokes him to death. A humanoid is hit in the chest by several arrows (we see spots of blood on his clothing and he falls to the ground dead). Dragons and enormous eagles fight mid-air. Humanoids are swept off their horses by flying dragons, and dragons fly through a crowd of humanoids on horseback knocking them down and tossing them through the air. A humanoid with two arrows sticking out of his chest is dragged by his horse. Flying dragons scream and screech and humanoids appear to be in pain from the noise. A humanoid holds a glass ball in his hands, it begins to glow, it looks like it is flaming and the humanoid writhes on the floor unable to let it go, and appears in pain. Two humanoids walk into a dark cave, one remarks about the smell, we see skeletons lying on the ground, a dead bird hangs from the ceiling, and one humanoid falls on the ground and is frightened by skeletons under him. We watch a humanoid transform into a cave-dwelling, stooped, ashen creature with swollen eyes and pointed teeth. A humanoid hits another humanoid character on the head (we see blood on his forehead), and a humanoid hits and shoves another character who ends up with a bloody nose. A tower crumbles into rubble, and when it crashes to the ground a shock wave opens a large crater that sucks down Orcs, and lava erupts from a mountain trapping two humanoids on a rock with lava flowing all around them. Skulls adorn the entrance into a mountain pass. A humanoid wakes from a dream with a start and draws his sword. A humanoid has blood on his nose and mouth, a humanoid appears weak, overcome and collapses in several scenes. A humanoid lights a flame on a pile of kindling beneath his feet, then jumps and climbs down a stone wall. Humanoids talk about a "witch king," a warrior who cannot be killed. Two humanoids argue. A humanoid growls, snarls and talks about killing other humanoids and about something eating them. Humanoids talk about a curse placed on men. Humanoids talk about an "evil mountain" and one character appears to be affected by it. A humanoid grieves over a dying humanoid, and we watch as he dies. Three humanoids climb steep stairs along a steep rock wall: one slips, and one tumbles down some distance. A humanoid talks about his daughter dying, and two humanoids anticipate their death. A humanoid is dragged under water by a fish on a line. An army of ghost Orcs turns into a vapor and swirls into the sky. Humanoids ride horses through a forest and we hear the trees moaning, and two humanoids are swept up by enormous eagles. A humanoid holds a squirming worm in one hand and a fishing hook in the other. A humanoid bites into a wriggling fish and we see slime drip from his mouth as he chews. A swirl of light shoots up to the sky from what is called the "dead city," we see an "eye" several times -- its looks like an eye surrounded by flames. Two humanoids climb a steep mountainside, lava spews from its top.

PROFANITY 1 - 1 mild obscenity. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Good vs. Evil, greed, friendship, loyalty, adventures, power, duty, hope, death of a child, grief, fear, death, love, courage, valor, honor.

MESSAGE - Much must be risked in war, and much is lost. Death is just another path that we all must take.

(Note: People are shown smoking pipes and drinking alcohol.)

Special Keywords: S1 - V7 - P1 - MPAAPG-13

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