Best Order of Watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ Movies (Chronology and Release Order)


Best Order of Watching 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' Movies (Chronology and Release Order)

There are six movies set in J. R. R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth, three Lord of the Rings movies, and three Hobbit movies. In this article, we will show you the best order of watching them, as well as sort them by their timeline, chronologically, and release order.

The best order of watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

We are bringing you some other options for watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies below, some of them are really special ways of watching, and they are more for hardcore fans that have already watched all six movies many times. Also, if you are not sure where to watch them, we provided you with a link for all six Middle-earth extended edition moviesOpens in a new tab..

Table of contents:

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Movies Release Dates

This is not the order of watching we prefer, although, that is the way we first watched The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

If this is your first time watching these amazing movies, which we just can’t belive, then it would be better for you to watch it in chronological oreder, we will explain later why we think so.

Nevertheless, here we will sort all The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies by release dates:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Is The Hobbit before or after the Lord of the Rings?

The Hobbit takes place 60 years before the Lord of the Rings adventure, save for the new film’s prologue, which unfolds about twenty minutes before The Fellowship of the Ring begins.

In it, Elijah Wood returns as Frodo to chat with old Bilbo (Ian Holm) about the elder Hobbit’s upcoming 111th birthday party — the one that Gandalf arrives for at the beginning of Fellowship.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Movies Chronological

Chronologically is in our opinion one of the best ways of watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and we will explain why we think so, even more for those that watch them for the first time.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is chronological:

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

And here is why. First of all, there are some spoilers in The Lord of the Rings movies, and if you watch them first, it will take away some of the drama from The Hobbit movies. Watching LOTR movies first also removes some big stakes from The Hobbit movies.

And second, The Hobbit movies, are good, but not great and amazing as are The Lord of the Rings movies. So, we were a bit disappointed with them because after seeing LOTR movies we had huge expectations. If you watch them this way, as you go, with every movie you will only be more and more rewarded.

But, it has to be said, even this kind of watching can affect on some part The Lord of the Rings movies.

Due to the Jackson additions to The Hobbit movies that directly foreshadow events in the LotR, there are some scenes in The Hobbit that ruin parts of the Lord of the Rings series, but for a first-time watcher, it is hard for you to even notice those things, and there will be much more spoilers if you go by release order.

Still, there are some problems with this order of watching, and we are coming to the best order of watching.

Best Order of Watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ Movies

This order of watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies solves the largest issue facing chronological story order: many facts that an audience member is assumed to know since The Hobbit was released after Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit is told as a flashback by old Bilbo recording his journey and while preparations are ongoing for his 111th birthday, as seen at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring.

For someone unfamiliar with the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, almost everything about that opening goes right over their heads, along with the storyline about the Necromancer and how it is the return of Sauron.

Additionally, the entire reason why Gollum’s ring is evil is never directly stated in the films but is assumed that the audience knows.

So, here is the best order of watchin The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The second issue that this order address is that if you watch the films in release order, which solves the issue with story order, it is that you are then ending with the Battle of the Five Armies. This is a rather weak film to end on (in comparison with The Lord of the Rings), plus that film does nothing to wrap up the larger story of the Rings of Power, which you got to see three films ago in what is a much more fitting end to the saga as a whole.

Furthermore, the ending of Return of the King also brings Bilbo’s story to an end, so you are then seeing the ending of his story before even knowing the full extent of it.

Conclusion

This Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit reading order is mostly made for first-time viewers or people who have watched the movies a long time ago, and want to watch them again. If you are not sure where to find them, we have a link for all six Middle-earth extended edition moviesOpens in a new tab. on Amazon.

You can watch them any way you want, I mean by release order, chronologically, or in our, BEST, way, you won’t make any mistake by choosing any of it, but you will probably enjoy them the most if you follow our watching guide.

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