Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
It not only stands as fantasy filmmaking on a peak of previously unscaled proportions, it now officially takes its place in the Great Hall of Movie Mythology, the place we return to again and again to share our dreams.
A movie that exceeds even the most formidable expectations without straying from its singular path.
Los Angeles Times:
As a model for how to bring substance, authenticity and insight to the biggest of adventure yarns, this trilogy will not soon, if ever, find its equal.
The thrilling conclusion to what has become the film event of our time -- the definitive screen fantasy -- features more spellbinding moments, bigger battles, more emotion and more poetry than the terrific first two films in the trilogy.
A rich, layered tale of a king, a wizard and two little hobbits whose courage saved their world.
New York Post:
Towers above its predecessors with cleaner storytelling and a more satisfying balance between terrific acting and eye-popping effects.
Wall Street Journal:
Yes, the running time is long, and yes, those many endings in a slow, dreamy coda left me feeling spent -- better spent than I can ever remember.
Ebert & Roeper:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is Peter Jackson's crowning achievement.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie,
With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson brings his epic series to a glorious finish. And in doing so, he's made the greatest movie trilogy in cinema history.
The Return Of The King ultimately proves up to the series' increasingly difficult task: making movies that echo legends, making legends that reflect life, and reconciling it all with the fact that both legends and lives all eventually meet their ends.
Not only has Jackson boldly and faithfully brought J.R.R. Tolkien's world to life, he's created the most epic and sweeping fantasy adventure of all time.
Audiences who don't have halberds to grind and who possess rear ends of steel and a taste for declamatory heroics will find themselves rewarded.
With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson delivers a decent ending to his fantasy trilogy -- actually, about 12 endings.
Standing out amid an excellent cast is Elijah Wood, stymied by tweeness in the earlier films but here convincingly developing the character of Frodo as the embodiment of valor and self-sacrifice.
This film is everything a fan could want and possibly more. For three-plus hours, it entertains, enthralls and awes.
Confirms Jackson's reputation as a kinetic director who has made author J.R.R. Tolkien's work his own -- not as plagiarist but as a visionary.
Passionate and literate, detailed and expansive... it's conceived with a risk-taking flair for old-fashioned movie magic at its most precious.
Dallas Morning News:
The director and screenwriter brings unity to a somewhat unwieldy story and handles the spectacle scenes with flourish and coherence.
Both the longest film in the series and the most confidently paced, striking an ideal balance of combat and camaraderie.
Jackson closes his trilogy with a movie far more humorous, good-natured and emotionally engaging than its predecessors.
The second installment was better than the first, and this one is best of all.
As I watched this film, an eager victim of its boundless will to astound, I found my loyal memories of the book beginning to fade.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
The word trilogy, which was handed such a black eye by the Matrix movies, is restored to its proper dignity with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Like all the other installments in the saga, The Return of the King is part of a good movie, but only mediocre on its own, full of awkward pauses and redundancies.
An experience of epic scope and grandeur, amazing emotional power, and relentless momentum.
Return of the King is such a crowning achievement, such a visionary use of all the tools of special effects, such a pure spectacle, that it can be enjoyed even by those who have not seen the first two films.
Pops your eyes, excites your senses and brings you in as close as a whisper for scenes of startling emotion.
The final chapter completes The Lord of the Rings series in thrilling style -- and restores faith in the idea that popular entertainment can soar to majestic heights.
This is the best of the three Rings movies -- more than that, it makes the others look even better.
Globe and Mail:
A movie for our time, perhaps for all time, mostly a good time and definitely a long time.
Completes the picture, magnificently so, and all honour and praise are due the visionaries behind the project.
Some story strands are crudely abbreviated; others fail to develop elements that were already well-established.
Peter Jackson's final installment in his monumental The Lord of the Rings represents that filmmaking rarity -- a third part of a trilogy that is decisively the best of the lot.
Tolkien and his representative on Earth, [Peter] Jackson, really know how to get a tale roaring down the tracks.