LORD OF THE RINGS: Counting Down The 20 Best Moments From Peter Jackson's Iconic Trilogy (#20 - #11)

With a new The Lord of the Rings TV series on the horizon, we're recapping our favourite moments from Peter Jackson's trilogy, and in the first part of this feature, we count down from #20 through to #11...

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The Lord of the Rings trilogy kicked off in 2001 and ended shortly after in 2003, but the impact it had on the world of filmmaking was massive. Director Peter Jackson's movies ended up winning 17 out of its 30 Academy Award nominations, and grossed nearly $3 billion at the worldwide box office. 

Now, ahead of Prime Video's prequel series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power this September, we've decided to look back at the best moments in The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and Return of the King, counting down the twenty standout sequences from a trilogy that boasted dozens of them. 

Here, you'll find entries #20 - #11, and we'll be back on Thursday with #10 - #1 in the second part of this breakdown (it should probably go without saying that spoilers follow for each of the classic movies). 

The Lord of the Rings still hasn't been rivalled for many film fans, and Jackson definitely set a high bar for blockbuster filmmaking. So, to check out these best moments, hit the "Next" button below!

20. Sam vs. Shelob

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The Two Towers novel ended on a cliffhanger with this fight, but Peter Jackson's decision to move this to the beginning of The Return of the King made it no less exciting and intense. With Sam under the belief that Frodo has been killed, he shows true courage by taking on the terrifying giant spider Shelob armed only with a defiant roar and Sting.

Amazing special effects really brought this sequence to life in a wonderful manner, and it’s one of the many moments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy which makes you want to stand up and cheer as Sam overcomes the monster, takes the One Ring, and vows to complete Master Frodo’s mission before discovering that he’s still alive.

19. A Glimpse Of Gollum

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For fans of the novel, this was a huge deal. Knowing what was to come with Gollum made catching just the briefest glimpse of him really exciting, but even if you had no idea who he was at this point, director Peter Jackson teased him in the perfect way.

This was only a very small moment in The Fellowship of the Ring, but handled with enough significance that it was memorable and still had a pretty big impact on proceedings.

This was vital, especially as he made his full on debut in the next movie and is such an important character in the series. Little did we know what an amazing creation he would end up being after seeing him here, though. 

18. Boromir's Death

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Jokes about Sean Bean being killed off in everything he’s in aside, the fact that Jackson made us care so much for a character we should have hated by rights says a lot about him as a filmmaker.

After giving in to his desire for the ring and driving Frodo away, Boromir makes up for his mistake by giving his life for Merry and Pippen by heading into battle against the fearsome horde of Uruk-Hai. Despite being hit with arrow after arrow, he fights on before finally falling.

This was an important moment for Aragorn in some ways too as it led to one of the movie’s best fight scenes and also helped in part to restore faith in his fellow man.

17. The Green Dragon

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In The Fellowship of the Ring, we saw Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin having a merry old time in The Green Dragon, but just how much the four Hobbits had been through in the course of the trilogy was evident when they revisited their old haunt in The Return of the King.

Back to where they started, no one knew of their heroic actions, and this solemn coming together showed that they were all forever changed regardless of whether it was for the better or worse.

Perhaps the best part of this scene was the fact that Sam finally had the courage to speak to the girl of his dreams who he would later end up marrying. Go Sam!

16. Aragorn's Coronation

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It’s hard to remember exactly how many endings The Return of the King had, but this was easily one of the best. With the epic battles at an end, Middle Earth had finally found peace, and Aragorn embracing his destiny and becoming king of Gondor just felt right.

That wasn’t the only rewarding moment here however, as we saw him make a queen out of Arwen (definitely the right choice) and in a particularly touching scene, thanking the four Hobbits who played such a huge role in saving Middle Earth.

This was a beautifully shot sequence, and a much-needed epilogue after the action-packed third act and the movie’s many casualties.

15. "For Frodo."

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Going back to just before the coronation, this was yet another rousing moment in The Return of the King, and a good example of why the movie was so deserving of that Academy Award.

Most movies would have thrown in a long-winded and rousing speech here to ramp up excitement levels before the big final battle, but Jackson instead focused on the huge faced by our heroes in a very different and far superior way. After seeing what they have in front of them, Aragorn tearfully turning to his friends and simply saying "For Frodo," was just perfect.

An emotional and sweet moment which is definitely one of the franchise’s best.

14. Attack On Isengard

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The Battle of Helm’s Deep (which we’ll get to in the second part of this feature) was obviously amazing, but it does in some ways overshadow the fantastic attack on Isengard a little later in the movie.

There was obviously a lot of controversy about the fate of Saruman not being shown in the theatrical version of The Two Towers, but seeing the Ents go to war with the Orcs was still extremely satisfying and enjoying. As Isengard is flooded and the evil wizard is defeated, this could almost be described as a feel good moment in an otherwise very dark movie.

Merry and Pippin’s involvement in proceedings obviously makes it even better!

13. Flight to the Ford

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Some fans didn’t appreciate the role Arwen had in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy’s romantic subplot, but even they can’t argue the effectiveness of this scene. Proving her worth from the moment she was introduced, the sight of Arwen racing to safety while protecting Frodo from the fearsome Nazgul still makes for edge of your seat viewing.

Despite not being that far into The Fellowship of the Ring, it was hard not to feel as if Frodo was in some serious danger here in what is a really beautifully shot and very frightening sequence. The sight of several huge horses made out of water crashing down is another standout moment for the Elven beauty.

12. "You Shall Not Pass!"

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This is without a doubt one of the trilogy’s most iconic moments, even if its impact has worn off over the years as a result of the many parodies and recreations.

Up until this point, everything and everyone still felt rather safe, so taking out the seemingly invulnerable leader of the Fellowship and shifting that weight to Aragorn’s shoulders really helped to shake things up and make it clear that even the most beloved and powerful characters might not make it.

Of course, Gandalf would later return (his epic battle with the Balrog wouldn’t be seen until The Two Towers), but that doesn’t mean this one won’t still send shivers down your spine!

11. Eowyn Kills The Witch King

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The final battle in The Return of the King was truly epic, and though we would have no trouble devoting an entire feature to great moments from that alone, this stands out as a favourite.

The Witch King appeared to be an unbeatable foe, especially with a prophecy promising that no man can stop the ancient monster. What about a brave woman and a Hobbit? Despite clearly being terrified, the brave Eowyn stands her ground against the leader of the Nazgul, and it’s with Merry’s well-time assistance that she’s able to take down the Witch King once and for all.

And who can forget that brilliant "I am no man!" line? Just perfect!

Make sure to check back here on Tuesday for the second part of this feature recapping the 10 best moments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as we think you'll be surprised by our picks!

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