Arguably the progenitor to modern high fantasy epics, The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien have left an indelible remark on modern popular culture. It is not always an easy task to recreate such revered works on the big screen and many have tried and failed spectacularly. However, one film series that managed to go above and beyond the expectations is New Zealand filmmaking virtuoso Peter Jackson’s original ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, which set the gold standard for fantasy novel film adaptations. The trilogy kicked off with 2001’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’, which broke all sorts of box office records on its way to thirteen Academy Awards nominations, winning four of them. Today, the film is considered one of the greatest fantasy movies of all time.
The story line of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ centers around an ancient ring of great power, which is unearthed after a period of centuries. It falls upon a determined little hobbit named Bilbo Baggins to take the ring to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it before it is lost to the clutches of the Dark Lord Sauron. To aid in him in his all important quest are Gandalf, the legendary wizard; Legolas, the sure of aim Elf; Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Ranger of the North; Boromir, the valiant warrior, and fellow hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Samwise. The group must soldier on in the face of grave dangers and high stakes involving the very fate of the world itself.
If you were wondering where was ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ filmed, read on to find out everything we know.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Filming Locations
The epic adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Legolas the Elf, and their friends take place in the fantastical realm of Middle Earth. Middle Earth serves as the backdrop for many of Tolkien’s greatest works. The region lies in the north of the continent of Arda. Middle Earth is inspired by parts of our real world, including temperate England, Mediterranean Italy, deserts of North Africa, the steppes of Southern Russia. It was certainly a very critical decision to choose the appropriate filming spot for the movie since the realm of Middle Earth is as prominent of a character as any other in the series.
Peter Jackson decided to film ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ entirely in his native country of New Zealand, which basically became a home for the filming of the entire trilogy. The film also made extensive use of digital, practical and makeup effects to recreate the fantastical Middle Earth in earthly New Zealand. The effective use of these filmmaking techniques eventually won the film Academy Awards for both Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects.
Check out this picture of the cast of the film along with director Peter Jackson:
Peter Jackson with the cast before the filming of Lord of the Rings pic.twitter.com/r1fiswbEie
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) July 17, 2014
Camperdown Studios, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand
The on set filming for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ was done at the Camperdown Studios in the capital city of Wellington. The unassuming looking studio has served as the filming location for many high profile movies including the subsequent two ‘Lord of the Rings’ sequels, ‘The Lovely Bones’, ‘King Kong’, and the ‘The Water Horse’.
Various Locations Across New Zealand
On location filming for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ took place all across the enchanting New Zealand landscape.
The iconic Hobbit home of the Shire, where Bilbo and Frodo Baggins reside was filmed at the Alexander Farm in Matamata, near the Waikato area. The set was painstakingly created by planting actual plants and crops a year in advance to the filming’s commencement.
Check out these pictures posted by Sir Ian McKellen on Twitter:
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) November 2, 2017
The Three Sirs. Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Christopher Lee and Sir Peter Jackson out for a stroll, during a break filming The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). pic.twitter.com/7UGmaJfjqV
— Celebrating Film (@CelebratingFilm) February 23, 2020
The grim realm of Mordor and Mount Doom is represented by the three volcanoes in Tongariro National Park – Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe. Tongariro National Park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage SIte and is home to the three active volcanoes.
The filming location for the realm of the Dark Lord Saruman Isengard was Harcourt Park in Akatarawa Road, about twenty miles north of the city of Wellington.
Other locations which served as the filming location for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ include the South Island, where the waterfall scenes in the Elvish home of Rivendell were filmed; Otaki Gorge Road in North Island, where the Shire woods scenes were filmed; the Kepler Mire in South Island, which stands in for the Dead Marshes, and Kahurangi National Park, where the Eregion Hills were filmed.
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