The Hobbit (1977 film)
|Director||Arthur Rankin Jr.|
|Released||27 November 1977|
|Bilbo Baggins||Orson Bean|
|Gandalf the Grey||John Huston|
|The Elvenking||Otto Preminger|
|Lord of the Eagles||Don Messick|
|The Great Goblin||John Stephenson|
The film was produced and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass and adapted for the screen by Romeo Muller; with Rankin taking on the additional duties of production designer, and Bass adapting some of Tolkien's original lyrics, as well as contributing, along with Maury Laws, an original theme song, "The Greatest Adventure (The Ballad of the Hobbit)," sung by Glenn Yarbrough.
The same team, along with Bean, Huston, Theodore, Frees, Messick, and Stephenson returned for the 1980 adaption of The Return of the King.
- "Bilbo's Visitors" (4:07)
- "Outlining the Adventure" (3:53)
- "Credits" (2:20)
- "Troublesome Trolls" (3:35)
- "Lonely Mountain Map" (3:06)
- "Elves of Rivendell" (3:04)
- "Goblin Attack" (3:33)
- "Gollum's Riddler" (6:20)
- "Follow the leader" (4:28)
- "Funny Little Things" (2:12)
- "Flown to Mirkwood" (2:36)
- "Forest Diary" (3:04)
- "Spider's Web" (1:19)
- "Sting Strikes" (2:00)
- "Wood Elves" (2:50)
- "Laketown" (2:04)
- "Secret Doorway" (2:09)
- "Smaug's Lair" (4:14)
- "Weak Spot" (4:31)
- "Black Arrow's Mark" (3:08)
- "Treasure Clash" (2:59)
- "Five Armies Meet" (4:42)
- "Farewell, Thorin" (2:07)
- "Only Beginning" (1:50)
- "End Credits" (0:56)
The movie was first broadcast on NBC in the United States, on November 26, 1977, and was tailored to children: the story was done in a very light-hearted style, and featured a lot of songs (most of which came from the book). Much of the story was simplified and several key parts are omitted.
The art is both praised and criticized. Some reviewers regard it as a strong point of the movie. Inaccuracies in the depictions draws a lot of criticism from Tolkien fans: Gandalf has a hood instead of a hat, despite clearly being described in the book; Gollum looks like some sort of frog-creature (though the book does describe his large eyes and webbed feet); Elrond has a beard despite the book outright saying that Elves do not have beards; the Wood-elves, rather than being the "fair folk," are even uglier than the goblins (and the Elvenking has a thick German accent for some reason); Smaug is extremely hairy for being a dragon.
Differences from the books
While the movie is quite faithful to the story, it is at its core still a child-oriented musical adaptation, and therefore not a perfect adaptation of Tolkien's novel. Most of the changes are found as omissions rather than modifications of the plot.
- All the Dwarves show up with Gandalf all at once in the film rather than coming in groups the day after Gandalf meets Bilbo and puts a mark on his door.
- The company leaves Bilbo's house on ponies, but after that the ponies are not seen until they are lost in crossing the Misty Mountains. In the book, the company rode ponies from Bag End to Rivendell.
- Bilbo is noticed by the Trolls as he sneaks up to steal some meat rather than disclosed by the Trolls' "talking" purse.
- The Dwarves flee in terror from the Trolls and are picked up one at a time instead of walking blindly into the camp and being ambushed (except for Thorin, who puts up a fight).
- Gandalf apparently has the power to make the dawn come earlier and dispatching the Trolls rather than tricking them by throwing his voice.
- The Troll cave does not have a locked door like in the book.
- Gandalf gives Thorin the Map of Thrór and the key in the troll cave rather than back at Bag End.
- Up in the mountains, there are no stone giants playing games amidst the storm.
- Gandalf is missing in the cave when the goblins emerge, rather than sleeping when it happens. The Dwarves run into the tunnel rather than being grabbed.
- The Dwarves do not fight the goblins in the tunnel.
- Bilbo specifically asked Gollum what he has in his pocket rather than muttering it aloud to himself. Gollum does not even try to guess instead of demanding three guesses. Only four riddles are said in the movie (there were ten in the book).
- Bilbo pulls the ring out of his pocket after Gollum says he's looking for his "golden ring, magical ring".
- Bilbo has no trouble getting out the back door (no goblins to sneak by or tight spots to fit through).
- Rather than meet the Wargs in the forest, the goblins come with them, riding on them and wielding torches (despite the Wargs' fear of fire in the book).
- The Great Eagles do not take the company to their eyries, but to the edge of Mirkwood, bypassing Beorn (who does not appears in the movie).
- The incident at the enchanted river, including Bombur's magical sleep, is omitted.
- The feasts of the Wood-elves are omitted (yet are referred to when the Wood-elves capture the Dwarves).
- Bilbo has to fight and kill only four spiders rather than dozens and dozens. Bilbo's sword, Sting, always glows in the movie regardless of whether goblins are nearby or not.
- Thorin is captured with the other Dwarves by the spiders and then the Wood-elves.
- There is no stop over from the journey via barrels from the Wood-elves' castle to Lake-town.
- There is no Master in Laketown; Bard the guardsman runs the city.
- The company does not make camp at the base of the mountain.
- Balin does not go with Bilbo into the secret entrance.
- Bilbo has only one audience with Smaug and the thrush is present. Bilbo orders the thrush to seek Bard to tell him of Smaug's weakness.
- The Arkenstone and all that goes with it is omitted.
- Roäc the raven is omitted. In the book, the ravens tell the Dwarves that Smaug is slain and is sent to Dáin to call for assistance. In the movie, the Dwarves wait, lost inside the Lonely Mountain for a week and it is never explained why Dáin arrives at such an opportune moment.
- The company discovers the two armies coming when they are on the doorstep rather than being warned in advance.
- Since the Arkenstone is omitted, Thorin instead loses respect for Bilbo through his supposed lack of understanding of honor and war.
- Thorin and the dwarves plan a suicidal last stand against the elves and men in a pitched battle outside the mountain and are pleasantly surprised when Dáin's army arrives.
- Ravenhill is not mentioned.
- The armies in the Battle of the Five Armies are divided differently (Bilbo counts the Goblins and Wargs as one army, the Eagles are counted as a separate army).
- The Battle of the Five Armies happens differently: notably, Beorn is not there.
- In the book, only Thorin, Fíli and Kíli die from the battle, leaving 10 survivors from Thorin's company. In the movie, Thorin, Bombur and five other unnamed dwarves are all killed. (In fact, Bombur was one of the few Dwarves in the quest known to be still alive in the days of The Lord of the Rings.) Glóin is the only other dwarf whose fate is officially revealed in the movie, as he is seen covering up Thorin with a blanket after he dies. Another dwarf (who does not clearly resemble anyone from the company) then lays Orcrist on top of Thorin's body. It's possible that this could be Dáin.
- Most of the return journey, including winter at Beorn's home, a stop at Rivendell, and digging up gold they buried by the troll camp, is omitted.
- The auction back at Bag End is omitted.
- Balin and Gandalf's visit, years later, is omitted.
It's also worth noting that at the end of the film, Gandalf reveals to Bilbo that he not only knows of the ring, but knows that it is in fact the One Ring, and foreshadows the events of The Lord of the Rings. In the books, the ring is not discovered to be the One Ring until The Fellowship of the Ring. Such an indication would lead one to believe that Rankin/Bass was always intending to do a follow-up using story elements from The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, their adaptation of The Return of the King was already in production before The Hobbit even aired.  However, it remains a mystery as to whether or not their plans for what story elements from The Lord of the Rings were originally conceived for inclusion in this follow-up were at all affected by the 1978 theatrical adaptation by Ralph Bakshi, which was also in production at that point.
|Licensed film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's works|
|The Hobbit (1966) · The Hobbit (1977) · The Lord of the Rings (1978) · The Return of the King (1980) · 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)|