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The Hobbit VHS cover

The 1977 Rankin/Bass animated film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit".

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A Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22

  • Sep 1, 2011
Yes, it's true that while the Rankin/Bass animated film based on the original version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is rather light family-friendly fare, it is also true that The Hobbit as a novel was fairly light and adventurous in tone. The book wasn't meant to be this colossal epic like The Lord of the Rings. It had humble beginnings and I think the whimsy and modesty of the book comes through in this charming animated film.
This film has often been maligned by Tolkien scholars and hardcore fans of the novel for abridging the story and leaving out key characters and events. There are some who accused the film of being "too cute", of being "Disney-fied", others complain about the use of contemporary folk music in the soundtrack ,or say that the animation style was too "Japansese-y".

Personally, I think that the film does succeed as an adaptation of a children's book as it does appeal to children and it does keep all of the major characters (except Beorn) and themes from the novel intact.
As a musical fantasy, I think the film works well within both genres, and it's especially good considering that it was a made-for-TV film. The animation is certainly of a very high quality.
The music, while anachronistic, helps to set the mood for the film and truly the songs are very good.  Beorn's absence from the story was a shame, but I can see the logistical reasons for leaving him out (not dissimilar to leaving Tom Bombadil out of LotR). The depiction of Smaug is quite memorable and iconic too.
I also love the voice casting here. Orson Bean makes a terrific Bilbo and John Huston is beyond superb as Gandalf.
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September 06, 2011
Thanks again for posting a comment on my content while not giving thumbs. It's good to see that you don't take competition on the site too seriously.
September 01, 2011
Hm...I couldn't really get into this one. It was alright, perhaps I'll re-visit one day.
September 01, 2011
Watch it when you're ten years old and it's a masterpiece. Watch it twenty years later and it's a little slow. LOL! But it's a hell of a lot better than what's likely to happen next year. Bifur actually has an axe in his head throughout the film. WTF?!
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About this movie


Glenn Yarbrough's Intro Song (original)

The Hobbit is a 1977 animated musical television special created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien and was first broadcast on NBC in the United States on Sunday, November 27, 1977, just three days after Thanksgiving.


According to Arthur Rankin, Jr., the visual style of the film took its basic cue from the early illustrations of Arthur Rackham. Rankin further hoped that, with this particular film, he would add nothing to the story that wasn't in the original.[1]

The story's hero, Bilbo Baggins, was voiced by Orson Bean, backed up by John Huston as the voice of Gandalf. Otto Preminger was the voice of the Elvenking, Richard Boone grumbled and bellowed as the dragon Smaug, Cyril Ritchard spoke for Elrond, Hans Conried voiced Thorin Oakenshield, and the comedian and performance artist Brother Theodore was chosen for the voice of Gollum. Rankin-Bass icon Paul Frees co-starred as Bombur; Don Messick portrayed Balin and the Lord of the Eagles; John Stephenson did double voice duty, first as the charming and proud archer Bard; then as Dori, the third major member of Thorin's Company; in addition, they and Jack DeLeon supplied the voices of the eight other members of Thorin's Company as well as the goblins. Thurl Ravenscroft performed the singing voices of the goblins.

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Genre: Family
Release Date: November 27, 1977
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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