Russian Lord of The Rings movie from 1991 reappears on YouTube with hilariously bad special effects


A hilariously bad Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings made in 1991 has reappeared on YouTube, years after it was thought to have been lost.

Khranietli, based on the first volume in the trilogy by JRR Tolkien, was a made-for-TV film complete with terrible special effects, bizarre costumes and low budget production.

Despite being released only ten years before Peter Jackson’s first epic film in the trilogy, Khraniteli could not look more different.

They're taking the hobbits to Stalingrad! A hilariously bad Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings made in 1991 has reappeared on YouTube featuring Frodo Baggins (right) and Tom Bombadil (left)

They’re taking the hobbits to Stalingrad! A hilariously bad Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings made in 1991 has reappeared on YouTube featuring Frodo Baggins (right) and Tom Bombadil (left)

Khranietli, based on the first volume in the trilogy by JRR Tolkien, was a made-for-TV film complete with terrible special effects

Khranietli, based on the first volume in the trilogy by JRR Tolkien, was a made-for-TV film complete with terrible special effects

Khranietli, based on the first volume in the trilogy by JRR Tolkien, was a made-for-TV film complete with terrible special effects

It was reportedly aired only once on TV before it disappeared in the archives of Leningrad Television, according to The Guardian.

Fans of the English-language book and film series will recognise a number of scenes and characters in the Soviet version which has been uploaded in two parts.

The film opens with a song by composer Andrei Romanov from the rock band Akvarium to a montage of the ring, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

One commenter wrote: ‘It is as absurd and monstrous as it is divine and magnificent. The opening song is especially lovely. Thanks to the one who found this rarity.’

Bilbo (right) is seen arriving at his birthday party in the Shire with Frodo at his side in the TV film

Bilbo (right) is seen arriving at his birthday party in the Shire with Frodo at his side in the TV film

Bilbo (right) is seen arriving at his birthday party in the Shire with Frodo at his side in the TV film

The Soviet version (pictured, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins) was made only ten years before the Hollywood adaptation

The Soviet version (pictured, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins) was made only ten years before the Hollywood adaptation

The Soviet version (pictured, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins) was made only ten years before the Hollywood adaptation

Elijah Wood and Ian Holm starred as Frodo and Bilbo in the successful Peter Jackson trilogy

Elijah Wood and Ian Holm starred as Frodo and Bilbo in the successful Peter Jackson trilogy

Elijah Wood and Ian Holm starred as Frodo and Bilbo in the successful Peter Jackson trilogy

Gandalf the Grey and his questionable hair and beard and purple tunic in the Soviet version is almost unrecognisable from Sir Ian McKellen's portrayal

Gandalf the Grey and his questionable hair and beard and purple tunic in the Soviet version is almost unrecognisable from Sir Ian McKellen's portrayal

Gandalf the Grey and his questionable hair and beard and purple tunic in the Soviet version is almost unrecognisable from Sir Ian McKellen’s portrayal

The 2001 film won four Oscars and grossed $887.8 million worldwide and was lauded by fans and critics

The 2001 film won four Oscars and grossed $887.8 million worldwide and was lauded by fans and critics

The 2001 film won four Oscars and grossed $887.8 million worldwide and was lauded by fans and critics

Five minutes in, Bilbo arrives at his birthday party in the Shire with Gandalf the Grey to cheers from the hobbits as rudimentary white fireworks appear drawn on the screen, a far cry from the $93million Peter Jackson production.

When Bilbo first uses the ring, a robotic sound effect reminiscent of an early episode of Doctor Who is heard as the hobbit vanishes, to badly-acted expressions of astonishment from his audience.

Viewers later meet Smeagol as he tries on the ring for the first time and transforms into Gollum with a green painted face and what appears to be hay around his neck.

But keen fans of the series will notice the character of Tom Bombadil, a forest-dweller who was cut from the Percy Jackson films, features in the Soviet version. 

Smeagol with sideburns and an archer's hat finds the ring and dramatically places it on his finger

Smeagol with sideburns and an archer's hat finds the ring and dramatically places it on his finger

Smeagol with sideburns and an archer’s hat finds the ring and dramatically places it on his finger

As he transforms into Gollum, a shimmering silver blur appears on the screen in the low-budget special effects

As he transforms into Gollum, a shimmering silver blur appears on the screen in the low-budget special effects

As he transforms into Gollum, a shimmering silver blur appears on the screen in the low-budget special effects

Gollum then emerges on screen with a face painted dark green and a bizarre headpiece with hay coming out the back

Gollum then emerges on screen with a face painted dark green and a bizarre headpiece with hay coming out the back

Gollum then emerges on screen with a face painted dark green and a bizarre headpiece with hay coming out the back

In Peter Jackson's version, motion capture was used as Andy Serkis played the role of the creature

In Peter Jackson's version, motion capture was used as Andy Serkis played the role of the creature

In Peter Jackson’s version, motion capture was used as Andy Serkis played the role of the creature

Few Russians knew about the existence of the film which was thought to be lost until Leningrad Television’s successor 5TV posted it on YouTube last week. 

It has already gained more than 800,000 views in days. 

World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication, said: ‘Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades.’

There are few other adaptations or translations of Lord of the Rings in the Soviet Union, with some believing it was censored due to its tale of an alliance of men fighting a totalitarian power.   

Few Russians knew about the existence of the film which was thought to be lost until Leningrad Television's successor 5TV posted it on YouTube last week

Few Russians knew about the existence of the film which was thought to be lost until Leningrad Television's successor 5TV posted it on YouTube last week

Few Russians knew about the existence of the film which was thought to be lost until Leningrad Television’s successor 5TV posted it on YouTube last week

It was reportedly aired only once on TV before it disappeared in the archives of Leningrad Television

It was reportedly aired only once on TV before it disappeared in the archives of Leningrad Television

It was reportedly aired only once on TV before it disappeared in the archives of Leningrad Television 

Fans of the English-language book and film series will recognise a number of scenes and characters in the Soviet version

Fans of the English-language book and film series will recognise a number of scenes and characters in the Soviet version

Fans of the English-language book and film series will recognise a number of scenes and characters in the Soviet version

World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication, said: 'Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades'

World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication, said: 'Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades'

World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication, said: ‘Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades’

Peter Jackson's films proved more successful in Russia after they were dubbed into an expletive-laden version

Peter Jackson's films proved more successful in Russia after they were dubbed into an expletive-laden version

Peter Jackson’s films proved more successful in Russia after they were dubbed into an expletive-laden version

There are few other adaptations or translations of Lord of the Rings in the Soviet Union

There are few other adaptations or translations of Lord of the Rings in the Soviet Union

There are few other adaptations or translations of Lord of the Rings in the Soviet Union

The first clandestine Soviet translation of the Fellowship of the Ring appeared in 1966, while fans had to wait until 1982 for the first published translation.

The Two Towers and The Return of the King were not released until many years later. 

Leningrad Television made another low-budget adaptation of The Hobbit in 1985 featuring ballet dances in a version titled The Fantastic Journey of Mister Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit.

The version was believed to be the only finished Tolkien adaptation made during the Soviet Union. 

Peter Jackson’s films proved more successful in Russia after they were dubbed into an expletive-laden version.   



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