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The first book in the Lord of the Rings series received a Soviet Union-made adaptation that has been found after 30 years

By Ale Russian
April 07, 2021 02:05 PM
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Soviet TV Adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings”
Credit: Пятый канал Россия/YouTube

A long-lost Lord of the Rings adaptation has been found — and it's available to watch for free!

Back in 1991, a made-for-TV adaptation based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring hit the small screen in the Soviet Union. The film, titled Khraniteli, is the only adaptation of the book trilogy believed to have been made in the Soviet Union, according to The Guardian.

It only aired once and was subsequently not available to watch since. That's until Leningrad Television's successor, 5TV, took ownership of the title and recently uploaded it on YouTube, making it free to stream.

Uploaded into two parts, the first part of the movie has amassed more than 1.2 million views, with over 200,000 views for the second part.

That's likely due to the bizarre nature of the film, which now reads like a bad musical theater adaptation with faulty effects and so-bad-they're-hilarious costumes.

The movie also counts on a score from Andrei Romanov of the rock band Akvarium. The movie opens with a song, as a character sings a rough translation of the origins of the rings of power at the center of the story.

One commenter on the first part of the movie aimed to explain the adaptation, telling "the foreign people in the comments" that the movie is a "theater stage play recorded in the format of tv film. Such kind of format was popular in Soviet Union."

Another remarked on the low quality of the project, filmed only years before Peter Jackson's epic, Oscar-winning trilogy of films.

"It's almost impossible to believe this is only 10 years older than the Hollywood version," said one viewer.