Movies & TV Shows

The Top 10 Battles, Ranked

Peter Jackson’s epic film trilogy, based off the classic Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien, is renowned for staying true to the spirit of the novels. Given the track record of book-to-film adaptations, that’s impressive in its own right.

But the LOTR films are perhaps best known for their amazing battle scenes and this is one of the many things about the movies that Amazon’s new series, The Rings of Power, focuses on emulating. These face-offs between the heroes and the forces of evil keeps the audience engaged in every decision throughout. With their fast-paced action, well-choreographed stunts, and rich cinematography that superbly blends live-action with special effects, these are still some of the greatest battle scenes in film history. But which are the best of the best?


Boromir And The Fellowship Vs The Uruk Hai

Boromir’s younger brother, Faramir, is seen in a more heroic and honorable light by the conclusion of the LOTR trilogy. But despite Boromir’s attempt to snag the Ring of Power, he goes out in a blaze of glory as he valiantly fights off a horde of Saruman’s Uruk Hai warriors that are in pursuit of the Hobbits.

Though Aragorn swoops in to save the day after, it is Boromir who single-handedly fends off waves of super-powered Orcs. His daring stand to provide cover for Merry and Pippin shines as a defining moment of redemption for Boromir. There’s a distinctly human element to this fight that connects with the viewer.

Frodo And Sam Vs Gollum

Unlike most of the battle scenes throughout the LOTR trilogy, which rely on visual spectacle and elaborate choreography, this climactic final scene of the third film is an edge-fo-the-seat for different reasons. It uses raw emotion to captivate the audience, which is further intensified by the tremendously high stakes involved.

This animalistic wrestling match between Frodo, Sam, and the creature Gollum has the fate of the Ring, and thus, of Middle Earth itself riding on it. The scene is particularly gruesome and intense, punctuated by the roaring pit of molten lava beneath our heroes, and a dismembered, bloody finger.

Aragorn Vs Nazgul At Weathertop

Boromir may have gone up against a gaggle of Uruk Hai, but earlier in The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn managed to fight a group of enemies that were more ghouls than men. As these Wraiths close in on Frodo, all hope seems lost, until the ranger jumps in; sword in one hand, and a flaming torch in the other.

Aragorn’s dual-wielding of his two weapons makes for a uniquely fun skirmish, as he gives it a flurrish at the finish by tossing his torch straight into a Wraith’s face and setting them ablaze.

Riders Of Rohan Vs Warg Riders

While this battle tends to get overshadowed by the Battle of Helms Deep, this skirmish on the hilly plains of Rohan is exciting to watch for its own reasons. It’s a battle of cavalry, so there’s a thrilling sense of fast-paced action that keeps the viewer captivated.

The initial charge of the Rohirrim clashing head-on with Saruman’s band of beastly Warg Riders is an impactful way to kick off the scene. Things then devolve into chaos, as riders from both sides swiftly gallop all over the place, slashing and bashing each other off their beasts. It all ends with a fake-out death for Aragorn, finishing it on a big note.

Eowyn Vs The Witch-King Of Angmar

This scene is unique in that it’s essentially a smaller fight inside a far grander battle sequence. Though it still manages to provide plenty of thrills on its own merit. The David vs Goliath nature of Eowyn–who hasn’t had much practice in battle– going up against the supposedly un-killable Witch-King sets the stage for a dramatic showdown.

As the camera focuses on the Witch-Kings menacingly huge mace as he flails it around like a wrecking ball, it seems that the shieldmaiden of Rohan has little hope of survival. She gets some assistance from Merry, who stabs the Witch-King from behind, though her courage in protecting her King is an admirable moment for her character. These traits, along with her awesome line, “I am no man,” to close it out, make this a powerful and entertaining face-off.

Ents Vs Isengard

Given that most battles in LOTR have the heroes outnumbered and/or outmatched, it’s quite satisfying to see the side that the audience is rooting for having the upper hand in terms of strength for once. Coupled with the conclusion of the battle at Helm’s Deep, this scene was rousing and a truly epic way to close out The Two Towers.

It’s a visual treat to watch as Treebeard and his army of fellow Ents tear apart Saruman’s fortress of Isengard, especially after seeing fields of Treebeard’s dismembered tree companions. The monstrous waters of the dam washing over the smoking industrial city as the Orcs get consumed is a satisfying spectacle indeed, blending together impressive practical and digital effects.

The Fellowship Vs The Goblins In Moria

This magnificent battle sequence feels like a rite of passage for the Fellowship. After an hour of build-up and a somewhat subdued sequence of events in The Shire, Bree, and Rivendell, the audience gets to see the entire Fellowship get fully engaged in a battle together.

The scene provides an eerie, claustrophobia-inducing backdrop that makes it all the more dramatic, as the outnumbered heroes scramble to ward off goblins and a cave troll. The diversity of the cool weaponry coupled with the chaotic nature of the skirmish makes for a thrilling sequence where even the Hobbits get plenty to do.

Battle Of The Black Gate

After being nearly wiped off the map by the forces of Sauron, our heroes gather the armies of Gondor and Rohan together for an epic final battle. It’s a glorious last stand for the free peoples of Middle-earth, which serves as the diversion Frodo and Sam need to bring the Ring of Power the remainder of the way into Mount Doom.

It’s awesome to see Aragorn finally fulfill his destiny and become the leader that the world of Men needs, as he leads the charge into battle. This is both a captivatingly thrilling and emotional scene, filled with magnificent special effects, awesome action, and some of the most stirring music of Howard Shore’s score.

Battle Of The Hornburg

The scenes that comprise the grueling, intense battle at Helm’s Deep are all thrilling in their own way. Each scene showcases a different aspect of the elaborate and unique structure of the Hornburg, making the fortress feel like a character itself.

This battle sequence has just about everything: cool visual effects, sword fighting action, emotional deaths, and even an explosion worthy of a Michael Bay movie. Peter Jackson’s creative liberty in adding Elven archers to the fight adds tons of visual eye candy with the waves of arrows striking down the hordes of Orcs.

Battle Of The Pelennor Fields

Return of the King was a perfect conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy that won an almost record-breaking number of Oscars, and it’s largely thanks to enduring scenes like this.

The scene is absolutely brimming with excitement and a variety of fights, all of which are uniquely enthralling. From the goosebump-inducing charge of the huge Rohirrim army to the massive Mumakill fight, this monster battle is the real centerpiece of the movie, and it doesn’t disappoint on any level.

NEXT: Every Lord Of The Rings/Hobbit Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best (According To Metacritic)

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