Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
Plot: A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
Christopher Lee is the only member of the cast and crew ever to have met J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien gave Lee his blessing to play Gandalf if there ever was a film version of Lord of the Rings. Years later, Lee campaigned for the part of Gandalf in this production, but was offered the part of Saruman instead.
Gandalf's painful encounter with a ceiling beam in Bilbo's hobbit-hole was not in the script - Ian McKellen banged his forehead against the beam accidentally, not on purpose. Peter Jackson thought McKellen did a great job "acting through" the mistake, and so kept it in.
John Rhys-Davies, who plays Gimli the dwarf, is the tallest of the actors who play members of the Fellowship. He is 6' 1".
Orlando Bloom landed the role of Legolas two days before he finished drama school.
When Pippin is being hit with the apples after asking about second breakfast, it is Viggo Mortensen himself chucking the apple at his head. They had to shoot the scene 16 times to get it just right, and Billy Boyd says he believes Mortensen enjoyed himself immensely.
It is estimated that filming of the trilogy pumped about $200,000,000 into the New Zealand economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, whose remit was to exploit all the economic opportunities the films represented.
Boromir's speech at the Council of Rivendell is read from a sheet of paper sitting on Sean Bean's lap as it was only given to him the night before.
Eight of the nine members of the Fellowship got a small tattoo of the word "nine" spelled out in Tengwar, which is the Elvish script created by Tolkien. They got it at a tattoo parlor in Wellington, New Zealand, to commemorate the experience of the movie. The ninth member, John Rhys-Davies, declined and sent his stunt double in his place. Elijah Wood's tattoo is on his lower stomach. Sean Astin and Billy Boyd have the tattoo on their ankles (to commemorate all those hours in the hobbit feet). Orlando Bloom, who plays the archer elf Legolas, has his on his forearm. His tattoo is visible during a fight scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). Ian McKellen's is on his shoulder. Dominic Monaghan's is on his shoulder. And the eighth member, Sean Bean, has his tattoo on his right shoulder. Viggo Mortensen has his tattoo on his left shoulder. It is visible on some pictures from the movie Eastern Promises (2007)
Stuart Townsend was originally cast as Aragorn, but was replaced by Viggo Mortensen after four days of shooting because Peter Jackson realized that an older actor was needed.
Sometimes when there is a close-up of the ring you can hear a gruff voice chanting. This is the voice of Sauron and the words he is chanting are, "One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them," in the language of Mordor. Whenever Frodo puts the ring on, it is also Sauron speaking to him.
Gollum looks different in this movie than in later installments, because scheduling forced those scenes to be filmed based on an early design (made before Andy Serkis was cast in the role). He is only seen in brief glimpses, partly due to this discrepancy, and partly to tease audiences before his entrance in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002). Peter Jackson (jokingly) said in the commentary on the Extended DVD that sometime in the future he would enjoy creating a 'Special Edition' (a la Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)) where this inconsistency could be fixed.
The three trolls which were turned to stone in "The Hobbit" make a cameo in the background while Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Strider/Aragorn are resting after fleeing from Weathertop/Amon Sul.
Sean Connery was, at one point, offered the role for Gandalf, but he turned it down due to reportedly "not understanding the story".
When Frodo is leaving everyone behind at the river Anduin to take up the quest on his own, divers went into the water to make sure it would be free of any sharp objects or debris for Sean Astin to run into when Sam goes chasing after him. Although they gave the OK, Sean ended up stepping on a piece of glass that completely pierced his foot from top to bottom, requiring a helicopter to transport him to the nearest hospital and several stitches.
While the rest of the Fellowship struggle through snow drifts, Legolas walks on the top of the snow. This is in line with the information given in the novel, where Elves are so lightweight that they are able to walk on top of snow.
On the film's first theatrical release, a story circulated (and was reported in the goofs section) that when Sam tells Frodo that he is now the farthest he has ever been from home, a car is visible driving by in the background (top-right corner of the screen). Arguments ensued. Some said it was smoke from a chimney, others said they saw the glint of sunlight reflected from the windscreen of a fast-moving vehicle. In the version of the film released on DVD there is definitely no car, only chimney smoke and a one-frame flash of light that could conceivably be a car, but not in any sense that could be considered a goof. Peter Jackson says (in the commentary track on the Extended DVD) that he looked at every frame on a computer and has never seen anything resembling a car and claims that it's nonsense (and certainly the original sighting remains unconfirmed by IMDb goof spotters). In the documentary of extended DVD version, editor John Gilbert says that there was a car in the background, but they thought no-one would notice it. They got rid of it in the DVD version. In a subsequent magazine interview, Jackson agreed that the car was there.
Pregnancy changed Peter Jackson's vision of "Lord of the Rings". Originally, he wanted to cast Lucy Lawless as Galadriel and Uma Thurman as Arwen. Unfortunately, both actresses became pregnant after being asked to read, and the roles were filled in by Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler, respectively. Uma Thurman was also considered for to play Eowyn in later installments, but Miranda Otto landed that role.
Viggo Mortensen became very attached to his sword during filming, while trying to fully become his character. He often carried it around with him and even had the police stop him once for having it in public.
In order to make the actors playing Hobbits and Dwarfs look noticeably smaller than humans, Wizards and Elves, roughly three techniques were used. The easiest way was to simply put some actors farther away from the camera than others, using the perspective as a way to make some appear taller than others. In other situations, a small actor was used as a scale double, with the face of the real actor digitally superimposed over the double's face. Finally, for several shots, actors were filmed separately against a green screen, and were digitally composited together into the same shot with the desired height (the final shot at the end of the Council of Elrond was filmed this way). In Middle-Earth lore, Dwarfs are slightly taller than Hobbits; luckily, John Rhys-Davies (Gimli the Dwarf) was slightly taller than the actors playing the Hobbits, so in every shot in which Gimli and a Hobbit actor appear, he did not have to be filmed separately from his fellow actors.
Liv Tyler accidentally stabbed herself in the thigh when filming the "If you want him. Come and claim him!" sequence.