The long-lost Lord of the Rings adaptation from Soviet Russia is a glorious fever dream
You may think you’re familiar with The Lord of the Rings, but nothing can quite prepare you for an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy text made in the Soviet Union.
The made-for-TV film first aired on Leningrad Television in 1991 and was thought to be lost to time, as first reported by The Guardian. But the station’s successor, 5TV, recently unearthed a copy from its archives, and uploaded the entire work to YouTube in twoparts.
With a running time of around 1 hour and 50 minutes, this adaptation focuses only on the first book of Tolkein’s trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, and is a riot of low-budget special effects, bizarre camera work, and Soviet mood music.