A Soviet TV version of Lord of the Rings has been rediscovered after 30 years and abruptly posted on YouTube.

The 1991 made-for-TV film, Khraniteli, based on Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, is the only adaptation of his Lord of the Rings trilogy believed to have been made in the Soviet Union.

Aired 10 years before the release of the first instalment of Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, the low-budget film appears ripped from another age: the costumes and sets are rudimentary, the special effects are ludicrous, and many of the scenes look more like a theatre production than a feature-length film.

In case you’re wondering, yes, of course this is better than Peter Jackson’s adaptation. How could it not be with a fraction of the budget and the might of 90’s Soviet filmmaking? Hollywood should be thankful it never got a full international release because it would’ve swept the Academy Awards and Peter Jackson probably would’ve quit the business entirely when he realized he could never come close to this achievement.

Keep going for the full “movie” which was broken into two parts because obviously its epic scale couldn’t be contained in a single video. There aren’t any subtitles, but you can use YouTube’s auto-translated subtitles which sort of get the job done.
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