The Hobbit (1977)
Created by Rankin-Bass (the group behind every claymation holiday movie you've ever seen), this animted tale takes our Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, on a wonderfully drawn (if a little slow) adventure.
The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Developed by United Artists, this Ralph Bakshi-directed animated film has nothing to do with the Rankin-Bass films, and is also weird and a total mess.
The Return of the King (1980)
Rankin-Bass is back to direct a film based (only) on the last book of the
Lord of the Rings saga, but something gets lost in the translation. Peter Jackson's Middle-earth
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
For whatever reason Peter Jackon broken
The Hobbit up into three volumes, and this first film suffers plenty from the weird divvying up.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The best of this trilogy, the second film has the focus the first film lacks, although it's still overloaded with pointless side plots and setup for the next trilogy.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
What could have been a short climax to the previous movie is blown out into its own, overlong film, making a bad capper to an already flawed trilogy.
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Now we get into the good stuff, the trilogy that showed high fantasy could work on the big screen, as we watch Frodo Baggins heda out on his own journey, to take the One Ring to Mordor to destroy it.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The party is broken and everyone has to deal with their own issues as the trial of the One Ring weigh heavy across Middle-earth.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
In the big conclusion, Frodo and Samwise head into the mountains of Mordor while the rest of the heroes have to hold the line at the last fortress standing lest the forces of Sauron overtake the world.