This Soviet-era adaptation of The Lord of the Rings was thought lost, but is now available for fans to enjoy. And hey, this one includes Tom Bombadil!
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has inspired many people over the years, from Ralph Bakshi to Peter Jackson to George R.R. Martin. And his influence isn’t felt only in the English world. Behind the iron curtain, Russian fans were also enjoying Tolkien’s work. Working off a Russian translation by Vladimir Muravyov and Andrey Kistyakovsky, some even created a movie adaptation that aired exactly once on Russian TV.
The adaptation, titled Khraniteli (which means “keepers” or “guardians”) aired in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union officially dissolved. It was a busy time, and many figured Khraniteli was lost forever. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for 30 years, the movie passed out of all knowledge. Until last week, when Russia’s Channel 5 uploaded it to YouTube in two parts that you can watch below:
Do I understand what the characters are saying? No. Is the budget even a hundredth of what Peter Jackson had for his movies? No. Are they using some kind of narrator? I think so. Am I still enjoying browsing this and checking out the shoestring budget Soviet versions of Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and the rest? Absolutely.
This version gets points for being one of thew few screen adaptations of The Lord of the Rings to include Tom Bombadil, a mysterious woodsman who appears early on in The Fellowship of the Ring and then never appears again, hence why most versions lift him right out. Enjoy!