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The Return of the King 20th Anniversary

Bringing the epic quest of hobbits, humans, and elves to a close, The Return of the King marked the end of a huge filming achievement. The final The Lord of the Rings film closed a long journey for actors, extras and film-workers from around Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.

Held at the refurbished Embassy Theatre, the world premiere of The Return of the King brought Wellington to a standstill with a parade that began at Parliament and featured two hundred extras in costume, and which demonstrated the growing profile of Aotearoa New Zealand’s film industry on the world stage.

Following its release, The Return of the King went on to break records at the box office and the Academy Awards, winning in every category it was nominated for (11 in total). Oscars for visual effects, costume design, and make-up illustrated the skills of workers at Wellington’s Wētā Workshop and Wētā FX. As Nancy Swarbrick notes in Te Ara – The Encylopedia of New Zealand, the film’s stunning financial and critical success further increased international interest in Aotearoa New Zealand as a place to make big budget movies.

Take a look at our commemorative stamps also available for this issue. Click here.

The Return of the King 20th Anniversary

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