The Rankin/Bass Production of The Hobbit

In 1977 Rankin/Bass produced an animated movie based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit. The movie can be rented on video tape, and if you enjoy these images, then you may also enjoy the movie. The movie is geared toward younger viewers, but Tolkien lovers will also find parts they can appreciate.

The Hobbit movie is available as one of the "Warner Brothers Classic Tales." The ISBN for the movie is 0-7907-2771-4. It can usually be rented through Blockbuster Video stores, as well as others. Rankin/Bass also produced another "Classic Tales" movie: The Return of the King, which is based on the third book of the Trillogy. The Return of the King is nowhere nearly as good as the R/B production of The Hobbit. It strays badly from Tolkien's work, taking liberties with characters and the story line. This is not true of The Hobbit, which is much closer to the original text. Adults may be annoyed with "The Return of the King"; however, I own a copy and do occasionally watch it. The ISBN number for The Return of the King is 0-7907-2774-9, and it too can be found at Blockbuster Video.

Another Tolkien-related movie, and one I highly recommend, is Ralph Bakshi's wonderful, if incomplete production of The Lord of the Rings. Sadly, Bakshi's LOTR movie ends at the battle of Helm's Deep. However, it is such a fine production that it is worth owning and watching -- if you can find it. Unfortunately, it is out of print. OK, maybe I'm biased. I've heard other people say they didn't like it. I like it because the animation is superb (what else would you expect from Bakshi?), and because it is true to Tolkien's work, both textually and in the personalities of the characters (unlike the R/B Return of the King). In my opinion, the only problem with Bakshi's film is that it ends too soon. The ISBN for Bakshi's LOTR is 0-7820-0195-5, and it is available through Blockbuster Video as well. Bakshi also produced "Wizards", which, although it is unrelated to Tolkien's works, is nonetheless a compelling work in the theme of good vs. evil. I highly recommend it.

My Scans of the Rankin Bass Hobbit Booklet

All the "rbh" images in the series of pages which follow are copyrighted by Rankin Bass, 1977.

I scanned these images from a special edition booklet which came with the soundtrack album for the movie. Yes, a vinyl album, remember? Actually, it was a two album set, and it included a page of four special iron-on decals. I found the iron-on decals intact, and I have scanned them as well.

Many people ask me how they can obtain the soundtrack. I don't know where the original one can be found. It is certainly a collectors item. If you want to hear it, just rent the movie. I can attest to the fact that the soundtrack I own is identical to the audio track of the movie. You could dub the movie onto audio tape and that is equivalent to the soundtrack. You do so at your own risk, however, since the movie is still copyrighted.

The booklet was large format (12" x 12"), and I was forced to scan portions of pages and isolate the individual images. Sometimes there is text under or next to a picture, and sometimes the text was physically separate from the picture and I scanned it separately. All but a few of the images are their original sizes. I have reduced the largest images to be only 6" wide so they would be less than 200KB. All the images except one are less that 200K. Even so, downloading the entire sequence will require about 6MB of data transfer -- so people with slow modems should be able to read the book at about the same pace as the images will be arriving. :-)

I hope you enjoy these scans. Please send any feedback to

Images Available

The following pages of images are available. If you want to follow the whole story from front to back, choose the first link below.

If you are interested in other images related to Tolkien's works, then you should definietly check out my scans of the Hildebrandt Brothers' fabulous artwork. Honestly, the Rankin/Bass images you find above pale in comparison to the works of the brothers Hildebrandt. Many people (including me) believe that the Hildebrandt Brothers artwork is the definitive illustrations for Tolkiens' work and are just as precious in their own right. The brothers have long since moved beyond Tolkien-related art; however, they have left a legacy that will perhaps never be matched. You simply must check these out if you love Tolkien's works.

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