A 90s Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is rediscovered — it’s as tacky as you expect

Poster for the Soviet Union version of The Lord of the Rings
Poster for the Soviet Union version of The Lord of the Rings. Pic credit: 5TV

If you can’t wait until The Lord of the Rings comes to Amazon Prime, why not check out the campy version released in the 1990s by the Soviet Union?

According to The Guardian, a previously thought lost-to-time version of The Lord of the Rings has been located and uploaded onto YouTube.

Available in two parts, the 1991 made-for-TV film runs close to two hours in length. Titled Khraniteli (which translates to mean “keepers”), it is an adaptation of The Fellowship of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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Uploaded on March 27, the first part has already been viewed more than 1 million times. However, it appears not as many are sticking around to see how it concludes with the longer second part garnering less than 230,000 views so far.

For those who want to bask in the 90s special effects and can understand Russian, you can click on the following links to view Khraniteli: Part One, Part Two.

Channel 5 Russia uploaded the Lord of the Rings gem after it was believed to be lost

After airing once on Soviet TV, the telemovie appeared to disappear from existence. In fact, some believed it would never see the light of day again.

So, when 5TV uploaded it, there was an absolute surprise from those who have previously searched for it.

“There should be a statue to the person who found and digitised this,” one fan wrote, according to The Guardian.

“It is as absurd and monstrous as it is divine and magnificent,” another person declared.

Before now, many believed that the movie wasn’t online due to censorship. However, as IndieWire points out, it was actually lost to the Leningrad Television vault until it was rediscovered by 5TV, the network that took them over.

The Soviet adaptation aired 10 years before the Peter Jackson classic version of The Fellowship of the Rings, and the difference in special effects and CGI is definitely apparent.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie poster
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie poster. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

Khraniteli is not the first Soviet adaptation based on Tolkien’s work

For those who are eager to see more Soviet interpretations of Tolkien’s work, there is a 1984 movie based on The Hobbit that was released.

It came with the rather long title of The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, Through the Wild Land, Black Forest, Over Misty Mountains, There and Back, according to a Russian website that has previously written on Tolkien’s works.

Running at just over an hour, this version does not include trolls or elves but, rather, goblin ballet dancers. It also includes some rather interesting translations of Tolkien’s famous work.

“If my charm will guess a riddle, but he doesn’t guess, my charm will eat him,” is an actual line in a conversation between Gollum and Bilbo.

Parts of this show which originally aired on the Program, Tale after Tale, can be found on YouTube.

A second movie was planned and set to air in 1991 as well but never saw the light of day. This was also an adaptation of The Hobbit and was set to be an animated version.

However, the movie was scrapped, and only six minutes now remain, which people can also view on YouTube.

The latest adaptation of The Lord of the Rings will premiere on Amazon at a later date.

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