In the Second Age of Middle Earth, the Dark Lord Sauron forges the One Ring from Mount Doom. An army of men and elves battle Sauron's army, culminating in Isildur destroying Sauron. The ring corrupts Isildur, who refuses to destroy it, and he is subsequently killed by Orcs. Thousands of years later, the ring is recovered by the creature Gollum, but abandons him and is taken by a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.
Sixty years later, an elderly Bilbo is visited by Galdalf the Grey, and he reveals he intends to leave to stay with the elves at Rivendell, and leave his inheritance to his nephew, Frodo. Galdalf convinces Bilbo to leave the ring for Frodo, but discovers its origins and warns Frodo that Sauron's spirit had survived, and that Gollum had revealed the whereabouts of Bilbo's home to Sauron's forces. Gandalf forces Frodo's friend, Samwise Gangee, to accompany Frodo to the village of Bree. Gandall goes to Isengard to speak with the wizard Saruman the White, and discovers that Sauron has unleashed Ringwraiths to retrieve the ring. Saruman, who has aligned himself with Sauron, imprisons Gandalf on the roof of Orthanc.
Frodo and Sam, accompanied by their friends Merry and Pippin, arrive in Bree, and are joined by Strider, a ranger. While being escorted to Rivendell, they are attacked by the Ringwraiths, and Frodo is stabbed with a morgul blade. Strider's lover, Arwen, escorts Frodo to Rivendell, where he is healed by her father, Lord Elrond. Galdalf, who had escaped with the assistance of an eagle, arrives at Rivendell. Elrond holds a council to determine the fate of the ring, and Frodo offers to destroy it at Mount Doom. Frodo forms the Fellowship of the Ring, and is accompanied by Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, the elf Legolas, the dwarf Gimli, Boromir of Gondor, and Strider, who is truly Aragorn, a descendant of Isildur. Before departing, Bilbo gives Frodo his sword Sting as a weapon.
The Fellowship arrives in the Mines of Moria, where they discover that the dwarves had been massacred by Orcs. Sauron's forces attack, but the Fellowship escapes. However, Gandalf is dragged into a chasm by a Balrog. The Fellowship carries on to Lothlorien, home of Galadriel and Celeborn. Galadriel explains to Frodo that one of his friends will try to steal the ring. Afterwards, as the Fellowship sail to Parth Galen, Boromir attempts to take the ring, prompting Frodo to carry on alone. The Fellowship are attacked by the Uruk-hai, formed by Saruman, and Merry and Pippin are captured while Boromir is fatally wounded. Aragorn helps Boromir find peace as he passes away.
Sam reunites with Frodo, explaining that he must follow him as part of a promise he made to Galdalf. As Frodo and Sam travel to Mordor, the remaining members of the Fellowship set off to rescue Merry and Pippin.
- Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins.
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey.
- Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.
- Liv Tyler as Arwen Evenstar.
- Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
- John Rhys-Davies as Gimli.
- Sean Bean as Boromir.
- Christopher Lee as Saruman.
- Billy Boyd as Peregrin "Pippin" Took.
- Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck.
- Sean Astin as Samwise "Sam" Gamgee.
- Andy Serkis as Gollum.
- Hugo Weaving as Lord Elrond.
- Cate Blanchett as Galadriel.
- Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins.