Preface – I see no point in dumping on the movies in this thread. Sure there are things I wish were different (some of my favorite speeches in TT were left out; Frodo should have defied the wraiths at the Ford as someone else pointed out, etc.). However, the movies are still better than I ever dared hope, with the incredible casting, music and locations adding so much.
That said, I have read (& reread) & loved LOTR ever since I was in junior high (am now 50…). Just too many good spots in the books to choose favorites…and too many would be spoilers for others, tho the Grey Havens chapter and the ending in general are perfect .
From the 1st two movies, these are my favorite moments, tho it’s certainly hard to choose:
-Bridge at Khazad-Dum (sp?) scene and subsequent escape/grieving by the others.
-Amon Hen sequence. Aw hell, from the moment Boromir confronts Frodo til the end of the FOTR movie, the whole sequence just blows me away.
-So many scenes with Frodo - I think Elijah Wood’s performance is very powerful, and has been overshadowed by others. Seems on the message boards people either love it or hate it. The moment at Bag End where he says “what must I do” is great; so is the Weathertop sequence; and when he says at the Council that he will take the ring “though I do not know the way” – that is so powerful. He’s also very good in TTT, I think.
-Ian Mckellan’s small touches – he’s perfect as Gandalf.
-the ending of TTT, when the 3 strands of the story are shown together as Sam makes his speech.