The first of the three ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies is released around the world today.

'The Fellowship of the Ring' stars Elijah Wood as hobbit Frodo and Sir Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf.

The other two films in the series, 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King' have already been filmed by director Peter Jackson and will be released at Christmas 2002 and 2003.

The three adaptations of author JRR Tolkien's celebrated trilogy have cost approximately $300 million to make and were shot in New Zealand over 15 months.