I know, I know. There are three LOTR movies and to put them all together as one would be cheating. I agree. But you’re forgetting the cardinal rule: it’s my list. If you want to get particular about it, I would say the The Fellowship of the Ring is the strongest entry in the trilogy, but this is not Star Wars: Episodes I-III. This is one story and one vision being created at one time. They were just released separately, that’s all.
#8 is low on any list, but of all the films on here this is the one that defines movies. Nevermind redefining — people throw that word out there all the time with little regard for what it means — The Lord of the Rings is a prime, if not the prime example of what movies are, can be, and do.
The expansive nature of the land and the way the camera captures it, the music being a character in the film (see #9). In the 1980s, we had Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future and Batman. What do we have now for bombastic music scores? What film do you go see and then can’t get the main title track out of your head? It doesn’t happen any more, but Howard Shore pulled it off with LOTR.
The performances are amazing, the cinematography is stunning and (spoilers) if you don’t cry at “You bow to no one” at the end of The Return of the King, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe try The Hottie and the Nottie?