All of us know that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be released this year. Some people know that it will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the publishing of The Hobbit, but less people know that 35 years ago, in 1977, was released an animated movie titled The Hobbit!
This movie was produced by Ranking/Bass Productions, and it was created as a television movie, though it was pretty expensive: 3 million dollars! This movie is of course based on the Book, and of course, since it's running time is only 77 minutes, several parts of the Book are cut off, and some situations are changed, for example, there is no mention of Beorn whatsoever, or of the Arkenstone. Even Elrond becomes the first bearded Elf in Middle-earth! The site Tolkien Gateway has counted 36 differences with the Book itself, among them being that Sting always glows, and that the Dwarves don't find the orcs at the entrance of the tunnel: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_Hobbit_(1977_film). Also you can find more detailed information about the technical movie facts at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077687/.
The movie is not perfect, though it is enjoyable, specially for children. I think it would have been very nice if I had the chance to watch it when I was a little kid, though it would have totally spoiled the Book for me, so thinking it through, it was better I discovered its existence only some months ago. What would have been incredibly good was to have read The Hobbit 15 years ago!
This site http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/tolkien/hobbit.html has screenshots of the characters appearing in the movie, I share some with you, so you can have a feeling of the atmosphere of this film, I must admit that the Orcs, the Trolls and especially the Wood-elves are indeed very horrible! It's interesting to notice the difference ideas they had for all these characters!
Elrond, the bearded Elf
Gollum (who looks like a frog)
The incredibly awful Elf-king
So maybe as a preview for this year's most amazing movie, we should watch this first version, that happens was released in 1977, one of the best years for all Tolkien fans, since it was the year The Silmarillion was first published!