The Hobbit (Dramatized)

Narrated by: An Ensemble Cast
Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2,454 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Here is the original American full dramatization of The Hobbit, as broadcast on National Public Radio.

Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who loves the comforts of home, reluctantly joins a company of dwarves on a journey to recover plundered gold from a fierce dragon. It's a tale of high adventure and astonishing courage, and a magical prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

They're precious! Listen to all of our classic NPR dramatizations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatized)
  • The Two Towers (Dramatized)
  • The Return of the King (Dramatized)
  • ©The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust (P)1979, 1994 HighBridge Company

    Critic Reviews

    "The best available." ( Booklist)
    "This collection...is a masterpiece." ( The Courier)
    "Spirited productions...stirring music." ( Washington Post)

    What members say

    Average Customer Ratings

    Overall

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • 5 Stars
      1,414
    • 4 Stars
      541
    • 3 Stars
      262
    • 2 Stars
      129
    • 1 Stars
      108

    Performance

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • 5 Stars
      1,080
    • 4 Stars
      384
    • 3 Stars
      206
    • 2 Stars
      95
    • 1 Stars
      117

    Story

    • 4.5 out of 5 stars
    • 5 Stars
      1,396
    • 4 Stars
      307
    • 3 Stars
      106
    • 2 Stars
      46
    • 1 Stars
      43

    Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars

    Many years of enjoyment

    I was very surprised by some of the reviews I saw for this audio book. I have the entire series and have loved them since I was seven or so years old (now 22). My dad used to play them for me when I was going to sleep at night--I would be carried off into the land of hobbits within seconds of starting the story, and soon I would be sound asleep. It was also good for keeping out the monsters under the bed...the the ring wraiths are rather scary.

    I can see why some of the voices might annoy some first time listeners, but for children or those still light at heart and willing to really give it a chance, I think it is a wonderful way to enjoy the book when you don't have that much time.

    If you don't like the American accents , think they sound too much like cartoon characters, or just want the unabridged version, I suggest the CD set read by "Rob Inglis." He does a wonderful job of reading the story, and should satisfy those of you who are not looking for what is offered here.

    As a final note, Gandolf's voice is probably one of the deepest, so if you can't stand the first bit, you probably won't like the rest of it.

    71 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars

    Can't go wrong with The Hobbit

    The Hobbit is indeed a classic, and I have listened to different versions. This one was just as good as the rest. Seriously, the people saying that the accents have to be British are missing the point. The Hobbit was not in England! It's in a mythical land that doesn't exist. That being said, the story is wonderful and if you haven't gotten a chance to read or listen to it, this would be a great way to do it.

    21 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars

    A childhood favorite.

    The two subtracted stars aren't so much because of the American pronunciations as the fact that due to the use of the same actor for multiple parts in many cases, it could sometimes become hard to follow who was speaking. This was, however, my first exposure to the world of Middle-Earth and so I'll forever have a soft spot for it. This was the version my school library had available to check out back when I was in forth grade and my teacher at the time thought it would be good for me to listen to. Not only that but when I eventually heard it I found the BBC's radiodrama more anoying than anything else, and usually I prefer the BBC to other versions. THeir Lord of the Rings is in many ways far superior to the NPR version, though the NPR version does remain more faithful in many ways. The same can be said for the two productions of The Hobbit. I really didn't like the BBC's version of The Hobbit, released back in 1968. I found the music, despite being authentically medieval and played on medieval instruments, to be very annoying. It would have been better if the Sackbut hadn't been featured so heavily. But I also couldn't get into the actors either. In that one regard I felt the NPR version superior, though it would have rated higher if they had used more actors so that one person wasn't playing two or more parts. But I liked Gail Chugg's narration and his portrayal of Gollum, and Bernard Mayes still remains a good Gandalf in my book. I also liked the music in this production, particularly their version of the Dwarves' song, which becomes more or less the main theme throughout the program. The one in the BBC version just grated on my ears. All in all though I've always found this version to be a very enjoyable listen. The acting, though a bit confusing sometimes (and yes, in some cases inappropriate), is good and the narration and music really help to tell an old favorite tale with new life.

    13 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars

    Great Story Horrible Voice Actors

    All I need say is Elves sounding like people who just sucked a tank of helium - absolutely horrible! don't waste your money PLEASE! This story is a classic many parts skipped over & just horribly acted. This is the American NPR recording I think. AWFUL! They've ruined a great book! So sad! Don't know if BBC version any better but will see if available so I can compare. Again, PLEASE DON'T BUY THIS VERSION!!! YUCK! Lady Anne ^^ö^^ (Jessica M. Kandal, PhD)

    5 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars

    Hobbit Play

    Overall, the "audio play" was enjoyable. However, there were times when trying to follow which character was speaking was quite confusing. Since I have read the book in the past, I was a bit disappointed by the length and how much it was abridged.

    I would have preferred an unabridged book just read by a single performer. Unfortunately that was not available.

    26 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars

    Terrible

    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This is a fantastic story written by one of the best ENGLISH writers ever. This AMERICAN dramatization lacks every nuance and mastery of the original wording and language it was written in. And, Thorin - never in all my readings of this book (which are many) did I ever imagine Thorin to sound like Peter Fonda a la War and Peace. The actor, while likely fine in other roles - maybe a western?, has no affinity for the story or the character. And, he lacks any finesse in his tongue to wrap himself around the proper pronunciation of many of Tollkien's well-named places, characters or the elven or dwarfish words. In his mouth; words, the character, and the story actually sound painful to the ear (you know they are painful for him to say). The character sounds lazy and bored. And Thorin is neither; he's likely the most complex character in the book as he wrestles with his own pride, his affections for his fellow travelers, and what it means to lead this group. And, Bilbo, rather than sounding mostly innocent, ends up just sounding like an idiot. This could have been so good with the right cast - with an all-british cast. Instead, it's horrible and really not worth the money.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Tolkien's original story. Read that, you'll get more out it.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of An Ensemble Cast?

    Ben Kingsley, Hugo Weaving, Dan Stevens

    Do you think The Hobbit (Dramatized) needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    NO - No please, not with this ensemble cast; please don't make anyone else suffer through this again. If you create a follow-up book or Hobbit with an ensemble cast, make sure it's an all-British cast that's been classically trained. One that can pronounce names and places correctly and that understands the evolution of these characters and brings that to the reading and their voices. Most American's really lack the finesse in language to tackle most English or foreign readings - we just aren't trained that way. And leave all Peter Fonda wannabes and sound-alikes out. That has it's own place and it's not in Tolkien.

    3 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars

    Levi age 10

    This drama sensation is different from the book because you don't need to say "he said" even though, I liked it. It makes the story more interesting with the music. It was great.

    7 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars
    • A
    • 08-21-18

    Grew up with this...

    I grew up listening to this dramatization of The Hobbit on cassette. Even though I was 10, I knew it was kind of terrible, but it was the only version of the Hobbit we had to listen to. The voices aren't that great, the sound effects are annoying, and the singing is dreadful, but I love this dramatization. Maybe because of the nastolgia, maybe because of the simplicity and cheesiness. I've also noticed that my eight year old will listen more attentively to this version than the unabridged version I also have from audible. So overall I would recommend this dramatized version of The Hobbit, especially since I don't have to flip cassettes over and change them out like I had to do 20 years ago :)

    2 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars

    New Hobbit Movie coming out...

    Classic, this would have been a great radio show back in the day. I remember watching the cartoon when I was little. This rings back a lot of goof memories!!!

    2 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars

    Entertaining

    What did you love best about The Hobbit (Dramatized)?

    I enjoyed the dramatic narratives. The different voices and tones brought life to the story.

    What does An Ensemble Cast bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The varying dramatic acting-out of the characters made me believe the story was as I imagined it if I were reading it myself.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The book is too long to get through in one sitting. The convenient factor for the audible version of this book was being able to do other things I needed/wanted to do while still being able to enjoy the story.

    1 person found this helpful