I have been having a Lord of the Rings 'marathon' and I noticed that when the Uruk'Hai have their limbs cut off they do not bleed. Was this just a production error or is there an actual reason?

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    Because lightsabers are so hot they immediately cauterise any... sorry, wrong franchise. Mar 11, 2017 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


There is no canonical reason for this in the books nor is there a canonical reason for this mentioned in any of the special features. I actually never noticed this, myself. Given the lack of a canonical reason for Uruk'Hai failing to spray blood when they are cut mentioned anywhere, I'm going to assert that it logically follows that this is an artifact of production. In other words, canonically this is incorrect as they should be bleeding.

It's probably a production choice, as @Martha suggests in the comments below, in order to avoid an R rating. It could be a choice to reduce costs associated with the special effect of spraying blood. It also could be a production error, but that's rather unlikely given that this was the franchise of the studio by virtue of the amount of money invested before it ever saw a theatre.

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    Or quite possibly a production choice, for example to help prevent an overly-restrictive rating.
    – Martha
    Apr 16, 2012 at 22:23
  • Quite right, @Martha, I adjusted the text of my answer to reflect that. Apr 16, 2012 at 22:26
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    The book does mention orcs bleeding several times, e.g. III.2 “Five dead Orcs lay there. (…) The ground was wet with their dark blood.”; III.5 “Blood was spilled there, a few paces away, orc-blood.”
    – user56
    Apr 16, 2012 at 23:17
  • @Gilles yeah, I adjusted my answer to be more clear, that's exactly what I was driving at, there is no canon to support them not spraying blood, so it has to be a production choice. Apr 16, 2012 at 23:22

It's a requirement of a PG-13 rating: no depictions of "strong violence including blood and gore". The amount of blood and gore allowed in PG-13 versus R walks a fine line, and generally the less of the other things (sex, drugs, language) that you have, the more blood and violence is allowed. As LotR has virtually no sex or language, and the only "drug" other than alcohol (pipeweed) is ambiguous as to its effects, so they can show blood and violence for longer, but still have to toe a line with regard to graphic violence like dismemberment and beheading.

Also remember these films were released worldwide, and other countries such as China and Japan have different, often stricter regulations on what can and can't be shown with regards to violence, even while (as an aside) the same country may have reduced restrictions with regard to nudity. The U.S. often takes a reversed stance as compared to the rest of the world with regard to the amount of skin you can show versus the amount of blood. Of course, movies versus TV also differs; Weta Workshop had to go back and composite a helmet over a particular shot of an Uruk'Hai's head on a pike to avoid it being too graphic to show on U.S. network television.

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    There is no allusion to pipeweed being anything other than tobacco in the books, and at the time of publishing marijuana wasn't in the common parlance. No one thought that it was a psychotropic or that it was analogous to maruijuana. I believe in the 1970's a question about that arose after a few Led Zeppelin songs re-popularized the series among american audiences, but that's a memory of an article I read and nothing more. Apr 17, 2012 at 0:58
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    In the documentaries and commentaries, Ian McKellen states that the LotR novels gained popularity in the 1960s, where Tolkien's desire for "applicability" led to the pipeweed's symbolism as something a little stronger. In the books themselves, Saruman chides Gandalf when he arrives with news of the Ring, saying "your love of the halfling's leaf has clearly slowed your mind". And while filming the movies, Jackson, the actors and writers discussed how "high" Merry and Pippin would be while waiting for Gandalf and the others at Isengard, and they filmed takes with M&P acting pretty stoned.
    – KeithS
    Apr 17, 2012 at 1:21
  • I think all of that is evidence that a significant portion of the readers did indeed think pipeweed was something stronger than tobacco. However, I have edited the post to remove that inference, so please remove your downvote.
    – KeithS
    Apr 17, 2012 at 1:22
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    I understand that happened much after the books publication, as I suggested, but when the books were published it was clear that Tolkein was talking about tobacco, which he himself enjoyed a great deal. The Hobbit was published in 1937 in the UK, and no one there in that time would have thought he meant anything other than tobacco, nor would audiences of a literary author in the states. I did remove the downvote. :) Apr 17, 2012 at 1:23

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