Just saw the second part of the Hobbit. I wonder in which barrel Bombur jumps in "Barrel down the River" scene. All the Dwarves are in their barrels floating and fighting of the Orcs then miraculously Bombur hops out of the water crushes a lot of Orcs and then fights some more even after his barrel is broken. After that over-the-top fighting scene, he jumps back in the river in an apparently empty barrel.

But if I recall correctly all the barrels were filled when Bilbo dropped them in the water. There was no empty barrel (otherwise Bilbo should have crawled in the empty one eventually). On the other hand, I highly doubt PJ and the writers would have made such a stupid error, so what am I missing here?

  • 5
    Honestly, this was the part that bugs me most about the movie. definitely deserves a +1.
    – Fikko3107
    Dec 15, 2013 at 16:22
  • 3
    Gotta love unexplained downvotes. Dec 16, 2013 at 7:55
  • I don't remember if all of the barrels were occupied by dwarves. But I think that it was Kili's barrel..
    – user7222
    Dec 18, 2013 at 16:11
  • 4
    If they could create Tauriel out of thin air for the movie, why not an extra barrel or two?
    – user7229
    Dec 19, 2013 at 7:30
  • 1
    @Smorgasbord Well, there's always room for another beautiful woman in a movie ;) Now, barrels on the other hand... It's gotta be something that we have missed
    – Tom
    Dec 20, 2013 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Okay, this question has been unanswered long enough. I call movie mistake!

I'll use two different articles to defend my claim. Firstly, this article describes the primary filming location - The Pelorus River.

However, a second article I've found involves an interview with Peter Jackson about the creation of this scene. This was Peter Jackson had to say:

How tough was it to shoot the centerpiece action sequence with the barrels?

Jackson: We had these big V8 water-jet things that we built on a circle – it was like a theme park – about as big as this room. And we were worried because we thought, how fast can we actually grind, wind the engine up, because we could sort of wind it up at speed and, you know, we’d better be careful, you know, because we don’t know quite, it’s gonna be unpredictable and it was. And we had stunt guys doing it, round and round, and testing it and everything else, but you know, these are actors, they’re a little bit fragile (laughter). But by the end of the first day, the guys were just yelling, “Faster! Faster! Get it faster, faster, faster!” And we had it on max, we had the thing going on maximum pretty quickly.

But one of the things that doesn’t really get referenced in the barrels is we also did another shoot on a different river in New Zealand, called the Awatere River in the North Island. And that was a shoot where – that’s a particular river, it’s like a gorge or a canyon, a rocky canyon that stretches about a mile and right at the head of the canyon is a big dam, and four times a day they open up the sluice gates and they just let this enormous torrent of water out, and they let it out for 10 minutes and then they close the gates again. And so we got a lot of the really kind of hair-raising barrel stuff in the Awatere. It would be too dangerous to put a stunt guy down. I mean, we didn’t even dare put anyone in the barrels. We sent the barrels down completely empty and we put the digital Dwarves in later. But that got some of the more dramatic footage, was this – and it was just, it was great because we could set up the cameras when it was dry in between the dumps and we set up about six cameras right the way down the length of the gorge, and then we were there for about three days and every single, you know, four times a day on the dot, these things would open for 10 minutes. And we had a team up, throwing the barrels in, at the top. And we had another guys – you didn’t know what the hell was gonna happen to them, you had just to – they just were filmed on the way down and we had a team at the bottom recovering the barrels. We lost three of them. I mean, to this day, we don’t know where three of those barrels have gone.

I've italicised a few sections for effect. Effectively, the shoot was done in multiple locations, on multiple days, involving fast moving water, with the actors later super-imposed in for the most dangerous parts.

Given all this, it seems highly possible that it was a simply movie mistake. Whilst now it has been alluded to in this thread (and to me at least, it sticks out like a sore thumb everytime I rewatch the scene), this has been highlighted almost nowhere else online (e.g. Movie Mistakes). Unless you're really paying attention, it's easy to gloss over which is my assumption as to why it wasn't spotted.

I can provide no definitive evidence, just opinion - it seems very much like a simple movie mistake.


As seen from this clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrRhXth2oCQ - there are 13 barrels released into the water.

  • 10
    And there are 13 Dwarves in the company. So, there's one barrel short if Bombur jumps from one into another. Dec 19, 2013 at 8:01

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