Lord of the Rings Lord of the Rings


Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Smaug with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Lord of the Rings

Smaug is one of the last great dragons of Middle-Earth and the main antagonist of The Hobbit. He is massively wealthy and has intimate knowledge of every single detail of his hoard, which allows him to take immediate notice when even a single, inconsequential item has been stolen. He prides his hide as being nigh invulnerable, save for a single missing scale on his breast that reveals a tender spot of skin.
Created by CatsTuxedo on Jun 17 2011
The Hobbit (1977)
SmaugRichard Boone
Richard Boone
The Hobbit (2003)
SmaugJames Horan
James Horan
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
SmaugBenedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch


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said at 8:46 AM on Wed Jul 19 2017
 1 Shout Out!
1. Benedict Cumberbatch (his voice was so good it had me terrified!)
2. Richard Boone
3. James Horan
said at 3:01 PM on Sat Mar 18 2017
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. James Horan
3. Richard Boone
said at 3:13 PM on Fri Sep 30 2016
Richard's voice of Smaug sounds pretty clever.
said at 2:12 AM on Sat Sep 17 2016
 3 Shout Outs!
To this day, 3 years now, I'm simply amazed that is Benedict's raw voice for Smaug.
Maybe with a bit of echo being inside the Lonely Mountain, nevertheless its incredible.
He looked like he was having so much fun doing the motion capture. A perfect Smaug!

James' performance is entertainingly snobby. He has a great voice here. Also kind of sounds like Clancy Brown?
But yeah, it doesn't really fit a fire breathing dragon. A shame.

Richard Boone, I'm sorry, didn't excite me. Although I doubt they could've gotten someone better (maybe James Earl Jones?)
He has a strong rumbling voice, but he acting is really flat. The plain American accent just comes accross as boring here. It doesn't help when he gets lines like: "I am strong... strong... STRONG!" He's an OK third.
said at 2:05 PM on Tue May 24 2016
 1 Shout Out!
Once again there is few competition: not only Benedict is the only one here who did far more than just voice the characters (he portrayed him throught motion-capture, I'm not even sure it can be considered voice acting in the first place) but he's the one who out of anyone sounds more powerful, suadent, fascinating and god-like.

Richard Boone is very great too, a powerful and stunning voice, the only good thing of that movie.

James Horan is, I'm sorry, awful but then again that game was terrible.
EPA Deane
said at 3:51 AM on Mon Nov 7 2016
@Francesco92e The GBA version was not bad.
said at 4:56 PM on Fri Apr 8 2016
1. Benedict Cumberbatch (by far)
2. James Horan
3. Richard Boone
said at 8:04 AM on Wed Jul 8 2015
 1 Shout Out!
1) Richard Boone
2) Francis De Wolff (1968 The Hobbit radio drama)
3) Benedict Cumberbatch
4) James Horan
5) Erik Bauersfeld (1979 The Hobbit radio drama)
said at 4:24 PM on Wed Oct 5 2016
@Starscreamsfan "Hey, why don't I literally always uses voice actors that weren't in the voice compare, and put them at the top of the list, at that, so that I have the advantage of sounding smarter, media-wise, than anyone else on this site?" It totally doesn't make you look like a goody- ****ing-two-shoes.
said at 5:01 PM on Wed Oct 5 2016
@CLG Someone's mad. Funny you should complain about that here of all places, when Richard Boone is at the top of his list who IS in this compare.
said at 5:23 PM on Wed Oct 5 2016
@Metabad OOOOOOHHH someone got triggered within an hour! Maybe Richard was was at the top of the list, but most of the time he will put the ones who weren't in the compare up at or at least near the top, just so he can show us HIS GENIUS.
said at 5:31 PM on Wed Oct 5 2016
@CLG Triggered? Nah. Not even remotely mad, just telling it like I see it. The radio actors might not be in this comparison, but frankly he just respects them enough to give them an honourable mention. Dunno why you have such a problem with that.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 5:58 PM on Wed Oct 5 2016

"OOOOOOHHH someone got triggered within an hour!"

Please try not to make fun of PTSD in a celebratory way.
said at 8:19 AM on Mon Jun 22 2015
 1 Shout Out!
1 Benedict
2 Richard
3 James
said at 2:46 AM on Thu Feb 19 2015
 1 Shout Out!
I finally saw the rest of the Hobbit movies about two months ago, and yeah, Cumberbatch freaking nailed it. His voice sent chills up my spine, he brought a nice menacing quality that Boone and Horan lack, and it's the exact voice I had in my head for Smaug ever since I first read his dialogue. I do have a few complaints here and there, but most of them are more about the changed material and dialogue rather than the performance itself, which was spot-on. I do kind of wish he delivered the "and my breath, DEATH!" line rather than "I am fire." but again, that's more the material's fault than his own, and it's really just minor nitpicks I have more than anything, he still delivered a fantastic performance.
said at 10:46 AM on Wed Jan 28 2015
 5 Shout Outs!
I swear I can literally feel Benedict's voice rubbing me every time I hear it.
Polyester Funk
said at 12:19 AM on Wed Jan 14 2015
Yeah, I'm voting for Benedict Cumberbatch, but I think James Horan and Richard Boone are good. Richard does sound a little too "cowboy" for a dragon from Middle-Earth, but the voice itself is nice and he doesn't sound as evil as the others.
said at 4:48 PM on Tue Jan 13 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch wins this by a hair. There's a lot of power and arrogance in his performance which is perfect for Smaug.

However Richard Boone's performance is also just as good. He brings a certain amount of dignity to the dragon. Almost like he's a creature that could be reasoned with and not just a force of greed like Benedict's performance was.

Benedict wins this.....but just by the scales of his skin.
said at 6:43 PM on Mon Dec 15 2014
 1 Shout Out!
Is it just me, or did James Horan sound a little like Clancy Brown in the role? Benedict Cumberbatch still did the best, however.
Polyester Funk
said at 12:22 AM on Tue Dec 16 2014
@Scourge I can hear a little Clancy at times. Clancy would totally rock as Smaug.
said at 10:19 PM on Fri Dec 12 2014
 1 Shout Out!
James Horan- I dont really care for his performance
Richard Boone-Maybe its the nostalgia goggles but I actually really like his performance
Benedict Cumberbatch-AMAZING!
The Doctor
said at 2:23 AM on Tue Nov 4 2014
 4 Shout Outs!
While I admit that Benedict Cumberbatch is the best of three, I think that people are seriously blowing his peformance out of proportion. It's just deep and menacing dragon voice. Nothing about it REALLY stands out. I could name tons of actors who could do the same.
said at 12:33 PM on Sun Aug 17 2014
 3 Shout Outs!
Number 1: Benedict Cumberbatch - Come on guys, do I really have to say it?
Number 2: James Horan - An amazing voice with fitting acting, could use some more vocal effects, though not towards the point of overkill
Number 3: Richard Boone - Voice is too normal, he sounds bored, he sounds kinda out of breath and like DaveS said, he sounds like a cowboy rather than like a Wyvern.
said at 10:34 AM on Tue Jul 29 2014
 2 Shout Outs!
Benedict Cumberbatch IS Smaug.

James is also pretty menacing so he's a close 2nd.

Richard is average, sounds exhausted & out of breath on some of the lines.
said at 2:48 AM on Sun Jul 27 2014
 3 Shout Outs!
If anyone's interested, 0:36 has a little of Benedict's raw voice for Smaug.
said at 10:19 AM on Sun Jul 27 2014
@TheVengeanceKnight That was amazing and didn't last nearly long enough.
said at 5:23 AM on Mon Jul 28 2014
@PsychicVoiceSpy I wonder how many "Do the voice! Do the voice!" requests he got this past weekend. :-P
said at 10:28 AM on Mon Jul 28 2014
@TheVengeanceKnight Me too, and I wonder if the Hobbit/LOTR fans are going to start hounding him to "Do the voice!" as much or even more than they do with Andy Serkis... that's kind of a scary thought. 0_0 Poor Benedict...
said at 10:24 PM on Mon Jul 28 2014
@PsychicVoiceSpy Yeah, but it sounds like it puts a real strain on his throat though, Jesus Christ.
said at 12:48 PM on Fri Oct 24 2014
More unfiltered Smaug here (2:35)
said at 8:44 PM on Sun Jun 1 2014
 1 Shout Out!
Benedict, certainly, but James is a damn close second, as they both did a great job at the role. Richard doesn't really provide much, and he sounds bored most of the time.
DaveS (Training Moderator)
said at 12:46 AM on Sun May 25 2014
Difficult, as Benedict Cumberbatch has a tad too much distortion while James Horan could have done with a bit more. Richard Boone sounds like a cowboy.
said at 9:18 PM on Fri Apr 11 2014
 1 Shout Out!
No doubts about it, Benedict NAILS it! His voice is perfectly deep and draconic and just OOZES with charisma, power, and pride. He totally stole the show in the movie and made for a heck of a villain! Definitely the best of the trio.

James Horan: He sounded nice, but I feel that his voice wasn't quite as powerful as I'd expect for someone like Smaug.

Richard Boone: I liked it since his voice was deep and powerful, and he sounded awesome when doing his boasts and other times where he yelled. Sadly, his weakness is when he normally speaks, it sounds a bit flat and like he's reading directly off a script. To sum it up, he nails the loud parts, but needed to improve on the parts where he spoke normally.
said at 10:12 PM on Wed Apr 2 2014
1. Benedict Cumberbatch (Just amazing)
2. James Horan (pretty good)
3. Richard Boone (sounds like he's tired...)
said at 2:47 PM on Fri Feb 28 2014
 1 Shout Out!
If you're interested, here's more of Benedict's Smaug:
said at 9:53 PM on Thu Mar 6 2014
Here's a BTS video, where you get to see him do the motion capture and hear some of BC's unfiltered Smaug.
Tyler Reznik
said at 4:25 PM on Mon Feb 3 2014
 2 Shout Outs!
I regret that Cumberbatch didn't get to give the whole boast. "...and my breath, DEATH!"
said at 2:39 AM on Mon Feb 10 2014
@Tyler Reznik At least not yet. Could say it in the third film.
said at 11:56 PM on Sun Feb 2 2014
 1 Shout Out!
A friend jokingly suggested Boone, my brother thinks Horan, but I'm siding with everyone else. Benedict Cumberbatch is the definitive Smaug.
said at 5:40 AM on Sat Jan 18 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch, of course.
said at 12:57 AM on Thu Jan 9 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch's voice for Smaug is like Sean Connery, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons & Brian Blessed all rolled into one.
I like it!
said at 6:50 AM on Thu Dec 26 2013
When I finally saw the movie on Christmas Day and heard his voice, all I can say is that Cumberbatch's voice reminded me of Shere Khan, my father thought of his voice as Sean Connery.
said at 6:55 AM on Thu Dec 26 2013
@Jongoji245 It makes sense. Sean Connery has played a dragon, after all. :)
said at 5:03 AM on Wed Dec 18 2013
No doubt about it. Benedict Cumberbatch IS Smaug.

That being said...Dee Bradley Baker as Smaug, anybody?
NCZ (Admin)
said at 8:13 AM on Wed Dec 18 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight His range isn't THAT wide. They'd have to add some serious vocal effects to make him sound deep and intimidating enough without sounding forced.
said at 1:01 PM on Wed Dec 18 2013
@NCZ Have you heard his Gravemind voice from Halo 2 & 3? That'd be a perfect fit for Smaug if a Hobbit video game gets made.

I honestly never thought I'd say this (& as much as I may not like it), but I'm gonna agree with TheVengeanceKnight on this one.
said at 9:34 PM on Tue Dec 16 2014
@TheVengeanceKnight Corey Burton, John DiMaggio, Keith David, or Tony Todd would be perfect in the role I think.
Polyester Funk
said at 12:39 AM on Wed Dec 17 2014
@skeletonking1234 Clancy Brown, perhaps?
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 10:39 PM on Sun Dec 15 2013
 8 Shout Outs!
Cumberbatch revealed on Conan that his voice was not altered, so that's all Benedict we're hearing.
said at 10:43 PM on Sun Dec 15 2013
@Music Meister While I can believe they didn't deepen it, unless he recorded it his lines in an empty wearhouse or something it sounds like they added some resonance to it to make it a bit larger sounding to fill up the whole room.
said at 5:30 PM on Tue Dec 17 2013
@GothamRed It definitely sounds like they put a filter on it. Kinda wish they didn't. He did an amazing job, though.
said at 3:11 AM on Wed Dec 18 2013
@ConfusedPhantom Well, if you want something/someone to sound larger or wider than it actually is, then reverberation (reverb, for short) is the go-to effect to do that.
said at 3:16 PM on Wed Dec 18 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 I get that, but the way they did it kinda gets overbearing. It makes certain lines a little harder to make out at times.

And honestly, they could have gone without it, because Cumberbatch's voice is pretty enormous. But, I digress.
said at 7:48 PM on Wed Dec 18 2013
@ConfusedPhantom Indeed, he's like the Brian Blessed of 2013.
said at 5:19 AM on Fri Jan 3 2014
@Music Meister It does sound like they made his voice more bass-y and booming. I can't really describe the other part of it but if you've ever heard a Turian from Mass Effect speak, it sounds like he has a voice effect similar to theirs in it as well. I'm not saying it makes him any worse of a VA though, The way he "slithers" out each sentence and creates a feeling of power simply by the way he pronounces different syllables is awe inspiring.
said at 11:57 PM on Sun Feb 2 2014
@ConfusedPhantom As a Spanish speaker, I know that the European Spanish voice was filtered. But that's neither here nor there.
said at 10:20 PM on Sun Dec 15 2013
 1 Shout Out!
Despite seeing the movie today. I'm going with Benedict. He sounds more menacing.
said at 8:40 PM on Fri Dec 13 2013
 4 Shout Outs!
To those who have not yet seen The Desolation of Smaug yet... ...The voiceclip from the trailer does not reveal even a minor fraction of Cumberbatch's awe-inspiring epicness.

Heed my word on this.
said at 5:04 PM on Mon Oct 14 2013
 3 Shout Outs!
All three do great jobs in their own right, although Boone comes across at times as though he's reading. Horan comes off a bit as cheesy at times, but it works in the context of the videogame.

But Benedict Cumberbatch — my goodness! I seriously underestimated this man! His Smaug literally rumbles the speakers with bass and cavernous echoiness. I can't wait to hear him in the movie!
said at 11:48 PM on Mon Oct 7 2013
 10 Shout Outs!
Knew Peter Jackson wouldn't let us down :-)
said at 7:41 AM on Sun Oct 6 2013
 5 Shout Outs!
Watching Smaug on those trailers in theaters was so intimidating. His presence just made the stadium shake. Ben really nailed that voice.
said at 6:10 AM on Sat Oct 5 2013
 7 Shout Outs!
Benedict is disturbingly amazing. Also, if Peter Mensah wasn't Predaking in TF: Prime I would've cast Cumberpatch. Just... JESUS!
said at 10:22 AM on Sat Oct 5 2013
@Aussieroth I'd still probably prefer Mensah, but Cumberbatch I think would've done very well if he did it, too. Though I'd like him to see him as the voice of [a G1-inspired] Cyclonus.
said at 2:52 PM on Sat Oct 5 2013
@Aussieroth Peter is palying Predaking as a pacifist because true Kings dont need to fight unless they must
said at 2:44 PM on Wed Oct 9 2013
@Aussieroth That would be interesting. But, yeah, just those reads alone. Good lord, it gave me chills.
said at 6:23 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 7 Shout Outs!
Wow, Mr. Cumberbatch shot up pretty fast in these polls.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 3:30 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 8 Shout Outs!
Cumberbatch. Definitely Cumberbatch.
said at 3:08 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 6 Shout Outs!
Changing my vote to Cumberbatch. He NAILS it. He has the growl needed to sound like a dragon, and when we hear more lines, I'm sure he'll get the pompous regal part down as well.

Second is James Horan (Cumberbatch's precursor in doing this sort of voice), followed by Richard Boone, who sounds scary when he shouts but flat when he talks. Plus, the American accent is just wrong.
said at 2:18 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 8 Shout Outs!
*listens to Cumberbatch's clip*


Is that a voice he puts on or is it pitched down?

'Cause if it's the former, HOLY ####, he should do more voice acting.
solidejake (Moderator)
said at 12:54 AM on Sat Oct 5 2013
@TheVengeanceKnight The man's got one of the deepest voices ever, so if it's digitized (which I doubt) I don't think it's by much.
said at 10:35 AM on Tue Oct 1 2013
 5 Shout Outs!
Just heard Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug voice in the latest Desolation of Smaug trailer... he sounds AWESOME!!
said at 2:42 AM on Sat Mar 30 2013
 5 Shout Outs!
I'm really itching too see how Peter Jackson imagines Smaug!
said at 4:44 PM on Thu Mar 28 2013
 2 Shout Outs!
Richard Boone sounds like drunk John Goodman.
James Horan gives a sinister, regal performance that is only enhanced by the pitch-lowering effects. Reminds me a little bit of Tim Curry at parts.
Guess who I voted for.
said at 4:30 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
@Red524 Changing my vote to Benedict Cumberbatch. Still like James Horan's take, but Benedict's voice is deeper and more monstrous while still sounding regal and his slower delivery sounds more threatening to me.
said at 2:55 PM on Thu Dec 20 2012
 2 Shout Outs!
Richard Boone sounds bored.I'm going with James Horan.
said at 9:54 AM on Mon Jul 23 2012
Truth be told, I didn't really like either of them.

Richard Boone has a decent deep strong voice, so I can see why he would be cast as Smaug and he certainly did have his moments. However, he sounded way too monotone to be threatening and just came off as wooden.

James Horan on the other hand, his voice isn't nearly as deep as Boone's, but his acting is a lot better. However he doesn't sound like a dragon at all, he just sounds like a smug posh businessman...and is that accent really needed? Not to mention that "BLAAARRGGGHHHH" sound he makes at the end is INCREDIBLY forced.

So yeah, both of them had their faults and their advantages. I think if Boone had better acting, he'd get my vote but as it stands I'm just going to have to wait for Benedict Cumberbatch's performance and see if I like it.
Blue Paratroopa
said at 1:52 PM on Mon May 28 2012
Richard Boone sounds too southern. I like how Sinister James Horan is.
said at 2:44 PM on Fri Oct 7 2011
I'm waiting for The hobbit remake to be released so I can see how Benedict Cumberbatch does as Smaug, otherwise I would vote for James Horen.
said at 11:26 PM on Sat Jul 16 2011
 2 Shout Outs!
James Horan fits Smaug's pompous personality better than Boone, who sounds a little flat in the role.
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Who do you think has been the best from these Smaug voice actors?
Richard Boone
James Horan
Benedict Cumberbatch