Short Survey of Robin Hood Films

He’s a thief (for a charitable cause)!  He’s clever and cunning, as well as a good fighter!  And he’s usually wearing green!  He is none other than that notorious outlaw, Robin Hood, who has been the subject of several films and television series over the years.  While various media versions target different aspects of the Robin Hood legends, his attributes remain the same.  To demonstrate this point, here is a small survey of a few of the numerous Robin Hood films that have been made.

The most recent of the Robin Hood films is Ridley Scott’s 2010 Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.  The story is set in the 13th century in which Robin Hood and his men lead an uprising against the crown and a corrupt political system.  This movie is not as focused on the traditional aspects of the Robin Hood legend as it is on the political and historical climate of the day.  Featuring some great action sequences and a rapid pace, this rendition is interesting and will satisfy the craving for a good action flick!

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Robin Hood Hooded Shirt:

Robin Hood Hooded Shirt

For another re-envisioned take on the Robin Hood legend with true star power, Richard Lester’s 1976 film Robin and Marian is a worthy find.  Starring Sean Connery as Robin Hood and Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian, this tale takes place some twenty years after most other versions of the story.  The action opens with a weary Robin Hood returning from the Crusades to find Maid Marian as an abbess in a nearby priory.  Thus, Robin must once again woo her and hopefully rekindle their love.  An interesting fact about film production was that it could not be shot on location in England because some of the principals were tax exiles.  This variation on the story offers a tragic perspective and the strength of the viewing experience lies in the stellar performances of Connery and Hepburn.

Shifting to a more light hearted approach, Mel Brook’s 1993 parody Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a delightful comedic film sure to put a smile on your face.  Starring Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his screen debut, the tale sticks to the traditional one of Robin Hood robbing from the rich and giving to the poor under the reign of Prince John.  Although the story is not necessarily original, what sets this film apart is its fun musical numbers, its irreverent humor making sport of men wearing tights and wandering about the forest, and its references to other movies.  Brooks largely based this film on Robin Hoods: Prince of Tides, but also makes references to his earlier works including Blazing Saddles and History of the World, Part I, as well as other movies like Home Alone.  Indeed, this film cleverly blends a healthy dose of action, adventure, and romance together to yield a one-of-a-kind take on the famous outlaw.  Movie buffs will enjoy trying to identify the many movies this cinematic gem pays tribute to!

Maid Marian Gown with Belt:

Maid Marian Gown with Belt

And what collection of movies would be complete with the Disney treatment?  Walt Disney’s 21st animated feature Robin Hood premiered at Radio City Music hall in New York City and was released in 1973 to positive reviews and has since become a beloved classic.  In addition to being an animated film, it is distinct for using animals, such as a fox, a bear, a lion, and a snake, to portray the legendary characters.  When this film was in production, it was given a small budget and as a result, animators reused animal drawings from other animated films such as The Jungle Book and The Aristocats.  This version boasts of brilliant colors and vibrant images, along with memorable characters, making it a treat for movie lovers of all ages.

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After watching these films, you may be inspired by the adventurous tales and daring characters you see.  In that case, take a look at our collection of Robin Hood and Maid Marian costumes at:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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