Get More Swash For Your Buckle! The Best Films About Robin Hood

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Shana Martin
| May 17, 2024
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hello world!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time for the Renaissance Fair! Back in 2002, I was cast as Kendra the Mermaid! Back then, I lived in Largo, and The Bay Area Renaissance Festival was just across the street!.. Twenty-two years later and I still remember all the sights, sounds, and food.  The memories and the friendships I made are always close to my heart.  The spirit of high adventure and romance are what people are looking for when going to Ren faire, and one name embodies this spirit like the defender of Sherwood ForestRobin Hood! If you attend any Renaissance fair you are bound to see someone dressed in that all too familiar green outfit and tights, carrying a bow and arrow. For many this legend is what coined the phrase swash buckler, and the cinematic choices I share best represent this legend.

“Welcome To Sherwood!” -Errol Flynn Adventures Of Robin Hood 1938

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 was made during the golden age of Hollywood technicolor. It starred Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone. It was nominated for Best Picture in 1939 and won Best Art Direction for Carl Jules Weyl

Plot

Sir Robin of Locksley, defender of downtrodden Saxons, runs afoul of Norman authority and is forced to turn outlaw. With his band of Merry Men, he steals from the rich, gives to the poor, and still has time to woo the lovely Maid Marian, foil the cruel Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and keep the nefarious Prince John off the throne.

In the same way, Guy Williams introduced Zorro to countless generations. Errol Flynn is the one who has made Robin Hood a character to remember with his dashing good looks and charming manner. It wasn’t difficult to see what it was that made young ladies swoon and young men want to be like him. This 1938 classic, in my opinion, is the quintessential Renaissance fair movie with plenty of sword fights and action!

“Oo-da- lally!” Song from Disney’s Robin Hood 1973

The films made in the 70s and 80s were some of the best work of the Disney animation department! This interpretation of the Robin Hood legend is told through talking animals. It stars Roger Miller as Allan-a-Dale – The Rooster, Peter Ustinov as Prince John – A Lion / King Richard, Brian Bedford as Robin Hood – A Fox and Monica Evans as Maid Marian – A Vixen.

Plot

Prince John (Sir Peter Ustinov), an immature lion, rules England as a heartlessly tyrannical regent for his crusader brother, King Richard Lionheart (Sir Peter Ustinov). Robin Hood (Brian Bedford), Little John (Phil Harris), and Friar Tuck (Andy Devine) cleverly revolt against over-taxation and general oppression by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Pat Buttram) and other royal men. Robin wins the heart of the royal ward, Marian (Monica Evans). Regular methods fail to catch Robin, so Prince John organizes an archery tournament, which the country’s best archer just can’t resist.

What draws me into this movie is the narrator, the folk singer Roger Miller; he wrote three of the songs for the film. Oo-de-lally, Not in Nottingham, and Whistle Stop. The songs will have your toes tapping in no time! I fell in love with Robin Hood because of this film. If you have young ones or you’re young at heart and want some Renfaire magic, this is the movie for you.

Sheriff of Nottingham: That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves 1991.

Ask anyone who was in their pre-teen years in the 90s, and they will tell you with great enthusiasm that Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is awesome! The film stars Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Alan Rickman.  It won an Oscar for Best Music for the original song “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You“, created by Michael Kamen (music), Bryan Adams (lyrics), and Mutt Lange (lyrics). The film was also nominated for a Saturn Award for best fantasy film in 1992.

Plot

Nobleman crusader Robin of Locksley breaks out of a Jerusalem prison with the help of Moorish fellow prisoner Azeem and travels back home to England. Upon arrival, he discovers his dead father in the ruins of his family estate, killed by the vicious sheriff of Nottingham. Robin and Azeem join forces with outlaws Little John and Will Scarlett to save the kingdom from the sheriff’s villainy.

There are so many iconic moments in this film, from the amazing arrow POV shot into the tree to the moment when Will Scarlett, played by (Christian Slater) uses a catapult that launches both Robin Hood (Kevin Costner) and  Azeem (Morgan Freeman) into the fortress to rescue Maid Marion (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). They are all great moments, however, the most iconic was any scene that Alan Rickman was in. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in this particular retelling, it was the Sheriff of Nottingham who stole every scene he was in! If all you know about Mr. Rickman as an actor is his other iconic character, Professor Snape. I highly recommend you watch this film.

Prince John: (to Robin) And why would they listen to you?

Robin: Because unlike all the other Robin Hoods, I speak with an English accent. 

From Robin Hood Men in Tights 1993

Another spoofy classic by great comedic Writer/Director Mel Brooks. Due to the popularity of  Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Mr. Brooks thought it was deserving of a spoof, just like he did with Space Balls.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights stars Cary Elwes as Robin Hood, Richard Lewis as Prince John, Roger Rees as Sheriff of Rottingham, and Amy Yasbeck as Marian.

Plot:

Prince John, with the Sheriff of Rottingham is unfairly taxing the poor people. Meanwhile our hero Robin Hood, who speaks with a real English accent while running around the woods in tights, singing songs about it. He fights for the freedom for the oppressed and the love for a maiden named Marian!

This is classic Mel Brooks! The Master of spoofs! I think my favorite moment in this film is when you’re introduced to Latrine the witch who has the hots for the sheriff of Rottingham played by Tracy Ullman. This movie will have your sides splitting the way this Robin of Loxley splits a tree with his arrow!

The cinematic selections are sure to hit their mark and give you more swash for your buckle! 

Which one of these Robin Hood tales is your favorite?

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Art of Lily K
Member
1 month ago

I was worried you would leave out Robin Hood: Men in Tights… I am glad you didn’t. I love that movie with all my heart and I know all the lines. 😀

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