All Women's Talk

7 Movies about Robin Hood through the Decades ...

By Neecey

There is a surprisingly large number of movies about Robin Hood. The English legend has captured the imagination of moviemakers throughout cinematic history, with the first appearance of the hero of Sherwood Forest making his first appearance on film back in 1908, in the silent movie, Robin Hood and His Merry Men. Movies about Robin Hood bring us various iterations of the tale but they all boil down to the legend of the man who led a band of outlaws in Sherwood forest, created havoc for the Sheriff of Nottingham, championed the poor and fell in love with the fair Maid Marian.

1 Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

I don’t remember reading anywhere that Robin Hood had an American accent or came back from the Crusades with a Moor but hey – that’s Hollywood. Actually, however loosely based on the legend, this is among the most enjoyable of movies about Robin Hood, and it was a huge hit. It is particularly remembered for the theme song by Bryan Adams that was number one for 16 years weeks but the cast did a good job. A big shout-out goes to Alan Rickman for his brilliant performance as the evil Sheriff.

2 Robin Hood

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

There’s no way such an iconic folkloric figure was ever going to be passed up by Walt Disney. This is classic Disney fare where the characters are all animals. Robin is a wily fox and King John a lion. Little John is a bear (who is but a few animation lines away from Baloo in Jungle Book). We’ve got vultures, cute bunnies, chickens, snakes and rhino, and a whole host of creatures most unlikely to have ever set foot in Sherwood Forest, but who cares? It’s Disney magic.

3 The Adventures of Robin Hood

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

This may be one of the oldest Robin Hood movies but for many it is the definitive one. Made in 1938 in glorious Technicolor, the title role is played by Errol Flynn and his performance is extremely well-regarded, with critics claiming it is his best film, even though it was still early in his career. It is a true swashbuckling tale that’s just simply good fun to watch. Olivia de Havilland plays a believable Maid Marian while British stalwarts Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone make delicious baddies as the Prince John and Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

4 Robin Hood: Men in Tights

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

Some say the ultimate compliment in movie circles is a spoof of a great movie. When that spoof is written and directed by Mel Brooks you know it is going to be vicious. The target here is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Mel’s take on it includes a rabbi, hot tubs, mafia connections and Roger Rees doing a star turn as the Sheriff of Rottingham.

5 Robin and Marian

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

The love between Maid Marian and Robin Hood has always been central to the story but what if you think there’s not enough romance. Well you beef it up taking it inspiration from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I find this story a little hard to swallow (I won’t spoil it for you) but the film is watchable just to see Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn in the lead roles.

6 Robin and the 7 Hoods

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

When you don’t want historical accuracy but just a feel-good film, one of the best movies about Robin Hood is this offering. Ok, so technically it is a mob story based on the legend, but it is very enjoyable and stays true to what we like to think is the classic ideal of Robin Hood. It just happens to be set in Prohibition Era Chicago with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and a thoroughly over-acted but excellent performance by Peter Falk (of Columbo fame)

7 Robin Hood

On iTunes at itunes.apple.com

If there’s proof positive that the legend stands the test of time, it’s that the most recent of the blockbusting Robin Hood movies was made in 2010. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Matthew MacFadyen (as the Sheriff) , it presents a slightly different view of the story, taking us from when humble archer Robin Longstride becomes Robin Hood, to the political turmoil of Feudal Saxon England and the problems with France.

We only have the legend of Robin Hood to work with, so it’s an interesting exercise to movie makers to see which direction they take the story. Although the basics will always be the same, movies about Robin Hood will always capture my attention. How about you? How many Robin Hood movies have you seen? Which is your favorite?

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