Robin Hood, a man of English folklore and legend, a master archer, swordsman and outlaw. Stories depict him having been of noble birth (born Robin of Locksley), going off to fight in the Crusades, returning to England to find his lands taken by the Sheriff of Nottingham. With Prince John wanting to usurp the throne from the absent King Richard, utilising the Sheriff to buy out allies for John’s plan to take over. His plans are thwarted by Robin, robbing from the rich Nottingham to give back to the people.
This year, a new Robin Hood will grace our screens. Starring Taron Egerton as the titular hero, and Jamie Foxx as Little John, his faithful battle partner. Whilst Ben Mendelsohn steps in to the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Eve Hewson will play Robin’s lover Maid Marian. The film, directed by Otto Bathurst, looks set to throw our hero into a daring adventure with an enormous heist, that will provide inspiration to the people to begin an uprising.
Robin Hood will be released in Australian cinemas from 22nd November 2018
With the release of the first official trailer for the new Robin Hood movie, we take a look back at some of the best known versions of the heroic outlaw we’ve seen depicted on the big screen.
Disney’s Robin Hood (1973)
Popularised by the famous studio and turned into an animated story targeting the children’s market. Disney took the rather unique and never been done before (at the time) approach of anthropomorphising animals as the characters for the tale. Robin Hood (a fox, voiced by Brian Bedford), Little John (a bear, voiced by Phil Harris), Sheriff of Nottingham (a wolf, voiced by Pat Buttram), Maid Marian (a vixen, voiced by Monica Evans) and Prince John (a lion, voiced by Peter Ustinov) round out our core characters. The film (being Disney) also leans heavily into its musical-comedy-adventure genres, with the characters often breaking out into song that forms the narrative. It follows the fairly familiar trope of our hero having to fight the monarchical oppressor in Prince John and government flunkey in Nottingham. Whilst trying to rescue Maid Marian and liberate the people.
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)
Starring Kevin Costner as our hero, with Morgan Freeman as Azeem (his Moorish battle partner), Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian. This was one of the first American blockbuster depictions, that combines a cast of both US and British actors, directed by Kevin Reynolds. Featuring all those key elements of the Robin Hood folklore we are familiar with. There’s no real subterfuge going on in this film, it’s made fairly explicit that Nottingham is undermining the rule of King Richard. The standout here of course goes to Alan Rickman, originally turning down the role of Nottingham, only to be given full carte blanche and going 110% every time he’s on screen.
Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993)
Like the Disney film some twenty years earlier, Mel Brooks’ parody spoof of Robin Hood is a musical-comedy-adventure that leans into both the Disney and the 1938 Errol Flynn adaptations as well as riffing on the Kevin Costner film. Cary Elwes stars as our hero, whilst Dave Chappelle makes his film debut With its no holds barred ridiculousness, fourth wall breaks (well before Deadpool) and literal Men In Tights (does what it says on the tin) this film has been a fan loved classic for years and is still funny to this day.
Robin Hood (2010)
Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett star in this Ridley Scott adaptation. Being a Scott film, it concocts a more mysterious legend surrounding Robin’s origins and personal backstory. The film is a little more geo-political than most other depictions we’ve seen on screen. When an assassination of King Richard is conspired by King Philip of France and an English knight Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), it’s up to Robin to unite the divided armies of England to stop a French invasion. It’s nowhere near as “fun” as any of the previous titles on this list, but Scott as a director brings a more visually rich and narratively deep adaptation.
Robin Hood starring Taron Egerton will be released on 22 November 2018.