Famous hero of English folklore.
Robin Hood's traditionally-repeated creed is to "rob from the rich and give to the poor." Robin is known to be a highly skilled archer. Most portrayals show him holding a bow and arrow. In most stories Robin is an outlaw nobleman of some kind, fighting against his former peers. Many medieval stories have Robin fighting in the Crusades before returning to England to find his country overrun by corrupted nobility.
Some traditions place Robin Hood as having lived during the reign of Richard I (aka Richard the Lionheart), who was the King of England from July 1189 until April 1199. Richard I commanded the Third Crusade. Various Robin Hood tales end with Richard returning from the Holy Land and reclaiming his throne from his corrupt brother John.
Robin's compatriots are known as the Merry Men. They live and fight alongside Robin in the Sherwood Forest. Robin’s closest friend and second-in-command is known as Little John. Little John’s weapon of choice is the staff.
Another of the Merry Men is Will Scarlet. Will is traditionally portrayed as young and hot-headed. His is known as the member of the Merry Men most skilled with a sword.
Robin’s love interest is Maid Marian. She is commonly shown as a virginal Lady of the Court, possibly related to King Richard. In various versions of the story she tends to split her time between living at Nottingham Castle and living in the woods with Robin and his men.
Robin’s friend in the clergy is Friar Tuck. While he does give Robin and his men sage advice, Tuck is often portrayed as a fat, bald lover of ale. As a side note, it is historically impossible that the Robin Hood of the 12th century Crusades would have had a friar in his band, as friars did not exist in England until the 13th century.
In the most common Robin Hood stories, England is ruled by the evil Prince John. John has claimed the throne while his older brother Richard is in the Holy Land fighting the Third Crusade. Aside from his place in the Robin Hood tales, John’s reign is historically significant because he acquiesced to the English nobility and approved the Magna Carta.
Although Prince John was the (mis)ruler of England, Robin Hood’s greatest enemy is commonly the Sheriff of Nottingham. The Sheriff’s job was to catch outlaws and prevent poachers from killing the King’s deer. In some versions of the tale he is portrayed as a cowardly schemer, other times as a cruel and evil man. But between you and me, he’s just doing his job.
In the past century there have been dozens of telling of the Robin Hood tale in film. Robin’s portrayals have been both comical and serious in tone.
The first filmed appearance of Robin Hood is the 1908 silent film Robin Hood and His Merry Men. This short film was directed by Percy Stow.
The most famous of the silent versions of Robin Hood was the 1922 film which starred Douglas Fairbanks. The full title of the film is actually “Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood.” It was one of the largest productions of the decade, costing nearly $1 million.
The next major version of Robin Hood was the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood. It starred Errol Flynn in what became known as his iconic role. It also starred Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, Basil Rathbone as Guy of Gisbourne, and Claude Rains as Prince John. Alan Hale, who played Little John in the Douglas Fairbanks film, reprised his role in this version.
The Walt Disney Company released its animated version of Robin Hood in 1973. In this version all the characters were anthropomorphic animals. Robin Hood and Maid Marion were foxes, Little John was a bear, Prince John was a lion, the Sheriff of Nottingham was a wolf, and Friar Tuck was a badger. The film also included a character named Sir Hiss who was, fittingly, a snake.
Kevin Costner took up the role in 1991 in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This is the most financially-successful Robin Hood film, earning nearly $400 million at the box office worldwide. Sean Connery has a cameo at the end of the film, in which he appears as Richard I.
|2010||Robin Hood||Russell Crowe|
|2009||Beyond Sherwood Forest||Robin Dunne|
|2001||Princess of Thieves||Stuart Wilson|
|1993||Robin Hood: Men in Tights||Cary Elwes|
|1991||Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves||Kevin Costner|
|1991||Robin Hood||Patrick Bergin|
|1981||Time Bandits||John Cleese|
|1976||Robin and Marian||Sean Connery|
|1973||Robin Hood||Brian Bedford|
|1971||Up the Chastity Belt||Hugh Paddick|
|1969||The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood||Ralph Jenkins|
|1969||The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood||Scott Sizemore|
|1968||"The Legend of Robin Hood"||David Watson|
|1952||The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men||Richard Todd|
|1938||The Adventures of Robin Hood||Errol Flynn|
|1922||Robin Hood||Douglas Fairbanks|
|Credited In||17 movies|
|Credited In||3 shows|
|1st Movie Credit||n/a|
|1st Show Credit||n/a|