Robin Hood: a life in film

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Every decade since the 1920s has had a Robin Hood to call its own. Ahead of a new – supposedly definitive – take on the popular folk legend by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Time Out looks back at some of the bowslinging vigilante's proudest screen moments

Robin Hood (1922)

Vintage violence With Ridley Scott’s new ‘Robin Hood’ set to open the Cannes Film Festival this year, spare a thought for this silent classic which was the first movie to ever have a Hollywood premiere. Produced, written by and starring Douglas Fairbanks, this remains ripping historical fiction told on the grandest of scales.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

En garde! For most film lovers, Errol Flynn’s ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1938) remains the definitive Sherwood Forest statement. He was debonair, devil-may-care and dashingly handsome, but those bright green, just-too-tight ballerina leggings and lustrous pageboy bowlcut would probably see him laughed off the screen nowadays, more's the pity.

Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941)

The Ox-Bow Incident Trading the Greenwood for the gulches and gullies of the Lone Star state, Roy Rogers and his band of merry muchachos star as a bunch of range-riding dandified do-gooders in an agreeably daft Republic Western that's just as fruity as it sounds.

Robin Hood Daffy (1958)

You’re bard! Daffy Duck tuned up his lyre and sharpened his buck-and-a-quarterstaff for classic-era Looney Tunes masterwork ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ (1958). Porky Pig appears as portly Friar Tuck, who refuses to be convinced that Daffy is, in fact, the great English outlaw.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

Sheriff of Chicago Frank Sinatra's star was on the wane when he joined forces with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr for prohibiton-era romp ‘Robin and the Seven Hoods’ (1964). It was the last time they would share the big screen: even with the likes of Bing Crosby and Peter Falk on board, the movie was such a resounding flop that it basically killed the Rat Pack.




Disney’s Robin Hood (1973)

Outfoxed Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas pitch-in valiantly to one seriously far-out kids movie replete with stoner folk rock soundtrack that makes Gong sound like S-Club Juniors.




Robin and Marian (1973)


Lincoln green lover 
Richard Lester abandoned his patented satirical screwball of the '60s for this wholesome romantic adventure with Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn and, er, Ronnie Barker as Friar Tuck.




Time Bandits (1981)

Little John In one of the most memorable episodes in Terry Gilliam’s memorable-episode-heavy, historical dwarfsploitation comedy ‘Time Bandits’ (1981), John Cleese gives an idiosyncratically Pythonesque reading of the beloved outlaw, reimagining him as an ebullient Royal fop lording it over a band of brutal grimy thugs.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1992)

Mullet Man Purists pouted about Kev Costner's California drawl in highly enjoyable, hugely successful old-school historical romance ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1992): at least until Bryan Adams’s theme song hit Number One and really gave them something to moan about.

Robin Hood (1991)

Where there's muck... Released the same year as ‘Prince of Thieves’, tough-guy director John Irvin’s take on the Nottingham ne'er-do-well is very much the Blur to King Kev’s rampant Oasis. Obviously miscast, Patrick Bergin's Locksley looks as if he's wandered in from an aftershave photoshoot for a fragrance named ‘Sherwood for Men’.




Robin Hood – Men in Tights (1993)

Silly season On the back of his dashing turn in the superior irono-swashbuckler ‘The Princess Bride’, Cary Elwes played Nottingham’s favourite son as a disaster-prone nincompoop in Mel Brooks’s patchy comic take on the classic tale.



Author: Adam Lee Davies, Tom Huddleston & David Jenkins



Users say

5 comments
kev
kev

They missed maid marian and her merry men, a work of genius if ever there was one. "Its pancake day, its pancake day, its p-p-p-p-p-pancake day"

ADP
ADP

ITV's Robin of Sherwood, though obviously not a film, is the greatest telling of Robin Hood!

Frank Ross
Frank Ross

I remember seeing the Exorcist in the 90's and listening to a 20-something audience laughing at the apparent horror. They would be no doubt a similar group to those who you claim "would laugh Errol Flynn off the screen." around 20million people watch Eastenders per show in the UK, and while there's no accounting for taste it still remains to be seen if the happy-cutting, scene-jumping Ridley Scott can complement the classic 1938 effort. Who would have thought, after Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise that he could have made such a mess of his art?

Nadine Wendell
Nadine Wendell

I also watched Richard Green after school (?). Was that Rodney Dangerfield at the of the Robin/Seven Hoods?

dalboy
dalboy

no mention of the longest running robin hood (i think)...richard green! he should have come to the big screen, pity.



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