1908 Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This silent English short film was directed by Percy Stow (1876-1919) for the Clarendon Film Company, which he co-founded, in 1904 with H.V. Lawley, and it marks the first appearance of Robin Hood on the screen. The company had studios at 16 Lime Road, Croydon and produced largly comic films which were distributed by Gaumont. By 1906 the company was distributing its own largly fictional films, and during 1906-1914 was one of the seven major film companies in Britain. Lawley left the partnership in 1908 leaving it under Stow’s management. The plot is about the outlawed earl ‘going to Sherwood Forest with Maid Marian and gathering his band to fight injustice’.
1912 Robin Hood. A silent film made in America starring Robert Frazer as Robin Hood and Barbara Tennant as Maid Marian. This 30 minute film uses unusual effects and was directed by Etienne Arnaud and the British born Herbert Blanche, with a cast that includes Alec B. Francis as the sheriff of Nottingham and M. E. Hannefy as Friar Tuck.
1912 Robin Hood Outlawed. A silent film from British and Colonial films, with Brian A. Plant in the lead role and Ivy Martinek as Maid Marian.
1913 Robin Hood. This silent American film has William Russell as Robin Hood, Gerda Holmes as Maid Marian, and John Dillon as the sheriff of Nottingham.
1913 In the Days of Robin Hood. This silent English film was shot in and around Nottingham, and in kinemacolor, with Harry Agar Lyons as Robin Hood.
1913 Ivanhoe. An American silent film which has King Baggot as Wilfred of Ivanhoe and Walter Thomas as Robin Hood. This motion picture was shot on location in England and Chepstow Castle in Wales. Appears to be the earliest screen adaptation of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.
(1922) Douglas Fairbanks, Enid Bennett. This American silent classic has good photography, costumes, and lavish sets, which were reportedly the biggest built in Hollywood at that time. Fairbanks is gallant and adventurous, a very fit actor at his peak. There are sword fights, villians, and lots of daring deeds, with our hero jumping onto horses and climbing up Castle battlements to protect the lovely Maid Marion, played by Enid Bennett. Wallace Beery is Richard the Lion-Hearted and Sam de Grasse plays Prince John. Alan Hale plays Little John, a role he was to repeat in 1938 and again in 1950. (see below) The perfect film vehicle for Fairbanks, who along with his excellent ‘The Thief of Bagdad’, became renowned the world over as a man of action. View
(1923) Frankie Lee, Peggy Cartwright. This American silent adventure/family film has Frankie Lee as the boy (later Robin Hood) and Peggy Cartwright as the girl (later Maid Marian). Phil Dunham plays the High Sheriff of Nottingham.
(1924) Shinpei Takagi, Teruko Makino. A Japanese silent film, with Shinpei Takagi as Robin Hood, and Teruko Makino as Marian.
(1932) John J. Thompson, Aileen Marson. A UK production, with John J. Thompson as Robin Hood, Aileen Marson as Maid Marian and Eric Adeney as the Sheriff of Nottingham. In this 36 minute short film, the outlaw restores the king to the throne.
(1938) Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland. The Tasmanian Errol Flynn is excellent in this other American swashbuckling classic, and like Fairbanks, he brings great energy to the role. Reportedly the most expensive film Warners had made at this time, it captures the spirit, if not the accuracy of the legend. It is regarded by many as the best Robin Hood film ever. Originally intended for James Cagney, the studio knew they had the actor ‘born’ to play the role when Errol Flynn appeared on the scene. Only Olivia de Havilland could have played Maid Marion, and Flynn and de Havilland had already made two films together, they would do four more, after ‘Robin Hood’. The chemistry between them is the stuff of legend. The studio brought back Alan Hale to reprise his 1922 role of Little John, and he along with Basil Rathbone as the villainous Sir Guy of Gisbourne, (whose duel with Flynn in Captain Blood, was a film highlight) give memorable performances. View
(1946) Russell Hicks, Cornel Wilde. This American film gives more attention to Robin Hood’s son (Cornel Wilde) than Robin Hood himself (Russell Hicks). It’s been 20 years since Robin Hood’s heyday but trouble is never far away. William of Pembroke, the ambitious Lord Regent of England (Henry Daniell), withdraws the Magna Carta and takes forceful custody of the boy King of England. When Robin Hood dares to speak out against the Regent, he is banished. The Regent however, has not taken into account Robin Hood’s son Robert, who journeys from the North Country to take up his father’s battle. Robin Hood has marshaled his old band of merry outlaws and again has taken up residence in Sherwood Forest. Robert returns to the fold, and a daring plan is hatched to rescue the young king. The young Robert becomes accquainted with the lovely Lady Catherine and show off his skill with archery. The film climaxes in a trial by single combat.
(1948) Jon Hall, Patricia Morison. A small budget American film in Cinecolor. Two travelers, Maid Marian (Patricia Morison) and her brother are travelling through Sherwood and are rescued from bandits by Robin Hood (John Hall). After saving the brother from an attempt on his life, Robin becomes drawn into his tale of love and misfortune. Once betrothed to Lady Christabel, the engagement is ruined by a nasty Baron who has taken the woman for his own political ends. Robin learns that the Baron is the nephew of hated Prince John, so he agrees to help storm the castle with his men. ‘Prince of Thieves’ is not one of the best, the acting ordinary, and a bit dull at times, although the fight scenes are quite good. Friar Tuck, Little John, and Will Scarlett are present, and predictably Maid Marian marries Robin (Jon Hall, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves).
(1950) John Derek, Diana Lynn. Considered one of the last of the ‘Old Hollywood’ Robin Hood epics, it is not seen as a classic, but good fun for swashbuckling fans. John Derek makes a reasonable hero, and he is the son of the original outlaw. George Macready is Prince John, and Alan Cavanaugh and Lowell Gilmore make an enjoyable trio of villains. There is Lady Marianne de Beaudray (Diana Lynn), and Alan Hale Sr repeats his Little John from the Errol Flynn version, making this his third role as the character. The plot centres on Robin’s part in forcing Prince John to sign the Magna Carta; there are a fair few action scenes including an opening joust and a final duel that has swordplay on horseback and on foot.
(1951) Robert Clarke, Mary Hatcher. This American film has the outlaw (Robert Clarke) and his band going from their hideout in Sherwood Forest to do battle with the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham and his oppressive tax collectors, who are stripping the poor villagers of what little they have left. Mary Hatcher plays Maid Marian and Tiny Stowe is the sheriff of Nottingham.
(1952) Richard Hearne, Margaret Rutherford. In this British comedy film, a writer called Henry Wrigley (played by Richard Hearne) creates a comic strip character called Miss Robin Hood for a large newspaper. This female character is a re-working of the Robin Hood story in which the heroine robs banks with the assistance of a gang of teenage girls and then redistributes the wealth. Margaret Rutherford is the eccentric old lady (Miss Honey), Reg Varney plays ‘Dennis’ and Frances Rowe plays ‘Marion’.
(1952) Robert Taylor, Harold Warrender . This American film made by MGM has Wilfred of Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor) joining with Locksley-Robin Hood (Harold Warrender) . They want King Richard to rule the kingdom instead of evil Prince John. Ivanhoe’s love is the Lady Rowena (Joan Fontaine) and Elizabeth Taylor plays Rebecca, who is saved by Ivanhoe from being burned at the stake.
(1952) Richard Todd, Joan Rice. This Disney film is set in 12th century England at the start of Richard the Lionheart’s crusade to the Holy Land, with a rural largely poor population ruled over by the good king, who sets off on crusade and leaves his evil brother King John to rule in his place; a theme which appears in a number of films. Here Robin (Richard Todd) is 18 years old, and he enters the upcoming archery tournament. He wins the tournament but refuses to serve under the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin’s father is murdered by the sheriff’s right-hand man, who is killed by Robin in turn. He becomes an outlaw in Sherwood and gathers around him other outcasts who have been impoverished by the sheriff’s deputies. Robin and his merrie men rob from the rich to aid the poor, and kidnap the sheriff himself and rob his purse. They also help to pay King Richard’s ransom after he is captured in the Crusades by robbing the loot King John and the Sheriff have stolen from the poor. A great cast helps keep the film interesting and Joan Rice plays a gritty Maid Marian, one of the best of the Disney films. View
(1954) Don Taylor, Reginald Beckwith. The first Robin Hood film made by Hammer productions (UK) and their first colour film. The story opens in 12th century England with King Richard being held captive in Germany and Prince John is attempting to usurp the throne. In Sherwood Forest a man is robbed and killed by masked outlaws, and the sheriff of Nottingham blames Robin Hood and puts an even higher bounty on his head. The man was carrying vital information about King Richard so Robin and his men set out to find the real culprits and to save the life of King Richard. Don Taylor (an American import) is good as Robin Hood and so is the humorous gambler Friar Tuck (Reginald Beckwith) .
(1959) David Hedison, June Laverick. Robin Hood’s dead in this UK production and an English nobleman wants to rule England. It is left up to his surviving merry men to save England. However, they need a leader and learn that Robin had a son and is coming to continue his father’s work. However, it turns out that his son is actually a daughter. Hedison is ‘Jamie’ and Laverick is ‘Deering Hood’.
(1960) Richard Greene, Peter Cushing. A well done film from Hammer productions. (UK) Good locations and sets and great photography. The acting is credible and Peter Cushing does a great villian as always. Niall McGinnis is probably the best Friar Tuck, he makes more of the character than the usual gluttonous bufoon characterization of others. Richard Greene repeats the role of Robin Hood which he played in the TV series ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ from 1955 to 1960. View
(1960) Lex Barker, Jocelyn Lane. This Italian production, ‘Robin Hood e i pirati’, was also known as ‘Robin Hood and the Pirates’, and in West Germany, ‘Robin Hood und die Piraten’. On his way to (or from) the Crusades, Robin Hood is shipwrecked but saved by pirates who plan to ransom him to his father. The pirates’ ship, however, sinks in a storm. Robin washes ashore (in England?) and learns that his father has been killed by the evil usurper, Brooks. Robin also meets a childhood sweetheart, Kareen. The pirates now wash ashore as well. They decide to aid Robin in his efforts to overthrow Brooks. Lex Barker is Robin Hood, Jocelyn Lane is Kareen Blain, and Mario Scaccia is Jonathan Brooks.
(1962) Don Burnett, Gia Scala. Also know as ‘The Triumph of Robin Hood’. Many of the famous characters are present in this light-headed but surprisingly colorful Italian film. Burnett, a Rock Hudson look-alike is Robin Hood, Gia Scala is ‘Anna’ rather than Marian, and Samson Burke is Little John.
(1962) Henk van der Linden, Michel Odekerken. This family film from the Netherlands, has Henk van der Linden as Robin Hood, Michel Odekerken as ‘Broeder Tuck,’ and Cor van der Linden as ‘Dicky’.
(1964) Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin. A musical film set in the 1930s gangster era in Chicago. The movie stars members of the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.) Frank Sinatra is ‘Robbo’, Dean Martin is Little John, Sammy Davis, Jr. is ‘Will’, Bing Crosby is ‘Allen A. Dale’, Peter Falk is ‘Guy Gisborne’, and Barbara Rush is ‘Marian Stevens’.
(1968) Barrie Ingham, Peter Blythe. Another Hammer film, this one has Robin de Courtenay (Ingham) as a Norman nobleman falsely accused by his cousin Sir Roger de Courtenay (Blythe) of murdering his other cousin Henry. Forced to turn outlaw, Robin flees the castle, joins a band of Saxon outcasts, and is dubbed Robin Hood. This version has a number of twists, Robin is a Norman and Little John and Will Scarlet, are Norman retainers. The cast is good, and most of the standard characters are present, although Barrie Ingham lacks the charisma of Errol Flynn, Richard Todd, and Richard Greene. Gay Hamilton plays Lady Marian Fitzwarren and John Arnatt is the sheriff of Nottingham.
(1969) Ralph Jenkins, Wendell Swink. ‘The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood’, is an American/West German bawdy adventure comedy, starring Ralph Jenkins as Robin Hood, Wendell Swink as Little John, and Dee Lockwood as Marian.
(1969) David Warbeck, Ciaran Madden. This is the fourth and final film to be associated with Hammer Productions (UK). This adventure film features David Warbeck as Robin Hood, Ciaran Madden as Lady Marian, David Butler as Wil Scarlett, and Kathleen Byron as Katherine of Locksley.
(1970) Luis Barboo, Pasquale Basile. An Italian coproduction, also starring Alfredo Calles.
(1970) George Martin, Spela Rozin. This Spanish/Italian film has George Martin as Robin Hood, Spela Rozin as Rowina, Antonella Murgia as Marian, and Cris Huerta as Little John.
(1970) Giuliano Gemma, Mark Damon. ‘The Scalawag Bunch’ is an Italian coproduction know as ‘L’arciere di Sherwood’ with the alternative title of ‘L’arciere di fuoco’. In Spain it was know as ‘El arquero de Sherwood’ and in West Germany it had the title of ‘Der feurige Pfeil der Rache’. Giuliano Gemma plays Robin Hood, Mark Damon is ‘Allen’ and Silvia Dionisio is ‘Lady Marian’. A fun film with stylish costumes that has Gemma as the heir to the Nottingham dukedom who is robbed of his heritage. He joins the already-established ‘Merrie Men’ and becomes their leader. The finale sees the traditional return of Richard the Lionheart.
(1971) Frankie Howerd, Hugh Paddick. The follow-up to the film version of the BBC TV comedy series ‘Up Pompeii’. Howerd playes the dual roles of King Richard the Lionheart and the cowardly peasant Lurkalot (his character in ‘Up Pompeii’ was the slave Lurcio) who sells chastity belts on the side. The plot is an excuse to serve up the usual collection of puns and double meanings that characterized several British film comedies in the 1970s. Hugh Paddick is Robin Hood, leader of a band of men who are gay rather than merry.
(1973) A Mexican film with René Cardona III and Patricia Aspíllaga.
(1973) Animated retelling of the Robin Hood legend with animals as the characters. Robin Hood is an outlaw who starts to form a gang in Sherwood Forest to fight the injustices of the Sheriff of Nottingham, who levies unpayable taxes upon the people. Robin Hood – a Fox (voice) Brian Bedford, Little John – a Bear (voice) Phil Harris, Friar Tuck – a Badger (voice) Andy Devine, Maid Marian – a Vixen (voice) Monica Evans.
(1974) A film from Brazil, ‘Robin Hood, O Trapalhão da Floresta,’ with Bill Melathopolous and Mario Cardoso.
(1975) Boris Khmelnitsky, Regīna Razuma. This Soviet film has the alternative translations – ‘Robin Good’s Arrows’, and ‘Robin Gud’s Arrows’. Directed by Sergei Tarasov, a number of songs in the film were performed by Vladimir Vysotsky. Boris Khmelnitsky plays ‘Robin Good’.
(1975) Joaquín Blanco, Charly Bravo. This Spanish film was also know as ‘Robin Hood Never Dies’. Also stars Emma Cohen.
(1975) Keith Chegwin, Mandy Tulloch. In this UK family adventure movie, Robin Hood Junior helps Maid Marion to escape from her wicked uncle. Keith Chegwin is Robin, Mandy Tulloch plays Marion and Nicholas Dunn is John.
(1976) Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn. This American film offers a different version of the legendary characters of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. It’s set in 1199, and Robin and Little John, return to England, after King Richard the Lionheart’s death. Marian is taken from Kirklees Abbey, and Robin and his followers prepare to fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham once more. This movie presents all of the famous characters in their old age; Sean Connery does well as the old Robin, he portrays a man who doesn’t take well to the passage of time. Audrey Hepburn plays an excellent Marian with wisdom and intelligence. Their rekindled love is shown with a certain tenderness, and her chemistry with Connery’s Robin is inspiring. Of the other cast members Robert Shaw plays the cunning Sheriff, and Little John although loyal to Robin, is aware that things are over. This film has an authentic medieval look, and there are great locations in the forest. View
(1979) Sergio Ciani, Victoria Abril. An Italian/Spanish production also known as ‘Storia di arcieri, pugni e occhi neri’, with Sergio Ciani as Robin Hood, Victoria Abril as Anne Birdsley, and Cris Huerta as Friar Tuck.
(1981) John Cleese, Sean Connery. This UK adventure/comedy is a family film. A young boy accidently joins a band of dwarves as they jump from time-period to time-period looking for treasure to steal. John Cleese appears as Robin Hood, Sean Connery plays King Agamemnon / Fireman, and Shelley Duvall plays Dame Pansy/Pansy.
(1983) Peteris Gaudins, Tamara Akulova. A Soviet film, based on the novel by Walter Scott. Peteris Gaudins is Ivanhoe, Tamara Akulova is Lady Rowena, and Boris Khmelnitsky is Robin Hood. The movie features songs originally written and performed by Vladimir Vysotsky for another movie-‘The Arrows of Robin Hood’ (above), but removed from the latter for political reasons.
(1988) This animated American family film has good King Richard away at war, and the greedy Sheriff has forced the residents of Nottingham to pay all their money to him. Robin Hood, with the help of his friend Maid Marion, a spy in the Sheriff’s castle, is out to thwart the evil Sheriff and return the King to his rightful throne. A madcap adventure tale, filled with daring swordfights and superb storytelling, a classic tale for children.
(1991) Kevin Costner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Prince of Thieves does not rely on historical accuracy and leans more toward Hollywood flair. There is a lack of English accent and authenticity with Kevin Costner looking more like a rock star. That being said, there are acceptable performances from Costner, Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman, Christian Slater, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian. The story is fast paced and would appeal to those who enjoy the adventure movie. View
(1993) Cary Elwes, Amy Yasbeck. Evil Prince John is oppressing the people while good King Richard is away on the Crusades. Robin steals from the tax collectors, wins an archery contest, defeats the Sheriff, and rescues Maid Marian. In this French/American spoof, Mel Brooks adds his own personal touch, parodying traditional adventure films, romance films, and the theme of men running around the woods in tights. Cary Elwes is Robin Hood, Amy Yasbeck is Maid Marian, and Roger Rees plays the ‘Sheriff of Rottingham’. His previous Robin Hood attempt was the short-lived TV series ‘When Things Were Rotten’. (see below)
(1996) Mark Davis, Sean Michaels. Robin Hood is out to steal the king’s harem in this American/Italian video release, and he largely succeeds. Mark Davis is Robin Hood, and Sean Michaels is the Sheriff of Nottingham.
(1998) David Wood, George N. Thompson. In this American production, Robin Hood steals from the rich and gives to the Saxons in 12th century England. He is hunted by the furious (and slightly overweight) Sheriff of Nottingham, who dispatches his men to find Robin, but he is able to accumulate a sizable group of ‘Merry Men’ to seek out the infamous Friar Tuck to help them in their rebellion. David Wood is Robin Hood, George N. Thompson is Little John, and Joe Adkins is the Sheriff of Nottingham.
(2000) Brian Heidik, Gabriella Hall. A ribald American video release. Roberta is a low-budget movie director dealing with numerous problems on the set of her current production. When she is accidently hit on the head, she is knocked unconscious and dreams of living in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. Brian Heidik is Alvin / Robin Hood, Gabriella Hall is Roberta, and Shannan Leigh is Nina/Serena.
(2003) A German production with Christoph Maria Herbst and Sissi Perlinger.
(2007) A family/animated feature on DVD with Robin Hood, his Merry Men and Maid Marian as told with an all-animal cast. Robin Hood is up to his usual heroic antics when he learns that King Richard is finally returning home from battle in the Holy Land. However, Prince John arranges for his brother, the King, to be captured and imprisoned on his way home. Robin Hood, together with his Merry Men and Maid Marion, must reach Richard before the Sheriff of Nottingham or the King and Kingdom will be forever lost.
(2007) Calvert Tooley, Erin Dee. In this American short comedy, set in the 12th Century, a Documentary Crew enters Sherwood Forest in search of a legend. Calvert Tooley is Robin Hood, Erin Dee plays Maid Marian, Kevin Harkness is Little John and Harris Tooley plays the Sheriff of Nottingham.
(2008) Jason Braly, Steve Barker. In this American video release, Robin Hood is back with his gang of outlaws to do battle with the dark forces of the Sheriff of Nottingham. With his lands taken and father murdered, he and his gang of outlaws are forced to live in Sherwood forest and raid the Sheriff whenever needed. Not content with his life of crime, Robin Hood pleads with his men to overthrow the Sheriff once and for all. However, the Sheriff has plans of his own for Robin. In a stunning move, the Sheriff and his allies kidnap Lady Marian and hold her prisoner. In one last and desperate battle Robin Hood leads an assault upon Nottingham Castle to rescue his love, and bring balance back to England. Jason Braly is Robin Hood, Steve Barker plays the sheriff of Nottingham, Caroline Duncan is Maid Marian, John Neely plays Friar Tuck, Mark S. Faulkner is Guy of Gisborne, Mary Dobbs plays the ‘Witch of Prophecy’ and Scott Knoblach is Little John.
(2010) Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett. Ridley Scott’s version is quite gritty and ambitious. The film begins with Richard the Lion Heart’s siege of the Castle Chaulus Chabral in Normandy. Here we see Robin Longstride, a skilled archer, who has followed King Richard into battle for many years. The king looks for an honest man and is confronted with Longstride who has been running a game of chance and is accused (by Little John) of cheating. Robin is not cheating but, ironically, his honest answers to the king land him and his companions shackled. The death of King Richard allows Robin and his companions to escape and flee back home. Along the way, they run across a party led by Robert Loxley retuning the crown back to England. Loxley has been attacked by an English nobleman named Godfrey ( played by Mark Strong) who is conspiring with King Philip of France to invade England. Loxley is mortally wounded but Robin and his companions rout Godfrey and his men. The dying Loxley asks Robin to return his sword to his father. Robin impersonates Loxley and returns the crown. The story continues with Robin and his men going to Nottingham where Robin is asked by Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) to pretend to be his son in order to preserve the household for his daughter-in-law Marion (Cate Blanchett). The story centers on stopping Godfry and the intended invasion of England by King Philip. A sub-plot concerns the rights of Englishmen centered on a documents of rights that Robin’s father (who had long ago been executed) was instrumental in conceiving. Once again, King John is the nasty ruler, the document he tears up is a take on the Magna Carta. The 12th century is brought to life with grim reality and the sets are convincing. Mark Addy of ‘The Full Monty’ is Friar Tuck, and Oscar Isaac is the troublesome King John. John Hurt has a role as William Marshall, a courtier of King Richard, and Eileen Atkins is Queen Eleanor. The film ends with Robin declared an outlaw for supporting the rights of Englishmen.
(2018) Robin Hood is American action-adventure film directed by Otto Bathurst and written by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly, from a story by Chandler and based on the tale of Robin Hood. The film stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin and Jamie Dornan. It will be released by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment on November 21, 2018.