Robin of the MoviesFilms of Robin Hood

The first three silent British films were Robin Hood and his Merry Men (1908) in which Robin rescued a man from the gallows.
 
And Robin Hood Outlawed (1912) in which Robin rescued Maid Marian from the clutches of an evil knight.
 
And Days of Robin Hood (1913) in which Robin disguises himself as a monk to rescue one of his men from the Sheriff of Nottingham where actual Nottingham locations were used.
 
The first two silent American films were Robin Hood (1912 ) in which the plot revolves around Sir Guy of Gisbourne and Robin vying for Maid Marian's favour.
And Robin Hood (1913) in which Robin wins an archery contest and helps Alan a Dale rescue his sweetheart.
Douglas Fairbanks Senior
Robin Hood (1922)
 
Produced by Douglas Fairbanks
Directed by Allan Dwan
Starring Douglas Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Alan Hale and Sam de Grasse

At first Douglas Fairbanks Senior didn't want to play 'a flat-footed Englishman walking through the woods' but was persuaded by public demand. As one of the co-owners of United Artists Pictures (the other owners were his wife Mary Pickford, film director D.W.Griffith and Charlie Chaplin ) Fairbanks produced the picture himself and with a budget of almost 1 million dollars it was the most expensive film produced to date. The sets were the most lavish ever built and a medieval castle was created incorporating a 450-foot banqueting hall - Fairbanks strived for perfect detail.

In addition to his daring stunt work (sliding down a drapery, engaging in archery and swordsmanship, and other acrobatic feats), Fairbanks wrote the screenplay (with pseudonym Elton Thomas) for the fast moving, epic silent film filled with medieval pageantry.

The film opens with a jousting tournament - the first half half of the film was taken up with chivalry and romance - in which Robin as the Earl of Huntingdon, played by Fairbanks with grace and gymnastic prowess, takes part and falls for Maid Marian. The knights depart on crusade while Prince John, played by Sam de Grasse, begins a reign of tyranny. Marian sends word to Huntingdon via his squire Little John, played by Alan Hale (he re-created the role in the later 1938 and 1950 versions). Robin forms an outlaw band in Sherwood Forest, rescues Maid Marian with the help of a mysterious knight who turns out to be King Richard (Wallace Beery). The King pardons Robin and re-unites him with Marian.

Whilst the film is filled with swordfights, jousts, larger-than-life stunts and Fairbanks' jaunty heroism, unfortunately the outlaws do appear to skip through the forest like Oberon's fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Nevertheless this classic film eclipsed all before it and cannot be beat for its energy.

Robin Hood Poster
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
 
Directed by Michael Curtis and William Keighly
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claud Rains and Alan Hale
Music Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Olivia and ErrolThis film version of Robin Hood is regarded as the best by fans and critics alike, the definitive film portraying the Robin Hood legend. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn - still the definitive Robin Hood by many filmgoers - Olivia De Havilland as beautiful Maid Marian, Claude Rains as evil Prince John, Basil Rathbone as a snotty Sir Guy of Gisbourne and Alan Hale again as a large Little John, the film became one of Warner Bros Studios greatist hits. The handsome, glowing technicolour adventure was set to an Oscar-winning score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Flynn's confidence and cocky charm make for a perfect Robin Hood. Despite the lots being fakes, the only part of Nottingham Castle to be built was the portcullis while the rest was matted - a process of painting on glass, the film turned out to be a timeless classic.

Varying little from the usual story involving King Richard, Maid Marian, Prince John, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, the film excelled in its swashbuckling action scenes while the film climaxes with a battle-to-the-finish swordfight highlighted by Curtiz's inventive use of shadows cast upon the castle walls. The 3-strip Technicolour, casting, costumes and clever dialogue make it an uplifting and exhilarating film.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards (Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture of the Year), and lost only its Best Picture recognition to Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You.

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946)
A first-class fencer, Cornel Wilde, played Robin's son with plenty of energy.
 
Prince of Thieves (1948)
Jon Hall played the leading role in this version based on a tale by Alexander Dumas. It included plenty of swordplay while re-uniting 3 pairs of lovers but was not too memorable.
 
Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950)
Robin's son again appeared, this time played by Jon Derek. Plenty of arrows flew through the greenwood along with some exciting sword fighting. Alan Hale played Little John for the third time and the scriptwriter introduced something new into the story - the Magna Charta.
 
Tales of Robin Hood (1951)
This was actually a failed American television pilot episode produced by Hal Roach. It had the usual storyline of archery contest, forest battle and Robin saving Maid Marian.
 

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952)

Although the most expensive Robin Hood film made to date, this first Disney venture into the greenwood with Richard Todd as Robin (pictured top left) did not live up to its expectations. Disney did not want a heavyweight macho character but someone who was light on their feet - a smart cookie.

Maid Marian was played by Joan Rice (pictured bottom left) who had worked as a waitress in Nottingham when in her teens and the Sheriff of Nottingham was played by the Australian Peter Finch.

 
Son of Robin Hood (1959) surprisingly starred June Laverick as the daughter of Robin Hood. Its only redeeming feature was the final excellent duel with swords, sabres and pikes.

For later films click Post 1960 Films

for all books and vidoes about Robin Hood.

Sherwood Times