Robin Hood came out in theaters a little over 42 years ago, and it has been a favorite of mine since I first watched it. The recent passing of Brian Bedford (the voice of Robin Hood) brought this film to mind, and I thought it would be fun to review it here.
In this light-hearted romp through English mythology, we meet Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Prince John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. None of the other characters in the mythos are present—we never meet the rest of the merry men of Nottingham Forest—but they aren’t needed for this Robin Hood story. Robin and John are just two guys on a walkabout who steal from the rich and give to the poor due to the onerous taxes levied by Prince John.
The Sheriff of Nottingham spends his time trying to catch Robin and John, but generally fails. Maid Marian pines away for her childhood love, Robin, thinking he’s forgotten about her in all the time she’s been away to London. Robin pines away for Marian, too, but doesn’t know how he could get up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage. Whatever will they do in order to get together?
The plot is not very deep in Robin Hood, which is perfectly fine since it’s really aimed at a younger crowd. There are plenty of entertaining bits and jokes in it for the adults, though, so there is really something here for all ages. Despite the light plot, the animators still have fun presenting the story, and that fun shows in the delightful anthropomorphic take on the story. All of the characters are animals suiting the type of character they play.
While this film is not a musical, there are a couple instances where the characters sing songs. The story is narrated and sung by Alan-a-Dale (voiced by one of my favorite singers, Roger Miller). “Not In Nottingham” was a great song that skewered Prince John and had even his own men humming and singing along to it. “Love”, by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns, was a beautiful song and perfectly fit the romantic scenes in which it was featured. It even got an Oscar nomination. The background score by Bruns really brought a whimsical feel to the story, and it really worked well with the setting and the characters.
Robin Hood will remain one of my favorites. It is funny, has hummable tunes, and everyone can find something to enjoy about it. And with there being so many versions of the Robin Hood myth out there, who’s to say it didn’t happen this way? It would be more fun if it did. Oo-De-Lally, indeed!
Release Date: November 8, 1973 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (somewhat regular drinking, Sir Hiss gets drunk, barrels of booze)
Violence: 1 (mostly slapstick, no one ever gets really hurt)