Synopsis: Nobleman crusader Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) breaks out of a Jerusalem prison with the help of Moorish fellow prisoner Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and travels back home to England. But upon arrival, he discovers his dead father in the ruins of his family estate, killed by the vicious sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman). Robin and Azeem join forces with outlaws Little John (Nick Brimble) and Will Scarlett (Christian Slater) to save the kingdom from the sheriff’s villainy.
Desolately Short Opinion: The definitive Robin Hood story (perhaps the best film adaption) with the most memorable cast and theme song in the long history of Robin Hood tales. This film is a classic for the ages and features some of the best on-screen action of its time. Worth a watch for any movie lover.
Desolately long opinion…
In my opinion, this film isn’t just a classic but an integral part of the history of modern cinema. It tells an inspiring story that everyone manages to find something in. I mean, what better story to stand the test of the ages than the good vs evil, pure vs corrupt, poor vs rich sentiment? Everyone, young and old have heard at least one version of the Robin Hood story and some are more accepted than others. This depends on the person though and for some Robin Hood will always be the Red Fox from Disney while The Kevin Costner Robin Hood, in my mind, will always be the ‘real’ Robin Hood.
The film does lack somewhat in obvious areas but what it lacks in one scene, it almost always makes up in others. For instance, if you aren’t terribly versed with history you might find the opening scenes concerning Richard’s war somewhat confusing and irrelevant, while the very next scene following the opening sequence portrays Robin’s homecoming with such emotion that you pretty much forget what they were all on about in the previous bit.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves does this little trick quite a few times throughout and conveys its version of the ancient tale with not only humor but a dark subtext concerning good vs evil. Most notably so, The Witch & Azeem, who are quite literally portraying an angel vs a demon scenario, each on opposing sides, battling for the ultimate outcome of victory for their respective sides. In fact, religion plays a large part in this film. The Sheriff worships The Devil and has corrupt members of the church in his service while Robin is a Christian man with simple Christian men following him. Robin is even referred to, not by name, but by the title of his religion by Azeem as ‘Christian’ on many occasions.
There are definitely hidden meanings and ideas in this film that you don’t notice at first glance but it all somehow works to deliver a great story with not only memorable characters portrayed by the likes of Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Rickman but it manages to give you a little something to think about long after it’s all over.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a true favorite and a film everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
What the critics had to say…
With a relatively large budget for 1991, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves cost an estimated $48 million to produce, made a respectable $25 million on opening weekend and then surprised everyone by raking in about $390 million worldwide in total.
This film holds a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6,9 on IMDb and about 83% of all Google Users liked it. Its success comes with a bit of an off-side blow to the ribs from critics such as Philip Thomas and Sarah Orrick though who reckon this film is not only small but far too violent for kids. You know, because kids watching Kevin Costner and expecting the furry red fox from the Disney version of Robin Hood and then getting an arrow to the knee was a real issue back in 1991.
What we liked in particular…
- The story, depth, and emotion of the film transcends its flaws.
- The script, dialogue, and casting are all very well done with a memorable soundtrack to accompany.
- Robin Hood, in general, is awesome except when it’s Russel Crowe.
- Bows, Trees, Wide open spaces, and horses are always a good combo.
- Kevin Costner has a name for his character for once.
- Alan Rickman is literally The Sheriff Of Nottingham on Google. (see?)
What we didn’t like so much…
- The Merry Men could have been a slight bit more fleshed out and memorable.
- The Sheriff wasn’t as evil as he could have been and makes rather obvious mistakes that could easily be avoided.
- Robin Hood’s little brother side story was a little shallow and the betrayal made no sense.
- At no point, anywhere in this film did we believe Kevin Costner knows how to use a longbow.
- Kevin Costner doesn’t sound British. Nobody except Little John and some other nameless people sound British in this movie despite it being a British story.
- Morgan Freeman has no clue how people pray in Islam even though he portrays an Islamic character.
What we would have liked…
- More history on Robin himself and how he was before the war and how he got captured.
- A proper fight scene between The Sheriff & Robin’s dad.
- Maybe some more Richard The Lionheart.
- Robin looking less confused at the best of times.
Some fun facts about Robin Hood…
- Not a single historian or researcher has so far been able to prove Robin Hood actually existed.
- The most relevant person in history who could have been Robin Hood was The Earl Of Huntington.
- The first mention of the outlaw Robin Hood was in 1377 in a B text of William Langland called Piers Plowman.
- Friar Tuck did not exist in the story until the year 1417 and only five of the merry men actually had names.
- Maid Marian did not exist in the story until the 16th century.
- Never, at any time was it ever mentioned that Robin Hood and his merry men stole from the rich to give to the poor.
- The story of Robin Hood has been adapted for film and screen at least 68 times thus far.
So is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves worth a watch or not?
If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out. It’s an essential part of cinematic history that no movie fan should go without seeing. Worth a watch, worth a return to and worthy of a well-deserved spot in everyone’s private film collections.