A tale nearly everyone has seen some variation of Robin Hood has been around for a very long time; possibly since the 15th century with ballads about the glorious archer who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Of course songs have grown into several television shows and movies. While everyone has probably seen the Disney adaption, one of my brother’s favorite films since he could remember, heard about those with Kevin Costner (I may do that one a later time), the Mel Brooks parody with Cary Elwes (personally not a fan) or the most recent film with Russel Crowe (nope); there is no debate over the best robin Hood Movie of all time. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
Released in 1938, The Adventures of Robin Hood stars Errol Flynn as the archer of Sherwood Forest Sir Robin of Locksley who takes a stand against Prince John (Claude Rians) tyrannical reign against the Saxons. Joining him is Little John (Alan Hale Sr.), Will Scarlet (Patric Knowles), Much the Millers Son (Herbert Mundin), Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette) and more to make up the Merry Men. Robin Hood has to fight not only Prince John but Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone who taught the cats how to fence properly more than the hired fencers.) Sir Guy not only despises Robin because of the opposition but because he also is in love with the lovely Lady Marian, portrayed in this film by one of my favorite classic actresses
Olivia de Havilland. It takes the story you already know but with the dynamic acting from all it feels like you are watching the story for the first time over and over again.
One of my favorite aspects about the film is the chemistry between Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. This was not their first film together nor was it their last, which is why Robin and Marian love in my opinion the best, which includes the famous movie featuring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as the beloved pair. There have been several stories about how much love Errol and Olivia actually had for one another; however they never were officially together during their movies. My mother has often said whenever we watch this film how Errol was the love of Olivia’s life however despite a mutual attraction and even a proposal he was always married to someone else. I’m not sure how much of that is true but if it is I find it truly sad.
Back to the movie, once again there is no debate at least in my opinion that this is the best Robin Hood movie of all time. Great performances by all of the cast and, in my opinion, one of the best movies of the 20th century. The movie constantly airs on Turner Classic so please find it when you can. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.