In Which I Declare My Love for Robin Hood

I am a total sucker for archer characters — Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Allison Argent on Teen Wolf, Hawkeye from The Avengers, Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Pretty much give a character a bow and arrow, and I’m there. And of course this all goes back to the classic fictional archer, Robin Hood. I’ve not seen all the incarnations of Robin Hood, but I’ve watched several and loved them for both their similarities and differences.

Errol Flynn

I haven’t seen the classic The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, so I need to bop over to Netflix to see if it’s available there. But did you know that Flynn’s 1938 film actually came 30 years after Robin Hood’s first appearance on the screen? In 1908, there was a silent film called Robin Hood and His Merry Men.

1973 Disney version

I probably saw the Disney film in which Robin and Maid Marian were foxes, but it’s been so long I’ve forgotten. After all, I was 3 when it came out. Need to add that to the queue as well. But here are some versions I’ve seen and enjoyed for different reasons.

Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner. This version had a lot of big names in the cast list: Costner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery and, hello bonus, Alan Rickman!

Robin Hood: Men in Tights was a Mel Brooks spoof starring Cary Elwes of Princess Bride fame.

BBC version with Jonas Armstrong

The BBC’s series Robin Hood ran for three seasons, starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin. I haven’t watched the third season yet because I was so upset by something that happened in season two, but I did really enjoy what I’ve watched. Armstrong, to me, resembles Colin O’Donoghue, who plays Captain Hook on Once Upon a Time (pause for dreamy sigh for Colin). Other fun cast facts: Will Scarlett was played by Harry Lloyd, who also played Viserys Targaryen, the creepy brother of Daenerys on Game of Thrones. Also, it starred Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne.

2010 Russell Crowe version

The 2010 movie Robin Hood that starred Russell Crowe. I know Crowe has a lot of detractors, but I actually like him as an actor and this movie.

Sean Maguire as Robin Hood and Lana Parrilla as Regina/the Evil Queen on Once Upon a Time

And that brings us to my current Robin Hood obsession, his character on Once Upon a Time, played by Sean Maguire. I love OUAT because of the way it weaves all the classic fairy tale characters together, telling the stories in different ways from the original fairy tales. This past week, I binge watched the second half of the most reason season and just fell in love with the building relationship between Robin, who is a single father after the death of Marian, and Regina, who was the Evil Queen in the Snow White tale. I love it because they are damaged in different ways, and they are totally an opposites-attract romance. After all, he steals from the rich to give to the poor, and she’s the epitome of who he’s fighting against. But he sees something in her that few others see — someone who was hurt so badly that she turned evil. I love how one bit of dialogue between them sums up their relationship:

Regina: “What do you see in me?”

Robin: “Hopefully the same thing you see in me — a second chance.”

Have I mentioned how much I love second chance at love stories? The writers threw a big obstacle in their path at the very end of the season finale, and I’m already counting down the days until the fall premiere so I can see what happens! I mean, it’s a second chance at love, an opposites-attract tale and Robin Hood all rolled into one. What’s not to love?

How about you? Are you a fan of Robin Hood? If so, what versions do you like? Or is another fairy tale hero your favorite?



  • Jane says:

    Hello Trish,
    I do like the Robin Hood movies and my favorite is the Kevin Costner version. When I hear Bryan Adams song I immediately think of this movie. I also like the BBC adaptation. That’s where I discovered Richard Armitage.

  • Trish, what a fun post. I have to admit a fondness for Robin Hood myself. In fact, in 7th grade, a wrote a play about him – and I got to play Robin. My best friend and I put it on with various girlfriends so actual boys were a bit short on the ground in the cast. The funny thing is I suspect I wouldn’t be able to hit the side of an elephant if I used an actual bow and arrow.

    My favorite version is the Errol Flynn one. Seriously, you’ve got to see it. He wears tights like nobody else and there’s a lovely romance. And a couple of great swordfights.

    Couldn’t ever stomach the BBC one, Richard Armitage notwithstanding. Robin was just too wet for me and the stories were silly. There was a great TV version back in the mid-80s which starred a really handsome Robin Michael Praed. It was quite mystical – lots of stuff about Hern the lord of the forest and stuff but the man candy was definitely worth checking out. Had great music by Clannad too!

  • Mozette says:

    I’ve seen the classic one with Errol Flynn in it and every time I do, Mum calls me up and tells me how well-hung he was and how amazing it was that he could ‘fit it all into those tights!’… well, shit, Mum, I wasn’t enjoying film, now all I’m doing it looking at his crotch! πŸ˜›

    Otherwise the best one I love is the one with Kevin Constner in it… yummo… who wouldn’t? πŸ˜€

  • Amy Conley says:

    The Kevin Costner version gets my vote, although I have seen the Errol Flynn version and it is just as well done, for its time.

  • Helen says:


    I too am a Robin Hood fan and the Errol Flynn version is my favourite closely followed by the Kevin Costner one love both of these movies I have both on DVD so when ever I feel like watching them I can and the Disney one is also great I have watched that one many times with the grandkids but I have not watched any of the others.

    Have Fun

    • Looks like Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner are winning the race so far. I hope we get some Once Upon a Time viewers today because I’m riding that high and anxious to chat about Robin and Regina. πŸ™‚

  • Minna says:

    Robin Hood is one of my all time favorites! And I’m with Anna about tv series. I couldn’t stomach the BBC series either. The Robin of Sherwood with Michael Praed and Jason Connery as Robin Hoods was my favorite Though I’ve found that at least for me it’s one of those tv series you shouldn’t watch again as an adult. And I remember another Robin Hood series. Can’t remember what it was called, but it was the same sort of series as Xena or Hercules and I thought it was just weird.

    As for movies, Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner versions are my favorites.

    I also like the documentary about him By Tony Robinson (Fact or Fiction: Robin Hood. It seems to be on YouTube at the moment). Did you know Robin Hood was really from Yorkshire? πŸ˜‰ This bit of information was also mentioned in Last of the Summer Wine (episode How Erroll Flynn Discovered the Secret Scar of Nora Batty).

    By the way, I found a list of Robin Hood movies, tv series and episodes of tv series where he is mentioned in the title of certain episodes. Including Last of the Summer Wine: hood&s=tt&ref_=fn_al_tt_mr

  • EC Spurlock says:

    Oh, my fondness for Robin Hood goes way back. In fact I have a copy of the original book by Howard Pyle with illustrations by NC Wyeth (and one by his twelve-year-old son Andrew.) In fact one of the first stories I wrote in college featured Robin as a secondary character (and was quite popular with my creative writing professor, who urged me to go into fantasy writing.)

    My mom was a big Errol Flynn fan and he does give some great smackdowns to Prince John and Guy of Gisbourne in that movie. Tried to get my kids to watch it but they just looked at him sourly and said “He fake-laughs too much.” But the epic swordfight at the end between Flynn and Basil Rathbone who played Guy set the standard for movie swordfights for decades to come.

    The Disney version is very Americanized and rather silly but has some good voice acting and is pretty watchable if you let out your inner five-year-old.

    I really disliked the Costner version; to me it is only redeemed by the unrepentant scenery chewing of Alan Rickman as a bat-guano-insane Sheriff. He seems to be the only one to accept how poorly written the movie was and just run with it and play it for laughs. The Russell Crowe version at least made a creditable attempt at historical accuracy in terms of what life would have actually been like, and I liked the slow-growing relationship between him and Marian. Also check out “Robin and Marian” starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as the lovers reunited in their fifties, after Robin has returned from the Crusades to find Marian in a nunnery.

    “Men In Tights” was actually a movie version of a TV show Mel Brooks did back in the late 60’s called “When Things Were Rotten”. If I recall correctly it starred Dick Gautier as Robin, and spoofed Robin Hood the way “Get Smart” spoofed James Bond. Haven’t seen the Jason Armstrong version but the BBC series shown in the 80’s starring Michael Praed was lovely and mystical, positing Robin as the son of Herne the Horned God and represented as the Hooded Man, also an incarnation of Herne.

    And yes yes yes to the pairing of Robin and Regina in OUAT! If you recall, Tinker Bell pointed him out as her soul mate last season, and she could have had him before he married Marian, but she could not reconcile her need for vengeance with his nobility at the time and chickened out, thus ruining all three lives. So this is a second chance for all of them, really. Looking forward to see what happens next season!

    And if you like OUAT, I second Minna’s suggestion of Mythtickle. It’s about all the gods/goddesses/epic figures of history as children living in a mystical land and going to Ms Nature’s School. Robin and Merlin are there along with an adorable Thor, Boody the Last Dragon, Karma, Venus, Anansi, and my favorite Dziva, to name a few. Here’s a link:

    • Yay, someone who is shipping Robin and Regina with me! Yeah, I remember the scene where Tink showed her Robin from the back in that tavern. I just hope it works out for them somehow, though the reappearance of Marian certainly puts a giant kink in things.

  • catslady says:

    I like all of them but one of my favorites was Robin and Marion played with Sean Connery – they were older so maybe that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much and of course Sean Connery lol.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the Robin Hood stories, too, Trish, not as much as the King Arthur legends, but almost.

  • I love the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood! It is such a classic movie and Flynn plays it to the hilt. Those sword fights set the bar for all movie sword fights to follow.

    I like the Kevin Costner version as well. Alan Rickman steals the show and I really like Morgan Freeman’s character as well.

    I haven’t seen Once Upon a Time Yet, but I am beginning to believe I should find it on DVD as that is the only way I will be able to watch it.

    I did get the first season of the BBC Robin Hood because my darling RA is in it, but like La Divina Campbell the Robin Hood character leaves me cold.

    And I liked the Russel Crowe version as a more historically accurate version whereas the Costner version is more entertainment.

  • Kim says:

    I’m a big Once Upon a Time fan. When I heard the premise, I was skeptical it would work as a series. Then I watched it and really enjoyed the show. Rumplestiltskin & the Evil Queen have made quite a tranformation.

    I have to say I like all the pairings. There isn’t a lack of chemistry anywhere. Did you enjoy the finale where Emma watched her parents fall in love and she finally met Rumplestiltskin in all his Enchanted Forest Glory?

    As for Robin Hood, I like Errol Flynn. However, Sean Maguire is great, too.

    • Yes, I watched the OUAT finale. I’m so anxious to see what happens after that final season of that episode. And I like the pairings, too.

  • Can’t believe you’ve never seen the Errol Flynn version! If you’ve ever seen him in “Captain Blood,” you’ve seen him in “Robin Hood,” since practically the same cast are in both, with several scenes and bits of dialogue identical. RH is more fun, though, because it’s, well, Robin Hood!

    Me, I’m not a fan of archers in venues where more efficient violence is readily at hand. (That means Katniss is fine.) Green Arrow and co? Hawkeye? Pfft. They should be leaving a string of bodies in their wake. Get a gun! Get a phaser! Besides, in the comics GA was always either boring or a preachy boor, except for the very short time he became a monk. And he was responsible for the daring Black Canary being relegated to mere arm candy, a role she’s had to struggle too hard to live down.

  • Emily says:

    The Errol Flynn version, hands down (I also love pirates because of his Captain Blood). I quite like Prince of Thieves, not for Costner but for the cast, especially Alan Rickman. And I love Robin and Regina on OUAT. It’s a long break before the new season starts. Can’t wait!

    • I know, on the long wait. I’ve been catching up on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland since finishing watching the OUAT finale. Robin Hood is in one of the Wonderland episodes.

  • Becke says:

    I’ll have to join the majority. Costner gets my vote, but also liked Sean Connery version and the Disney flick. We have little grands so I saw it not too long ago.

    I thought Rickman made the movie, but Morgan was also exceptional. Then there was that scene at the pool and the song. big sigh. Gee, do you think we’re romantics?

    If you haven’t tried archery, give it a go. Except for getting stung once in a while, it’s fun. I can’t see worth a flip so I was better at archery than riflery.

    • Becke, this is something I want to try at some point, along with learning to properly ride a horse. My two attempts have ended up badly for me, with me on the ground not of my own choosing.

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    Yes, I’m an adult, but the Disney version is still one of my favorite movies. LOL

  • Chelsea B. says:

    I was wondering if you were going to mention Once’s Robin Hood! Loving his character. Dreamy, dreamy… But that season finale! *Cries* I know, I know… Bad me. But Regina though!!!!
    I haven’t watched the bbc version, but I’ve been browsing past it in my Netflix queue for quite awhile and have wanted to start it. Your comment has me nervous though!! What happens?? Also, and most important, is there any romance???? πŸ™‚
    Also a plus for him that he looks like Captain Hook! That guy is straight-up beautiful.