- Directed by John Irvin
- May 13, 1991
When Sir Robert Hode saves a miller in Norman occupied England, he is forced into the life of an outlaw and becomes the legendary Robin Hood.
This version of the legend of Robin Hood came to my attention on TV many years ago though it was released theatrically elsewhere around the world shortly before Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In this story there is a focus on the conflict between the Normans and the Saxons. As baddies gone are the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisbourne. They have been replaced for some reason by two original antagonists They are the Baron Roger Daguerre (Jeroen Krabbé) who takes the Sheriff’s place as the scheming tax collector though here he start’s Robin’s friend and Sir Miles Folcanet (Jürgen Prochnow) who stands in for Guy as the vindictive knight after Robin’s head and Maid Marian’s (Uma Thurman) hand in marriage. King Richard also never shows.
This version has been a little hard to find ever since I first viewed it but it has remained a positive experience in my memory and I was happy to stumble across a physical copy of it not too long ago. And I am pleased to report that I still enjoyed it.
We still get our favorite outlaw Robin Hood (Patrick Bergin) here whose real name is Sir Robert Hode being forced into his life by circumstances beyond his control and attempting to right the wrongs that he sees. Patrick Bergin is fine casting as the hero. His Robin is cocky and while taking what he must do seriously, he enjoys pulling one after another over on those who would put him in chains or have him executed.
On Robin’s first outing is a thief there is a rather witty exchange between he and Maid Marian (Uma Thurman) that is as much a discussion between the two as it is a series of double entendres. Marian more than holds her own against Robin in the exchange. It’s rather funny and begins the two characters attraction quite well.
There’s fine chemistry between Bergin and Thurman. Truth be told I forgot Uma Thurman was in this. Or perhaps I just never realized it. This was early in her career. They play well off of each other and her character is much more than a pretty face or a damsel in distress. As a personality she holds her own very well against Robin Hood in scene after scene and does not cower meekly while waiting to be saved but rather is defiant until the last possible moment.
I need to talk about a personal favorite in this and one that stuck out in my mind since day one. Jeff Nuttall was great as Friar Tuck and I think stole what scenes he was in. There is no pretense at making him a pious religious man though he was a God-fearing individual. He was a scoundrel with morals and probably had some of the better one-liners in this film.
The sets and the general environment pull you into the world they create. It’s not done as generic medieval times nor do they scrimp on the sets. At least it doesn’t look like such. They make things convincing enough. The script is good and there’s as much drama as there is excitement and action in it. This film has enjoyable characters and great battles and thrilling escapes. And it’s all done with fun though there are serious elements tossed in. This Robin Hood honors the spirit of the legend but does things a little differently without the creators here attempting to put their own spin on it.
Robin Hood is a very good film. It has action and adventure and great characters and plenty of humor along with it all. I’m going to bet you haven’t seen this, but I think you should try to track it down and give it a watch. You won’t be disappointed!