101 min / 1938
Aside from a little medieval Roman Catholicism in the character of Friar Tuck (for instance, asking a woman to swear by “Our Lady” that what she is saying is true), you’ll never find a better version of the Robin Hood legend. Why? Four reasons.
The first is respect for authority. The movie makes it clear that the villain, Prince John, is conspiring against the regent placed in charge by the absent King Richard, his brother, so that Robin Hood’s apparent rebellion actually upholds the true authority of the rightful king.
The second reason is Robin Hood’s courage in standing against tyranny. Robin Hood and his band demonstrate bravado in taking on Prince John’s minions with a quip and a quiver, and with grim determination, thwarting those who would assassinate King Richard.
Then there is what particularly impresses Maid Marian about Robin Hood: the manly compassion and protection he offers to those oppressed by Prince John, which is the third appealing feature of this film.
Finally, in his treatment of Maid Marian and other female characters, Robin Hood exemplifies respect for women.
All in all, an engaging portrait, for boys and boys at heart, of hearty, healthy masculinity.