Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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The legend had it coming.

We're men
We're men in tights,
Always on guard,

Defending the people's rights!
The Merry Men

Really, it was only a matter of time before Mel Brooks turned his sights on the venerable legend of Robin Hood and completely shredded it (again - see When Things Were Rotten). This anachronistic, irreverent romp through one of the best-known tales of the Western world runs roughshod over classic and modern adaptations alike, aiming most of its quips at Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves version but getting in a good many jabs at the classic Errol Flynn The Adventures of Robin Hood as well.

And unlike some other Robin Hoods, this one has an English accent! (Instead of an Australian, New Zealand, or American one, that is. It Will Never Catch On.)


Robin Hood: Men in Tights is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Robin Hood: Men in Tights include:

The Sheriff of Rottingham: KING ILLEGAL FOREST TO PIG WILD KILL IN IT A IS!!!

"Every time they make a Robin Hood movie, they burn our village down!"
"LEAVE US ALONE, MEL BROOKS!"

"Your back just got punched twice."

Sheriff;"That's a wild boar!"
Robin:"No, that's a wild pig." (Points at Prince John) "That's a wild bore!"

"I will take these cotton balls from you with my hand and put them in my pocket."
"They call me Little John. Oh, but don't let my name fool you; in real life, I'm very big."

Person in Crowd: Good morrow, Abbot.
Abbot: Good morrow.
Person in Crowd: Good morrow, Abbot.
Abbot: Good morrow.
Person in Crowd: Heeeeey Abbbboooot!
Abbot: ...I hate that guy!

  • Character Filibuster: Played for laughs.
  • Check, Please!: Prince John, when the fight during the banquet scene lands on his table
  • Chosen One: Subverted. Robin's key fits Marian's chastity belt, but it doesn't work.
    • The sheriff had been using a jackhammer on the lock earlier, that can't have been good for the mechanism.
    • Perhaps it did rust in the bath.
      • Call a locksmith!
        • Call a locksmith!
          • CALL A LOCKSMITH!!!
  • Combat Breakdown: Damn substandard quarterstaves...
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: As punishment for his treachery, King Richard names all the toilets in England after Prince John, then has him locked in the Tower of London and makes him part of the tour.
  • Cough-Snark-Cough: Yeah, we all believe that the misdeeds were totally the Sheriff's fault...
    • *cough* Bullshit! *cough*
  • Creator Cameo: Mel Brooks as a Jewish rabbi selling sacramental wine.

"Faygeles?"

"I heard that coming a mile away!"
"Right-o, Blinkin, very good."
"Pardon? Who's talking?"

    • Don't forget when he beats the hell out of that pillar. For a blind man, Blinkin is really, really fast.
      • And he bear-hugged Robin.
  • The Don: The Sherriff enlists the help of Don Giovanni (Dom DeLuise), a mafia boss from Jersey, to get rid of Robin Hood.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "And why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles."
    • Possibly justified in that younger audiences might not have seen Blazing Saddles.
  • The Duenna: Broomhilde.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: "I CAN SEE!" [CRASH!] "No, I was wrong."
  • Embarrassing First Name: Mervyn, the Sheriff of Rottingham.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Mercilessly parodying a similar scene in Prince of Thieves.

Robin Hood: Blinkin, listen to me. They've taken the castle!
Blinkin: I thought it felt a bit drafty. Cor, this never would have happened if your father was alive.
Robin Hood: He's dead?
Blinkin: Yes.
Robin Hood: And my mother?
Blinkin: She died of pneumonia while... oh, you were away...
Robin Hood: My brothers?
Blinkin: There were all killed by the plague.
Robin Hood: [sounding a little sadder] My dog, Pongo?
Blinkin: Run over by a carriage.
Robin Hood: [sounding a little more hopeful] My goldfish, Goldie?
Blinkin: Eaten by the cat.
Robin Hood: [on the verge of tears] My cat?
Blinkin: Choked on the goldfish.
[[[Beat]]]
Blinkin: Oh, it's good to be home, ain't it, Master Robin?

Robin: Watch my back!
[a soldier runs up and hits him in the back two times]
Atchoo: Your back just got punched twice.

"SHUT UP, YOU BLOODY FOOLS!"

    • During the archery tournament, trumpets are played directly into Prince John's ears.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Sheriff of Rottingham's fate is to spend the rest of his life with Latrine.
  • Flynning: Parodied, played straight, and then spanked like a naughty child.
  • Fun with Subtitles: As Marian's hefty nurse prepares to drop into the saddle, her horse's thoughts are translated. ("You've got to be kidding!")
  • Gag Penis: By way of a suggestive shadow puppet and a scabbard. It makes the Merry Men burst into spontaneous applause.
  • Gesundheit: A common gag regarding Ahchoo.
  • Glove Slap:

Sheriff of Rottingham: I challenge you... to a duel!
(Sheriff slaps Robin Hood across the face with his glove. Robin then grabs a gauntlet from a suit of armor and slaps the Sheriff back, flooring him.)
Robin Hood: I accept!

Achoo (extending his hand): What's up man?
Blinkin: How do you do? (reaches out to shake Achoo's hand, but ends up hitting him in the happy spot)
Achoo (in much pain): I've been better.

    • Another unintentional one when Robin "accidentally" finds Maid Marian's chastity belt.

Maid Marian: It's an Everlast.
Robin: [in pain] I'll bet..

"We're butch!"

  • Home Guard: The Sheriff and his men. Robin takes a cheap shot at the Sheriff, who seized his family's property while Robin was fighting in the Crusades.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Prince John calls for the knights to stop Robin and his men. About 50 men in suits of armor start marching into the room from all sides, the clanging of their armor getting louder and louder and louder. After several minutes of this, Prince John, who has taken refuge under a table and is holding his ears, says, "I hope this is worth THE NOISE!!!"
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: ... too bad about the chastity belt, though.

"That's going to chafe my willy."
"No matter what you do, I shall never submi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-it!"

Robin: Do you know "Praying Mantis"?
Ahchoo: You're looking at him.

Ahchoo: Eh, Blinkin?
Blinkin: Did you say Abe Lincoln?

"A black sheriff?!?"
"Hey, why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles..."

  • Knife Nut: Will Scarlet.
  • Knife Outline: Using six arrows, fired all at once.
  • Knighting: One of the few things played straight. Robin Hood gets knighted by King Richard after the climax.
  • Land in the Saddle: Marian leaps from a balcony onto her horse. When her large lady-in-waiting attempts to do the same, her horse dodges.
  • Large Ham: King Richard. This should come as no shock, though, being played by Patrick Stewart. Prior to him, the Sheriff handles the rest of the movie's hamminess; more than half his lines are either intensely sinister whispers or resounding shouts.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Marian hopes someone will come along who has the key to her.... heart.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Robin sings "The Night is Young" to Marian, some of the Merry Men join in as the background music. Marian keeps turning her head every time they pitch in, wondering where it's coming from.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Ahchoo's Rousing Speech to the villagers.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Rabbi Tuckman mistakenly labels all of the Merry Men as this upon their first meeting.

Rabbi Tuckman: (shaky hand motion) Faygeles?
Robin Hood: No, we're straight. Just...merry.

  • Misplaced Wildlife: Like everything else in the movie, intentional and played for laughs. The fox they use to send a message[1] is a grey fox, which aren't native to England. To add to the absurdity, it makes the sound of Flipper as it runs off.
  • Moment Killer: Marian's nursemaid. That's her job. And, of course, a shout out to Spaceballs.
  • Multishot: Featured on the posters.
  • Name's the Same:

Random voice: Hey Abbot!
Abbot: I hate that guy!

  • Pig Latin: Or, the New Latin used by the Abbot.

"Oh ordlay, ivethgay usway ouryay essingsblay. Amen-ay!"

  • Piss-Take Rap: The Merry Men at one point.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Blinkin is trying to get down from the observation tower, he ends up knocking over the ladder, which he only discovers after leaning forward to grab it.

Blinkin: "Oh, shit!"

Blinkin: "Oh, they've opened the salad bar."

Prince John: I have a mole?

  • Scarpia Ultimatum
  • Sequel Snark: The rapping Greek Chorus jokes about reappearing in Robin Hood 2.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Subverted for laughs.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Robin is revealed about midway through the film that he has the key to Maid Marian's chastity belt. By the end of the film, after defeating the Sheriff of Rottingham and marrying Maid Marian, when he and Marian finally prepare to do the deed it turns out his key isn't the right one after all... unless Rottingham's attempts to break the lock open messed it up. Or Marian just spent too long in the bath.
  • Shoot the Rope: Not what he was aiming at.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Marian volunteers for one with Rottingham to save Robin from the gallows. Later, Rabbi Tuckman seems to think that Robin's gotten Marian pregnant (it's actually to get Broomhilde to quit cockblocking):

"Married in a hurry! Please invite me to the bris."

"A black sheriff?!
"Hey, why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles."

    • Also, that hangman sure looks familiar...
    • Also:

"Wasn't your mole on the other side?"
"I have a mole?"

    • And...
    • Don't forget the screaming kid:

"Well, it's getting late and I've got to go Home Alone now. Ahhhhhh!"

Rabbi Tuckman: Robin of Locksley? I just came back from Maid Marian, the lady whose heart you stole. You prince of thieves you!

John: It's not my fault. I got a lot of bad advice from Nottingham.
Merry Men: (cough) Horseshit!

"Lend me your ears!"
[cue inevitable joke]
"...that's disgusting."

Thug: You haven't seen the last of us!
(Robin does his six arrows at once thing, pinning him to the tree)
Thug (sheepishly): You've seen the last of us.

  1. i.e. a pun on "to fax"
  2. For British viewers, what you call Polo mints are called Life Savers in the States.