Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

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"When you look as good as I, who needs a British accent?"

A 1991 movie starring Kevin Costner in the title role. The story is familiar, Robin, a crusader, escapes Turkey alongside a Muslim (Morgan Freeman), and they return to England. They discover that Robin's father (Brian Blessed) has been killed by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman), who is also now apparently a devil worshiper.

They become outlaws, steal from the rich and give to the poor, men are made merry, buckles are swashed, and they all live Happily Ever After.

A generally good movie that opened to decent reviews and was nominated for quite a few awards, including an Oscar. Noted for Kevin Costner Not Even Bothering with the Accent.

The Mel Brooks 1993 parody Robin Hood: Men in Tights largely lampoons this movie, although it acknowledges other elements of the legend.

Tropes used in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie excises Prince John entirely so as to give Robin a single, more direct nemesis in the Sheriff. It also pares down what are, in some adaptations of the myth, Loads and Loads of Characters from the Merry Men.
  • Adaptation Expansion: At the same time, the movie strives to give Robin and those Merry Men a much more thorough background, pulling aspects from various other adaptations and adding a few new ones of its own.
  • Altar the Speed
  • And Now You Must Marry Me
  • Arc Words: "I would die for [you/her]." Also shows up in the song.
  • Arrow Cam
  • Arrows on Fire: It's a Robin Hood movie, after all.
  • Artistic License Geography: Robin and Azeem somehow get off a boat in the south, wander all the way to the north of England and Hadrian’s Wall, then double back to Nottingham in less than a day.
    • The Sycamore Gap scene is probably down to Rule of Cool. It is a fairly stunning setting.
  • Award Bait Song: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You".
  • Badass Long Hair: Marian is the King's cousin and a lady of the court with long, beautiful curly hair. She's also introduced to the audience as kicking Robin's ass in hand to hand combat.
  • Badass Preacher: Friar Tuck is just as good a fighter as any of the other Merry Men. When he's sober, anyway.
  • Berserk Button: Many characters have them. Most notably is Friar Tuck who is righteously angry at the corrupt Bishop. Though, as lying is a sin, he did honestly not strike the Bishop.
  • Black Viking: Azeem (justified in that he's a Crusader buddy of some sort who has a life debt to Robin); based on the character Nasir from Robin of Sherwood.
  • Blown Across the Room: By a thrown sword, no less.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While he's actually addressing Marian and Robin, Friar Tuck looks right at the camera and appears to be speaking to the audience with the last line of the movie.
  • Brian Blessed: As Robin Hood's father!

"God!! And Kinnng Richaarrd!!! Yaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

Azeem: Is there no sun in this cursed country?!

  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Sheriff of Nottingham embodies pretty much any and all indicators of cartoonish supervillainy, up to and including Satan worship.
    • In his defense, it more seemed to be Mortianna involved in those things; the Sheriff goes to her for advice and (somewhat reluctantly) goes along with certain things, but there's little to show he actively practices any of it himself.
      • Case in point, he does insist on a Christian priest performing their wedding. Heck, the fact alone that he waits to be officially married before forcing himself on her shows that he does have some standards.
  • Cat Scare: When Marian is trying to locate the source of a sound, a hissing cat leaps onto the table before her, just before a soldier throws her down onto it.
  • Chekhov's Blade: The knife Nottingham gave to Marian.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Firing an arrow amidst distractions.
  • Child by Rape: What Mortianna wants the Sheriff to beget by Marian. When he drags her into the chapel for the forced marriage, Mortianna declares that Marian is "ripe" and will produce a son.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Arguably, Prince John; in most versions of the legend, he's running the country in Richard's absence (as he did in Real Life), but as noted above, he was cut out of this version. The film doesn't even mention him.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Robin cuts off a lock of the Sheriff’s hair during the final fight.
  • The Crusades: Where Robin and Marian's brother Peter have been for the last few years, and where Richard the Lion Heart still is during most of the movie.
  • Death by Childbirth: Averted, but Fanny comes awfully close until Azeem steps in.
  • Destination Defenestration/Disney Villain Death: How Friar Tuck deals with the corrupt Bishop.
  • Did Not Do the Research:
    • In the audio commentary, Morgan Freeman admits to not having done enough research to know that Muslims do not pray with hands clasped, as Christians do.
    • Rumor has it that the reason this film borrows several elements from Robin of Sherwood (including the Moorish Merry Man and a dose of Celtic mysticism) is that the writer hadn't done enough research to realize that Robin of Sherwood had invented those bits, and thought they were standard parts of the legend.
    • When Richard the Lion Heart shows up at the end, Robin greets him as "Your Majesty." The English sovereign wasn't called 'Majesty' until the reign of Henry VIII, a few centuries later.
      • They also seemed to forget that Richard was French, spoke no English, and only spent about six months in England. He also forgave John and instead focused on regaining territory in France. Though this last bit is absent from pretty much every single version of the Robin Hood legend.
        • And yet some people keep bringing it up in every single discussion about Robin Hood, for some reason.
      • There is also no way in hell that Marian, even as King Richard's cousin, would address him so familiarly as "Richard!", or not at least curtsy in his presence.
    • One of the most disastrous gaffes - "We'll be in Nadding-haaam by nightfall"...not traveling on foot from the south coast you won't, mate.
  • Due to the Dead: When Robin gets home and finds out what's become of his father in his absence, his first action (after he gets over his very understandable freak-out) is to give his father a proper burial.
    • Later, the same care is given to those who lose their lives during the woodland invasion.
    • Robin keeping his promise to Peter, to deliver his ring to Marian and offer her his protection, may also count as this trope.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After all the horrible things he's done, the Sheriff is outraged at the notion of forcing himself on Marian before they are properly married.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Michael Wincott as Guy of Gisborne.
  • Exact Words: When Friar Tuck confronts the corrupt bishop, he promises not to "strike a fellow man of the cloth." He then loads him up with his ill-gotten gold and defenestrates him.
  • Eye Scream: Duncan, Lord Locksley's retainer, had his eyes cut out because he refused to believe the accusations leveled at his master. The fact that he's the only servant left on the Locksley estate when Robin arrives suggests he might have been the only one who resisted.
  • Friend to All Children: Friar Tuck. When the Sheriff's men infiltrate the forest dwelling, he rounds up several of the kids and herds them to safety.

Friar Tuck: This way, my lambs.

  • God Help Us All: As the Celts prepare to attack the village, Azeem gasps, "Allah be merciful"
  • Groin Attack: This is how the brief fight between Robin and an armored Lady Marian ends.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Both played straight and subverted. The subversion is in Robin actually missing a shot. Sure, he was Distracted by the Sexy (so to speak), but come on. He's Robin Hood.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: A rather amusing use of this, as the recently blinded Duncan curses the Moors and Saracens, with Azeem sitting right next to him.

Duncan: Curse those Moors and Saracens. Were it not for their ungodly ways, Master Robin would never have left. [Beat] What manner of name is "Azeem"? Irish? Cornish?
Azeem: Moorish.

Sheriff of Nottingham: Wait a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it?
[Scribe nods]
Sheriff: That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans. No more merciful beheadings. And call off Christmas!

    • "Call off Christmas" is actually a bit of Truth in Television. In those days, the governors, land owners and Shire-reves would hold a festive gathering at Yule for their tenants, to keep people's spirits up and help them survive when Winter was frequently lethal.
  • Large Ham: Alan Rickman. Oh so very much. He only took the part on the condition that he get to play it however he wanted.
  • Licensed Game: Received a video game adaptation for the NES. Spoony reviews it here.
  • Mama Bear and Papa Wolf: Fanny and Little John, who are this way about each other as well as their kids.
  • Massive-Numbered Siblings: Wulf, the eldest son of Fanny and Little John, has seven younger brothers and sisters (the youngest of whom is born midway through the film). Wulf is the only one whose name is ever mentioned.
  • Medieval Morons: Most of the Merry Men.
  • Multishot: Robin fires two arrows at the same time.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us Hero: The bad guys specifically let old, blind servant Duncan escape so he can lead them back to good guy's encampment.

Will Scarlet: *with more pity than malice* "Old blind fool led 'em straight to us."

  • Nice to the Waiter: We know Marian's a good person because she treats her servants well and she brings purses full of money to church on Sunday to give to the poor. Conversely, we know the Sheriff's a jackass for many reasons, but among them are the way he treats his scribe and Guy of Gisborne (who is his own cousin in this).
    • Well at least he didn't use a spoon.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Costner's Robin Hood mostly sounds like he's from Nebraska. Also Sean Connery, but that goes without saying.

"We'll be in Nadding-ham by nightfall"....sorry, where?

    • Connery's is made even worse due to a bout of Did Not Do the Research: Richard was French and couldn't even speak English.
    • Christian Slater, anyone?
  • Oh Crap: Duncan's reaction to learning, belatedly, that Azeem is a Moor.
    • A more serious one is after the Merry Men defend their forest home from hired thugs. Robin looks out towards the Nottingham soldiers in the distance, with flaming arrows and trebuchets, and says "My God" in sheer terror.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Sean Connery as King Richard the Lion Heart. In an uncredited role, no less.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Gender reversed.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Fuck me, he cleared it!"
  • Produce Pelting: As the sentenced-to-hanging men are led out to the gallows.
  • Recut: The Extended Version adds in 12 minutes of new footage, including an entire subplot with the Sheriff and Mortianna.
    • She's his biological mother and uses him as a pawn in her Evil Plan to get Nottingham on the throne in King Richard's absence.
  • Recycled Trailer Music: Disney uses the main fanfare in the promotional clip that plays as soon as one of their DVDs is loaded.
  • The Resenter: Will Scarlet towards Robin. In the latter half of the movie, we find out why when Will reveals that he's Robin's illegitimate half-brother.
  • Rousing Speech: Azeem’s speech to the people of Nottingham, which doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Say My Name: Marian's infamous "Robiiin!" and his slightly more restrained "Marian!"
  • Scary Black Man: Azeem to the British. Less so to audience, considering he's played by Morgan Freeman.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Sheriff and his conspirators.
  • Shoot the Rope: To save the kid!
  • Storming the Castle
  • Super Drowning Skills: Little John can't swim at all, and concedes defeat to Robin when he thinks he might drown. Played with in that the water in which he's "drowning" doesn't even reach his knees.
  • Swashbuckler
  • Sword Over Head
  • Sword Sparks: Mostly against stone pillars.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Azeem chucks his sword at Mortiana while she is in full sprint, and hits her square on. And she goes flying across the room and hits the wall! Averted a few minutes before this, when Robin's sword breaks a little above the hilt, and he throws the remainder at the Sheriff. Master swordsmen like Kaoru could fight on like that, but Robin isn't one of those.
    • Partly justified in that Azeem's scimitar is a good shape for throwing. Flying across the room could be the leg muscles going into spasm (like with an electric shock), but that's pushing it.
      • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Mortiana prophesies that Azeem will be the one to kill her, and Azeem seems to have a sense of this destiny as well. The spectacular nature of her death could be either Hollywood physics or an indication that something mystical was at work between them.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Well, they're not peaceful, and they're not villagers, but they're farmers who have no combat training.
  • Tsundere: Marian at times.
  • The Unfavorite: Will Scarlet, who was the son of Robin's father and a woman he was involved with after the death of Robin's mother. Lord Locksley broke it off with the woman (and basically abandoned his second son) because the affair upset Robin.
  • Waterfall Shower: Taken by Robin.
  • Wedding Day: The finale.
  • Wedding Deadline: The Sheriff actually gets married to Marian before Robin can stop it, but he dies pretty shortly thereafter. Happens again when King Richard interrupts Robin's and Marian's wedding.
  • You Have Failed Me...: The Sheriff disembowels Guy of Gisborne after stating "I can't allow a lieutenant to fail me."