The Adventures of Robin Hood (film)/Recap

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In the late 12th century, King Richard the Lion-Heart (Ian Hunter), returning from The Crusades, has been taken prisoner, and his treacherous brother Prince John (played delightfully by Claude Rains as a silky, effete Deadpan Snarker), with the help of compliant Norman barons such as the brutal Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) (whose support he gains by promising him marriage to King Richard's ward, Lady Marian Fitzwalter (Olivia de Havilland)), the Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper), and the Bishop of the Black Canons (Montague Love), is oppressing the Saxon peasantry in an attempt to squeeze money out of them, ostensibly to ransom Richard, but really to buy his way to the throne.

He is opposed by the Saxon knight, Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn), who, as the outlaw Robin Hood, gathers a band of Saxon resistance fighters, including Will Scarlet (Patric Knowles), Much the Miller's Son (Herbert Mundin), Little John (Alan Hale, Sr., reprising the role he had played 16 years before in the Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., silent), and Friar Tuck (Eugene Palette).

After Robin has stolen back the ransom money (and in the process won the heart of Lady Marian), he is taken prisoner at the archery tournament when his brilliant archery reveals who he is; he subsequently escapes (with Marian's aid, we are told).

Shortly thereafter, King Richard has returned to England in disguise; he is recognized by the Bishop, who informs Prince John and Sir Guy. When Marian overhears their plot to send the disgraced former knight Dickon Malbête to murder the king, she is detected by Sir Guy trying to send a warning, arrested, and condemned to death, but her lady-waiting, Bess, warns Much, who intercepts and kills Dickon. Meanwhile, Richard, in the guise of an abbot, has allowed himself to be captured by Robin.

When Much reveals John's plot and Marian's condemnation, they devise a plan to crash Prince John's coronation, disguised as the Bishop of the Black Canons' followers. A melee breaks out; Robin and Guy duel, and Guy is killed. Robin frees Marian. King Richard banishes Prince John, the Sheriff, the Bishop, and their followers from England for the remainder of his lifetime; pardons the men of Sherwood, and rewards Robin with an earldom and the hand of Lady Marian in marriage.