The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles directed by Michael Curtiz, William Keighley Movie Review

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Errol Flynn as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Robin's in Like Flynn

It may be over 70 years old, the action may be fake and overly choreographed but still "The Adventures of Robin Hood" remains one of the best of a large number of Robin Hood movies. There is something about this old fashioned swashbuckler which is simply entertaining, be it the staged fights, the swinging through the trees and so on. You may find yourself giggling at the bright clothes, Errol Flynn's girly hair or the whole cheeriness of this retelling of the legend of Robin Hood but you will also enjoy it because to put it simply it is the sort of action movie which makes you fall in love with characters and actors.

With King Richard the Lion-Heart (Ian Hunter) taken prisoner whilst abroad fighting the Crusades, his brother Prince John (Claude Rains) takes control of the country and with his right hand man Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) is making life a misery for Saxons. Being a Saxon Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn - The Master of Ballantrae) dislikes what Prince John and Guy are up to and so becomes Robin Hood leading a bunch of merry men in battle with Prince John. And it is through his battles which he meets Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland - Santa Fe Trail) and despite initially thinking him a ruffian falls for the charmer in green tights.

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

I've watched quite a few "Robin Hood" movies and all have a slightly different take on the legend of Robin, how he came to be and how he met Marion, even Marion being Marian in one version and so on. The thing about "The Adventures of Robin Hood" it is less to do with how Robin came to be and more about his escapades. As such whilst we witness Robin and Will coming to the aid of Much the Miller when Sir Guy threatens to kill him leading to him becoming the notorious outlaw you honestly don't compare this to other "Robin Hood" movies when it comes to the story.

Now as to those escapades, well we have the familiar starting off with Robin fighting Little John on a fallen tree over a river, a jaunty little action number which makes you smile. We also have other familiar escapades from attacks on Prince John's men as they ride through Sherwood to close encounters at the Castle. But all these escapades including escaping a hanging as well as sneaking into an archery tournament are good fun because they are big old fashioned action numbers. It may all be very choreographed and staged but there is something strangely exciting watching a battle where Robin's men just happen to swing from the trees in perfect unison whilst another vaults a horse. You could say that these action numbers are so well choreographed and feature so many people they almost have an epic quality to them.

Because "The Adventures of Robin Hood" is all about the swashbuckling action and cheeky escapades it is a movie which is also all about Errol Flynn as Robin Hood. Now get past the over vibrant green tunic and girlie hair and Flynn delivers everything you want from a swashbuckling hero, daring, confident, brave and also a bit of a cheeky charmer. Plus watching Flynn do battle with various enemies is simply fun, yes the sword fights are too orchestrated but who wouldn't want to imitate Flynn's Robin Hood. In fact whilst there are numerous other well known actors in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" including Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian and Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy of Gisbourne it is Errol Flynn who makes this such a great movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Adventures of Robin Hood" is a good old fashioned swashbuckler where everything is tightly choreographed but because of all the daring do and the size of the action it has an epic quality. The storyline may be simple, the costumes a little too bright but none of that matters when you have Errol Flynn playing a swashbuckling hero.

Tags: Robin Hood Movies