Wed
Jan 1 2014 11:00am
“It’s Dull, You Twit. It Will Hurt More!”—Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a terrible movie. Much, much worse than you remember.

Most of the fault lies at Kevin Costner’s feet (and we’ll get to his lackluster performance in a moment), but the whole production is a splotchy mess. It’s nonsensical when it’s not racist, and that’s only when it’s not dull as dishwater—which, granted, is most of the time. All of the actors (with one shining exception) are utterly without charm. There are far too many subplots that don’t go anywhere. And everything is performed with an early 90s earnestness that ends up being super dour.

Just as The Adventures of Robin Hood set the Robin Hood story in a setting of race-based class divisions, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves establishes bitter religious divisions and strongly held superstitions. Robin’s constant companion, Azeem the Moor, encounters religious and racial intolerance wherever he goes. The Sheriff of Nottingham executed Robin’s father on the charge of devil worship. The Sheriff’s soldiers refuse to enter Sherwood because they believe it’s haunted. Nominally, this is to set up Robin Hood as a symbol of Enlightenment, moving past superstition and towards a future where all people are treated as equals, regardless of race, sex, or religion.

But the film undercuts its progressive messaging with horrific moments of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and classism. Azeem is the only good Muslim we see. Robin’s Islamic captors at the beginning of the film are barbaric caricatures of human beings, cruel and ugly. The evil Sheriff actual is a devil worshipper and his witch can see the future, so maybe the soldiers’ superstitions are rational. And then, for no reason, the film makers decide to be racist against the Celts by depicting them as basically orcs with crows on their heads.

At least when the film is being offensive, something is happening. Most of the time, nothing at all happens. Robin spends a lot of time broodily walking through the countryside, or broodily training his “merry” men, or broodily taking care of his old blind servant, or just broodily brooding. The scenery is pretty, but boring. The music is pretty, but boring. (Or it’s a power ballad, and the less said about it, the better). I’m glad I invented a drinking game, because I could not have gotten through this film sober.

The plot’s pretty straightforward, as long as you ignore all the meaningless subplots. Robin returns from the Crusades to find the Sheriff has murdered his father and seized his lands; Robin takes them over a gang of thieves to lead them against the Sheriff, which gets a lot of the gang killed or captured; Robin then leads a jailbreak attempt to free them, rescues Marian from a forced marriage, and kills the Sheriff. If I tried to recount all the stupid, stupid subplots, we’ll be here all day.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood

Straight up, Costner is a terrible Robin Hood. It’s not that he can’t do an English accent (though he cannot). As we see in the Disney version, the characters don’t actually have to sound like they’re from 12th century England for us to accept that they are. But Costner’s delivery is flat across the board. It doesn’t matter if he’s bravely accepting punishment for his friend’s crime, or mourning his father, or charming Marian, or declaring revenge against the Sheriff; he says everything in the same flat, bored voice, like he’s reading his lines off cue cards for the first time and isn’t bothering with a second take. There are little moments of joy, like when he doesn’t understand how a telescope works, or when Azeem yells at him to “move faster,” but those moments are few and far between.

Not that Costner was given a lot to work with. This version of Robin is the worst, most self-centered version of any I’ve seen. Flynn’s Robin Hood was defined by his generosity. He turned outlaw in order to protect the poor of England, and keeps not a thing for himself. In comparison, Costner’s Robin Hood becomes an outlaw to get revenge and to get his lands back. Little John tells Robin his gold cross could feed the Merry Men for a month, and Robin clings to it more tightly. It’s easy to imagine Flynn (or Disney’s fox) carelessly tossing the cross to Little John, because what does he care about material good in the face of crushing poverty?

Costner’s Robin is also caught up in overbearing daddy issues. Brian Blessed(!) plays Daddy Loxley in an all too brief cameo as the perfect noble; kind, generous, surprisingly progressive in terms religious tolerance, class divisions, and opposition to the Crusades (Lord Grantham wishes he were so modern). Robin’s constant worry that he can’t live up to his father’s perfect example is joyless and smells of wankery.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

The Merry Men

Robin’s the worst, but the Merry Men aren’t much better.

Foremost among them is Azeem, played by Morgan Freeman, the Moor who followed Robin back to England like a lost puppy. And, again, while I appreciate the impulse to add some racial diversity to an otherwise lily-white story, Azeem is a magical negro, a brilliant man who possesses all of the knowledge of the Arab world (telescopes, gun powder, good birthing practices), but who subordinates his story to that of Robin’s in order to teach white people not to be racist. Worse, he basically enslaves himself to Robin because of that hoary cliché, the “life debt.”

But if Azeem is Robin’s right-hand man, then what’s a Little John or a Will Scarlett to do?

Little John becomes the original leader of the Merry Men, who Robin Hood supplants with basically one line of dialogue. He does little in the movie but worry. He worries about his wife. He worries about his son. And then about his wife giving birth to a new son. And even though he robs people on a river bridge, he apparently can’t swim (or tell he’s in only a foot of water).

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Will Scarlett... uh boy, Will Scarlett. Look, Costner is the main reason the film is terrible, but only because he’s in so much of it. On a per minute basis, Christian Slater’s Will Scarlett is so, so much worse. His acting is worse. His accent is worse. And his role is nothing but capital D Drama. He’s resentful of Robin’s noble upbringing, openly rebellious against Robin simply taking over the Merry Men, constantly complains, seems to betray the Merry Men to the Sheriff, then, in the worst twist in the film, turns out to be Robin’s half brother, the bastard his father sired with a common woman after Robin’s mother died. (Told you Daddy Loxley was progressive). So, no, Will doesn’t have a legitimate complaint, just the same daddy issues Robin has. And. I. Can’t. Care.

That leaves Friar Tuck, played by comedian Michael McShane. This Tuck is NOT the greatest swordsman in England. He’s just a drunk who holds some pretty violently anti-Muslim views, which of course melt away the moment Azeem successfully delivers Little John’s child. It’s not clear why the Merry Men invite him to stay, rather than just taking his ale and sending him humiliated on his way back to London. But he does get to push the evil greedy Bishop out a window and then perform Robin and Marian’s marriage in, as he says, “God’s only church,” so... I don’t know what I’m supposed to learn from this.

And then there’s Duncan, Robin’s old, blind servant. Duncan lives to suffer. First he’s beaten, blinded, and left for dead. Then he’s carted around Sherwood by Robin for a bit, before being beaten again, and then he dies, but not before leading the Sheriff to Robin’s secret hideout. Goodbye Duncan, you died as you lived, in misery.

There are about a dozen other Merry Men, but they are all miserable failures as thieves. Robin is the prince of some truly terrible thieves.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Marian

As with Azeem, there’s an attempt to make Maid Marian progressive that is completely undercut by what actually happens. She’s introduced as a knife wielding ninja, but Robin immediately defeats her. After that, she spends the rest of the movie as a damsel in distress, constantly under implied or immediate threat of rape. Her attempt to warn Robin about the Sheriff’s plot to take over the country gets her nurse arrested, Duncan killed, the Merry Men’s Ewok village burned, and herself press-ganged into marriage. She’s basically useless.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

The Bad Guys

Okay, and now we come to the one bright spot in the entire movie, Alan Rickman, as the ridiculous Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves makes the... let’s say idiotic decision to eliminate Prince John completely and give his ambition of ruling England to the Sheriff. Never mind that this makes no sense (how does a lowly village sheriff have the authority, military might, and financial resources to support a coup?). Never mind that it’s unnecessary (the Sheriff could abuse the poor, steal Robin’s lands, and try to rape/marry Marian just because he wants to). And yet Alan Rickman fucking makes it work.

Of course, Rickman makes it work by playing the Sheriff for pure camp value. His Sheriff is a lascivious lout who Scrooge McDuck dives into a pile of gold coins, who keeps statues of himself and half-dressed women around his castle, who beats and kills his own men on a whim, who schedules sexual romps 15 minutes apart, who cancels Christmas, and who, in a set-up for the film’s most memorable line, threatens to cut out Robin’s heart with a spoon. Rickman’s Sheriff is an out and out supervillain, introduced in an ornate mask and white cloak. Rickman is a joy to watch.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Rickman is also fighting the script with every line reading, because the Sheriff is written as poorly as any of the other characters, with his own nonsensical plots. He was raised by the witch Mortianna, who in the most overdramatic, unnecessary twist, turns out to be his birth mother. Why is there a witch in the Robin Hood story? So that Alan Rickman can stumble around an 80s music video conception of a dungeon, complete with a fog machine and green side lighting. She certainly doesn’t add anything.

There is a Sir Guy, played by professional bad guy Michael Wincott, but the film has room for only one sneering professional villain, so the Sheriff stabs him for no good reason. Ah well.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Richard and the Crusades

And again, a progressive sentiment (“hey, maybe religiously motivated wars are a bad thing,”) is undercut by the actual actions of the film. Yeah, paragon of good Daddy Loxley called the crusades “a foolish quest... vanity to force other men to our religion,” but that’s not what the title card at the beginning of the movie says. That card definitely implies that the worst part of the Crusades is how many young men it took out of England, never to return. And the Saracen prison guards are portrayed as inhuman monsters. And when Richard does ride up at the end (SEAN CONNERY!?), he’s treated as a hero, as if he had done nothing wrong to lead to this situation. So maybe Daddy Loxley was wrong about the Crusades?

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

The Ending

For some reason, at the end Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves becomes really fun. Not so good to make up for the rest of the movie, because, just, no, but it’s like the rest of the cast discovered the over-the-top, campy, hilarious Robin Hood movie that Alan Rickman was making, and decided they should all be in that instead.

So in yet another storming of the castle to rescue someone from hanging (this time half the Merry Men, including Little John’s son), shit starts blowing up! Literally! (As in, literal shit, and literally blowing up.)

The climax includes such lunacy as:

  • Little John develops super strength, knocking down the gallows with his bare hands!
  • Robin fires flaming arrows two at a time!
  • Morgan Freeman gives a rousing speech about how to be a free man!
  • Azeem and Robin are catapulted over a wall and land in a convenient pile of hay!
  • Will says a bad word!
  • We learn the Sheriff’s first name is George! (What?)
  • A scribe who had his tongue cut out talks! (Whoops!)
  • The Sheriff tries to rape Marian while the Bishop is still performing the marriage rites!
  • Robin crashes through a stain-glass window (like a proper Robin Hood)!
  • The witch teleports to one side of locked door, only for Azeem to run her through with a pike!
  • Robin and the Sheriff have a decent sword fight.
  • The witch teleports to the other side of the locked door, only to have Azeem kill her again by throwing a sword so hard she flies across the room!

If the whole movie had been set at this fever pitch, with over the top action and violence and character choices... well, I’m not saying it would have been good, but it would have been a lot more fun and memorable and exciting.

But the ending isn’t enough to wash away the boring, racist taste of the rest of the film, and when Friar Tuck looks directly into the camera to tell Robin and Marian (and us) to get out of here and start making babies, and that... that... that song starts playing, I’m reminded why I goddamn hate this movie.

You know, somebody could make a really good parody....

Drinking Game

Three drinks, but you’ll want it to be more. There’s no real archery contest, but Robin does split an arrow in the training montage, because I guess that’s a thing you need to do in a Robin Hood movie.

The killer trigger in this film is racism. There’s a lot, both the characters being racist (the English towards Azeem, Azeem towards the English), and the film being racist (Celts are giants that feel no pain and rape women in the middle of battlefields).

Yuck.


Steven Padnick is a freelance writer and editor. By day. You can find more of his writing and funny pictures at padnick.tumblr.com.

34 comments
Angus McIntyre
1. angusm
For me, the crowning moment comes when Robin, trying to figure out why Will is acting cranky, asks him "Did I wrong you in some past life?"
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
Really, the only redeeming value this film has is its role in inspiring tomorrow's movie.
mutantalbinocrocodile
3. mutantalbinocrocodile
I can only imagine Alan Rickman breaking down in fits of helpless laughter on set whenever anybody yelled "Cut!" And probably drinking.
mutantalbinocrocodile
4. Bennet
really Costner....you just couldn't muster a British accent? Really?
Shelly wb
5. shellywb
I tried to watch this movie, I really did, for the sake of Alan Rickman. I only made it to the 20 minute mark. Costner was so bad. The dialogue was so bad. I really hate whiny emo heroes. And then came the Satanists... what? Nothing made sense.

There was another Robin Hood that Jurgen Prochnow was in 1991 that I accidently started watching, then realized I'd picked the wrong one. Maybe someone was trying to tell me something.

EDIT: I went back and picked out the Prochnow movie, and while it's hammy as all get out and looking made for TV, it had the same spirit of fun as the Flynn movie, in a more realistic setting. Uma Therman as Maid Marian is... interesting.
Walker White
6. Walker
As was pointed out a previous thread, Azeem is not really a new addition to this movie. The character is the magical negro version of Nasir the Saracen (a much darker character) in Robin of Sherwood.
mutantalbinocrocodile
7. Kirshy
I'm sensing a lot of hate for this movie. I always enjoyed it. It's fun. And you have to remember the time in which it was made. It was the 90's. that's just the way they did things back then.
mutantalbinocrocodile
8. Muswell
"Lowly village sheriff" - come again? The Sheriff of Nottingham at that time would have been in charge of law and order for the whole of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, with the authority to command the men of arms of both shires to ride out if circumstances required it. It was an influential position. Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything you say here.
Clare McBride
9. The Literary Omnivore
Oh, this film. Such an enjoyable movie to riff, because it is exactly as bad as you say.

Apparently, the casting director had to ask Alan Rickman three times if he would be in the picture. The third time, Rickman asked if he could just do whatever he wanted. The casting director, presumably desperate, agreed, and cinematic history was made.
Keith DeCandido
10. krad
The film shellywb refers to had Patrick Bergin as Robin Hood, and it was supposed to be a theatrical release (it was released in theatres in the UK), but fear of Costner caused 20th Century Fox to release it as a TV movie instead. I wish they hadn't, as it's a better Robin Hood movie in every single respect, but one, and that being that Alan Rickman acts rings around Jeroen Krabbe because -- well, it's Alan Rickman and it's Jeroen Krabbe.

But the Bergin film gets everything right that the Costner film got wrong, from motivtions to pacing to fidelity to the time period to humor to actually giving the title character the rousing speech. (Seriously, there's no more damning indictment of Costner's performance than the fact that they felt the need to give the rousing speech to Morgan Freeman. I mean, in general, if you have a rousing speech in a film that Freeman's in, Freeman should deliver it, but it's a fucking Robin Hood movie.....)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
mutantalbinocrocodile
11. EmmaPease
I have to agree with Muswell, a medieval sheriff wielded a great deal of power as the king's representative in one or more counties responsible for law and order and tax collecting. He would also have been appointed from among men of prominence (though not usually of the highest prominence to avoid too much concentration of power). Nowadays in England it is a purely honorary position given to an eminent person within each ceremonial county for one year.
mutantalbinocrocodile
12. lampwick
The telescope was invented by Europeans, and gunpowder was Chinese. If you're going to mention all the things the Arabs invented (and there were a lot of them) you should at least get them right.

A minor point, I know, but it annoyed me.
Matt Stoumbaugh
13. LazerWulf
Brian Blessed(!) plays Daddy Loxley in an all too brief cameo as the perfect noble
I appriciate the exclamation point, at least, but don't you know that BRIAN BLESSED's name should always be written in all-caps?
mutantalbinocrocodile
14. jmsaunders
You can't overthink this movie. Bad acting and plot holes aside, this movie is one of those I just sit and watch until the end whenever I stumble upon it on TV because it's fun.

And no mention of the sountrack? This move has the best sountrack of any not composed by John Williams.
mutantalbinocrocodile
15. Thomas Flynn
"Never mind that this makes no sense (how does a lowly village sheriff have the authority, military might, and financial resources to support a coup?)."

Nottingham was not a village but a town (according to Wikipedia it became a city in 1897) – not a city since it did not have a Cathedral, which was the medieval definition of a city.

When most people hear Sheriff they think "none too bright good ol'boy with mirrored sunglasses".

The medieval sheriff is a very different creature. First of all chuck out your notions of separation of powers. The sheriff was a government administrator and a judge. He took his authority directly from the Crown.

"Although there was no policy of attacking the ancient assemblies, there was a continuing policy under the Normans and their successors of harnessing the power of sherrifs. The Crown's 'incurable fear of the sheriff' was no doubt well founded, for the potential power of the sheriff – as continental experience of analogous officials showed – was such as to challenge the king's own authority." (J. H. Baker, An Introduction to English legal History, 4th edition, (London: Butterworths, 2002), ch. 2 "Origins of Common Law", p.23.

This is why in the traditional tales the sheriff of Nottingham is so important. Prince of Thieves just adopted the tradition. Baker also notes that the Norman French for Sheriff is "Viscount" which is still a title of nobility.
Sara H
16. LadyBelaine
but, but, but... I have such warm tinglies about this movie? Perhaps it's because it's the first movie I saw with my high school boyfriend? I do remember thinking that Marian was lame - first she's a "knife wielding ninja" but later in the really awfully exploitive rape scene she has lost all of her combat skills?

What's perplexing is that for some reason I coulda sworn that the silly witch character was played by Tracey Ulman, then I realized that she played the same part in the Cary Elwes send up (Cary Elwes... le sigh) . I think this movie would have been scintillatingly spectacular with the double barrell villainy being provided by Alan Rickman AND Tracey Ulman.

I cannot wait for you to do the dull as dishwater Uma Therman film.
mutantalbinocrocodile
17. GuruJ
For me, this movie defined Alan Rickman for years to come. When I saw his character in Sense and Sensibility years later, I kept waiting for him to become a cad, took literally the whole movie for me to accept that he was meant to be a nice guy!
mutantalbinocrocodile
18. puck
The sexism or racism in the film definitely exists, but we should remember that in the 80s and 90s all films were pretty abysmal in this department (this was '91). Fantasy 110% included. I remember watching this when I was younger and thinking, "Wow. They actually let Marion have a sword for a bit. She actually talks back and makes her own decisions." because that never happened and definitely never to Marion. Unless you're Red Sonja, maybe.

I also remember being amazed that Azeem got to be a PoC in a fantasy film (Rare unless you were a brute or magical Asian) and that he had some agency (definitely more than Marion or any of the Men). You say "magical" but scientific achevements in the Islamic world were pretty amazing and definitely not magic. Could they have been more historically accurate? Yep, but try working in soap instead of telescopes? ;) Also, "he basically enslaves himself" with the "life debt" is obvs. a ridiculous shoe-horn to keep his character in the story, but is he a "slave"? Azeem chooses not to help Robin when he doesn't want to. He makes their relationship clear immediately wherein he's there for himself and equal to Robin. He leaves as soon as he feels his personal mission completed. The character is also constantly shown to be a smarter, better man than Robin and his ridiculous Men. Is it still racist (outside of the obvs "historical" racism)? Yes. Definitely. I'm just saying that for the 80/90s in the time of fantasy (and other) movies, they were obvs trying to be better.

Anyway, I totally own this movie and I have made other Rickman fans watch it because OMG he is hilarious in this and has some pretty quotable lines. Costner and his Robin are everything you say and worse, IMO. I don't watch it for him. I watch it as CAMP, as Rickman plays it, and from that POV it is hilariously entertaining. The side characters are great (Guy being confused! Will being emo!). It seems you watched in from Costner's more "serious" POV and that's a mistake.

You think the music is boring? Disney uses the RH: PoT Overture in all their adventure logo openings and a healthy chunk of their trailers still today! Michael Kamen did a pretty great job. The Pop ballads were just a 90s thing, like synth was to all the 80s OSTs. They're okay, but definitely retro camp. I own this OST and listen to it all the time and NO. SHAME.
Heather Dunham
19. tankgirl73
You must also not fail to mention Costner's terrible archery technique. :p

I saw this film in the theatres as a teenager. I have only dim memories of it. Mostly just of the general "wow that sucked" variety. I don't remember a lot of specifics -- none of the witchcraft, or secret half-brother plot twists. Costner was just so bad that it blotted everything else out of my memory.

It was years later that I first became "aware" of Alan Rickman as an entity. Probably not until Harry Potter, in fact, though after the fact I realized that I'd seen him in Galaxy Quest, and of course Die Hard. It was one of those cases of seeing someone many times before really noticing him. Once I was aware of him, of course, I was mesmerized.

And then yes, there was the moment of discovery that "Alan Rickman was the Sheriff of Nottingham in that Kevin Costner mess" . And from the drudge of repressed memories, while still not able to recall many specifics, just came bubbling up "oh... yes... HE was actually really good... only good thing about the movie..."
mutantalbinocrocodile
20. Nicholas Winter
Trivia point: fantasy writer Simon R. Green wrote the novelization of the film which now means every book by him says 'New York Times best selling author' .
mutantalbinocrocodile
21. Robin Goodfellow
I can't disagree with anything you've said, but I still have a massive soft spot for this film, and thoroughly enjoy a periodic re-watch. It's so bad it goes all the way through bad and comes out on the other side, and Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman are both so easy to watch they carry the film.

Costner's non-accent would usually annoy me, but honestly I just find it funny (that and his apparent ability to walk from Dover to Nottinghamshire - a distance of over 200 miles - in under a day). After all, attempting the accent doesn't always work either, as Russell Crowe amply demonstrated (who was that Irish fella again?).

I also disagree Will Scarlet doesn't have a legitimate complaint. The contrast in upbringing between a bastard son raised as a peasant and his legitimate, noble half brother amounts to more than just daddy issues, and could potentially have been an interesting exploration of the class issues that defined this era (and still impacts on modern Britain today). Of course it *wasn't* an interesting exploration because that level of thought didn't go into it, and the execution was terrible in any case, but still, it was a potentially interesting idea.
Brian R
22. Mayhem
@Robin
Not to mention that his family estates are apparently alongside Hadrian's Wall - on the border between England and Scotland, and about as far north as Dover is south. One heck of a short walk!
The tree where Little John's son is caught early in the film is at Sycamore Gap, now also known as the "Robin Hood Tree".
Alan Brown
23. AlanBrown
This movie was indeed a hideous mess. It tried to be inclusive, but then pulls the old 'pagans worship satan' thing, which I found quite offensive. Not to mention the Celtic people in the movie being portrayed as howling savages, in a manner that reminded me of how Native Americans were portrayed in far too many cowboy movies during my youth.
The only bright spot of the movie was Alan Rickman's performance, only because he always looks like he is having so much fun. In that way, it is a mirror image of the Errol Flynn version, where it was the good guys had all the fun, laughing heartily with arms akimbo as they chewed the scenery!
Chris Nelly
24. Aeryl
Also, the witch never teleports, there's a secret entrance behind the altar. You see her scuttling towards it during the marriage, and that's where she pops up from again.

I agree with others, it's abysmal, but it has it's charms.

And I will CUT someone over that Brian Adams song, yes it's stupid to put a power ballad in a period piece, but damn 11 year old me LOVED that frickin song.
mutantalbinocrocodile
25. Dianthus
I had a serious crush on Christian Slater back in the day...sigh.
Funny...Sean Connery (Robin in Robin and Marian with Audrey Hepburn) comes in for the last 30 seconds and steals the movie right out from under Costner. Was never a huge fan of Costner, tho' I liked The Untouchables (also with Connery).
OTOH, I love, Love, LOVE Alan Rickman! I remember reading a review at the time, saying basically the same thing, that Rickman was in "a better, funnier movie."
Ben Frey
26. BenPatient
Don't care what anyone says...best movie soundtrack of the last 25 years. And no, I don't mean the Bryan Adams song. I mean the soundtrack. RIP Michael Kamen.

I don't understand the perspective here for taking this seriously. It's a campy movie. Every time someone jumps into a hay bail, chickens squalk. And it happens quite a lot of times.
mutantalbinocrocodile
27. Colin R
I've been reading a lot about telescopes, and the interesting thing is that while they were probably invented at the turn of the 17th century, everyone then assumed for some reason that the ancients had invented such devices, and they were just rediscovering them. And certainly the optical theories behind telescopes had been around for a century or more before-hand, but glass technology lagged behind optical theory for much of the telescope's life. Anyway yeah, modern telescopes were mostly invented/developed by europeans.

Though, what the Arabic empires probably did have (and what got passed on to Europeans) were focusing tubes. Basically telescopes without lenses; the theory was that by blocking out other interferences you could see the object you were pointing at more clearly. It sort of worked.
Chris Nelly
28. Aeryl
@25, I TOTALLY had this cool headcanon about what Will Scarlett does and where he goes whenever Robin Costner pisses him off(it involved a Druid girl who also lived in Sherwood to avoid religious persecution. I recall, she's related to Marian). And I think he was the first movie character use the word "fuck", which is probably what put me on my path to full bore Sailor mouth.
Rob Rater
29. Quasarmodo
My younger brother loved this movie and owned it on VHS, so we put it in the VCR and I proceeded to repeat every one of Costner's horrible lines of dialogue throughout the movie. Afterward, baby bro no longer loved the movie.
mutantalbinocrocodile
30. Trin1
BBC America loves to trot this out out every couple of months, bless them. It is fantastically horrible, almost painful to watch all the way through. Yet I still find myself like a deer in the headlights when I run across it, waiting for the next one-liner. Alan Rickman is fabulous. How on earth he makes this film work I don't know. He is amazing. I a hard core Christian Slater fan back then and, embarrassingly, I still appreciate any opportunity to see his smirky grin and floppy hair from the glory days.
Sky Thibedeau
31. SkylarkThibedeau
The only thing I remember about this movie is that late 60's early 70's Tigerbeat heartthrob Jack Wild from 'HR PufnStuf' and 'Oliver' (the Artful Dodger) had a bit part as a Merry Man. he did not age gracefully from the mop headed urching.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
32. Lisamarie
I've never seen this movie (I've only actually seen Men in Tights) but this makes me want to soooo badly (with some good rum, perhaps), if for no other reason to watch Alan Rickman camp it up I also didn't realize quite how cloesely Men in Tights parodies this movie, but in a way that makes it even better.
Chris Nelly
33. Aeryl
Rickman, Freeman and BRIAN BLESSED!'s small role MAKE this movie. Ignore Little John's Edward Furlong look-a-like son, and enjoy Christian Slater's only decent line with a passable accent.

It has it's moments that are funny, hilarious even. The exhausted patience with everyone's absolute ridiculousness that Elwes portrays in Men in Tights is played to perfection by Freeman's Azeem, who is just SO TIRED of all these ignorant smelly racist white people.

While Costner's performance is pretty bad, it has it's moments, mainly when Robin Hood is being charming, which works on everyone but Azeem and Marian. Every other expression of emotion fails though.
mutantalbinocrocodile
34. Showergel
Wow.. so much hate for this movie.. this was the first "medieval" movie I saw growing up as a kid ( I was 9 or 10 at the time) and I loved it.. I still watch it whenever it comes back on tv.. sure it has its flaws but a very enjoyable movie none the less, with an amazing soundtrack. And this was the movie that inspired my love of all fantasy/medieval media. Rather than contradict you point by point (eg. the movies doesn't dept Celts, but rather Saxons), I will just state the fact that this movie made over $390M worldwide on a $48M budget (boxofficemojo), so you Mr. Padnick and some of the other posters on here are part of a very small minority.

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