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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

"Prince of Thieves" redirects here. For other uses, see Robin Hood (disambiguation).
This article is about the 1991 American film. For the 1991 British film, see Robin Hood (1991 film). For the 1948 American film, see The Prince of Thieves (1948 film). For the 2009 Indian film, see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (2009 film).
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
A bowman, ready to release a fiery arrow. Below two figures, beside a tree, silhouetted against a lake background.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
Produced by Pen Densham
Richard Barton Lewis
John Watson
Screenplay by Pen Densham
John Watson
Story by Pen Densham
Starring Kevin Costner
Morgan Freeman
Christian Slater
Alan Rickman
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
Edited by Peter Boyle
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • June 14, 1991 (1991-06-14)
Running time
155 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $48 million[2]
Box office $390,493,908

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a 1991 American-British adventure film directed by Kevin Reynolds. The film stars Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, Morgan Freeman as Azeem, Christian Slater as Will Scarlet, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian of Dubois, and Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The movie was a major box office hit, making over $390 million worldwide, which made it the second highest grossing film of 1991. Rickman received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, while the film's theme song, "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You", by Bryan Adams, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song.


Robin of Locksley (Costner), an English nobleman who joined Richard the Lionheart, King of England in the Third Crusade, is imprisoned in Jerusalem along with his comrade Peter. Robin escapes, saving the life of a Moor named Azeem (Freeman) in the process, but Peter dies while escaping and has Robin swear to protect his sister Marian (Mastrantonio). Robin returns to England with Azeem, who has vowed to accompany him until the debt of saving his life is repaid.

In England, with King Richard still away, the cruel Sheriff of Nottingham (Rickman) rules over the land, aided by his cousin Guy of Gisbourne (Michael Wincott), along with the witch Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan) and the corrupt Bishop of Hereford (Harold Innocent). At Locksley Castle, Robin's father (Brian Blessed) is killed by the Sheriff's men after refusing to join them.

Robin returns to England to find his father dead, his home in ruins, and the Sheriff and his men oppressing the people. While fleeing the Sheriff's forces, Robin and Azeem encounter a band of outlaws hiding in Sherwood Forest, led by Little John (Nick Brimble). Among the band is Will Scarlet (Slater), who holds a belligerent grudge against Robin and does not hesitate to show Robin his true feelings. Robin ultimately assumes command of the group, encourages his men to fight against Nottingham, and trains them to defend themselves. They rob soldiers and convoys that pass through the forest, then distribute the stolen wealth among the poor. One of their early targets is Friar Tuck (Mike McShane), who subsequently joins these Merry Men, and Marian also begins to sympathize with the band and renders Robin any aid she can muster. Robin’s successes infuriate the Sheriff, who increases the maltreatment of the people, resulting in more support for Robin Hood.

Hiring Celtic warriors from Scotland to bolster his forces, the Sheriff manages to locate the outlaws' hideout and launches an attack, destroying the forest refuge. He confines Marian when she tries to summon help from France. In order to consolidate his claim to the throne, the Sheriff proposes to Marian (who is Richard's cousin), claiming that if she accepts, he will spare the lives of the captured outlaws. Nevertheless, several of the rebels are due to be executed by hanging as part of the wedding celebration. Among the captured is Will Scarlet, who seemingly makes a deal with the Sheriff to find and kill Robin in order to be set free.

Will meets back with Robin and a handful of his most trusted aides who survived the assault by the Celts. Instead of attacking Robin, Will informs him of the Sheriff's plans to marry Marian and execute Robin's men. Will still continues to take out his anger against Robin, to which Robin then questions Will as to why he hates him so much. Will then reveals himself to be Robin's younger illegitimate half-brother; Will's mother was a peasant woman with whom Robin's father took comfort after Robin's mother had died. Robin's anger toward his father caused him to separate from her and leave Will fatherless. Despite Robin's anger toward his father for being with another woman, he is overjoyed to learn that he has a brother and embraces Will.

On the day of the wedding and hangings, Robin and his men infiltrate Nottingham Castle, freeing the prisoners. Although Robin's band originally planned to free their friends and retreat, Azeem reveals himself and his willingness to fight the Sheriff, turning the peasants to revolt. After a fierce fight, Robin kills the Sheriff but is attacked by Mortianna, who charges with a spear. Azeem slays Mortianna, fulfilling his vow to repay his life debt to Robin. Tuck also kills the Bishop, burdening him with treasure and throwing him out a window.

Robin and Marian profess their love for each other and marry in the forest. Their wedding is briefly interrupted by the return of King Richard (Sean Connery), who blesses the marriage and thanks Robin for his deeds.



File:CRW 2684.jpg
Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall. Today known as the "Robin Hood Tree".[5]

Principal exteriors were shot on location in the United Kingdom. A second unit filmed the medieval walls and towers of the town of Carcassonne in Aude, France, for the portrayal of Nottingham and its castle. Locksley Castle was Wardour Castle in Wiltshire - restored in an early shot using a matte painting. Marian's manor was filmed at Hulne Priory in Northumberland. Scenes set in Sherwood Forest were filmed throughout England: Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire was used for the outlaws' encampment, Aysgarth Falls in Yorkshire for the fight scene between Robin and Little John, and Hardraw Force in North Yorkshire was the location where Marian sees Robin bathing.[6] Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall was used for the scene when Robin first confronts the Sheriff's men.[7] Chalk cliffs at Seven Sisters, Sussex were used as the locale for Robin's return to England from the Crusades.[8]

Interior scenes were completed at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England.[6]

On the DVD commentary for ITV's Robin of Sherwood television series, which ran from 1983 to 1986, writer and creator Richard Carpenter explains that the stunt co-ordinator from the Robin of Sherwood series, Terry Walsh, was hired to do stunt work for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. While on set, Walsh noticed that there was a Saracen assassin character named Nasir in the film. That character was a creation of Carpenter and is exclusive to the Robin of Sherwood series. Once the creators of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves realized there was potential copyright infringement, they changed the character's name from Nasir to Azeem. Carpenter also explains that Costner and others involved in the film have admitted to watching Robin of Sherwood as inspiration for their film.[citation needed]


The original music score was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Michael Kamen.

Track listing
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Original Soundtrack)
Film score by Michael Kamen
Released July 2, 1991
Length 60:22
Label Morgan Creek Productions
  1. "Overture/A Prisoner of the Crusades" (8:27)
  2. "Sir Guy of Gisborne/The Escape to Sherwood" (7:27)
  3. "Little John/The Band in the Forest" (4:52)
  4. "The Sheriff and His Witch" (6:03)
  5. "Maid Marian" (2:57)
  6. "Training/Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" (5:15)
  7. "Marian at the Waterfall" (5:34)
  8. "The Abduction/The Final Battle at the Gallows" (9:53)
  9. "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" - Bryan Adams (6:33)
  10. "Wild Times" – Jeff Lynne (3:12)


Critics gave the film mixed reviews. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert praised Freeman's performance as well as Rickman's, but ultimately decried the film as a whole, giving it two stars and stating, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a murky, unfocused, violent, and depressing version of the classic story...The most depressing thing about the movie is that children will attend it expecting to have a good time."[9] The New York Times gave the film a negative review, with Vincent Canby writing that the movie is "a mess, a big, long, joyless reconstruction of the Robin Hood legend that comes out firmly for civil rights, feminism, religious freedom and economic opportunity for all."[10] The Los Angeles Times found the movie unsatisfactory as well.[11] Costner was criticised for not attempting an English accent.[12] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, retrospectively collected reviews from 52 critics to give the film a score of 50%.[13]

Prince of Thieves was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards: Kevin Costner "won" the Worst Actor award for his performance as Robin Hood, while Christian Slater received a nomination for Worst Supporting Actor for his performances in this film and Mobsters but "lost" to Dan Aykroyd for Nothing but Trouble.[14]

Box office

Despite mixed critical reception, the movie was a box office hit. It made $25 million gross in its opening weekend and $18.3 million in its second weekend. The film would eventually make $390,493,908 at the global box office, making it the second-highest grossing film of 1991, immediately behind Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It enjoyed the second-best opening for a non-sequel, at the time.[15][16][17][18]


A tie-in video game of the same name was released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. Developed by Sculptured Software Inc. and Bits Studios, respectively, and published by Virgin Games, Inc., it was featured as the cover game for the July 1991 issue of Nintendo Power magazine.

A toy line was released by Kenner, consisting of action figures and playsets. Notably, all but one of the figures were slightly modified from Kenner's well known Super Powers line, while Friar Tuck, as well as the vehicles and playset, were modified from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi toys.

See also

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  1. ^ Easton, Nina J. (1990-07-24). "Costner May Put Morgan Creek Ahead of Robin Hood Pack". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Robin Hood Freshens Up A Film Legend". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  3. ^ Dowd, Maureen (1991-06-09). "FILM; Hollywood's Superhunk Heads for Nottingham". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  4. ^ Leydon, Joe (1991-06-09). "Robin Hood' and the uncertain science of hype". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  5. ^ Sycamore Gap, a section of the wall between two crests just east of Milecastle 39, is locally known as the "Robin Hood Tree" for its use in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).
  6. ^ a b Pearce, Garth; Green, Simon (1991). Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Bdd Promotional Book Co. pp. 22–34. ISBN 9780792456339. 
  7. ^ Else, David & Sandra Bardwell, Belinda Dixon, Peter Dragicevich (2007). Lonely Planet: Walking in Britain. Lonely Planet. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-7410-4202-3. 
  8. ^ Pirani, Adam (May 1991). "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". Starlog. p. 40. 
  9. ^ "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  10. ^ Canby, Vincent (1991-06-14). "A Polite Robin Hood In a Legend Recast". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  11. ^ Turan, Kenneth (1991-06-14). "'Robin': Medieval Dash, New Age Muddle". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  12. ^ Easton, Nina J. (1991-06-23). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  13. ^ "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  14. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  15. ^ "Robin Hood prince of summer flicks with $18.3 million weekend". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  16. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-06-25). "Robin Hood Still Riding Ahead of Box Office Pack". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  17. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-06-18). "'Robin' Hits Impressive Box Office Bull's-Eye". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  18. ^ "Can 'Robin Hood' Keep Up Its Box-office Momentum?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 

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