Friday, May 2, 2014

Project Disney - Robin Hood

Project Disney: The plan is to tackle all of the Disney films, re-reading the classic stories and tales that inspired many of them and to look at how the changes the filmmakers made, the new elements they introduced and the essential elements they kept. We will, of course, be talking about the films as movies as well, saying why we enjoy them and what some of our favorite moments are, but our focus will be on looking at them as adaptations. For the films that are not drawn from any one work we’ll be looking at some of the possible literary influences that we see in the stories. I am participating in Project Disney inspired by Picture Me Reading!  

This week's Project Disney is Robin Hood based off the legend of Robin Hood.  For this movie I read The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle.  I have always loved this film so much.  The music is just simple and easy listening. It fits the film perfectly. The characters are genuinely nice.  After reading the book my love for the character Robin Hood is even greater.  It is difficult to find exact source material for the film since there are many many stories about him. Even Shakespeare references Robin Hood.  The Disney film of course uses animals instead of humans in the story.  This is just not the most popular Disney film.

The book does not have Robin Hood facing off with Prince John.  That actually happens in later Robin Hood tales in the 20th Century (this book was written in 1883 and is now as a Classic). The book I read also does not include Maid Marian.  Pyle's story collects ballads and stories and puts them into a cohesive novel.  I enjoyed reading about Robin Hood collecting his merry men, including Friar Tuck.

Robin Hood's Disney film is really about the rich stealing from the poor.  Robin Hood then steals from the rich and gives back to the poor. Well or I should say Prince John over taxes the poor and Robin Hood gives that back. We get to spend time with Maid Marian who is Robin Hood's childhood love.  Robin Hood of course thinks he can't be with Marian because she is the King's daughter, and Marian thinks Robin Hood has forgotten her since she left town for a while.  Robin Hood hears there is an archery tournament and decides to enter since Maid Marian will be giving a kiss to the winner.

While at the tournament even though Robin Hood is in a disguise he is spotted because of his archery skills (this does actually happen in the book The Merry adventures of Robin Hood where there is a tournament and the King knows he is there). Robin Hood then runs off with Maid Marian and meets with the outlaws in the forest where he proposes to Marian.  When Prince John finds out about this he taxes the citizens even more.  I remember this part being really sad to m e as a child and honestly even now as an adult.  All the animals in the jail and there is a really sad song (Not in Nottingham) playing at the same time.  During this part of the film the guards call out the time " 5 oclock and all is well", I often quote this in my life when looking at the time.

Prince John then plans to hang Friar Tuck hoping that this will bring Robin Hood out of hiding (this is one of the fables about Robin Hood that is also mentioned in the book.  He heads to town to save one of his merry men). Of course Robin Hood runs in for the rescue and there is a great battle scene with him and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Soon after the battle King Richard returns from war and fixes everything and pardons Robin Hood. Robin Hood and Maid Marian are married at the end of the film. 

One of the biggest complaints from people about this film is how much footage is used from previous Disney films.  Maid Marian's dancing is the exact same as Snow White , Little John's animation is taken from the The Jungle Book, and pieces from the The Aristocats is also used. The reuse of animation is something I can't believe was allowed but at the time they were on a time crunch so had to get the movie out. I never noticed this as a kid though so it doesn't take away from the film for me.  I wouldn't even have know about it if I hadn't research the film for Project Disney.  

I think this fits those Disney movies that boys are supposed to enjoy (though I don't see why a boy can't like Beauty and the Beast right???).  I really like this film but can see why it's not one of Disney's best.  I love the folk music and the time period of the film.  I can say this movie is how I first learned about Robin Hood as a child. As far as comparing this to a book there is just so many different tales about Robin Hood I am trying to read them all!  My parents recently gave me Robin Hood on bluray since Disney finally released it and it has such a pretty picture now! 

Edit:  Rachel from Rachel Turning Pages informed me in the comments that there is an alternate ending that was written for the film.   I hadn't ever heard of that with a Disney film before this... and didn't come across that in my research for this post!  Thanks!  You can even watch an animation of the Robin Hood alternate ending

Be sure to check out my other Project Disney:
Peter Pan
Treasure Planet
Sleeping Beauty
The Great Mouse Detective 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
101 Dalmatians
Fantasia 2000
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Aristocats
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
The Black Cauldron
Mary Poppins
Lilo and Stitch  
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Fox and the Hound
Melody Time 


  1. I absolutely adore this film - it's one of my favourite Disney films, and it's definitely my favourite pre-90's Disney film (I always clump The Little Mermaid with the 90's ones because it just feels like it should be). It's got one of my favourite soundtracks ever (although I always get depressed that I can't whistle when I watch it haha), and it's just so fun!

  2. I loved this film as a kid! The music and the animals and the story and the humor - totally adored every minute of it :)

    In a lot of ways, and I think I'm not alone in this, it set my idea of the Robin Hood story. So when I see other adaptations there's a part of me that compares moments or elements to this Disney film.

    You're timing on this post is so accidentally cool, though. Two or three weeks ago (maybe more but it doesn't feel like it) I read Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen which got me on this whole Robin Hood binge. I love those books and when I finished rereading Scarlet and then read Lady Thief I hadn't had enough Robin Hood so I watched the BBC show for the first time. Have you seen that? It's only three 13 episode seasons and it's equal parts campy and fun and heartbreaking and wonderful :)

  3. Well I'm okay with the Pyle book not including a face off with Prince John - but no Maid Marian??? LOL I love this movie! It's probably my second favorite Disney film for a lot of nostalgia reasons. I didn't know they reused some of the animation in this film though! I need to compare those. I wish they would do an Annie Leibovitz photo for this one!

  4. Seriously... the sound track is amazing. I mean that music perfectly fits with the time that this film was taking place. Plus it does actually make me feel like I am in the woods. I think that now a days kids are so used to movies like the Expendables and Frozen, and Cars that this movie is too slow for them. Maybe even too deep. The whole poor animals thing I don't think would sit well with kids. They want action. I love the whole chase scene when the archery contest is going on, and that Hen is bumping everyone with her body ( I forgot her name). Hilarious.

  5. After reading this book I too am on a Robin Hood kick!! I want to read all the Robin Hood re-tellings and I will pick up both those books. Scarlet is the sequel to Cinder right? I thought this whole time it was about Red Riding Hood. LOL! I am about to read that book this week. Is that show (BBC) on Netflix?? I am going to have to watch it!!

  6. I was surprised that Maid Marion wasn't in the Pyle book myself. I didn't realize she was added to the legend of Robin Hood later on. I went back and re-checked out your post on Robin Hood .. do you remember doing a post on this movie??? I think there should be an Annie Leibovitz for this one too. She hasn't had a new Disney Photo out for a while now and I am hoping she does a new one soon.

  7. shootingstarsmagMay 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    I had no idea they reused animation! That is interesting. I've never seen this film, I don't believe...

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren from

  8. Oh yes I remember - for Awesome Adaptations! And it just took you a few months to get to it for Project Disney! How many films do you have left actually- do you have a list of them all somewhere?

    Oh has it been awhile for the Disney photos?! Oh good then there must be another one in the works! :)

  9. I have to admit this isn't one of my favorite Disney films, but it is fun. As for book versions, I've read the Pyle, of course, but I love Robin McKinley's retelling, The Outlaws of Sherwood. And there's an interesting MG/YA series that just started last year with Will in Scarlet, by Matthew Cody, which I

    back in October. Sometime I'd like to read A. C. Gaughen's series, too.

  10. There were two books called Scarlet within a year or so of each other. You were right; the one by Marissa Mayer (the sequel to Cinder is a Red Riding Hood retelling. But the one by A. C. Gaughen is a Robin Hood retelling, this time combining the Will Scarlet and Maid Marian characters. Sounds fun!

  11. This is my favorite Disney movie of all time, I like a lot of others, but if I could only watch one for the rest of my life, it would be Robin Hood. That's all I can say, I love this movie that much. I will say, I also love the Errol Flynn movie almost as much. And since I know you love my FFC posts, here is the one for Robin Hood, where both versions show up.

  12. Now this is a pleasant blast from the past! I believe Robin Hood was the first Disney animation I saw ever! I agree that this is one of those Disney movies that boys should enjoy. But then again, I'm a grown up adult male and still enjoy all those other Disney Princess movies as well!


    I actually have reviewed this one. I did not enjoy the novel, but don't regret reading it. Did you know that there is an alternate ending to the Disney movie? Much darker. I do agree that the reuse of animation is not something Disney should be proud of, but I do enjoy the movie. Robin Hood with Kevin Costner is my favorite. I have yet to watch the 2010 version, but I plan to this summer.

  14. OOOhhh OK. I see. I was wondering. The cape on the cover doesn't help. That could be either Robin Hood or Red Riding Hood. LOL!

  15. I do have a list... I have 13 more. Oh man.. that doesn't seem like very many. I am going to be a little sad when Project Disney is over.

  16. I know... I had no idea that was done, or allowed!!!

  17. Ohhhh these all sound good. I really want to get more into Robin Hood books. I really enjoy the whole Legend. This film I think it more for the boys... or that is what they were going for here at least. Which is good. I really think there aren't enough films for boys in the Disney canon.

  18. Thank you so much for linking me up to this post!! I am going to go my library's website right now and see if they have the Errol Flynn movie. It would be great if they do or if Netflix does. I loved this movie too. I love the simplicity of it. Love.. love of people, love of a woman, love of friends. Love. There isn't enough love in the world.

  19. I love that you love all the Disney movies. Too often do I see boys and men decide they don't like them just because there is a princess in them. In reality many of them have a good story despite there being a female lead. I do wish Disney movies weren't geared toward male or female but to both.

  20. I had no idea about the alternate ending .. and didn't see anything about it in all my research. I googled it (I had to). I see that it was written and then changed. What a great piece of trivia!! Thanks for sharing that. I am going to add it to my blog post.

  21. I feel horrible for saying this, but I have never watched Robin Hood. Even as a child, my parents made me watch all sorts of Disney and Barbie movies... but not this one. D: *dies*

  22. I'm not a huge Disney fan, partly because I'm not into fairy tales, but I remember this movie. I love the legend of Robin Hood and I second someone's mention of the BBC show. I have to admit I have a weakness for the Kevin Costner version haha!

  23. I really liked this Disney film as a kid, and haven't seen it in years but I want to now after seeing your post! That image of Robin on the castle wall with his bow drawn seems so iconic, must have been the cover of the old movie or DVD case, it just seems so familiar. I kinda remember King John being the grumpy old lion? Man it's been a while since I saw this! I obviously need to get this on DVD...

    Speaking of Robin Hood, if you like old movies the 1952 version of Ivanhoe has Robin and his merry men helping out, although they're not the focus of the movie. It's not really how I picture Robin, and it's an older movie, but it has its moments. The villains in particular have some great lines!

  24. You must watch it now!! It is on Netflix right now. You can take an afternoon to stop off and watch it.

  25. As soon as I finish binging on Supernatural I am going to watch the BBC version of Robin Hood. I did watch the first one and really enjoyed it. I don't know why I didn't finish watching it. I just got on to other shows and passed it bye.

  26. That picture of Robin on the castle wall was perfect so I had to include it in this post. Prince John is the grumpy old lion.. who sucks his thumb and cries for his mommy. I actually like the snake in this movie (Sir Hiss such a fun name) though he is very similar to the snake in Jungle Book (Kaa). Another part of this movie that is reused from another Disney film. I wonder a little how different the movie would've been if they hadn't reused animation.

  27. oh yeah - sorry about that :) I haven't read the Marissa Mayer Scarlet so I didn't even think about that.

    Yes, I watched the BBC Robin Hood on netflix :)

  28. Wow - had no idea that alternate ending existed! Great film, one of my daughter's favourites (so girls can be fans of movies like this too :D )

  29. That is good news!! I have always loved boy things so I get bothered when girls aren't supposed to like boy things. Makes me mad!