In the Dark

A Proto-Puritan Robin

Robin Hood
Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland


Since his earliest appearances in folk ballads of the 13th century, Robin Hood has been a slippery fox of a hero.  He’s a man who thumbs his nose at the powerful while going his merry way aiding the powerless.  To this day, the King Johns and Nottingham sheriffs the world over fume at his impudent exploits and hurl interdictions at his spritely, elusive form.  But to no avail.  The outlaw of Sherwood Forest can no more be captured than can a will-o’-the-wisp.

There will always be a Robin, especially on the movie screen, which has become a second home as natural to him as Sherwood.  Robin has appeared in over 80 films.  He ranks with Tarzan and Jesse James in his wide popular appeal, and this explains why he has been so cinematically successful.  The economics of film—big-budget film, anyway—require that productions draw audiences in the hundreds of millions if they are to be profitable.  The best way to guarantee attendance in these numbers is to feature heroes with whom the masses can gladly identify.  Given the choice between a Louis Auchincloss boardroom patrician and a Raymond Chandler mean-street habitué, a filmmaker knows where to place his bet.

In short, since Robin Hood appeals to...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here