When Robin returns from the Crusades after King Richard, he faces the crazed King John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Marian who became a nun when he abandoned her. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: PG — Release Date: 16... more »-JUL-2002
Laura P. from BRUNSWICK, GA Reviewed on 12/18/2009...
Very good movie. It had a different interpretation of Richard the Lionheart than I always thought of, but we really enjoyed the movie.
Dark and wistful take on Robin and Marian
stardustraven | Europe | 05/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film wonderfully directed by Richard Lester offers an entirely different take on the legendary characters of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. It's 1199, Robin and Little John, return to England, after King Richard the Lionheart's death during the siege of Chal^us. Marian, now an abbess is taken from Kirklees Abbey. Robin and his followers once more prepare to fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham, their old foe. As for the story I'll refrain from saying anything more. 'Robin and Marian' is about ageing, accepting life as it is. It's a far cry from the non-stop swashbuckling of 'The adventures of Robin Hood' with Erroll Flynn, this movie presents all of the famous characters in their old age. It shows how everyone deals with the progress of time, but offers no judgement.Sean Connery is splendid as the aged Robin. With insight and passion he portrays a man who doesn't take well to the passage of time. Which is sometimes painful to behold. Audrey Hepburn shines, in what I think is certainly one of her most interesting performances. Her excellent Marian has wisdom, intelligence, spunk and a wistful touch. Her chemistry with Connery's Robin is brilliant. Their rekindled love is shown with a bittersweet, poignant tenderness. Which one doesn't see often on the screen, and Audrey Hepburn and Sean Connery certainly rise to the challenge. Of the other cast members Robert Shaw and Nicol Williamson stood out for me. Shaw's Sheriff is cunning but also fatherly (he has moved on but is still a match for Robin). And Williamson's Little John although staunchly loyal to Robin knows very well that things are over.This film has a gritty, authentic medieval look. But there are the lovely locations of the forest to enjoy. A great soundtrack by John Barry heightens also the wistful mood. But the viewer gets a rather stereotypical portrayal of King John. The usual evil John of the legends. Also interesting is the poignant symbolism of the three apples at the beginning and end of this film.'Robin and Marian' doesn't destroy the legend of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. To me they became very realistic and infinitely more human. Not in the least because of the fantastic performances by Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. No matter what, the two lovers will always be together, in the hearts and minds of people. However this film doesn't compromise, ultimately leading to its downbeat and heartwrenching finale."
Sean and Audrey camp out in the woods
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 02/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up as a young reader in WASP America, it was inevitable that I should be exposed to the Robin Hood legend. Indeed, it was that tale, along with my young (and imperfect) knowledge of Becket, Henry VIII and his wives, and King Arthur and the Round Table, which first got me to dreaming about visiting England. After my first journey across The Pond in '75 to that green and pleasant land, I was hooked. Thus, it was with great relish that I viewed ROBIN AND MARIAN.How could one possibly find fault with the casting of this film: Man's Man Sean Connery as the aging, creaky Robin Hood, and the always beautiful Audrey Hepburn as the love of his life, Maid Marian. As a bonus for the viewer, Robert Shaw and Nicol Williamson play the Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John respectively. It doesn't get better than this.As the movie opens, Robin and faithful pal Little John are off in France attendant to the death of King Richard the Lionhearted (Richard Harris), after having rummaged around with the monarch on the Third Crusade. Richard's funeral over, our two heroes return to Sherwood Forest. Robin soon learns that the new sovereign, wicked King John, has ordered the Sheriff of Nottingham to evict a group of nuns from a local abbey. As circumstance would have it, Maid Marian took the veil in Robin's long absence, and is now the abbey's prioress. Despite his aching bones and stiff joints, Robin sets off to rescue his damsel-in-distress from his old archenemy.There are so many joys to this movie. One is watching Sean's Robin deal with advancing age. He's still young at heart, but sleeping in the damp, cold forest isn't what it used to be. Both he and Little John are too much "over the hill" for such nonsense, but only the latter, with increasing skepticism, seems to realize it. Then there's Audrey's Marian, who isn't at first sure that she needs the renewed attentions of her old beau. (Audrey is so exquisite! They don't make actresses like that anymore.) The intervening years have even had an effect on Shaw's Sheriff of Nottingham, making him much wiser in his dealings with his rascally nemesis.Finally, the scriptwriters give their own interpretation to the traditional ending of the Robin Hood story. In their hands, it becomes at least a two-hankie event. Just remembering it now, I'm looking for the Kleenex box. Call me a sucker, but I just ate it up!"
A good movie is still the best DVD feature.
Allen W. Wright | Toronto, Ontario, Canada | 07/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, first a bit of DVD speak. The special features advertised on the box include sound in English (and only English). I didn't know that sound in movies had been a special feature at any point since the 1930s. Oh well.. as with most scaled down DVDs, it advertises the standard menus, scene access and trailers as being special features. No matter. The film is a very nice transfer, and the movie itself is pretty special. The script is by James Goldman, who also wrote the medieval character piece The Lion in Winter. And if anything, the writing here is even sharper than his early film. Many people have noticed the 1970s Vietnam era feel. And it's true that Robin as a returning crusader certainly taped into the mood of the decade the film was made. But it's more than that. Most Robin Hood films end with Robin being pardoned by the king. And this happens in one of the earliest ballads too. But the part of the ballad that is cut out of most movies is that Robin Hood eventually left the king's service and returned to his outlaw ways. And then he died at Kirklees Priory. And these final years of Robin also appear in many of the children's novels. This movie -- like very few other filmed versions of the legend -- shows the end of Robin's life. After the death of King Richard, Robin returns to Sherwood. He has a lot of regrets -- leaving England, leaving Marian, participating in senseless slaughters like Acre. So, a much older Robin seeks a second chance. In his twilight years, Robin tries to recapture the best days of his life. There's something very sad and tragic about it -- but it's also wonderfully human. The acting in the film is first rate -- Sean Connery makes a very believable Robin. Nicol Williamson is an interesting older Little John. Screen legend Audrey Hepburn plays a very changed Marian. And finally Robert Shaw is the best sheriff of Nottingham in all the Robin Hood movies. An older, more patient, likeable man. The sheriff hasn't been promoted because "I can read and write. It makes you suspect. Not a duke in twenty can read a word. Correct, my lord?" "Books are for clerks." As he waits for Robin to invade Nottingham, he explains "He's a little in love with death. He flirts. He teases. I can wait." I think those quotations should give you some idea of how good the writing is and also something of the film's mood. It is a rich and interesting character piece of people who are very human, but who also formed the basis of legend. ("They've turned us into heroes, Johnny.") It's not an action film, not swashbuckling adventure. There is some romance, but it both a mature and immature romance of older people trying to recapture lost glories. A smart, sombre -- but also witty -- film. As others have said, it is very much underrated. When I bought this DVD, the store owner was impressed. "Now that's a cool choice," he said. And so it was."
"We'll Never Have a Day Like This Again!"
Kevin L. Nenstiel | Kearney, Nebraska | 12/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long considered one of the classic stories of British folklore, Robin Hood has inspired artists not only in his homeland, but in France, Germany, the Americas, and as far afield as Japan. One of the first counterculture figures, he rose against a repressive hierarchy and won equality for the common masses of Britain. However, the story often ends when King Richard Lionheart returns and reprimands his wayward brother, who has been sitting as regent. What happened to Robin and his companions after that? This question is explored in Richard Lester's "Robin and Marian." Lester, best known for directing the Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!," steps away from his comedy résumé to create a more cynical, realistic look at the effects of maturity on a man who is associated intimately with virility and youth. Everybody's favorite James Bond, Sean Connery, is Robin Hood. He has spent decades on the Crusades with Richard - this time he is not a disinherited nobleman, but a peasant who has achieved greatness and fame. However, King Richard (Richard Harris, "A Man Called Horse") is a selfish and venal ruler who instills fear by force and takes without giving. Wounded while laying siege to a lesser lord's castle, he dies from the strain of an attempt to kill Robin for insubordination. This leaves Robin and his Lieutenant, Little John (Nicol Williamson) at loose ends, so they decide to return to England, which they haven't seen in twenty years. Robin Hood and Little John are both flawed men. Robin Hood refuses to acknowledge he isn't the young man he was when he fought Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Little John is loyal to the point where he won't allow himself to disagree with Robin, even when he's plainly wrong. When Robin takes a spontaneous notion to visit his old haunts in Sherwood, Little John tags along, and they run into Friar Tuck (Ronnie Barker) and Will Scarlett (Denholm Elliot). There is talk of a peasant rebellion against King John (Ian Holm), who is just as bad a ruler as when he stood in for his brother, but it doesn't really come to anything. Robin Hood doesn't realize he's getting old, though he references his age. When he rides out to seek his long-abandoned love, Maid Marian (Audrey Hepburn, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), he finds she's become a nun. However, he refuses to believe Marian might have higher priorities than cheap thrills, and insists she join him in the forest. Because King John is on the outs with the Pope, Marian is a criminal, but she wants to be a martyr. Robin won't let her do so and steals her away, putting him in bad blood with his old foe, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert Shaw, "Force 10 From Navarone"). Robin wants to be the hero he was two decades ago. His companions know they are staring down the throat of mortality, but they don't seem to know just what that means. Only the Sheriff seems to have a strong grasp of human nature, and is willing to let bygones be bygones, except that he has orders from the King, who he must not disobey. Though the characters are all the same age and have the same level of experience, there is a visible generation gap between them. Robin and, to a lesser degree, his companions, all want to be the heroes they were before they became fairly legitimate. Marian has a strong sense of responsibility, but is willing to play Merry Men with Robin until it proves he's not just playing. The Sheriff is a quiet, peaceful, indeed almost fatherly figure who exacts discipline because it's needed, not because he relishes it. Robin is the eternal child, the fox that Walt Disney painted, while the Maid Marian has grown a human spirit as she's gotten older. She recognizes her limitations and is unwilling to revert to the play of two decades earlier. She realizes Robin is caught in a relentless cycle of violence, but she no longer wants to be a part of it. When Robin crows, in the wake of a successful battle, "We'll never have a day like this again," the two put very different meanings on that sentence. This dark view of English history and heroes invites obvious comparisons to "King Lear," but it is very much the product of a more modern ideal. Great figures, renowned for their youth and virility, Sean Connery for instance, were increasingly being forced to recognize they weren't kids anymore. They had to make choices - hang onto youth with both fists, grow up and seek spirituality, grow up and seek worldliness - and there was no straddling the fence. All these options are reflected in "Robin and Marian," and even more - as many options as there are characters, as many options as there are people who face age. There is no clear answer provided as to what way to face age is the correct one, but when is there in this life? When some people choose one way and some choose another, conflict is inevitable. What matters is less who chooses correctly than how all involved deal with their respective choices. Time reveals how everyone deals with their choices in this movie, but bear in mind - no one is spared the consequences of their actions, for good or ill. This timely take on the timeless story will appeal to many different ages and outlooks. However, this is no comedy, no romance. This is a hard look into human motivations. Remember that and don't say you weren't warned."
An unusual approach to a famous legend.
Kevin L. Nenstiel | 01/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Robin Hood! The name invokes images of Errol Flynn in green tights. Lighing sword fights. Deeds of daring in Sherwood Forest. Cunning villians. And romance between a handsome young couple."Robin and Marian" approaches that subject from a completly different angle. Here Robin is middle-aged and balding. The Sheriff of Nottingham is cynical and tired. And Marian is an experienced nun! It truly is different- Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest twenty years AFTER his glory days. It is also very well-done. The cast is indeed fantastic. Imagine if this cast had been assembled to make a Robin Hood film twenty years earlier. Young Sean would provided a grittier alternative to Flynn's performance. And who would have made a more beautiful Maid Marian than Audrey Hepburn in 1956?The most interesting aspect of "Robin and Marian" is Connery's Robin Hood. Everyone has aged twenty years. Yet with the exception of Robin, they have all gained from wisdom and experience. Robin, although jaded by the Crusades and Richard the Lionheart's cruelty bordering on madness, is renewed in spirits by his return to Sherwood. There he is still thought of and worshipped as the young hero he was twenty years earlier. The worse thing is he believes it himself. Everyone close to him knows the glory days are gone- even his closest and most loyal companion- Little John. Yet everyone loves and worships Robin too much to tell him the truth. Even his adversary, the Sheriff of Nottingham, had grown wise in his years. He now knows how to deal with Robin and will no longer make the errors of his youth when opposed by him. The ending is truly poignant with Robin the legend being unmasked by the Sheriff as Robin the tired middle aged man. It is an unbearable sight to Little John, Marian, and all his followers. Marian decides that the legend, whom she loved, will never be besmirched again."