Robin Hood is an 1973 American animated film produced by the Walt Disney Productions, first released in the United States on November 8, 1973. The 21st animated feature in the List of Disney theatrical animated features, the film is based on the legend of Robin Hood, but uses anthropomorphic animals instead of people.
The film is narrated by the rooster Alan-a-Dale, who explains that Robin Hood and Little John live in Sherwood Forest, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor townsfolk of Nottingham. The Sheriff of Nottingham and his posse often try to catch the two but fail every time. Meanwhile, Prince John and his assistant Sir Hiss, arrive in Nottingham. Sir Hiss hypnotised Prince John's brother King Richard to go off on the Crusades, allowing Prince John to take the throne. Unfortunately, the prince is greedy and immature, even sucking his thumb whenever his mother is mentioned. Robin and Little John rob Prince John by disguising themselves as fortune tellers, prompting the prince to put a bounty on their heads and makes the Sheriff his personal tax collector.
The Sheriff taxes Friar Tuck and a family of rabbits. However, Robin gives back some money to the rabbits, giving his hat and archery kit to the young rabbit Skippy for his birthday. Skippy and his friends test out the archery kit, but Skippy fires an arrow into the grounds of Maid Marian's castle. The children sneak inside, meeting Maid Marian and her attendant Lady Kluck. Maid Marian reveals she and Robin were childhood sweethearts but they have not seen one another for years. Friar Tuck visits Robin and Little John, explaining that Prince John is hosting an archery tournament, and the winner will receive a kiss from Maid Marian. Robin agrees to participate in the tournament disguised as a stork whilst Little John disguises himself as the Duke of Chutney to get near Prince John. Sir Hiss discovers Robin's identity but is trapped in a barrel of ale by Friar Tuck and Alan-a-Dale. Robin wins the tournament, but Prince John exposes him and has him arrested for execution despite Maid Marian's pleas.
Little John threatens Prince John leading to a fight between Robin, Little John, Maid Marian, Lady Kluck and Prince John's soldiers. In the forest, Robin and Maid Marian fall in love again as the townsfolk mock Prince John, describing him as the "Phony King of England". Enraged by the insult, Prince John triples the taxes, imprisoning most of the townsfolk who cannot pay their taxes. The Sheriff visits Friar Tuck's church to steal from the poor box, enraging Friar Tuck who is arrested too. Prince John plans to hang Friar Tuck to lure in Robin and kill him. Robin and Little John sneak in, managing to free all of the prisoners whilst Robin steals Prince John's taxes, but Sir Hiss awakens to find Robin fleeing.
Chaos follows as Robin and the others try to escape to Sherwood Forest. The Sheriff corners Robin, setting fire to Prince John's castle, whilst Robin leaps from a tower into a pool of orange water below. Little John and Skippy watch as the pool is pelted with arrows and Robin is apparently shot, only for him to emerge unharmed. Prince John despairs and is driven into a blind rage when Sir Hiss points out his mother's castle is on fire. King Richard returns to England, placing his brother and his cohorts under arrest and allows Robin and Maid Marian to be married and leave Nottingham with Little John and Skippy in tow.
Initially, the studio considered a movie about Reynard the Fox. However, due to Walt Disney's concern that Reynard was an unsuitable choice for a hero, Ken Anderson used many elements from it in Robin Hood.
Robin Allan writes in his book Walt Disney and Europe that "Ken Anderson wept when he saw how his character concepts had been processed into stereotypes for the animation on Robin Hood."
Reuse of footage, sound, and voice actors
As the film was allotted a small budget, the artists referenced footage from previous animated features. A dance sequence in the film was traced from a sequence originally produced for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The alternate ending (included in the "Most Wanted Edition" DVD) is a short retelling of the story's conclusion, primarily utilizing still images from Ken Anderson's original storyboard drawings of the sequence. As Robin Hood leaps off of the castle and into the moat, he is wounded (presumably from one of the arrows shot into the water after him) and carried away to the church for safety. Prince John, enraged that he has once again been outwitted by Robin Hood, finds Little John leaving the church, and suspects the outlaw to be there as well. He finds Maid Marian tending to an unconscious Robin Hood, and draws a sword to kill them both. Before Prince John can strike, however, he is stopped by his brother, King Richard, having returned from the Crusades, is appalled to find that Prince John has left his kingdom bleak and oppressed. Abiding his mother's wishes, King Richard decides he cannot banish Prince John from the kingdom, but does grant him severe punishment. King Richard returns Nottingham to its former glory (before leaving for the Third Crusade), and orders Friar Tuck to marry Robin Hood and Maid Marian.
A short finished scene from the planned original ending, featuring King Richard and revealing himself to vulture henchmen Nutsy and Trigger, appeared in the Ken Anderson episode of the 1980s Disney Channel documentary series "Disney Family Album." This scene, at least in animated form, does not appear on the "Most Wanted Edition" DVD.
Home Video Gallery
- Roger Miller as The Rooster (aka Alan-a-Dale)
- Phil Harris as Little John (a bear)
- Andy Devine as Friar Tuck (an american badger)
- Peter Ustinov as Prince John and King Richard (lions)
- Terry-Thomas as Sir Hiss (a snake)
- Brian Bedford as Robin Hood (a fox)
- Monica Evans as Maid Marian (a vixen)
- Carole Shelley as Lady Kluck (a chicken)
- Pat Buttram as The Sheriff of Nottingham aka "Old Bushel-Britches" (a wolf)
- Ken Curtis and George Lindsey as Nutsy and Trigger (vultures), respectively
- John Fiedler and Barbara Luddy as the Father Sexton and his wife "Little Sister" (church mice), respectively
- Billy Whittaker, Dana Laurita and Dori Whittaker as Skippy, Sis and Tagalong (rabbits), respectively
- Richie Sanders as Toby (a turtle)
- Barbara Luddy as Mother Rabbit
- Candy Candido as Captain Crocodile
- J. Pat O'Malley as Otto (a dog)