After the death of Richard the Lion-Hearted, a skilled archer named Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) travels to Nottingham, where villagers suffer under a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation. He meets and falls in love with a spirited widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett), although she is skeptical of his motives. Hoping to win her heart and save the village, Robin gathers a band of warriors to fight corruption in Nottingham, little knowing they will soon be fighting to save England itself.
Robin Hood is a 2010 British-American epic adventure film based on the Robin Hood legend, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. It was released in 12 countries on 12 May 2010, including the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and was also the opening film at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival the same day. It was released in a further 23 countries the following day, among them Australia, and an additional 17 countries on 14 May 2010, among them the United States and Canada.
When soldier Robin happens upon the dying Robert of Loxley, he promises to return the man's sword to his family in Nottingham. There, he assumes Robert's identity; romances his widow, Marion; and draws the ire of the town's sheriff and King John's henchman, Godfrey.
In 1199 A.D., Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). A veteran of Richards crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he believes the King when invited to give an honest view of the war; after Robin gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the Kings conduct, Robin and his comrades – archers Allan ADayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) – find themselves in the stocks.
When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate Richard. After chasing off Godfrey, Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. As they depart, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return his sword to his father in Nottingham.
Upon arriving in London, Robin assumes the identity of the slain Loxley to inform the royal family of the Kings death. He witnesses the coronation of King John (Oscar Isaac), who orders harsh new taxes to be collected, dispatching Sir Godfrey to the North to do so – unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and create an opening for Philip to invade England.
Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxleys elderly and blind father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), asks him to continue impersonating his son, to prevent the family lands being taken by the Crown. Loxleys widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him, when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant.
Godfreys actions have incited the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes the King agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and unite his country. Having realized Godfreys deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, the French marauders plunder Nottingham. Robin and the northern barons arrive and stop Godfreys men, but not before Godfrey has slain the blind Sir Walter.
As the French begin their invasion on the beach below the Cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempts to kill Marion and flees before Robin finally pierces him with an arrow from afar. Philip realizes his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrender to Robin instead of himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London John reneges on his promise to sign the charter, instead declaring Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) announces the decree as Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marion narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the kingdom of King John.Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride, a good-hearted archer who becomes involved in a great struggle. This marks Crowes fifth collaboration with Scott.
Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley, the strong-willed, intelligent widow of Sir Robert Loxley. She becomes Robin Hoods love interest. Marion takes on the responsibility of managing her aging father-in-laws debt-ridden estate and lean harvests, a situation made difficult by an unsympathetic Church, the greedy and lecherous Sheriff of Nottingham, and the recurring runaway children in Sherwood forest who frequently raid the grain storehouses in Peperharrow. Sienna Miller was originally cast in the part, but was dropped from the production.
Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey, Prince Johns henchman. Godfrey is portrayed as cruel, ruthless, and diabolically clever. Although he serves John, he intends to ally himself with the French and seize power for himself. When interviewed in November 2008, Strong stated the character was originally called Conrad and was based on Guy of Gisbourne. He described the original character as having blond hair and a disfigurement from being struck by a crossbow bolt.
Oscar Isaac as Prince John, the younger brother of King Richard who becomes king after his brothers death. Vain, selfish, and fiery-tempered, he is nevertheless brave, self-assured, and darkly charismatic.
Mark Lewis Jones as Thomas Longstride, Robins father who was a stonemason and philosopher.
Mark Addy as Friar Tuck
William Hurt as William Marshal
Danny Huston as King Richard the Lionheart
Eileen Atkins as Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Richard and Prince Johns mother. She makes no secret of loving Richard more than John and she and John have an antagonistic relationship as a result. Vanessa Redgrave was originally cast for the part, but pulled out after the death of her daughter, actress Natasha Richardson.
Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley
Jonathan Zaccai as King Philip of France
Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham
Kevin Durand as Little John
Lea Seydoux as Isabella of Angouleme, the French kings niece whom John marries after annulling his first marriage to sire an heir and gain a claim to the Castilian throne. She and John have a loving and affectionate relationship, despite his self-absorption.
Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet.
Alan Doyle as Allan ADayle; Crowe enlisted Doyle to play the merry mens minstrel, having collaborated with him on the album My Hand, My Heart.
Douglas Hodge as Sir Robert Loxley
Denis Menochet as Adhemar
Velibor Topic as Belvedere
Jessica Raine as Isabel of Gloucester, Johns first wife whom he divorces.
In January 2007, Universal Studios and Brian Grazers Imagine Entertainment acquired a spec script written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, creators of the TV series Sleeper Cell. Their script portrayed a more sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham and less virtuous Robin Hood, who becomes involved in a love triangle with Lady Marion. The writers received a seven-figure deal for the purchase. Actor Russell Crowe was cast into the role of Robin Hood with a fee of $20 million against 20% of the gross. The following April, Ridley Scott was hired to direct Nottingham. He had attempted to get rights for himself and 20th Century Fox, but had previously collaborated with Grazer on American Gangster and signed on as director rather than producer. Scott was not a fan of previous film versions of Robin Hood, saying "the best, frankly, was Mel Brookss Men in Tights, because Cary Elwes was quite a comic".
Scotts dissatisfaction with the script led him to delay filming, and during 2008 it was rewritten into a story about Robin Hood becoming an outlaw, with the position of sheriff as part of the story. Scott dropped the latter notion and Nottingham was retitled to reflect the more traditional angle.
In June, screenwriter Brian Helgeland was hired to rewrite the script by Reiff and Voris. Producer Marc Shmuger explained Scott had a different interpretation of the story from "the script, [which] had the sheriff of Nottingham as a CSI-style forensics investigator". Scott elaborated the script, portraying the Sheriff of Nottingham as being Richard the Lionhearts right-hand man, who returns to England to serve Prince John after Richards assassination. Though Scott felt John "was actually pretty smart, he got a bad rap because he introduced taxation so hes the bad guy in this", and the Sheriff would have been torn between the "two wrongs" of a corrupt king and an outlaw inciting anarchy. Locations were sought in North East England including Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh Castle, and Kielder Forest. A portion of filming was intended to take place in Northumberland. As a result of the WGA strike, production was put on hold. Scott sought to begin production in 2008 for a release in 2009.
Filming was scheduled to begin in August in Sherwood Forest if the 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike did not take place, for release on 26 November 2009. By July, filming was delayed, and playwright Paul Webb was hired to rewrite the script. The film was moved to 2010. The Sheriff of Nottinghams character was then merged with Robin. Scott explained Robin "has to retire to the forest to resume his name Robin. So he was momentarily the Sheriff of Nottingham." Hedgeland returned to rewrite, adding an opening where Robin witnesses the Sheriff dying in battle, and takes over his identity. Scott chose to begin filming in February 2009 in forests around London, having discovered many trees which had not been pollarded. Scott was also pleased that the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Nottinghamshire set that was built during 2008 had aged into the landscape. By February 2009, Scott revealed Nottingham had become his version of Robin Hood, as he had become dissatisfied with the idea of Robin starting as the Sheriff.
Filming began on 30 March 2009. In June and July, the crew filmed at Freshwater West, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The arrival of the dead kings cog (boat), accompanied by Robin and his men, at the Tower of London was filmed at Virginia Water, where a partial mock-up of the Tower was built. Extensive scenes from the film were filmed on the Ashridge Estate, Little Gaddesden, on the Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border. Filming of the siege of Castle Chalus took place at the Bourne Wood at Farnham, Surrey during July and August. Filming also took place at Dovedale near Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
The battering ram used during the filming at the Bourne Wood in Surrey, which was nicknamed Rosie by the film crew and is worth £60,000, was donated by Russell Crowe to a Scottish charity, the Clanranald Trust to be used for battle re-enactments at a fort named Duncarron, built in a forest near the Carron Reservoir in North Lanarkshire.
The film was released on 12 May 2010 in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, and was also the opening film at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival the same day. It was released in a further 23 countries the following day, among them Australia, and an additional 17 countries on 14 May 2010, among them the United States and Canada. It was thus released in 52 countries within three days. However, it was not released in Japan until 10 December 2010.
Robin Hood was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 20 September 2010 in the UK, and the following day in the US. While the UK home media releases only consisted of the extended Directors Cut version (15 additional minutes), the US DVD and Blu-ray discs consisted of both the Directors Cut version and the shorter theatrical version.
On its opening week the film took £5,750,332 in the UK, ahead of Iron Man 2 and $36,063,385 in the US, and grossed a total of £15,381,416 in the UK, $104,516,000 in the US and $321,669,741 worldwide. The box-office figures were seen as somewhat of a disappointment, even though films set in medieval times tend to fare poorly and Robin Hood actually ranks as the second highest-grossing medieval film.
Critical reaction to Robin Hood has been mixed, with the film holding a 43% rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 238 reviews with an average rating of 5.4/10. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, rates the film at 53% based on a normalized rating of 40 reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two stars out of four, writing that "little by little, title by title, innocence and joy is being drained out of the movies." Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News felt that "the problem with Russell Crowes new take on the legend is that it has one muddy boot in history and the other in fantasy. The middling result is far from a bulls-eye." David Roark of Relevant Magazine accused Scott of replacing depth with detail and manipulative themes, like vengeance and unjust war, and stated that Scott had sucked the life out of a cherished fable, writing that "Scott has turned a myth, a concept essentially, into a history which emerges as dry, insensible clutter."
Among the films more positive reviews, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "Scott has great command of his action sequences" and praised his "sophisticated approach to the material." Ty Burr of the Boston Globe called the film "smart, muscular entertainment" and wrote that Crowe "possesses a presence and authority to make you forget all about Kevin Costner." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post called Robin Hood "head and shoulders above the sort of lightheaded epics Hollywood typically offers during the summer season."
Russell Crowe received criticism from the British media for his variable accent during the film. Empire said his accent was occasionally Scottish, while Total Film thought there were also times when it sounded Irish. Mark Lawson, while interviewing Crowe on BBC Radio 4, suggested there were hints of Irish in his accent, which angered Crowe who described this as "bollocks" and stormed out.
A number of reviewers have criticised historical inaccuracies in the film. In The New York Times, A. O. Scott complained that the film made "a hash of the historical record". In The Guardian, Alex von Tunzelmann complained that the film was filled with historical impossibilities and anachronisms. She notes that Richard the Lionheart was indeed fighting in France in 1199, but that he had actually come back from the Holy Land seven years earlier, so it is inaccurate to depict him fighting in France on his way back from the Holy Land in 1199, as is the case in the film.
The soundtrack to Robin Hood, with music written and performed by Marc Streitenfeld, was released on 11 May 2010.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). Robin and Marian (1976). The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952). Russell Crowe and Giannina Facio appear in Robin Hood and Gladiator.
Ridley Scott indicated he had been considering further Robin Hood films, in an interview with The Times on 4 April 2010, stating, "Honestly, I thought why not have the potential for a sequel?" and, "Lets say we might presume theres a sequel." At the world premiere in Cannes, Russell Crowe declared he was willing, "if I had the opportunity to address what happens next with Ridley and Cate, then great, lets do it."