When the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham murders Robin's father, the legendary archer vows vengeance. To accomplish his mission, Robin joins forces with a band of exiled villagers (and comely Maid Marian), and together they battle to end the evil sheriff's reign of terror.
***Iconic Medieval adventure of the early 90s***
Released in 1991, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" stars Kevin Costner in the title role. While some have argued that Costner was too humorless and brooding for the part, this is a cinematic myth. There are quite a few places in the film where he can be seen smiling and having a good time, like when he makes it back to England after the Crusades or when he's spending time with Marian in Sherwood Forest. Thankfully, he's more three-dimensional than this and so you also see him desperate, angry, grieving, vengeful, strategizing, contemplative, etc.
To be honest with you, Costner was in his prime at the time and towers in the role; whether or not you like him is a matter of opinion. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marian is memorable with her unique facial features and odd hairstyle even though she doesn't trip my trigger. Morgan Freeman as the Moor Azeem is an excellent partner for Robin Hood while Alan Rickman and Michael Wincott are effective villains as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisborne respectively. Christian Slater, Nick Brimble and Michael McShane are also on hand as Robin's sometimes merry men, the latter two being Little John and Friar Tuck.
I've always had mixed feelings about this movie due to its mixed tone and the fact that it loses its mojo in the last 45 minutes. Concerning the first, the flick is often serious and brutal, but it's also sometimes cartoonish and over-the-top. Rickman particularly hams it up, entertaining though he is. Another good example is Geraldine McEwan as the ee-vil witch Mortianna. Her portrayal is spooky and Gothic in a comic book horror kind of way, but it detracts from the many parts that establish the story as believable quasi-history. Still, she's excellent as the hideous witch. Another example is the semi-goofy, overly heroic action scenes, like Robin & Azeem being catapulted over the castle wall. Why sure!
Concerning the second criticism, the movie is overlong by about 25 minutes. When the Celts attack the camp at the 95-minute mark I always start to lose interest and the rest of the movie is a tedious blur. But there’s a lot of medieval action, if that’s your thang.
As far as medieval films of the British Isles go, I prefer the more serious and consistent tone of "Tristan + Isolde" (2006) and "First Knight" (1995). Nevertheless, “Prince of Thieves” is an entertaining Robin Hood adventure and is iconic of early 90's cinema. The entire first act is the best part followed by the many Sherwood Forest sequences. And the climatic cameo by a certain famous actor is a nice touch. I enjoy seeing “Prince of Thieves” every five years or so.
The film runs 143 minutes and was shot mostly in England, but also France. My wife loves the end credits’ song “(Everything I Do) I Do it for You” by Bryan Adams.
Morgan Creek Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures by Kevin Reynolds, Pen Densham, John Watson.
Stars: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Keywords: england crusade mercifulness robin hood archer folk hero thief nottingham sherwood forest bow and arrow 12th century
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