Black SplatThe Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

"I’ll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I’ll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England..."

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Robin speaks with Prince John

Description: Errol Flynn as Sir Robin of Locksley defies the tyrannical rule of Prince John (Claude Rains) in the motion picture The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

In the year of Our Lord 1191, Richard, the Lion-Heart (Ian Hunter) departs to the Crusades to drive the infidels from the Holy Land. While he is gone, his treacherous brother Prince John (Claude Rains) assumes the Norman throne of England and begins a reign of injustice upon the Saxon lords and peasant.

Among those oppressed is Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn), a Saxon lord who condemns Prince John for his cruel treatment of his subjects. When he makes an unannounced to the castle of Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone), Locksley interrupts a dinner party attended by Prince John.

The Prince is amused by the saucy fellow and makes room for him at the dinner table. Grabbing a piece of meat to eat, Robin tells those in attendance that he and his fellow Saxons are tired of being "overtaxed, overworked and paid off with a knife, a club or a rope." He went on to say, "You know, we Saxons are not going to put up with oppression much longer." For speaking such treason against the Crown, Robin is declared an outlaw and all of his lands and titles are confiscated.

Prince John: What's the matter? Have you no stomach for honest meat?
Robin Hood: For honest meat, yes, but I have no stomach for traitors.
Prince John: You call me traitor?
Robin Hood: You, Yes, and every man here who offers you allegiance.What else do call a man who takes advantage of the King's misfortune and seize power. And now with the help of this sweet band of cut-throats you'll try to grind a ransom out of every helpless Saxon A ransom that will be used, not to release Richard, but to buy your way to the throne.
Sir Guy: Let me ram those words down his throat, Your Highness.
Prince John: Oh, no. Later. Let him spout for the moment. And what do you propose to do?
Robin Hood: I’ll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I’ll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England..."
Prince John: Have you finished?
Robin Hood: I'm only just beginning. From this night on, I use every means in my power to fight you.

Escaping into Sherwood Forest, Robin sends a message throughout the countryside for all good men to meet him at Gallows Oaks where he rallies support for his cause:

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Robin Hood rally the peasants to fight

“I’ve called you here as freeborn Englishman, loyal to your king. While he reigned over us, we lived in peace. But since Prince John has seized the regency, Guy of Gisbourne and the rest of the traitors have murdered and pillaged. You’ve all suffered from their cruelty—the ear loppings, the beatings, the blindings with hot irons, the burning of our farms and homes, the mistreatment of our women. It’s time we put an end to this! Now, this forest is wide. It can shelter and clothe and feed a band of good determine men—good swordsmen, good archers, good fighters. Men, if you willing to fight for your people. I want you! Are you with me, men?”

"Then kneel and swear this oath. You the free men of this forest swear to despoil the rich only to give to the poor. To shelter the old and the helpless. To protect all women, rich or poor, Norman or Saxon. Swear to fight for a free England, to protect her loyally until the return of our king and sovereign Richard the Lion-heart, and SWEAR to fight to the death against our oppressors."

Assisting Robin are a close band of associates, including: Will Scarlett (Patric Knowles), a colorful, strolling minstrel; Little John (Alan Hale), a powerful man who bested Robin in a quarter-staff duel; Much (Herbert Mundin) whom Robin saved from the vicious Sir Guy of Gisbourne for poaching a deer on the King's lands; and Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette), a rotund and often hungry clergyman.

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Robin Hood and Friar Tuck

Robin first met Friar Tuck as he slept beneath a tree while eating a leg of mutton. Robin steals his meal and forces the Friar to carry him across a stream. At first, Tuck complies then throws Robin in the water and battles him with a sword. Robin wins the encounter and recruits Tuck to be the group's spiritual advisor.

In payment for his service, Robin promises the hefty friar ample amounts of food and drink. To which Little John says, "It'll take all the deer in Sherwood Forest to fill that belly!' Friar Tuck replies, "And twice that to fill your empty head!"

Soon, Robin's war against the Crown begins to frustrate his enemies as Sir Guy of Gisbourne complains, “Our men can’t even lay a hot iron in the eyes of a tax dodger without getting a black arrow in the throat. It’s an outrage!”

When the High Sheriff of Nottingham (Melvin Cooper) travels through Sherwood Forest with tax monies collected to pay for King Richard's ransom, Robin and his men lay siege to the heavily-guarded caravan and capture the ransom money, as well as, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and Lady Marian Fitzwalter, the ward of King Richard.

The Adventures 0f Robin Hood - Robin attends a forets banquet

Robin invites his captives back to his forest fortress to celebrate their victory. Robin mockingly refers to Gisbourne as the host of the festivities, and says:

"Friends, Friends, I supposed, with you, that this Sir Guy of Gisbourne was a scurvy fellow and a bitter enemy but look, he provides us with this tasty supper. And, is this the end of beneficence, why no for in his train today he's brought half a score of boxes filled with jewels and silk and more, about 30,000 gold marks rested from the Northern shires."

"Now some of you might think that our loyal host intended this treasure for the coffers of Prince John, instead of to ransom the king- and you'd be right. But a strange thing happened. A change of heart overtook him in the forest and there it is safe and sound!"

When Lady Marian questions whether the ransom money will "really" get to the King, Robin climbs back on the top of the table, and shouts, "Men! What should we do with this treasure? Divide it amongst ourselves?" The revelers at the banquet quickly respond, "Hold it for Richard!...It belongs to the King!"

During her visit in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood gives Lady Marian a tour of the people at his camp who sought refuge from Prince John's cruelty. As they walk, Robin says:

"I'm sorry I have to show you that. But once these poor people were all happy and content. Just simple villagers who never harmed a soul. And now, tortured, eyes put out. tongues slit, ears hacked off. They come to me for protection against your Norman friends."

With her eyes opened to the injustice about her, Lady Marian learns that Robin is a true patriot and not the outlaw he is portrayed to be by the Crown. From that moment, she secretly becomes Robin's ally.

Back in Nottingham, Prince John is tired of Robin Hood's meddlesome ways. Insisting that something must be done to catch him, the High Sheriff of Nottingham sets a trap by announcing an archery contest - knowing that Robin, the deadliest archer in the land, could never forgo participating in the competition.

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Robin shoots an arrow

As planned, a disguised Robin enters the competition, easily wins the contest and then receives a "Golden Arrow" from the hands of Lady Marian Fitzwalter. But Robin's vanity leads to his capture and he is arrested and sentenced to a public hanging. With the help of Marian and the Merry Men, however, Robin escapes execution and flees his captors.

Unbeknownst to Robin and his men, King Richard is now back in England, traveling incognito with a few of his fellow knights. When a corrupt clergyman overhears a conversation that alerts him to Richard's presence, Prince John sends an assassin to kill the King. Luckily, Much intercepts the killer and saves the day.

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Robing Hood and Sir Guy of Gisbourne fight

With the aid of Robin Hood, Richard enters his castle in disguise and reclaims his throne. During the struggle to take back the castle, Robin kills Sir Guy of Gisbourne with a thrust of a sword and releases Lady Marian from her dungeon cell.

For a reward, King Richard reinstates Robin as a nobleman. "Arise Robin, Baron of Locksley, Earl of Sherwood and Nottingham, and lord of all the lands and manors appertaining thereto. My first command to you, my lord Earl, is to take in marriage the hand of the Lady Marian... What say you to that, Baron of Locksley?

Robin takes Marian by the hand and hurries out of the hall, saying, " May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, sire!"

Note: The narration for the film's movie trailer reads:

"England in the gallant days when history hung on an flight arrow or the slice of sword. When feudal barons ravaged the countryside to live in pomp and splendor. When one man alone dared challenge the might of his country's oppressors. Robin Hood, Outlaw of Sherwood Forest and his stalwart band - robbing the rich to feed the poor. Ready to fight for King, for Country or for Maiden faire. It's Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, Olivia De Haviland as Maid Marion. Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone and a cast of thousands....reliving history's most colorful adventure."

In the film Pete ‘N’ Tillie (1972). Walter Matthau as Pete Seltzer talks about Jimmy Twitchell (René Auberjonais), saying, “He’s a cultural Robin Hood. He steals from the witty and gives to the dull”

In the film Deathstalker II (1987) Monique Gabrielle as Princess Evie asks, “Oh, so you rob from the rich, and give to the poor?” John Terlesky as Deathstalker replies, “No, I rob from the rich, and pretty much keep it for myself.”

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Movie Poster

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