Movie Review – ‘Robin Hood’ (1973)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Since I’ve reviewed quite a number of ‘Robin Hood’ stories on my blog, including the 1952 film with Richard Todd and of course the Tom and Jerry film, it’s only fair that I review the Disney film from 1973. If you were to ask me if this was my first experience of Robin Hood, then the answer is ‘yes’. 😀

I think that’s the case for most people nowadays when they talk about Robin Hood. They always remember the Disney version where the characters are reimagined as talking animals. I don’t think that’s been done anywhere else in other ‘Robin Hood’ films and not to my knowledge in other Disney films. 🙂

I love the ‘Robin Hood’ Disney film! It’s a lot of fun to watch, especially on DVD and Disney+. 🙂 Yes, I know the world of Robin Hood in this Disney film is more Americanised than usual (especially with the characters calling their home ‘Notting-Ham’ instead of ‘Nottingham’ 😀 ), but it’s quite charming.

The film follows the usual plot you would come to expect with Robin Hood. Robin Hood, who is a fox, is joined by Little John, who is a big brown bear, as they help the people of Nottingham by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. England is currently ruled by the villainous Prince John.

Prince John, who is a lion, excessively taxes the people of Nottingham with the help of Sir Hiss, who is a snake, and the Sherriff of Nottingham, who is a wolf. Robin Hood hopes to thwart Prince John’s efforts as well as win the love of his life, Maid Marian, who, unsurprisingly, is a vixen in this movie. 🙂

Having seen quite a number of various versions of ‘Robin Hood’ over the years, it’s interesting to compare and contrast them to this Disney film, which was my introduction to the English folk tale. For one thing, Robin Hood only has Little John assisting him, as his Merrie Men don’t appear in this.

As I understand it, director/producer Wolfgang Reitherman wanted to do a buddy picture just featuring Robin Hood and Little John, therefore the rest of the Merrie Men weren’t included. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since various versions of ‘Robin Hood’ can tell the story in different ways.

It also doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable and fun to watch. Incidentally, it was easy to notice certain similarities between this and other Disney films in the animation sequences, particularly in the party scene in Sherwood Forest where Robin Hood, Maid Marian and the others are celebrating.

I could see certain animation sequences of characters dancing being recycled from Disney films like 1937’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, 1967’s ‘The Jungle Book’ and 1970’s ‘The Aristocats’. Even Little John looks rather similar to Baloo from 1967’s ‘The Jungle Book’ throughout the movie. 🙂

I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise, since Phil Harris, who voices Little John in this, also voiced Baloo in the 1967 ‘Jungle Book’ film. Meanwhile, Robin Hood is voiced by Brian Bedford and Maid Marian is voiced by Monica Evans. There’s also Alan-a-Dale, who is a rooster, voiced by Roger Miller.

Friar Tuck, who is a badger, is voiced by Andy Devine. Prince John is voiced by Peter Ustinov (who I’ve seen recently in many Hercule Poirot films, including 1978’s ‘Death on the Nile’ and 1982’s ‘Evil Under the Sun’). I enjoyed him voicing Prince John in this ‘Robin Hood’ film and he’s very funny. 😀

Peter Ustinov also voices King Richard at the end of the film. 🙂 Sir Hiss is voiced by Terry-Thomas, Lady Kluck, who is Maid Marian’s lady-in-waiting and is a hen, is voiced by Carole Shelley, and the Sherriff of Nottingham is voiced by Pat Buttram, who has appeared in ‘Back to the Future, Part III’. 🙂

Pat Buttram has also voiced characters in Disney films like ‘The Aristocats’ and ‘The Fox and the Hound’. There are also Trigger and Nutsy, the two Sherrif’s guardsmen who are vultures, voiced by George Lindsey and Ken Curtis. I found them pretty hilarious whenever they were with the Sheriff. 🙂

There are also the local children of Nottingham, including Skippy who idolizes Robin, voiced by Billy Whittaker, and his sisters Sis, voiced by Dana Laurita, and Tagalong, voiced by Dori Whitaker. Skippy, Sis and Tagalong are white rabbits, joined by Toby, voiced by Richie Sanders, who is a tortoise in this.

There’s the Church of Nottingham’s sexton and his wife, who are mice, voiced by John Fielder (who voices Piglet in ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and was in the ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘Wolf in the Fold’) and Barbara Luddy (who voiced Kanga in ‘Winnie the Pooh’ as well as Skippy, Sis and Tagalong’s mother in this). 🙂

The Captain of the Royal Guard, who is a crocodile, is voiced by Candy Candido, who voiced the Indian Chief in Disney’s 1953 film ‘Peter Pan’. And there’s Otto the blacksmith, who is a bloodhound, voiced by J. Pat O’Malley. All the characters featured in this ‘Robin Hood’ film are very good indeed.

Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ has been a great little film to revisit, especially on Disney+. It’s a nice film to spend an hour and a half on. There’s quite a number of laughs as well as a lovely story featuring some wonderful characters portrayed as animals in the ‘Robin Hood’ world. It’s an easy film to get into. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂


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