Monday, September 23, 2013

Classics Retold: Project Disney: Disney's Robin Hood (1973)

Classics Retold
Classics Retold  is a project hosted by Alison @ The Cheap ReaderAlyssa @ Books Take You PlacesCharlene @ Bookish WhimsyWendy @ Excellent Library, and Brittany @ Book Addict’s Guide.

Hosted by Picture Me Reading


I grew up on Disney's Robin Hood and mostly all Disney movies so when it came to Classics Retold I knew I would need to review Disney's Robin Hood which came out in 1973. 

The biggest difference between old Disney and new Disney is the long intro's. Robin Hood was part of old
Disney so all the credits are at the beginning. 

I thought I would have a different opinion of Disney's Robin Hood after reading the classic novel. I think the novel only helped me like the movie more. 

The biggest change Disney made to Robin Hood's classic tale is all the characters became animals. Allan a Dale is a rooster. Maid Marian and Robin Hood were foxes. Little John is a bear who was based after Baloo from the Jungle Book both voiced by Phil Harris. King Richard and Prince John are lions. This made it really hard when I first began the novel to imagine Robin Hood as a person and his merry band also. The character development in the film and the novel are both top notch. 

I don't think the novel properly stressed how poor the people of Nottingham really are. It explained that Robin Hood robbed the rich to feed the poor, but I didn't feel like there was any poor people in the novel. In the film we can clearly see that the
Sheriff of Nottingham is robbing everybody dry as mothers are trying to feed their children. The Sheriff of Nottingham has so mercy even when Otto, the dog, has a broken leg. I think that real compassion I had for the characters of this film was missing in the Classic novel. 

The film also gave Prince John a big part of the movie. In the novel King Richard was ruling. Prince John was only mentioned a couple times. The film made Prince John the bad ruler whereas the novel made King Richard. Prince John was a weak character to say the least. He wasn't able to take constant criticism and would just suck his thumb and call for his mom. 

I think Disney was pretty accurate in Robin's disguises and how nobody recognizes him in his disguises. It always made my mouth hang open while reading the novel that he would have long conversations with people. Then only after Robin rob them of their money would he reveal himself. It was the same for the Disney movie. The sheriff believed anything Robin put on and would have never guessed it to be him. Although it did create a bit more drama for Little John to discover Robin at the beginning of the movie. 

Disney was also pretty accurate when it came to Friar Tuck. You see in the novel Friar Tuck joined Robin's
band and helped him in that way. In the film Friar Tuck was Robin's delivery person. My favorite scene with Friar Tuck is when he rings the church bell saying it will keep their hopes alive before the evil Sheriff comes in and steals their money. 

There is music in the novel. Howard Pyle incorporated age old ballads. Disney went for a more cheery tune and incorporated different songs for the film. My favorite has to be Not in Nottingham that Allan a Dale sings in prison. It really sets the seen of how sad their life is. It also helps that it is raining. 

In the novel Robin Hood goes to jail and nobody is able to rescue him. In the film all the towns people goes to jail and Robin Hood almost dies saving them. I think the film really captured the essence of Robin Hood where he was willing to do anything to help people. The novel presents a bleak ending for Robin Hood. 

As I said in my novel review I was disappointed that Maid Marian wasn't in Howard Pyle's novel. The film gives me the sanctification of the romance I'm looking for. I always fall in love with Maid Marian especially the part where she is talking to the children. I always enjoy Lady Cluck's tough character also. 

I love the scene where Robin brings Maid Marian back to Sherwood forest and the music in that scene. 

Disney changes the ending from Howard Pyle's novel and I'm glad that they did. At the end of the novel there is no hope left and this ending leaves lots of hope for Robin and Maid Marian. 

Disney made Robin Hood a lot lighter. The novel had a lot of Robin and Little John fighting people and the movie had little
of that. Overall Disney adapted Howard Pyle's novel into a novel for families. 

As an adaptation Robin Hood doesn't stay very true to the novel. In my personal opinion Disney made Robin Hood a film to enjoy and I personally have loved Disney's Robin Hood all my life. Disney's Robin Hood came out 7 years after Walt Disney died. Although he was gone he had a hand in some of Robin Hood's earliest character developments and story boards. Robin Hood was one of the last Disney films that Walt Disney ever worked on. 

Robin Hood also has an alternate ending that you can watch here. This ending is a lot closer to the novel's version, but is a lot darker which is why it was removed from the Disney movie. 



I do not own any of the pictures. I love to look at fanart and I love to share, but if you do not want your picture featured leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I will get it taken off. 


  1. I think it is so cool that this one had an alternate ending, I knew nothing about that! I love this film, Robin as a fox is still so...FOXY :)

    1. It was really cool to find that fact in my research. I really love this movie and have a hard time imagining Robin as a man.

  2. You know... I think the only reason that Robin Hood was not recognized in the book when talking to people "in costume" was because since there were no photographs in those days people had no idea what other people looked like unless the met them. I remember reading the book and being blown away by this also. Great review you did on this one!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I suppose you could be right, but I still was shocked.


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