Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

In director Kevin Reynolds' romantic yet often depressing costume-adventure swashbuckler about the legendary figure of Robin Hood - although a commercially successful blockbuster, it had mixed reviews and was critically-assailed for the title character's poor performance (winning Razzie's Worst Actor honor) and for its excessive PG-13 bloody violence:

  • the film's opening prologue told in two title screens: "800 years ago, Richard 'The Lionheart,'; King of England, led the third Great Crusade to reclaim the Holy Land from the Turks. Most of the young English noblemen who flocked to his banner never returned home"; English nobleman Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) served in the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lion-Heart, although it was against his father Lord Locksley's wishes ("He called the Crusades a foolish quest. He said it was vanity to force other men to our religion")
  • set in the year 1194 A.D. the film began in Jerusalem with medieval graphic violence - a machete chopped off a man's arm, followed by more tortures, stabbings, burnings, hangings, whippings, etc.
  • the sequence of English nobleman Robin of Locksley's imprisonment in Jerusalem with his comrade Peter Dubois (Liam Halligan); they engineered an escape plan and also rescued a Moor named Azeem Edin Bashir Al Bakir (Morgan Freeman) who had been condemned to death for murder; during their flight to freedom, Robin's comrade Peter Dubois (Liam Halligan) was lethally wounded by a guard's arrow outside the prison; in his dying moments, Robin pledged to protect his sister Lady Marian (Dubois) (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) (Marian was King Richard's cousin), and to deliver Peter's ring to her; feeling indebted to Robin, Azeem insisted on remaining with Robin to 'repay' him, by a decree of Allah ("You have saved my life, Christian. Now, I will stay with you until I have saved yours. That is my vow")
  • at the same time, the scene of the Sheriff of Nottingham's (Alan Rickman) assault on the English castle of Robin's father Lord Locksley (Brian Blessed), a supporter of the King; after he was lured outside the gate and double-crossed, he was surrounded, captured (and killed)
  • meanwhile, the corruption in England had become rampant during the King's absence, mainly orchestrated by the Sheriff of Nottingham and his cousin Guy of Gisborne (Michael Wincott) who tyranically ruled the kingdom, mistreated the townsfolk, and overtaxed them; the Sheriff was aided by a hideous, graying-haired witch Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan) (the Sheriff's mother!) with one long fingernail (who screamed out that a 'painted man' (Azeem) was haunting her dreams)
  • the scene of Robin's return to England (with Azeem as his servant), where he discovered his home - Locksley castle - burned down and in ruins and his father dead (his corpse was hanging in a metal cage); he learned that his father's elderly servant Duncan (Walter Sparrow) had been blinded by Gisborne; Duncan explained that Lord Locksley was executed by the corrupt Sheriff after forced to falsely confess to Satanic worship; after properly burying his father, Robin vowed to avenge his father's death: "I'll not rest until my father is avenged. I swear it by my own blood"
  • the scene of Robin's (and Azeem's) visit to Lady Marian's family home; suspicious of them, she attacked (dressed as a male, ninja-like combat guard) until Robin's identity was confirmed; Robin recalled her brother's bravery, gave her Peter's ring, and promised to protect her - however, she remembered how he had been a spoiled bully as a child: "But all I remember of you is a spoiled bully who used to burn my hair as a child"
  • while Robin was at Marian's home, he was pursued by Gisborne and fled on two of Marian's horses into the 'haunted' Sherwood Forest to hide; there, they were ambushed by a group of hungry peasants led by large and strong John (Nick Brimble); when the leader demanded Robin’s gold medallion, they fought for its possession; it was the classic stick (or stave) battle in an icy-cold river, finally won by Robin who forced John to surrender ("Do you yield?"); after defeating his opponent by popping out of the water and striking him in the groin, Robin jokingly renamed him "Little John" - and soon gained their respect; during a campfire that night, Little John explained how the band of men were composed of outlawed loyalists to the King - who were mostly farmers who had been forced to leave their villages, destroyed by Gisborne
John (Nick Brimble)
Robin's Gold Medallion
Stave (Big Stick) Fight-Challenge
  • the sequence of Robin's inspirational talk to the men - adamant about opposing the oppression of the Sheriff and others: "I for one would rather die than to spend my life in hiding. The Sheriff calls us outlaws, but I say we are free! And one free man defending his home is more powerful than ten hired soldiers. The Crusades taught me that. I will make you no promises, save one: that if you truly believe in your hearts that you are free, then I say we can win!...What do we need that the forest cannot provide? We have food, wood for weapons, we'll find safety and solace in our trees"; when Robin was asked about the Sheriff's thefts of their kin's property, he asserted: "Then by God, we take it back"; Robin took control, rallied and recruited homeless villagers and other peasants to live in the trees of the forest and cleverly evade Guy of Gisborne
Robin's Inspiring Words to His Men:
"The Sheriff calls us outlaws, but I say we are free"
  • in a following montage sequence, Robin trained the group of men to forge weapons and prepare fortifications, to defend themselves, and to rob the rich lords loyal to the Sheriff (who were traveling near the forest to London) and give their wealth to the poor; the sequence ended with an astounding point-of-view shot of Robin's arrow flying through the air toward its target - a tree - where it split another arrow into two
  • in a church, Robin disguised himself as a blind man wearing a hooded cloak, where he learned from Lady Marian that there was a "price on his head" for 100 gold pieces; also, the Bishop of Hereford (Harold Innocent) was discovered to be a turncoat and liar who was sided with the Sheriff
  • Robin descended into the room where he had his first confrontation with the Sheriff; he quickly sliced the side of the Sheriff's face with a dagger and then ascended out of the room; the maddened Sheriff yelled after him: "LOCKSLEY! I'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon!"; afterwards as his doctor repaired his bloodied and injured face, the vain Sheriff commanded: "Keep the stitches small" [later when Gisborne asked: "Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an ax?", the Sheriff explained - with a classic line: "Because it's DULL, you twit! It'll hurt more!"]; as the Sheriff walked down a corridor, he noticed his bust defaced to include his new scar, and frantically tried to erase the defaced marks; frustrated, he then ordered two wenches to join him that evening
  • the Sheriff decided to offer a larger bounty and reward for Robin's capture (1000 Gold Pieces), and was told by his scribe (John Tordoff) how Robin Hood ("The Sherwood Bandit") was becoming very popular among the poor ("He gives them what he takes so, well sire, they love him"); the Sheriff became enraged and delivered a major outburst: "Just a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it?...That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas"
  • the scene of Robin's attack on one of the Sheriff's main convoys of Nottingham soldiers led by Gisborne (transporting a chest gold to other warlords, considered "blood money"); one of the drunken members of the convoy, Friar Tuck (Michael McShane), was taken captive and soon converted to Robin's band; incensed by the attack, the Sheriff ruthlessly murdered Gisborne by stabbing him in the abdomen with a sword (and quipped: "Well, at least I didn't use a spoon")
  • afterwards, the Sheriff was advised by Mortianna to acquire reinforcements and thought her idea was "brilliant" - to recruit mercenary Celtic warriors from the north in Scotland ("animals" or "hired thugs" who "drink the blood of their dead") to enforce his policies
  • Robin's growing love affair with Peter's sister Lady Marian, although she questioned whether a 'Prince of Thieves' was capable of love: "Men speak conveniently of love when it serves their purpose. And when it doesn't, it's a burden to them. Robin of the Hood, prince of thieves. Is he capable of love?"
  • when Marian tried to summon help from the King in France and warn him of the Sheriff's plan to assassinate him; she was betrayed by one of the conniving Bishop's men, who took the letter to the Sheriff; she was abducted by the Sheriff and imprisoned at Nottingham Castle
  • meanwhile, there was a massive two-part assault of the Sheriff and his mercenary Celtic soldiers on the camp of the outlaws hiding out in Sherwood Forest - the campsite and its treehouses were completely destroyed with flaming arrows and projectiles, and many rebels were taken captive and imprisoned; it was presumed that Robin was killed when swinging on a rope and falling through a roof
  • in a scene of romantic blackmail, the dastardly Sheriff proposed marriage to Marian to consolidate more power to himself - forcing her to believe that Robin was dead (the proof was Robin's medallion), and to accept his proposal in exchange for sparing the public executions-hangings of Robin's captured band of men the next day; young outlaw Will Scarlett (Christian Slater), who had expressed a continual grudge against Robin, volunteered to save his own life by luring Robin into a trap: "I'd love to kill him for you....Because, my lord, if he is alive, I can get close to him. I'm one of his men. He would never suspect me....He's a trusting fool. He'll believe me. And if he doesn't, he'll kill me. Then you've lost nothing... if I succeed, I get my freedom and the bounty on his head"
  • once Will was released, he located Robin along with Little John and a few others; Will Scarlett revealed that he was Robin's younger paternal half-brother - and illegitimate; Will's mother was a peasant woman who had an affair with Lord Locksley; Will was left fatherless when Robin disapproved of the relationship, and the father decided to not raise Will as a Locksley; when Will spoke about how their relationship could now be close: ("We are brothers, Robin of Locksley. I am the son of the woman who replaced your dead mother for a time....It was your anger that drove them apart! It's not a lie! You ruined my life! I have more reason to hate you than anyone. Yet I found myself daring to believe you. And what I want to know brother, is will you stay with us and finish what you've started?"), the two half-brothers hugged and reconciled with each other (Robin: "So I'll stand with you, side by side. Until the end")
  • in the concluding sequence, Azeem and Robin master-minded and planned a counter-attack to infiltrate and assault Nottingham Castle at the last minute before the public hangings and on the day of the planned wedding ceremony between the Sheriff and Marian; with various disguises and methods, they entered into the castle with weapons, while Friar Tuck brought in beer barrels filled with explosive powder; when Will Scarlett joined the crowd of onlookers to free the prisoners, he was recognized by one of the peasants and called a traitor - he was taken captive and forced to join those who were about to be executed
  • in the exciting rescue scene during the planned executions, Robin saved those from hanging by shooting an arrow (seen in flight) that first missed, but then cut one of the hanging ropes; other flaming arrows shot by Azeem caused massive explosions; Azeem inspired the village onlookers to join in the fight and oppose the Sheriff: ("English! English! Behold, Azeem Edin Bashir Al Bakir. I am not one of you, but I fight! I fight with Robin Hood. I fight against a tyrant who holds you under his boot! If you would be free men, then you must fight! Join us now, join Robin Hood!")
Execution Scene: Robin's Arrow
Azeem's Flaming Arrows Caused Massive Explosions
  • during the siege upon the castle, a rushed marriage ceremony by the Bishop was just concluding in the chapel - between the Sheriff and Marian; goaded by witch Mortianna, the wicked Sheriff had been encouraged to immediately impregnate Marian to "bear a son" (produce a male heir) because she was "ripe"; as the Sheriff was poised to physically assault, rape, and have sex with the resistant Lady Marian (he dropped on top of her and forcibly spread open her legs), Robin crashed through a stained-glass window on a long length of red flag and abruptly confronted the evil Sheriff - who turned, rolled his eyes and quipped: ("Do you mind Locksley? We've just been married")
The Sham Wedding Ceremony
Mortianna: "Make haste"
Bishop Presiding
Lady Marian Resisting Rape by Sheriff
Sheriff: "Do you mind Locksley? We've just been married"
  • a savage sword duel commenced between the Sheriff (wielding Lord Locksley's sword) and Robin (to avenge his father's death)
  • in the meantime, the corrupt Bishop was discovered by Friar Tuck about to flee with bags of gold; Friar Tuck weighed him down with some of the bags of gold ("You're going to need lots of gold to help you on your way - you're a very rich man, eh? This too, and that!"), and then pushed him out a window to his death in the courtyard far below - with parting words: "Here's thirty pieces of silver, to pay the Devil... ON YOUR WAY TO HELL!"
  • the sword fight between Robin and the Sheriff ended with Robin pinned against a wall, but he was able to stab the Sheriff in the chest with a concealed gold dagger pulled from his boot; the Sheriff died a prolonged death - he staggered backwards, pulled the bloody knife from his chest and held it out in front of him toward Marian, and then fell to the floor; he crawled to an open window where he collapsed dead
  • and then, Robin's life was saved when he was attacked from behind by Mortianna wielding a sword (she was thought to be dead after being impaled by Azeem's sword) - Azeem burst through the door and slayed her by hurling his sword at her, thereby repaying his debt to Robin ("I have fulfilled my vow, sadiq"); afterwards, Robin and Marian lovingly embraced and kissed
Sword Duel and the Sheriff's
Prolonged and Melodramatic Death (Stabbing by Dagger)
  • in the final scene, Robin and Marian were being wed in the forest by Friar Tuck; in a surprise appearance, the King (Sean Connery in a cameo) returned and interrupted the Friar's pronouncement of 'husband and wife' during the proceedings: ("I will not allow this wedding to proceed - unless I'm allowed to give the bride away!");
  • the King thanked Robin for his heroic deeds to save his throne and then blessed the marriage of his cousin and Robin: ("Thanks to you, I still have a throne. Friar, proceed!"); the Friar finished his sentence: ("...husband and wife. You may kiss the bride"); the newly-married couple kissed and was cheered, as white doves were released into the air; the Friar turned to the camera (breaking the 4th wall) and offered the film's last line of dialogue: "Now, get out of it! We're wasting good celebration time!"
Concluding Marriage Ceremony

Robin Imprisoned in Jerusalem During Crusades

Lord Locksley Lured Out of Castle by Disguised Sheriff - Who Unmasked Himself

Moor Azeem (Morgan Freeman)

Witch Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan): "A painted man, he haunts my dreams"

Blinded Servant Duncan Telling of Lord Locksley's Murder by the Sheriff

Lady Marian: Remembering Robin as a "Spoiled Bully"

Guy of Gisborne - the Sheriff's Ruthless Henchman

Robin's Arrow - POV shot

Lady Marian - Informing Hooded Robin in a Church That There Was a Price on His Head

Sheriff with Sliced Face, Threatening Robin: "I'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon"

Sheriff to Doctor: "Keep the stitches small"

Wanted Proclamation for 1,000 Gold Pieces ("Vandal Robber and Outlaw - Robin of the Hood")

Sheriff to Scribe: "Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas"

The Sheriff's Murder of Gisborne: "Well, at least I didn't use a spoon"

Mortianna's Advice to Hire Celts

Marian to Robin: "Robin of the Hood, prince of thieves. Is he capable of love?"

The Nottingham Attack With Flaming Arrows on Sherwood Forest

The Sheriff's Proposal to Marry Lady Marian to Prevent Executions of Robin's Captured Men

Will's Confrontation with Robin - Half-Brothers!

Kisses Between Robin and Marian After the Deaths of the Sheriff and Mortianna

The Friar's Last Words to the Audience


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