Robin Hood is a family animated film produced by The Walt Disney Company, first released in the United States on November 8, 1973. It is the twenty-first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. The film recounts the traditional stories of Robin Hood with the characters cast as anthropomorphic animals.
A few of the voice actors utilized in this production are British. However, the creators of the film made the unusual decision to cast quite a number of American character actors in the traditional medieval roles. Many of these individuals were veteran performers from Western-themed movies and television programs - which meant that characters like Friar Tuck and the Sheriff of Nottingham have accents and mannerisms more associated with the rural southwestern United States than with England. This effect was further reinforced by the choice of country singer Roger Miller as the movie's songwriter and narrator.
The film features many original songs, including "Whistle Stop" by Roger Miller. The song was sampled and the pitch increased for use on The Hampster Dance website. This sample was later used by the Cuban Boys as part of their song "Cognoscenti Vs. Intelligentsia."
The film is narrated by the rooster Alan-a-Dale, who explains that Robin Hood and Little John live in Sherwood Forest, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor townsfolk of Nottingham. The Sheriff of Nottingham and his posse often try to catch the two but fail every time. Meanwhile, Prince John and his assistant Sir Hiss, arrive in Nottingham. Sir Hiss hypnotised Prince John's brother King Richard to go off on the Crusades, allowing Prince John to take the throne. Unfortunately, the prince is greedy and immature, even sucking his thumb whenever his mother is mentioned. Robin and Little John rob Prince John by disguising themselves as fortune tellers, prompting the prince to put a bounty on their heads and makes the Sheriff his personal tax collector.
The Sheriff taxes Friar Tuck and a family of rabbits. However, Robin gives back some money to the rabbits, giving his hat and archery kit to the young rabbit Skippy for his birthday. Skippy and his friends test out the archery kit, but Skippy fires an arrow into the grounds of Maid Marian's castle. The children sneak inside, meeting Maid Marian and her attendant Lady Kluck. Maid Marian reveals she and Robin were childhood sweethearts but they have not seen one another for years. Friar Tuck visits Robin and Little John, explaining that Prince John is hosting an archery tournament, and the winner will receive a kiss from Maid Marian. Robin agrees to participate in the tournament disguised as a stork whilst Little John disguises himself as the Duke of Chutney to get near Prince John. Sir Hiss discovers Robin's identity but is trapped in a barrel of ale by Friar Tuck and Alan-a-Dale. Robin wins the tournament, but Prince John exposes him and has him arrested for execution despite Maid Marian's pleas.
Little John threatens Prince John leading to a fight between Robin, Little John, Maid Marian, Lady Kluck and Prince John's soldiers. In the forest, Robin and Maid Marian fall in love again as the townsfolk mock Prince John, describing him as the "Phony King of England". Enraged by the insult, Prince John triples the taxes, imprisoning most of the townsfolk who cannot pay their taxes. The Sheriff visits Friar Tuck's church to steal from the poor box, enraging Friar Tuck who is arrested too. Prince John plans to hang Friar Tuck to lure in Robin and kill him. Robin and Little John sneak in, with Little John managing to free all of the prisoners whilst Robin steals Prince John's taxes, but Sir Hiss awakens to find Robin fleeing.
Chaos follows as Robin and the others try to escape to Sherwood Forest. The Sheriff corners Robin after he is forced to return to rescue a straggler, setting fire to Prince John's castle and causing Robin to leap from a tower into the moat below. Little John and Skippy watch as the moat is pelted with arrows and Robin is apparently shot and drowned, only for him to emerge unharmed after using a reed as a breathing tube. Prince John despairs and is driven into a blind rage when Sir Hiss points out his mother's castle is on fire. Later, King Richard returns to England, placing his brother and his cohorts under arrest and allows Robin and Maid Marian to be married and leave Nottingham with Little John and Skippy in tow.
Robin Hood was very successful upon its initial release, garnering around $9.5 million, the biggest Disney attraction at that time. Its 1998 release brought in even more income.
The movie was originally released in 1973, followed by a re-release in 1997. The film was released to videocassette in 1984, 1991 (the first two being in the Walt Disney Classics video line), 1994–1995 and 1999 (these two were in the Disney Masterpiece Collection video line), staying in general release since 1991. In 2000, it was released on DVD in the Gold Classic Collection. On November 28, 2006, the movie will be remastered as the "Most Wanted Editon" featuring a deleted scene/alternate ending, as well as the extras included in the Gold Classic Collection.
- Robin Hood, a fox, voice: Brian Bedford
- Maid Marian, a vixen, voice: Monica Evans
- Little John, a bear, voice: Phil Harris
- Friar Tuck, a badger, voice: Andy Devine
- Prince John, a lion, voice: Peter Ustinov
- Sheriff of Nottingham, a wolf, voice: Pat Buttram
- Sir Hiss, a snake, voice: Terry-Thomas
- Lady Kluck, a hen, voice: Carole Shelley
- Skippy, a rabbit, voice: Billy Whitaker
- Sis, a rabbit, voice:Dana Laurita
- Tagalong, a rabbit, voice:Dora Whitaker
- Toby Turtle, a turtle, of course, voice: Richie Sanders
- Mother Rabbit, a rabbit and the widowed mother of Skippy Bunny, voice: Barbara Luddy
- Otto, a dog with a broken leg, voice: J. Pat O'Malley
- Sexton Mouse, the male church mouse, voice: John Fiedler
- Little Sister, the female church mouse, voice: Barbara Luddy
- King Richard, a lion, voice: Peter Ustinov
- "Mother always did like Richard best." - Prince John, voiced by Peter Ustinov
- "Praise the Lord, and pass the tax rebate!" - Friar Tuck, voiced by Andy Devine
- "Too late to be known as John the First, he's sure to be known as John the Worst!" - Hiss, voiced by Terry-Thomas.
- As the film was made during Disney's financial slump and therefore allotted a small budget, the artists reused footage from previous animated features. This is most noticeable during the song-and-dance number, "The Phoney King of England"; the characters' movements strongly resemble those from The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In particular, the section where Little John and Lady Kluck dance together mirrors part of the song I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book with Baloo and King Louie respectively, and Robin Hood and Maid Marion mirror the dancing movements of Thomas O'Malley and Duchess during the song "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" from The Aristocats. The animation of Little John, the bear in Robin Hood, is nearly identical to that of Baloo in The Jungle Book. Both characters were voiced by actor Phil Harris. Maid Marian also dances the same moves as Snow White causing her to wear a petticoat instead of bloomers.
- John endlessly sulks over his mother's preference for his brother—a grudge marked by thumb-sucking and the reversion to an infantile state. At one point the behavior culminates in the complaint "Mother always did like Richard best." This is a sly reference to a classic comedy routine by the Smothers Brothers, in which Tom Smothers would bewail the maternal favoritism shown to Dick Smothers. ("Dick" is a common nickname for Richard.)
- The church bell on Friar Tuck's church is an actual bell, filmed and added in post-production.
- The robe that Prince John wears, and the crown worn by the puppet version of him, are the same robe and crown the king wears in Song of the South.
- Friar Tuck was originally envisioned as a pig, but was changed to a badger to avoid offending religious sensitivities.
- At the end of the movie, a sound clip of the church bells ringing in Peter Pan was used for the wedding church bells.
- Peter Ustinov lent his voice to both the original English-speaking Prince John and the Prince John in the German dubbed version of the movie. Although he also voiced King Richard in the original English version, he doesn't do King Richard's German voice.
- The music heard in the opening credits would later become famous on the Internet as The Hampster Dance.
- The music played in the background while Lady Kluck fights off Prince John's goons in an American football style manner is better known as On, Wisconsin, the fight song of the University of Wisconsin.
- Robin Hood is popular in the furry fandom because it features an anthropomorphic (furry) cast. It is especially popular as Robin Hood and Maid Marian are foxes themselves, a very popular animal in the fandom.
- During the beginning of the film, Sir Hiss mesmerizes Prince John with his eyes. This was the same type of ability Kaa the Snake had in Walt Disney's 1967 film, The Jungle Book.
- Phil Harris's voice as Little John is almost, if not entirely, identical to the voice he used for the character Baloo in Disney's The Jungle Book (Two Characters were bears and looked alike Except Color).
- Barbara Luddy did two roles in the film: the Mother Rabbit and Little Sister (the latter is also known as "Mother" according to Sexton Mouse).
- Floyd Huddleston, the lyricist for "Love" (the Oscar-nominated song from the film) was married to Nancy Adams (who sang the song as Maid Marian's singing voice, with whom he had one child) from 1969 until his death in 1989.