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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Robin Hood is an animated 1973 Disney version of the classic tale of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. There's some cartoon violence: Characters battle with bows and arrows, axes, knives, and swords. References to a noose and hanging. There's some slapstick violence, typically involving Prince John and his snake assistant Sir Hiss. Speaking of, in one scene, Sir Hiss is shown hiding out in a bottle of ale, then later reemerges with glazed eyes, slurred speech, and cartoon bubbles that represent drunkenness. In another scene, Little John is dressed as a female fortune teller, and hides gold coins down the front of his disguise, causing his top to swell as if he has large breasts, causing Prince John's guards to hoot and wolf whistle. Parents and families can use this as a chance to talk about how the people who are supposed to be the "good guys" engage in bad behavior, and it's the outlaw "bad guys" like Robin Hood who do the right thing, particularly for those less fortunate.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Walt Disney's animated ROBIN HOOD recounts the story of the famous outlaw and Little John, here depicted as a fox and a bear. Wild animals portray the other folkloric characters, making the story even more engaging for kids. Robin Hood and Little John are uninhibited, mischievous pranksters that "rob the rich to feed the poor". Dressed as female fortune tellers, they pilfer Prince John's money, jewels, hubcaps and even the royal robes off his back. But Robin's antics are countered by his compassion for the impoverished peasants of Nottingham, who benefit from his redistribution of wealth. His romance with Marian is treated with a light hand and resembles school-age infatuation. In her armoire, Maid Marian keeps a cherished picture of Robin -- his wanted poster.
Is it any good?
Walt Disney's clever adaptation is entertaining and skillfully animated. Kids will enjoy the melodrama and action, as well as musical interludes in a folksong style. Peter Ustinov lends his vocal talent to Prince John, creating a delightfully nefarious screen villain. Prince John is the pinnacle of poor character: vain, greedy, gullible, and temperamental with a habit for thumb sucking.
As Disney character animation delights, folk songs add a light-hearted flair. One song, "Love," received an Oscar nomination. As an introduction to swashbuckling comic adventure, this Robin Hood is good fun all around. Just be aware that it's more violent than you might remember from your childhood.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it was OK for Robin to steal (while reminding them that it wouldn't be OK for them to steal) in Robin Hood.
How do the characters who are usually the "good guys" like Prince John act bad, and how do the "bad guys" like Robin Hood do the right thing?
- In theaters: November 8, 1973
- On DVD or streaming: July 4, 2000
- Cast: Andy Devine, Brian Bedford, Peter Ustinov
- Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Wild Animals
- Character strengths: Empathy
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: December 16, 2020
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