The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Despite being more than 70 years old, Flynn is still the definitive Robin.

Very handsome, the blond goatee, little peaked cap, tunic and, yes, the infamous Technicolor green tights.

Flynn was the very essence of derring-do. Cavalier of attitude and never going five minutes without a hearty hands-on-hips laugh.

This was Robin as an adventure, where robbing from the rich was simply good sport.

Made before any realism about the Middle Ages was needed, Sherwood is as clean and sunny as a croquet lawn.

Still worth watching today, thanks to the sword fight between Robin and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone).


Robin and Marian (1976)

A much older, but none-the-wiser version of Robin.

Returning home from the Crusades, Robin finds a different Nottingham and a very different Marian - now a nun and exasperated at Robin's desire for past adventures.

Connery's Robin, while still out for justice, comes across as immature and in denial about the tolls of age.

Robert Shaw's Sheriff comes across as the smartest guy in the forest and, despite still being the enemy, actually respects Robin.

The ending will have even the hardest heart reaching for the tissues.


Robin of Sherwood (1984-86)

Not a film, but in the history of Hood, the Brit TV show Robin Of Sherwood made a huge impact worldwide. The haunting soundtrack by Clannad probably helped.

It balanced the action with the grit and grime of mediaeval life, but brought in aspects like paganism.

In a daring move, the role of Robin changed hands from dark-haired Praed (pictured) to blond Connery (Sean's kid) and could explore the historical aspects of the true identity of Robin - Praed being the peasant, Connery, the nobleman.

However, the best actor in it was a young and much thinner Ray Winstone as Will Scarlett.


Robin Hoods: Prince of Thieves (1991)

The Californian Robin. There is a lot to dislike about this version. Costner is bland, but he is surrounded by a much more entertaining cast.

Alan Rickman made a name for himself with his boo-hiss take on the villainous "call off Christmas" Sheriff; Morgan Freeman is in a rare action role, and Christian Slater does his best junior Jack Nicholson.

But the action does make for a good popcorn take on Robin Hood.

As Robin Hood romps go, this one's all no-brainer popcorn fun.

- Jonathan Roberts

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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