Robin and Marion

Robin fighting the Sheriff

It’s about 30 years since I watched this, and it stands up really well. It’s made by Richard Lester & has a similar style to his Muskateer movies, though there is a more sombre, elegiac, tone to it. The jokes have been pared back and there is a sadness to Robin’s twenty wasted years following King Richard on his vainglorious Crusade – and a struggle to find a purpose to life after he’s lost his illusions, although those illusions seem to take over again as the film progresses. I’m not entirely sure whether Robin is being played deliberately as a bit shallow and unable to comprehend how the legend has got out of control or whether this is a limitation of Sean Connery’s acting at this time.

The bittersweet mood is best illustrated by Robert Shaw’s superb Sheriff, a humane man trying to keep order in an inhumane world, and who must kill Robin (and wants to) but also sympathises with him and perhaps understands him better than everyone except, perhaps, Marian.

The climactic fight scene between Robin and the Sheriff is both tense and deeply moving.


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