Disney’s Robin Hood Is My Wife’s Favourite Movie, But Far From Mine

Disney’s Robin Hood Is My Wife’s Favourite Movie, But Far From Mine

For 50 years, people all over the world have been falling for a fox. No, not Michael J. Fox. Not 20th Century Fox either. We, of course, mean Robin Hood from Disney’s 1973 animated film. The dashing fox with the British accent who robs the rich gives to the poor and looks damned good doing both.

One of those people who fell head over heels for Robin is my wife, Jayne, who still considers Robin Hood to be one of her favourite movies ever. As a result, our home is adorned with not just my Star Wars paraphernalia, but lots of Robin Hood collectibles as well. I can be obsessive about things, and she can be too, which is one of the many, many reasons we work so well.

One early red flag on her part was the fact I didn’t watch Disney’s Robin Hood growing up. That’s why, early on in our relationship, I was sure to see what all the fuss was about. It had its charms, of course, but I didn’t love it. Which, as you can imagine, upset her. But I always encouraged her fandom, got excited when we found new figures or books, and for the film’s 50th anniversary, I wanted to give Robin Hood another look and see, even if I couldn’t love it, why she did.

I’ve heard love of Robin Hood gave birth to the furry movement.

And so this week, 50 years (and a few weeks) after the film’s release, we loaded it up on Disney+ and pressed play. Instantly you can tell that Robin Hood is unique from other Disney animated films of the era. Starting with its long, methodical, opening credits sequence, the film has this very laid-back, hanging-with-your-buddies pace that’s befitting of the hero. It’s got fourth wall breaks, acknowledgments of itself, and the folksy music is a total vibe. One that encourages you to sit back, relax, and listen to the story being told.

It’s hard not to be captivated by the characters too, both because of the incredibly well-defined and beautiful animation, but also the amazing voice actors. Every single character in Robin Hood, from Robin himself to the evil Prince John, down to the supporting characters like Tagalong and Toby, all have incredibly distinct, pleasing voices. Everyone sounds almost melodic and you want to listen to them speak no matter what they say.

As all this was happening, across the couch Jayne’s eyes were bright and attentive. She clapped, smiled, and geeked out at all the subtle one-liners only a fan would love. (Prince John saying, “Oh Poppycock, female bandits?” and Skippy mentioning “My mom has a lot of kids” are two of her faves). But as her energy rose, mine fell. I still found Robin Hood’s pacing to be hugely detrimental to my enjoyment of it. For every clever moment where Robin dressed up or Sir Hiss outsmarted everyone on screen, I found it difficult to stay awake, even though it was barely 9 p.m.

Old friends.

And so, as the credits rolled on Robin Hood, I was happy that Jayne was happy, but I was more sleepy than anything. Still, watching the film for its milestone anniversary, she did have some thoughts on why, specifically, she loved Robin Hood so much, and I fell in love with her, and the movie, all over again.

Of course, the biggest thing is simply that Robin Hood was a movie she just watched a lot as a kid. That’ll endear even the worst movies to anyone. But beyond that, Jayne explained that to her, more than most other typical Disney movies, Robin Hood showed a full, healthy romance. Robin Hood and Maid Marion’s story has a beginning, middle, and end. They knew each other in the past, but haven’t seen each other in years. As a result, Robin is insecure about seeing her again, especially because Marion is the rich one. She doesn’t need him and he probably isn’t good enough for her anyway. Nevertheless, when they do meet again, their adoration is instant as Robin tells Marion he loves her more than life itself, a line that makes Jayne melt every single time.

She also pointed out that while it’s a very easy-to-follow Disney story, it feels like it has more history and scope than other movies of its time. It doesn’t begin with “Once upon a time…” It begins with “Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest.” They’re already friends. They have a past, and we’re just peeking in on this part of their story. To her, it makes the whole film feel a bit more mature.

Obviously, the best characters in the film.

Becoming a fan of Robin Hood also helped her expand her cinematic tastes beyond Disney. She fully admits loving films like The Adventures of Robin Hood, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights just a tiny bit more because the story was part of her for such a long time, and it made her think of her favourite fox.

“But really,” Jayne added. “A lot of it is just how much I love the accents.” Hearing Robin’s British accent as a young child made her fall in love with both Robin Hood, the character, as well as the movie. Plus Prince John, who is so goofy and evil along with his melodic accent, was, and is still, her absolute favourite.

As we wrapped up the screening and conversation, I had to admit to myself that a new rewatch of Robin Hood didn’t win me over. But hearing a true fan’s passion for it, and seeing it on full display without any prompting, made me appreciate not just what this movie means to people, but what movies mean to people in general. And, of course, I fell in love with my wife all over again in the process. Thanks Robin.

Robin Hood is streaming on Disney+.

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