This is a lovely tale chronicling the autumn days of Robin Hood's life and his rekindled romance with his lost love, Marian. The only reason I didn't rate it higher is that I was hoping for more scenes with Robin & Marian together, as opposed to the men's exploits. The movie relates Robin's story from an unusual perspective, not as the legendary dashing young archer & outlaw, but as an aging hero with some physical infirmities, making him all the more appealing. But Robin Hood still has some fight left in him...
The much older Robin has returned from the Crusades to Sherwood Forest, accompanied by his faithful friend and constant companion, Little John. His old love, Marian, is by this time a nun, in fact the Mother Superior of an Abbey. Politically, King Richard the Lionheart and his brother, Prince John, are basically greedy idiots and definitely no asset to the peasants. Robin's old nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is as menacing as ever, and Robin must again summon a band of loyal followers (including his old cohorts, Will Scarlett and Friar Tuck) to protect the innocent from the Sheriff's tyranny.
The two stars are perfect in this mature love story, with its dramatic ending that I won't give away here. Sean Connery makes a sympathetic and compelling but weary hero, as Robin comes to grips with his aging, his physical limitations, and his mortality. Audrey Hepburn with her ageless beauty is radiant, dignified, and graceful as Marian. The pair are absolutely beautiful together on screen.
Actually, the most engrossing relationship in this film might just be between the two old adversaries, Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham, who form a sort of bond and develop mutual respect. Robert Shaw is absolutely perfect in his role as the Sheriff, who seems almost sympathetic & honourable here, not quite his usual completely villainous self. Their struggle culminates in a dramatic sword duel. Another relationship well developed is the one between Robin and his faithful friend, the gentle giant, Little John, who is portrayed by Nicol Williamson. Richard Harris plays the malevolent King Richard, though I am uncertain as to the historical accuracy of the depiction.
This movie has beautiful cinematography and musical scoring. Though Robin is no longer the daring young adventurer of old, this story is much more compelling than some other adaptations, notably the vastly inferior Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner. Perhaps less exciting derring do than other tales, this film (to its credit) tends to humanize the mythical medieval hero. It is a touching, bittersweet, and melancholy tale of autumn in Sherwood Forest...for Robin's band of Merry Men, his lady, his foe, and especially the legendary hero himself.
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