Robin Hood Parent Guide
A rousing historical action flick that plays fast and loose with familiar characters and plot elements, Robin Hood will be enjoyed by teens and action film afficionados.
Parent Movie Review
Lord Robin of Loxley (Taran Egerton), an open-handed aristocrat, lives a life of luxury in Nottingham, with a gorgeous hilltop mansion, sizeable estate, and beautiful girlfriend, Marian (Eve Hewson). However, his world is thrown into disarray when he is drafted by the Sheriff of Nottingham to serve in the Third Crusade. There Robin meets a brilliant Muslim warrior, later a prisoner of war whose name is Anglicized to “John” and is played by Jamie Foxx. When Robin runs afoul of his fellow Crusaders for objecting to the killing and torture of captives, he is sent back to England, with John stowing away on his ship. Back in Nottingham, he finds that the Sheriff has declared him dead, repossessed his manor, and taxed the locals to a state of dire poverty. However, with the help of John, Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) and Marian, Robin dons a hood and seeks justice from the evil Sheriff.
Robin Hood is an action film, but the violence is surprisingly restrained: although many people die on screen it is usually relatively free of blood and gore. Profanity is also mercifully limited and the film avoids the temptation to have medieval characters drop contemporary cusses every third word. Parents will also be pleased that this production also refrains from any salacious sexual escapades involving our young and charming hero.
While these content issues are better than we would normally expect in an action film, Robin Hood comes with another set of problems. The film’s opening narration tells us twice to “forget history” because it would “bore us”. Since I studied history at university, that rankles more than a little. However, it is certainly advice the screenwriters took to heart: among other substantial and annoying ahistorical details, we have a draft for nobility in the Third Crusade (definitely not a thing), machine-gun style crossbows, and some clearly brilliant off-screen medical care that can completely cure an arrow wound in the gut in a matter of hours. This might not bother other moviegoers as much as it does me, but it is a missed opportunity to embrace all of the real weirdness of medieval England in favor of some poorly considered modern weirdness.
The saving grace of the movie is that Taran Egerton and Jamie Foxx generate enough charm to power a large city. When things get too silly, Egerton’s winning grin and cocky wink telegraph to the audience, “I know, but ain’t it fun?”. And he’s not wrong. Robin Hood is a high-speed action thriller, and it’s sure to be a hit with teens and fans of action films, provided they aren’t history nerds. If you don’t mind a modernized medieval story playing fast and loose with familiar characters and plot elements, you’ll probably have a good time. For history purists, this is going to feel more like Robin Hood has robbed from history to give to the action genre.Directed by Otto Bathurst. Starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Dornan, and Jamie Foxx. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release November 21, 2018. Updated November 22, 2018
Watch the trailer for Robin Hood
Rating & Content Info
Why is Robin Hood rated PG-13? Robin Hood is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for extended sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive references
Violence: Multiple people are shot with arrows. A man has his hand severed by a sword. People are shown being tortured for information. Two men are beheaded. A man is cut with a piece of broken pottery, before being garroted with a chain, and finally has his neck broken. A man sustains a non-lethal pickaxe blow to the head. A man threatens to drown another character in pig’s blood. A man refers to beatings of children. A man’s face is badly burned. A man is hanged.
Sexual Content: No sexual activity is seen. Couples are shown kissing passionately several times but are always fully clothed. A man threatens to have a woman: “Sent to Arabia to be bred by savages.”
Profanity: Minimal. Two uses of profanity in the “moderate” category, with a handful of uses in the “mild” category.
Alcohol / Drug Use: No drugs are shown or referenced. One character is shown attempting to “drown his sorrows” in alcohol but is quickly stopped by a mentor. Other characters are shown drinking excessively, but in a context where it demonstrates their corruption and depravity.
Page last updated November 22, 2018
Robin Hood Parents' Guide
Robin is incensed that the Sheriff is enriching himself by impoverishing the peasants. Robin chooses to live as a bandit to help the people. Income inequality has always existed, more dramatically in some eras and in places than in others. What kind of income inequality exists where you live? Is it narrowing or increasing? What factors increase or reduce income inequality? What options do people in democratic societies have that Robin Hood did not have?
Read books about Robin Hood
The legend of Robin Hood captured the public’s imagination when Howard Pyle published The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood in 1883. This classic is still in print today. Also faithful to the original tales is The Adventures of Robin Hood by Robert Lanclyn Green.
Robin Hood has also featured in modern retellings. Fantasy author Robin McKinley penned The Outlaws of Sherwood wherein Robin Longbow has to go on the run after an argument results in a death.
Pagan’s Crusade by Catherine Jinks is a Crusade-era story featuring the adventures of Lord Roland and his squire, Pagan.
More modern tales with a similar vibe include Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick, which is a deeply emotional story of two boys who bond over medieval stories. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series also features a light-fingered anti-hero and an unlikely gang of associates, although with less focus on radical wealth redistribution.
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The Princess Bride also features a character who robs from the rich and outwits a dastardly prince.