Robin Hood in popular culture

Robin Hood in popular culture
Movie poster for the 1922 United Artists Robin Hood film, starring Douglas Fairbanks.

The folkloric hero Robin Hood has appeared many times, in many different variations, in popular modern works.



  • Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, 1819.
  • Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock, 1822.
  • Robin Hood le proscrit by Alexandre Dumas, 1863.
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle, 1883.
  • Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws by J. Walker McSpadden, 1891.
  • Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert, 1912.
  • Robin Hood by Paul Creswick, 1917.
  • Bows Against the Barons by Geoffrey Trease, 1934, a leftist depiction of Robin Hood from the viewpoint of a young-adult protagonist.
  • The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, 1939, gives his "correct" name as Robin Wood; he is one of the figures that Wart meets during his education.
  • Chronicles of Robin Hood by Rosemary Sutcliff, 1950.
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green, 1956.
  • The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley, 1988, a retelling in which Robin Hood is, in fact, the worst archer in his band, but whose shrewdness leads them through their dangers.
  • Sherwood by Parke Godwin, 1992, and Robin and the King, 1993
  • The Forestwife trilogy by Theresa Tomlinson, 1993-2000.
  • Robin's Country by Monica Furlong, 1994.
  • Romance novelist Marsha Canham builds the Robin Hood legend through possible historical fact in her Robin Hood Trilogy set during the reign of King John of England: Through a Dark Mist (1991), In the Shadow of Midnight (1994), and The Last Arrow (1997).
  • Robin Hood According to Spike Milligan by Spike Milligan, 1998, parodies the legend of Robin Hood.
  • The Rowan Hood series by Nancy Springer, 2001-2005.
  • The King Raven Trilogy (Hood [2006], Scarlet [2007], Tuck [2009]) by Stephen R. Lawhead, 2006, relocates the Robin Hood legends to Wales.
  • In Lynn Viehl's Darkyn book series Robin Hood is one of the Darkyn (which are vampires). He gets his own romance story in the final novel Stay the Night (January 2009).
  • Robin The Hoodie reimagines Robin Hood as a young troublemaker in modern-day Nottingham, complete with ASBO (2009).
  • In Hodd, author Adam Thorpe explores the theory that the legendary Robin Hood is the mythologized creation of the narrator based on his time spent with the real outlaw.[1]
  • Angus Donald's Outlaw Chronicles, consisting of Outlaw (2009), Holy Warrior (2010) and King's Man (2011), feature Robin Hood as Robert Odo.

Films and television series


  • The Opera of Robin Hood was written by George Macfarren (libretto: John Oxenford) and first produced at Her Majesty's Theatre, London in 1860. It was written for the voice of Sims Reeves, a star tenor, who played Locksley, and was first performed by him with Mme Lemmens-Sherrington (Marian), Mme Lemaire, Charles Santley and Mr. Parkinson, under the direction of Sir Charles Halle.
  • W. H. Birch wrote an operetta called The Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest which was performed in 1871.
  • The romantic Opera Robin Hood, op. 34, was written by the German composer Albert Dietrich (1829–1908). It was first performed in Frankfurt am Main in 1879. A new production of this almost forgotten opera will be released at the Theater Erfurt on march 20th, 2011.
  • Another opera called Robin Hood was written by Reginald De Koven and Clement Scott in 1889 and premiered in Chicago on June 9, 1890, with Jessie Bartlett Davis as Alan a-Dale.[2]
  • "Robin Hood" by Louis Prima and Bob Miketta (1944).
  • The theme from the 1955 television series The Adventures of Robin Hood was covered by Gary Miller and released as a single (Pye N15020) in 1956. It reached #10 on the UK charts.
  • The 1973 Disney animated film included five original songs: "Whistle Stop", a mostly instrumental piece, "Oo-De-Lally" and "Not in Nottingham", written and performed by Roger Miller, "Love", written by George Bruns and Floyd Huddleston and performed by the latter's then-wife Nancy Adams, and "The Phony King of England", performed by Phil Harris.
  • Legend, an album by Irish band Clannad, is the soundtrack for the ITV television series Robin of Sherwood (1984). It featured the main theme and single, "Robin (The Hooded Man)".
  • Composer Robert Steadman, who lived for some time in Nottingham, has written 2 musical compositions using the myths of Robin Hood:
    • "The Dethe of Robyn Hood" (1995) uses fragments of a mediæval ballad as its text and is scored for narrator and wind band.
    • "Robin Hood & Little John" (2005) was commissioned by Southwell Choral Society as was premiered by them in Southwell Minster. It sets an anonymous mediæval ballad about the first meeting of Robin Hood and Little John and is scored for choir and large ensemble.
  • The progressive acoustic band Nickel Creek recorded a song entitled "Robin and Marian" on their eponymous album.

Video games

The character of Robin Hood appears, either as a playable character or as a major supporting character, in the following games:

  • Robin Hood (Xonox, 1983)
  • Super Robin Hood (Codemasters, 1985)
  • Robin of the Wood (Odin Compter Graphics, 1985)
  • Robin of Sherwood: The Touchstones of Rhiannon (Adventure International, 1985)
  • Defender of the Crown (Cinemaware, 1987)
  • The Curse of Sherwood (Mastertronic, 1987)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Millenium Interactive, 1991)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Virgin Games, 1991)
  • Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood (Sierra Entertainment, 1991)
  • Robin Hood: Legend Quest (Codemasters, 1993)
  • Defender Of The Crown II (Commodore Electronics, 1993)
  • Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (Microsoft, 1999)
  • Robin Hood (EA/Light & Shadow Productions, 2001)
  • Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood (Wanadoo, 2002)
  • Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (Capcom, 2003)
  • Robin Hood's Quest (Oxygen Interactive, 2007)
  • Fate/Extra as an Archer class servant (Epoch & Type Moon, 2010)
  • Defender Of The Crown: Heroes Live Forever (eGames, 2007)
  • Robin Hood: The Return of Richard (Nordcurrent, 2010)
  • Robin's Quest: A Legend Born (Gogii Games, 2010)

Strategy games

  • Avalon Hill published a board game based on the legend called The Legend of Robin Hood.

Comic books

  • As a public domain character with an established reputation, Robin Hood was an attractive feature for comic book publishers from the birth of the medium. The first continuing Robin Hood stories were written and drawn by Sven Elven and appeared in the DC Comics title, New Adventure Comics vol. 1 #23 through #30 (1938). There was also a Robin Hood back up story in Green Hornet #7 through #10, written by S. M. Iger.
  • A small renaissance of Robin Hood comics occurred in the late 1950s, starting with the little known "Rodger of Sherwood" stories in the Young Heroes anthology series #39 through #37 by American Comics Group. That same year, Robin got his first title comic book from Magazine Enterprises which ran for eight issues, three with a Richard Greene photo cover. Brown Shoe Co., maker of Robin Hood Shoes, published seven giveaway issues starting in 1956. Robin soon attracted attention from more established comic publishers such as Charlton Comics, who retitled Danger and Adventure to Robin Hood and His Merry Men starting with issue #28. Quality comics published Tales of Robin Hood until issue #7, then was bought by DC Comics who continued until issue #13 and included a crossover with Wonder Woman, making it the longest lasting English language Robin Hood series. DC also published Robin Hood stories in their Brave and the Bold anthology series from #5 to #15.
  • In the 1960s, Dell published a couple of Robin Hood one-shots, one a re-telling of the traditional legend, the other a Disney TV show tie-in. Then, in 1974, Gold Key Comics produced a 7 issue tie-in with the Disney animated film. Eclipse published a three-part miniseries in 1991, perhaps a tie in with the Kevin Costner film. Finally, there have been various one-shots produced by Moonstone Books and Avalon Communications.
  • In 1991, DC produced a series called Outlaws, with writing by Michael Jan Friedman and art by Luke McDonnell. It was a re-imagining of the legend set in a future, somewhat post-apocalytic, time- something akin to the future depicted in films such as Mad Max.
  • Robin Hood and his band appear in one issue of the Vertigo Comics series Fables. Along with other folk heroes, they give their lives to buy time for the last ship to flee to the mundane world.
  • In 2007, Xeric award winning cartoonist Steve LeCouilliard began a comedy web-comic called "Much the Miller's Son" [2] telling the story of Robin Hood from the point of view of a minor character. It has since been collected in two volumes with a third projected for summer 2011.
  • The superhero Green Arrow possesses obvious traits of inspiration that originate from Robin Hood; most notably being a skilled archer, swordsman, and a thing for wearing green.



  1. ^ Harrison, John. "Copse and Robbers." The Guardian 2009-06-20 [1] retrieved 2010-02-10
  2. ^ Enduring American Song Hits, Part 1, page 1 at
  3. ^ "Robin Hood is scholarly subject". BBC. 10 October 2006.
  4. ^ "Sherwood Signs Off". Nottingham Forest 30 July 2007.
  5. ^ "A modern-day Robin Hood". The World, 15 May 2010.

Further reading

  • Seal, Graham. The Outlaw Legend: A Cultural Tradition in Britain, America and Australia. Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0521553172
  • Hayes, T. Wilson. The birth of popular culture : Ben Jonson, Maid Marian, and Robin Hood. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Duquesne University Press, 1992. ISBN 0820702412
  • Singman, Jeffrey L. Robin Hood : the shaping of the legend. Westport, Conn : Greenwood Press, 1998. ISBN 0313301018

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