Robin Hood, the selfless hero
The legend of the outlaw who'd steal from the rich to give to the poor has already inspired many films. The character still stands for social justice today. No one knows if Robin Hood actually existed.
The Hollywood hit
The story of the "Prince of Thieves" was adapted into countless films. Kevin Costner (picture) portrayed the legendary title character, while Morgan Freeman played his faithful companion, Azeem, in the version directed by Kevin Reynolds in 1991. The secret star of the film, however, was the late Alan Rickman, in the role of the Sherrif of Nottingham.
A medieval hero
Authors were already describing Robin Hood's fabulous feats in the Middle Ages. They were summarized for the first time in the ballad "A Gest of Robyn Hode." The 15th century tale recounts in 456 stanzas the story of the outlaw. To this day, it is the most important source text for scholars researching the historical figure behind the legendary hero.
A clever fox
Disney turned the characters of the medieval story into animals in the animated classic from 1973. The clever fox Robin is supported by his loyal bear friend, Little John. Together, they fight against Prince John, a lion, and his unscrupulous henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham, a wolf.
Mischief in Sherwood
Robin Hood is a red-headed hero instead of a fox in the 3D animated series "Robin Hood: Mischief in Sherwood." Created for children aged six and older, the series shows the adventures of the young Robin and how he always manages to outwit his archenemy, Prince John.
His favorite hiding place
According to the legend, Robin and his companions are said to have hidden in this spreading oak tree to escape the sheriff's lackeys. The over 700-year-old tree, known in England as the Major Oak, stands in the Sherwood Forest near Nottingham. Since the Victorian era, a sophisticated scaffolding system has supported some of the tree's massive branches.
His true love: Maid Marian
Sometimes she is portrayed as a noble, sometimes as a simple citizen. Maid Marian (in some versions Lady Marion of Leaford) is Robin Hood's love interest. Even in the medieval texts, she is portrayed as a strong independent woman, which is unusual for the time. In Richard Lester's movie "Robin and Marian" (1976), the couple is portrayed by Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.
Enough material for a parody
For satire fans, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is probably the best of all Robin Hood movies. The 1993 satirical comedy lampoons the previous films on the outlaw, especially the "Prince of Thieves" version with Kevin Costner. Along with slapstick humor and easy puns, the film adds a few unexpected characters, such as a rapper crew and director Mel Brooks as a rabbi (picture).
A successful comic star
He was not only the star of numerous films and TV series: He also inspired a famous French comic series, originally titled "Robin des Bois," which was translated into German in the mid-70s as "Robin Hood, der Herr der Wälder." Nearly 100 issues were released altogether.
Memorial for an outsider
It doesn't really matter if Robin Hood actually existed: His legend has thrilled people for hundreds of years. In 1952, the city of Nottingham immortalized its most famous son. Paying tribute to his reputation as an outsider and an opponent of the establishment, the statue was built outside the city walls.
A symbol for social justice
Then as now, the name Robin Hood has always represented the fight against poverty. Various aid organizations, foundations and soup kitchens are named after the mythical hero. In 2010, protesters in Berlin called for the introduction of a Robin Hood tax, a financial transaction levy that would help tackle poverty and climate change globally.