Two years after filming two of the best swashbucklers ever made back-to-back – The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers (sadly not available on Netflix), Richard Lester made this gem. Robin and Marian is currently available on instant play.
WATCH: Robin and Marian (1976) – Rated PG
“Whatever became of Robin Hood after his famed tale of good deeds ended? Now you can find out, in this sequel that takes place years after Robin and his merry men bested the Sheriff of Nottingham. After following Richard the Lionhearted to the crusades, Robin (Sean Connery) returns to Sherwood Forest to find things drastically changed. Audrey Hepburn plays the stalwart Marian … who’s joined a nunnery!”
This is an absolutely wonderful counterpoint to yesterday’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. While that film celebrates youthful exuberance and heroics, Robin and Marian is a testament to the aging and fading of heroes and the power and danger of love. Robin and Marian’s cast is as impressive as The Adventures of Robin Hood’s cast. Charismatic and wry, Sean Connery is riveting as an aging Robin Hood. Thankfully Marian’s role is considerably beefed up as Audrey Hepburn returned to the screen from a nine-year absence to make this and she is absolutely amazing. Robert Shaw is marvelously sympathetic as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Nicol Williamson is heart-breaking as Little John.
The film was written by James Goldman, author of The Lion in Winter and Nicholas and Alexandria and much of the credit for this complex exploration of love, devotion, and heroism is deservedly his. While Robin and Marian are still obviously in love, Robin is torn between his love of Marian and his love of glory. Marian is torn between her love of Robin and despair over his nature. Little John clearly loves Robin and knows that Robin is part of what defines him. Even the Sheriff seems to love Robin after a fashion. The first act plays out as a microcosm of the rest of the movie. Robin loves his King, Richard (the ever wonderful Richard Harris) loves his subject Robin as well as glory and Little John loves Robin.
People Watch: Look for Ian Holm in a small role as King John.