Looking for alternatives to the usual blockbuster season? How about a classic costume drama that takes place in the 16th century?

“Robin Hood” tells the story of Sir Robin Hood (Robert Pattinson), a legendary outlaw and folk hero whose antics have been inspiring stories and ballads for centuries. The popular British character made his big-screen debut in 1971’s “Sherlock Holmes and THE MAN WITH THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HEAD”, and recently had a resurgence in popularity thanks to Netflix’s “Robin Hood” series, which features Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous hero. The fantasy/adventure film marks the acting debut of A-list starlets Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson, as well as British thespian Douglas Hodge.

Robert Pattinson

Pattinson, whose acting skills first came to prominence in 2011’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”, shines as Sir Robin, a roguish outlaw who dons his magical bow and arrows to protect the oppressed and vanquish the wealthy. While some may balk at the casting of a 23-year-old in the part, in an interview with Vogue, Pattinson admitted that his youthful appearance actually makes him a more realistic incarnation of the character. “I think my age is an asset for the role,” he said. “It makes me seem more like a hardened criminal, which I suppose I am.”

Pattinson’s portrayal is far from that of a stereotype. A native of London, England, the actor studied media and performance at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making his film debut in 2007’s “Bangerang”. The following year he appeared in Woody Allen’s “Someday You’ll Find Me”, before landing the female lead in Danny Boyle’s 2009 sci-fi adventure film, “Sunshine”. More recently, Pattinson can be seen in 2015’s “Passengers” and 2016’s “The King”. In the latter, he plays the only son of a billionaire who teams up with a young girl (Rebecca Ferguson) to fight a corrupt government. “I think it’s pretty cool that people are finally seeing me as a leading man and not just a pretty face,” said the actor. “I’ve always felt like I could play leading men, and I’ve just found a way to do it.”

The Cast of “Robin Hood” Film

Aside from Pattinson, the film also stars Michael Caine, who plays Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside an impressive supporting cast that includes David Thewlis (the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”), Harry Potter’s Colin Farrell, and comedian Michael D’Antonio. (Funny or Die) More notable names include:

  • Emily Blunt
  • Rebecca Ferguson
  • Douglas Hodge
  • Ciarán Hinds
  • Bill Nighy
  • Tom Brooke
  • Peter Capaldi
  • Ben Kingsley
  • Michael Kostroff
  • Stephen Fry
  • Anna Popplewell

What is “Robin Hood” About?

Simply put, “Robin Hood” is the story of an outlaw who enlists the help of a band of outlaws and becomes a folk hero to protect the poor and marginalized against the rich and powerful. (Wikipedia) While the eponymous hero is traditionally depicted as a heroic stature, the film also features a darker side that examines the roots of class oppression and the impact that these attitudes have on individuals. According to the IMDb, the film has a 94% approval rating, ranking it as one of the most popular films of all time.

Why Should You See “Robin Hood”?

If you’re looking for a fun and action-packed romp through the 16th century, then “Robin Hood” probably isn’t for you. Instead, viewers might be more inclined to seek out the historical drama’s more somber themes. After all, while the traditional story of Sir Robin Hood is an inspiring tale about a strong woman avenging the poor against the oppressive English monarchy, it was originally penned in 1843 by Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In this telling, King Richard II is the bad guy, using his position to prey on the poor and powerless.

In fact, director Guy Ritchie — who also helmed the 2010 animated sequel “Arthur and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES”, the 2008 action comedy “Mr. AND Mrs. SMITH”, and the Sherlock Holmes series — admitted that while he was attracted to the character of Sir Robin Hood, he found the darker aspects more interesting.

“I really liked the fact that I could explore some darker aspects of British history and society, and could interest a modern audience in things they might not otherwise consider,” said Ritchie. “At the end of the day, it’s a question of choice as to whether you want to watch something happy or sad.”

Aside from its historical significance, “Robin Hood” also boasts an impressive pedigree, having been adapted from the classic 1843 play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The playwright’s widow, Lady Isabel, witnessed the original production and reportedly kept the playwright’s script with her dying breath, inspiring Sheridan’s descendants to continue the family’s illustrious theatrical tradition. (The Sheridan Project) The story of Sir Robin Hood has been retold and revised by many over the years, but the 1971 adaptation remains the best rendition of the character’s origin story.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular films of all time is based on such a timeless tale. “Robin Hood” won’t be released in theaters until March 28, but could already be available on home media.