Robin Hood by Russell Crowe is in the top 10 most-watched movies on Netflix.
By Nathan Kamal | Published
Despite being an instantly recognizable and infamous actor, Russell Crowe also has the uncanny ability to appear at home in any period. He will forever be associated with the glory and gore of ancient Rome for his performance as Maximus in Gladiator, but he was also a singing 19th century French policeman, biblical patriarch, literal god of lightning and, of course, Superman’s dad. However, one of his most forgotten movies took him to medieval England and he is currently in the top 10 most streamed movies on Netflix: the 2010 movie Ridley Scott. Robin Hood.
Robin Hood stars Russell Crowe as the legendary titular English bandit, whose historical existence will likely remain a matter of debate forever. In this particular version of the frequently told story, Russell Crowe is a 12th-century commoner and archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston), whose failed crusades have ruined England and belittled the monarch. basically a marauder ransacking castles. on the way home for supplies and funds. In the opening scenes of the film, we see the nihilistic brutality of the war in which Russell Crowe and his comrades are engaged in as well as the feeling that his character (initially known as Robin Longstrider) is an honest man, but a not very flexible. morality.
After the demoralized King asks Russell Crowe for honest feedback on a campaign that intentionally slaughtered women and children in a quest for glory, he praises the archer for his candor and then dumps him and his fellow Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet ( Scott Grimes), and Alan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) in the whipping action. It should never be said that Ridley Scott has a glowing view of humanity, as evidenced by the various following actions of Richard’s younger brother, John (Oscar Isaac, oily and pre-fame) playing the wife and demanding taxes poor northerners, the French King Philip’s infiltration into the English court via Godfrey (Mark Strong), and people are generally fools.
Robin Hood tries to walk a fine line between a gritty, realistic portrayal of medieval England in which the strong brutalize the poor to sadistic and psychopathic degrees, and one in which Russell Crowe delivers heroic, rousing speeches about the need for rule of law and human rights. The latter is not as anachronistic as one might think; the historic King John actually acceded to the demands of his barons and signed the Magna Carta, one of the founding documents of individual rights in Europe. As one could guess, neither Russell Crowe nor Robin Hood had much to do with it.
Robin Hood is the fourth and to date most recent collaboration between Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, who no doubt hoped it could reach Gladiator’s acclaim and box office levels. Despite an impressive cast including the aforementioned Oscar Isaac, Cate Blanchett as Marian, and Max Van Sydow as a blind noble who convinces Robin to impersonate his son Robert Loxley, beginning his transformation into a folk hero, Robin Hood was received lukewarm by critics. Although it grossed an impressive $321 million, it didn’t gain the kind of cultural presence achieved solely by lines such as “aren’t you entertained?”
Interestingly, it seems that Robin Hood was intended to be a very different take on the legend. While the Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe version that finally hit theaters finally ends with Robin leading an army against the French invaders, declared an outlaw by the jealous Oscar Isaac, and revealed to be essentially Robin Hood beginsthe original screenplay by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris was titled Nottingham. He would have portrayed the usually villainous Sheriff of Nottingham (essentially a non-entity in this film) as more heroic and in a love triangle with Robin and Marian.
It seems Universal Studios eagerly bought this new take on an old legend and immediately set about rewriting it into a familiar story that wouldn’t challenge audiences. When Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott were on board, Nottingham had at one point involved the sheriff as an early forensic detective (similar to Johnny Depp’s Ichabod Crane in sleepy hollow), the Sheriff using the Robin Hood persona as a disguise, and Robin Hood assuming the identity of the dead Sheriff.
As you would expect from a major studio, all innovative ideas were eventually scrapped, Nottingham was renamed Robin Hood and the whole thing became a potential franchise starter for Russell Crowe as a villain. No sequel is planned yet, but you never know: no one gets tired of remaking Robin Hood.