Robin Hood through the age of film -- The dashing Prince of Thieves' story has been told many times in cinematic history

Robin and Marian

For a 12th-century brigand who may never even have existed, Robin Hood has proved a remarkably durable figure in mythology, literature, and, of course, film. The legend of Sherwood Forest has been the stuff of more than 20 features, as well as three television series-only a few other characters, including Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes, have had more lives on-screen. Along the way, we’ve seen some unusual interpretations, notably Frank Sinatra’s mobster rendition in Robin and the Seven Hoods and John Cleese’s comic cameo in Time Bandits. But most incarnations-from Douglas Fairbanks Sr.’s 1922 turn to Costner’s-have shown Robin Hood the way generations have loved him best: as the dashing rogue, the rebel with a cause. Here are some of his most successful outings, available on video. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) Errol Flynn’s portrayal of the charming bandit set the standard for all who followed. Olivia de Havilland is Marian, Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone are the juicy villains. A

ROBIN HOOD (1973) The Disney studio’s animated version imagines Robin as a fox, Little John as a bear, Prince John as a cowardly lion. A solid, entertaining children’s primer. B

ROBIN AND MARIAN 1976) Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn play the title characters at the twilight of their lives in this rueful yet romantic interpretation of the legend. A-

ROBIN HOOD (1991) Competition from Costner’s project changed this version- first planned for theaters-into a TV movie in the U.S. It aired last month and will be out on video in July. Patrick Bergin plays Robin with an earthy realism, and Uma Thurman makes a fiery Marian. B+

Robin and Marian
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