- Year created: Middle Ages
- Disney premier: 1973
- From: Sherwood Forest
- Species: Fox
- Similar to: Peter Pan
The Robin Hood cartoon is an 1973 American animated film produced by the Walt Disney Productions, first released in the United States on November 8, 1973. The 21st animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film is based on the legend of Robin Hood, but uses anthropomorphic animals instead of people.
The Robin Hood cartoon is narrated by the rooster Alan-a-Dale, who explains that the Robin Hood cartoon and Little John live in Sherwood Forest, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor townsfolk of Nottingham. The Sheriff of Nottingham and his posse often try to catch the two but fail every time. Meanwhile, Prince John and his assistant Sir Hiss, arrive in Nottingham. Sir Hiss hypnotised Prince John’s brother King Richard to go off on the Crusades, allowing Prince John to take the throne. Unfortunately, the prince is greedy and immature, even sucking his thumb whenever his mother is mentioned. Robin and Little John rob Prince John by disguising themselves as fortune tellers, prompting the prince to put a bounty on their heads and makes the Sheriff his personal tax collector.
Initially, the studio considered a movie about Reynard the Fox. However, due to Walt Disney’s concern that Reynard was an unsuitable choice for a hero, Ken Anderson used many elements from it in the Robin Hood cartoon. Robin Allan writes in his book Walt Disney and Europe that “Ken Anderson wept when he saw how his character concepts had been processed into stereotypes for the animation on Robin Hood.” As the film was allotted a small budget, the artists referenced footage from previous animated features. A dance sequence in the film was traced from sequences originally produced for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats.
A few of the voice-actors utilized in this production are British. However, the decision was made to cast quite a number of American character actors in the traditional medieval roles. Many of these individuals were veteran performers from Western-themed movies and television programs, which meant that characters like Friar Tuck and the Sheriff of Nottingham have distinctly American accents and mannerisms more associated with the rural American South, Midwest, and Southwest than with England. This effect was further reinforced by the choice of country singer Roger Miller as the movie’s songwriter and narrator.
Some of this article uses modified material from The Robin Hood cartoon Wikipedia article “Robin_Hood_(1973_film)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.