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6 Movies like Robin Hood (1973): Medieval Magic

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Jane Howarth itcherMovies like ‘Robin Hood’ (1973), ‘The Sword in the Stone’ (1963) and ‘Prince Valiant’ (1997) are bursting with archery competitions, crusades… the kind of escapades you only really find in a good medieval story. ~ Jane Howarth

‘Runnin’ through the Forest’

Oh alright, I admit it – ‘Robin Hood’ (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973) is extra fun because it recasts the outlaw and his chums as woodland creatures. Who can resist a movie about a daring fox, sneaky snake and cowardly lion?

And who can resist the speaking in a Sir Hiss voice for days afterwards? Not me, that’s for sure!

That’s not the only way the movie charms me, though. I don’t know about you, but I think the medieval trimmings are a whole lot of fun. With films like ‘Robin Hood’, you just know you’re in for an hour and a half of leaky castles and tournaments – and of course, a daring rescue or two.

So what are we waiting for?

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Movies Similar to ‘Robin Hood’…

‘The Sword in the Stone’ (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963)

Ten years before he directed ‘Robin Hood’, Reitherman became the first Disney animator to direct a full-length feature with this medieval legend.

Young Arthur is a downtrodden servant to Sir Kay, with no hope of life beyond the castle kitchens, except to carry heavy objects for his masters occasionally. Merlin and his owl, Archimedes, are about to change all that, though. Destiny awaits in the form of the sword in the stone…

Similarity Match: 90%
The same Disney animators bring us a similar look and feel, in another medieval legend – Arthur and Merlin don’t spend the movie in animal form, but they do transform a couple of times!

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‘Sleeping Beauty’ (Clyde Geronimi et al, 1959)

Aurora is sent to live with three fairies, to keep her safe while the sorceress Maleficent is searching for her. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Maleficent finds her and the curse takes effect. Now it’s up to the fairies and the prince to save her, and the castle, from a very long sleep.

I love a good princess movie, but I know not everyone agrees. Well, don’t be put off just because the colour changing dress doesn’t appeal – there’s plenty of sword fighting, spell casting and dragon battling in this medieval favourite.

Similarity Match: 80%
Not a fan of princess movies? Don’t overlook Aurora! You’ll love the medieval stylings of this classic animation (and besides, the sword fighting and castle side-jokes will keep you busy).

***
‘The Black Cauldron’ (Richard Rich & Ted Berman, 1985)

Not quite as spot-on as the animated classics we’ve just revisited, but maybe, like me, you can excuse the slower pace in exchange for a less well-worn story.

Set in Wales, this darker Disney follows a regular boy who is unexpectedly charged with stopping the Horned King from raising an undead army. Yikes, fingers crossed he succeeds, because that doesn’t sound pleasant.

No outlaws this time round, and none of Robin the fox’s effortless charm and skill. The likeable hero (and his pig) will win you over, though, and the princess makes a sweet Maid Marian substitute.

Similarity Match: 75%
A 20th Century story with a medieval setting. It’s slower paced, but it’s a shame to miss out on another journey through the woods.

***
‘Justin and the Knights of Valour’ (Manuel Sicilia, 2013)

If you’re looking for a chivalrous tale that looks and feels up to date, ‘Justin and the Knights’ of Valour’ will absolutely solve your problem.

This CGI adventure takes us to a land where knights have been banished – and a few have gone wrong. An unlikely hero abandons his studies for knight training, banding together with a sassy barmaid along the way.

Listen out for Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Tamsin Egerton and Antonio Banderas, who all lend their voice talents, in a movie that comes from Banderas’ own animation studio.

Similarity Match: 60%
Leaving traditional animation for CGI, ‘Justin and the Knights of Valour’ is a great alternative if you’re in the mood for a revamped medieval quest.

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If You Like ‘Robin Hood’, You Will Like…

Looking for a live action alternative to ‘Robin Hood’ that’s suitable for a family audience? Well, neither of these movies are Oscar candidates, but they’re good medieval fun.

If you love a good bit of archery and running about in the woods, you can’t go wrong.

‘Princess of Thieves’ (Peter Hewitt, 2001)

Fifteen years before Disney added ‘Robin Hood’ to their live action remake line-up, they rewrote the story with a twist. Pre-‘Pirates’ Keira Knightley plays the outlaw’s daughter, with Stephen Moyer as the exiled prince she’s sent to rescue.

Disney’s light retelling of ‘Robin Hood’ is perfect afternoon viewing – and the gender reversal adds a fun twist.

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‘Prince Valiant’ (Anthony Hickox, 1997)

I loved the animated series beyond all reason, so imagine my delight when I found this gem. It doesn’t feature the cartoon’s sassy archer heroine, Rowanne, but my goodness, there’s more than enough chandelier-swaying and arrow-firing to keep any ‘Robin Hood’ fan happy.

But wait, Stephen Moyer again? I guess he made a medieval niche for himself, because he’s back as another prince. Katherine Heigl plays Princess Ilene, with Joanna Lumley as Morgan le Fay, the legendary sorceress who’s plotting to steal Excalibur.

It’s not easy to find a copy, so if you see it lurking in a second hand store, pounce fast!

Castles, princes and jousts – not to mention a royal romance. ‘Prince Valiant’ is a fun movie ‘Robin Hood’ fans should try.

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Got your Bow, Arrows and Feathered Cap?

Great! Because with all these medieval adventures going on around us, we’ve got a lot of archery contests, jousts and banquets to attend…

So, whose castle will you stop by?

Let us know in the comments!

Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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