Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves came out during a very influential time in my life. I was young enough for the neighbors to laugh at my yarn-and-sapling bow making skills, yet old enough to get in trouble for threatening to cut out their hearts with a spoon.
Less intimidating when it’s a 7-year-old.
So it’s no surprise that I was a bit too immature to grasp the deeper story behind a movie like this. As a child I was so wrapped up in the sword fighting, the bow shooting, and the Morgan Freeman-ing, that I missed the important lessons hiding just under the skin. Lessons like how to choose your allies. Why safety nets for the lower classes are important. And why constructing an Ewok village is never a solution.
Re-watch this movie as an adult, however, with a fair working knowledge of class systems and medieval politics, and another story emerges. The classic “Steal from the rich and give to the poor.” goes out the window. You start to realize that Prince of Thieves is more of a “Drive a political campaign that legitimizes your status as a pretender by using the suffering poor.” kind of jam.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few reasons why the Sheriff and Robin are both imposters trying to fill a power vacuum by exploiting the peasantry. Continue reading