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Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
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494 of 506 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2006
Format: DVD
Previous to this 'Most Wanted Edition' release, Disney had released a Gold Collection version. Having seen the two head to head, the Most Wanted is definitely a worthwhile purchase, though purists may wish to hang onto their Gold Collection Edition.

For those interested in the movie's plot (though if you don't know it by now), this 1973 Disney film follows the adventures of the classic Robin Hood story (though all the characters have been replaced by Disney animal versions), where he and his pal Little John are constantly thwarting the plans of Prince John, his servant Sir Hiss, and the rotten Sheriff of Nottingham. It doesn't follow the original legend too closely, but then, Robin Hood is a walking, talking fox, so don't expect historical accuracy. Made during Disney's less 'talked about' era (the void between Disney's untimely death and the song stylings of Elton John), the film is still a delight for adults and children. At least, I like it, but critics and animation buffs seem to have some issues with it (not the least of which is a segment where several sequences reuse animation from other Disney films). It's not as plot intensive and tightly told as Disney's later films, but it has quite a few memorable sequences and some great one-liners ("Oo-de-lally! A CROWN!").

But onto the DVD and its features.

VIDEO: The film is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio, making it widescreen. However, (and this is where the purists may take offense), the film was initially created in 1.37:1 aspect, thus making the fullscreen version available on the previous Gold Collection release the 'correct' video standard (a viewing of the widescreen next to the fullscreen does, in fact, show cropping at the top and bottom). However, this does not mean that the widescreen is automatically a problem. Not only is the transfer noticeably clearer and more detailed, but the film was animated to take both fullscreen and widescreen into respect (theatres at the time were capable of displaying one or the other), so technically both aspect ratios can be termed 'the original theatrical.' Because of this, no significant portion of the picture at the top and bottom is lost (though like I said, purists should hang onto their Gold Collections for this reason only). Perhaps a choice of viewing options should have been made available because of this issue, but unfortunately only the widescreen is included on this DVD.

AUDIO: Sound is noticeably better, especially the music (at least, on the sound system I compared them). The 5.1 transfer, while not causing the sound to do miraculous things, does sound more dynamic and sharper. A definite improvement here.

SPECIAl FEATURES: This release includes all the features from the Gold Collection release, with the notable exception of the Read-Along Storybook (a DVD version of the printed storybook released alongside the original movie) and switching out a trivia game for...another trivia game. Interesting. However, everything else is there, along with some additional features (including a storyboarded alternate ending) not previously available.

So, what's my pick? I say, especially if you don't own the film, this is the best version of the two to get. The picture's better, sound's better, and the special features overall are better (and since the previous release, Disney invented its 'Fastplay' feature, which is nice to have compared to the Gold Collection's 'fast forward through the trailers'-only option). But, this is mainly a caution to those looking for the 'Ultimate, Never Have to Buy It Again' edition: the fullscreen, uncropped version is not here. Perhaps in a future two-disc release, though it is doubtful Disney cares enough about this film and its era to do that.
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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
There have been dozens of movies and television shows that capitalize on the legend of Robin Hood. This version is clever and funny, and the music of country music legend Roger Miller makes this movie one for everyone to watch.

Everyone knows the tale of Robin Hood. Forced to be an outlaw, though always loyal to King Richard, Robin Hood fought against the usurper Prince John. Robin Hood sheltered and protected poor people and redistributed wealth from the rich to the needy poor. Robin Hood performed these deeds from his base in Sherwood Forest.

Though we have seen this movie with many different great actors, this version has excellent comedy and very good animation. Robin Hood is appropriately swashbuckling and handsome, and Maid Marian is beautiful; both characters are drawn as foxes. In fact, all the characters in this movie are animals, as Alan-A-Dale points out at the beginning of the movie.

This film has its share of great actors. Englishman Brian Bedford provides a perfect voice for Robin. Monica Evans, who also appeared in "The Odd Couple," voices Maid Marian. The role of Maid Marian was the last for Monica Evans. The incomparable Peter Ustinov ("Quo Vadis," "Blackbeard's Ghost") voices both Prince John and King Richard. Terry Thomas ("Tom Thumb," "The Abominable Dr. Phibes") is the voice of Sir Hiss. Roger Miller is the minstrel Alan-A-Dale. Miller also provided the songs for this movie. Andy Devine (who had more than 180 movie and television appearances dating back to the 1920's) voices Friar Tuck. Pat Buttram ("The Rescuers," "Back to the Future III") voices the Sheriff of Nottingham and George Lindsey ("The Rescuers," "The Andy Griffith Show") voices Trigger.

Disney has released several versions of this movie. The previous "gold" version is adequate and if you have that version and are satisfied with it, I recommend you pass on this version. If you are a first-time buyer of this film then I recommend this version because of the restored picture and the cleaner sound. Also, this film does have an alternate ending that some viewers may find interesting. The other added features are marginal in value. I find myself avoiding the extras more and more, especially on Disney DVD's.

This movie is fun to watch again and again, and is a favorite of children of all ages. I recommend this movie to anyone looking for a pleasant story to watch, and to anyone with young children.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2006
Format: DVD
Firstly, those who have complained about the aspect ratio are partially correct. This film was drawn in 4:3 BUT it was shown in widescreen when it was exhibited to the public upon its initial release. While it is true that some of the material is missing primarily from the top of the cell, the film was drawn so that that area could be missed. I must give credit to Disney for delving into their own history and discovering how each film was exhibited. Take a look at the recent reissue of The Fox and the Hound to prove this point. They could have cropped that film into widescreen but did not because it was shown in 4:3 originally.

As to the transfer, it is quite good and much improved over the Gold Collection release. The colors are crisper and there are less artifacts that can be seen.

I must admit that I enjoy Disney's Robin Hood quite a bit. It's not the best film in the Disney stable but it is enjoyable and has its charms. Roger Miller's music adds a nice touch and gives this English tale a bit of an infusion of Southern and Western charm (Western charm is also added by Andy Devine and Pat Buttram - two men associated with the old westerns). This, combined with the use of animals in all roles, makes Disney's Robin Hood a unique twist on the tale and one of the more enjoyable films. It may be Disney's best animated feature to be released in the 1970s, a decade that was Disney's worst for animation as the company was trying to find itself after Walt's death.

There's one notable complaint in the reviews here about the ending, a take I have to disagree with. This DVD does provide what the alternate ending would have been and, frankly, the way it ends as is is superior. We don't merely hear the rooster tell us how the tale ends; we see Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Sir Hiss all working the quarry as prisoner while Good King Richard waves farewell to the newly married Marian and Robin. The ending works quite well for the film and leaves Richard's return to our imagination. It works well in how the movie is envision with a minstrel telling us the story.

The Extras on this DVD are a bit disappointing. I'm not much into the games nor do I care for the sing-a-longs. Kids will get a kick out of both. What I would have loved to have included would be a documentary detailing the making of Robin Hood. This was the first film that was greenlighted after Walt Disney's death. It'd be interesting to hear about how everyone at the studios handled this feature and approached it. After all, Robin Hood was the film that made or broke Disney after Walt's death. It was a success and we continued to get Disney features, but I'm sure the stress of putting this film together was enormous.

The movie is well worth the price, especially if you love Disney films as I do. The extras are disappointing but that goes for all copies of Robin Hood right now. This one is a worthwhile purchase.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2004
Format: DVD
Disney's version of "Robin Hood" was a breakthrough in the use of Anthropomorphic or "humanized" animals in animation. It was the first time any animation studio created an all-animal cast playing roles usually reserved for humans in a full length movie. It holds a unique place in Disney Animation just for this reason.

Since it was released in 1973, "Robin Hood"'s influence has been far-reaching on the design and stories of later animated movies (Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH", Disney's "Lion King"), many animated television shows (Disneys "Gummi Bears", "Ducktales", and "TaleSpin"), comic books, video games (Nintendo's "Starfox"), and Asian Anime and Manga (comics). And this movie has been a huge influence on the growing "Furry" fandom (teenage and adult fans of anthropomorphic art and stories) on the internet today. Many older Furries remember seeing it first on the Disney Channel (It re-ran a lot back then), and it was one of the first Disney animated films to be released on VHS in the 1980's.

The 70's were a uninspired and directionless time for Disney Animation and "Robin Hood" shows the effects of this. The animation is flat and rough looking due to the use of Xeroxing the pencilled animation onto cells instead of the precise but more expensive way of hand tracing. Some of the animation where characters are dancing was directly copied from "Snow White" and "The Aristocats". When Sir Hiss stares hypnotically into Prince John's eyes for a few seconds - its the same exact animation you saw in 1967's "The Jungle Book". This reuse of animation was fine for Hanna-Barbera and other low-budget TV animation companies but a travesty for Disney which created and set high standards with their animation in the 1930's through the 1960's (and thankfully recapured some of those standards in the 1990's).

Some characters are recycled from older Disney movies - Little John and Sir Hiss are carbon copies of the Jungle Book's Balloo the bear and Kaa the snake. Other minor characters come off bland or uninteresting, especally the kids. The songs - besides Roger Miller's "Oo-De-Lally" (which was sampled and sped-up for the popular Radio Disney staple "The Hampsterdance") are weak compared to the classic songs written by the Sherman Brothers in the 60's. Add to that the direction is very pedestrian with little style, innovation or "zing" - typical of most Disney films of this period.

Despite all these flaws the movie is still one of the most charming, fun and entertaining of all of Disney's 1970's output. The biggest reason is the great cast of voice actors - they sound like they were having fun making this movie and their enthusiasm give the characters "life" when the animation doesn't. Peter Ustinov almost steals the movie with his voicing of Prince John. The Tony Award winning actor Brian Bedford does a fine job as the handsome and dashing Sir Robin of Locksley. The story is one of the better adaptations of the Robin Hood legend (based largely on the 1938 Errol Flynn classic "The Adventures of Robin Hood") and the script is well paced and full of funny one-liners that might go over the head of young kids but teenagers and adults will enjoy.

Disney's DVD version is a huge improvement over the old VHS tape versions - but there are still scenes where the colors look washed out from a worn faded print, and the movie's soundtrack is still in the original mono. To add insult to injury it's only presented in fullscreen just like the tape. Besides the original trailers and the classic Mickey Mouse short, the extras are only for the kids and not die-hard animation fans interested in the history of this movie.

I wish Disney would have spent more time and money for this reissue, restored the color, add archival footage, interviews with the creators and voice actors still alive, and remixed the audio for 5:1 stereo like they have done for "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty". This underrated and classic movie deserves better than a budget bare-bones presentation.

Update - Disney has upgraded this DVD! See "Robin Hood - Most Wanted Edition" for a new remastered print with extras and 5:1 sound.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2002
Format: DVD
'Robin Hood' is my favorite Disney Movie ever. It really is a classic film, and also, sadly, one of the most overlooked. Yet I have watched this a billion times, and I can't wait to replace my old, worn out, Classics Edition VHS with the new Gold Classic Collection DVD soon!
This movie is mostly compared to the 1967 classic 'The Jungle Book' and for good reason. The villians, the snakes, both look like each other, and for the main villian they either have a lion or a tiger. Also Phil Harris plays a bear in both movies. Even though 'The Jungle Book' is more well known, I believe 'Robin Hood' is better.
Anyway, 'Robin Hood' has all the cast being animals, so it gets really funny at parts. It's about Robin Hood and Little John who are stealing from the rich and giving to the poor because the tyrant, evil, phony King of England, Prince John, (who usurped the crown from his elder brother, King Richard who went on a holy crusade against the Muslims), Sir Hiss, the slithery snake who is the duke and aide of the king, and the big Sheriff of Nottingham along with his aides Trigger and Nutsy are charging the heart and soul of the people with their taxes.
So, Prince John really wants Robin Hood jailed, so he brings his niece, Maid Marian, in from London because he knows that Robin and Marian used to like each other a long time ago. He holds an archery tournament to get Robin in, and Robin does come, disguised as a stork. The winner gets to kiss Maid Marian, so Robin is excited. Yet, Robin is outsmarted, yet he gets away in the nick of time.
Then, Prince John tries another approach; to triple the taxes. Yet, when no one can pay their taxes, the whole population of Nottingham is jailed (except Robin Hood, Little John, Lady Kluck, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and all royalty). When this does not work, he plots to hang one of Robin's and Little John's best friends, Friar Tuck. Yet in an outstanding climax, Robin Hood and Little John rescue Friar Tuck and the population of Nottingham and get back all the money. Soon, King Richard returns, and Prince John, Sir Hiss, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Trigger and Nutsey are jailed.
Robin and Marian get married, and they live happily ever after.
Get this DVD. It's wonderfully digitally remastered and restored like never before, and the bonus features are superb. I love this favorite movie of mine and everyone will too. It's a true classic, and Prince John is really funny! :)
And when you get it, get it from Amazon.com! I know I will! :)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
Format: DVD
Down with Leonard Maltin too! Undistinguished! This(in my not so humble opinion) is the greatest Disney movie ever.Animation not all there! Why? Because it has character and originality? Because it's not the perfect pixelation of Tarzan(ugh)? Give me a break, this movie was done by hand not SGI, what do you expect, perfection? "robin Hood" is as funny now as it was 20 years ago. Little John getting hit on by rhinos who love his gold filled [boots]? Hilarious! Twenty years from now how many people will get the jokes on Aladdin( they're dated already)? This movie is classic,a pinacle of achievment that none of Disney's latest "efforts" has matched. I highly reccomend this film for movie goers of all ages. So buy it already you procrastinating pythons!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I first saw this movie as a little kid, and enjoyed the charming plotline. Instead of overhyped cartoony graphics, Disney is wooing viewers through plotline.

Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) is a sly Fox who is out to help the people of Nottingham with his best friend Little John (Phil Harris). The bumbling-but-evil Sheriff of Nottinghan (Pat Buttram) convieniently is a wolf. This wolf does not actually devour anybody but he enjoys getting money from the citizens of Nottingham by anyway possible (hitting somebody on a broken foot).

Sir Hiss (Terry Thomas), Prince John's (Peter Ustinov) most trusted adviser is a slick snake. Hiss is so underhanded that he enjoys tormenting Prince John about the favirotism his 'mummy' showed to brother King Richard (also voiced by Ustinov) when they were growing up. This part of the storyline tries to make viewers have sympathy for the prince, his unhappy childhood turned him into a villan and he would also have been a good person under different circumstances.

To catch Robin Hood, Prince John holds an archery contest with the prize being a kiss from Maid Marian (Monica Evans), the love of Robin's life . Robin is disgused as a stork, but his disguse is unmasked as he is presented to the royal viewing box! Robin Hood's escape from this tight sittuation is one of many reasons why this film continues to hold my interest.

The songs in this film are so memorable that I still remember them vividly after all of these years...and honestly have difficulty recalling most of Disney's more recent catalog.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie is, as has been said, a classic. I think it's the best post-Walt-pre-Little-Mermaid-era movie, at least in the field of animation. when I was a kid, I loved this movie. Robin Hood has always been and will continue to be one of my favorite stories. My loveof this movie has only increased with age. I'm an aspiring animator, and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about this amazing art form. This movie is really one of the best examples of animation. Which is why half of the other reviews on this site bother me so much. What on earth do you MEAN, "The animation's not all there?"?!?!?! The only thing that's "not there" is the clean-up artists. They used Xerox instead of paying peoople to ink the cels. The physics, moviement and animation are all there. I'll have you know that on Beauty ad the Beast, at the end, where she and the Prince are dancing on that tiled floor, THAT was reused animation from Sleeping Beauty! So, don't be so surprised. The action and acting are all superb, with the masters Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, and Milt Kahl among the crew. ..."Animation not all there", honestly... Like 90%, if ANY, of the Aladdin stuff is this good!

Don't blame amazing animation for bad/nonexistent clean-up or coloring, or design, or whatever! That's the biggest flaw the average layman makes about animation (and I'm often guilty of this, too)! We get so hung up on looking at the colors or the lines, that we don't look at weight or volumes. The animator should, unless there's something VERY strange going on, only control the way the thing (fox, chicken, or whatever) MOVES! Design, color, clean-up--none of these are controlled by the animator, so don't blame him for what somebody/-thing else does wrong!

I'm done ranting now, you can ignore half of what I've said, just don't rag on animation without knowing what you're talking about!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2007
Format: DVD
When I was a kid, I had the original VHS release of Robin Hood and I must've watched dozens of times. Sure we had all the other ones but for some reason, I re-watched this movie more than any others. Watching it recently, I still find myself completely engrossed and it's probably one of the more effortlessly fun movies Disney had done. Over the years, the film's reception got mixed with people saying they preferred the staying power of Bambi and Cinderella but I find this one of my favorites movies the House has done.

Prince John took over the throne when his brother, King Richard left to fight the Crusades. Taxing everyone in the country, Robin Hood decides to step in and take his money and give it to the poor. Robin has his buddy Little John, church member Friar Tuck and the love of Maid Marian to help him while Prince John has his companion Sir Hiss and the Sheriff of Nottingham and their hopes that they will capture Robin.

One thing I found noticeable was just how great the characters were even if they got little to no development. While the main guy's of course Robin Hood, you find yourself amused by Prince John and Hiss just as much while having the strangest soft spot for characters like the church mice couple or the little rabbit kids. Some of the dialogue at times doesn't seem like traditional kids fare either and it helps make the film a bit more accessible since it's not so eye-rollingly cheesy that you wish your kids popped in a different movie. Songs, provided by Roger Miller of "King of the Road" fame does a couple of great songs including the solemn-but-not-depressing Not in Nottingham as well as provides the voice of Alan-a-Dale, the rooster who narrates even when he's in the scene.

When it comes down to Disney's DVD releases you sometimes notice a trend: the Platinum Editions, big restorations with plenty of special features to the simple Special Editions such as Pocahontas or Mulan which are pretty big as far as features but not as prestigious. Then we have stuff like this DVD. While the transfer and clean-up is pretty surprising, considering how ugly VHS was, the special features are unbelievably light. No one could've done a commentary or at least some kind of making-of? This was the first Disney film done without Walt Disney input since he passed away so we could've had someone mention that. But oh well.

This is no Snow White so don't even think it is. But instead this is probably one of the most underrated films they've done.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2000
Format: DVD
Disney's version of Robin Hood comes from the era when Disney did miserably. Time has great healing properties, though, and since this movie is now a classic, it's easy to see it for what it is--a royal treat. As in Aristocats, the animation is not all there. The movie is also of a somewhat low energy, and there's quite a bit of bad recycling. Look past that, however, and you'll find a movie that's a treat for the whole family. It's funny. It's a classic tale of doing what's right. It has a fair amount of love and romance. How can you go wrong? The oscar nominated song "Love", along with the accompanying scene, will touch your heart. It's true that Robin Hood is not one of the greats and is not as heartwarming as some, but to say that this movie has no heart is terribly wrong. Enjoy this movie. It hints at better things to come. If you're into foxes, however, I recommend The Fox and the Hound. It has a better story, better animation, and it is also very heartwarming.
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