Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Last updated

Robin Hood: Men in Tights
RobinHoodMeninTights Poster.jpg
North American theatrical release poster
Directed by Mel Brooks [1]
Produced byMel Brooks
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Evan Chandler
  • J. David Shapiro
Music by Hummie Mann
CinematographyMichael D. O'Shea
Edited by Stephen E. Rivkin
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
(USA & Canada/Spain)
Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International
Release date
  • July 28, 1993 (1993-07-28)
Running time
104 minutes [2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$35.7 million [3]

Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a 1993 American musical adventure comedy film and a parody of the Robin Hood story. The film was produced and directed by Mel Brooks, co-written by Brooks, Evan Chandler, and J. David Shapiro based on a story by Chandler and Shapiro, and stars Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, and Dave Chappelle in his film debut. It includes frequent comedic references to previous Robin Hood films (particularly Prince of Thieves , upon which the plot is loosely structured, Disney's Robin Hood , and the 1938 Errol Flynn adaptation, The Adventures of Robin Hood ).


The film also features Brooks in a minor role; the first time he had appeared in one of his own films in which he does not receive top billing or play the lead role since Young Frankenstein . In addition to Brooks, it features cameos from Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patten, and Rudy De Luca.


Robin of Loxley is captured during the Crusades and is imprisoned in Jerusalem. With the help of fellow inmate Asneeze, he escapes and frees the other inmates. Upon returning to England, Robin finds Asneeze's son, Ahchoo, and discovers that Prince John has assumed control while King Richard is away fighting in the Crusades. Unbeknownst to Richard, the prince is abusing his power. Robin returns to his family home, Loxley Hall, only to find it being repossessed by John's men. His family's blind servant, Blinkin, informs Robin that his family is dead, and his father left him a key which opens "the greatest treasure in all the land."

Robin recruits Little John and Will Scarlet O'Hara to help regain his father's land and oust Prince John from the throne. On his quest, Robin attracts the attention of Maid Marian of Bagelle, who wants to find the man who has the key to her Everlast chastity belt. They are also joined by Rabbi Tuckman, who shares with them his sacramental wine and bargain circumcisions. While Robin is training his band of tights-clad Merry Men, the spoonerism-spouting Sheriff of Rottingham hires the Mafioso Don Giovanni to assassinate Robin at the Spring Festival. They plan to hold an archery tournament to attract Robin. Maid Marian hears of the plot, and sneaks out of her castle to warn Robin, accompanied by her German lady-in-waiting Broomhilde.

At the archery tournament, a disguised Robin makes it to the final round, but loses after his arrow is split in two by his opponent. Robin reviews the movie's script to discover that he gets another shot. Giovanni's assassin attempts to kill Robin by shooting at him with a scoped crossbow, but Blinkin catches the arrow in midair. Robin then takes the second shot, this time using a special "PATRIOT arrow" and hits the target. Robin is arrested, with Marian promising to marry the Sheriff in order to spare Robin's life.

Robin and the Merry Men interrupt the wedding between the Sheriff and Maid Marian. Marian is carried off to the tower by the Sheriff, who wants to deflower her but cannot open her chastity belt. Robin arrives and begins to duel the sheriff, during which Robin's key falls into the lock of Marian's chastity belt.

After winning the fight Robin spares the Sheriff's life only to miss his sheath and accidentally run the Sheriff through. The witch Latrine, Prince John's cook and adviser, saves him by giving him a magical Life Saver in exchange for marriage. Before Robin and Marian can attempt to open the lock, Broomhilde arrives, insisting they get married first. Rabbi Tuckman conducts the ceremony, but they are suddenly interrupted by King Richard, recently returned from the Crusades, who orders Prince John to be taken away to the Tower of London and made part of the tour.

Robin and Marian are married, and Ahchoo is made the new sheriff of Rottingham. That night, Robin and Maid Marian attempt to open the chastity belt, only to realize his key will not open the lock.



Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "What's missing is the kind of densely packed comic screenplay that helped to make Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety two of the most delectable movie parodies of the last 20 years. Men in Tights has the manner of something that wasn't argued over long enough. A few good gags are supplemented by dozens of others that still need to be worked on or tossed out entirely." [5] Caryn James wrote, "Men in Tights is not as relentlessly clever and comic as his '70s films, but its funniest moments prove that Mr. Brooks has not lost his shrewd, nutty irreverence." [6] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film half of one star out of four and called it "a most disappointing Mel Brooks movie parody that suggests that the once hilarious Brooks has lost his way. The pacing is agonizingly slow, and many of the jokes are recycled from his earlier, better work." [7] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called it "a pointless and untimely lampoon of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves from the increasingly creaky spoofmeister Mel Brooks." [8] Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times was mixed, writing that "what's enjoyable about the best parts of Men in Tights is its grab-bag, throwaway style", but also finding "something a little dutiful and desperate about portions of the film, as if Brooks were trying to capture an audience he didn't really connect with." [9] Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel called the film "crashingly unfunny" and a sign that "the 67-year old comedian's sense of humor isn't nearly as sharp as it once was." [10] In his book, Reel Bad Arabs, Jack Shaheen saw the movie positively, describing it as a "funny fable" that spoofs Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, containing "harmless visual and verbal puns".

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 40%, based on 42 reviews, and an average rating of 5.04/10. The critical consensus reads: "Undisciplined, scatological, profoundly silly, and often utterly groan-worthy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights still has an amiable, anything-goes goofiness that has made it a cult favorite." [11] In more modern times, however, the film has developed a cult following. [12]

Box office

Robin Hood: Men in Tights was not one of Brooks's best grossing films in its theatrical release, [13] though Brooks mentions that it and Spaceballs are his two top selling films on video in a DVD interview for the latter film.

The film debuted at number 6 at the North American box office, with only $6.8 million. [13] The film went on to gross a domestic total of $35.7 million. [3]


Title [14] Artist [14] Written by [14]
"Men In Tights"The Merry Men Singers
(Steve Lively, Randy Crenshaw, Kerry Katz, Geoff Koch & Rick Logan)
Mel Brooks
"Marian"Debbie JamesMel Brooks
"Sherwood Forest Rap"Kevin Dorsey & The Merry Men SingersMel Brooks
"The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful"Arthur Rubin & the Merry Men SingersBilly Rose, Irving Kahal
"Marian" (end credit duet) Cathy Dennis & Lance Ellington Mel Brooks
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat"uncredited
"Hava Nagila"uncredited
"Bridal Chorus"uncreditedRichard Wagner
"Rule, Britannia!"uncreditedJames Thomson, Thomas Arne

Related Research Articles

Mel Brooks American director, writer, actor, comedian and producer

Mel Brooks is an American director, writer, actor, comedian, producer and composer. He is known as a creator of broad film farces and comedic parodies. Brooks began his career as a comic and a writer for Sid Caesar's variety show Your Show of Shows (1950–54) alongside Woody Allen, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. Together with Carl Reiner, he created the comic character The 2000 Year Old Man. He wrote, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970.

<i>The Adventures of Robin Hood</i> 1938 film by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley

The Adventures of Robin Hood is a 1938 American Technicolor swashbuckler from Warner Bros. Pictures. It was produced by Hal B. Wallis and Henry Blanke, directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, and stars Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains.

<i>Maid Marian and Her Merry Men</i> television series

Maid Marian and her Merry Men is a British television series created and written by Tony Robinson and directed by David Bell. It began in 1989 on BBC One and ran for four series, with the last episode shown in 1994. The show was a partially musical comedy retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, placing Maid Marian in the role of leader of the Merry Men, and reducing Robin to an incompetent ex-tailor.

<i>Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves</i> 1991 film by Kevin Reynolds

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a 1991 American action-adventure film based on the English folk tale of Robin Hood that originated in the 12th century. It was directed by Kevin Reynolds and stars Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, Morgan Freeman as Azeem, Christian Slater as Will Scarlett, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marian, and Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham. The screenplay was written by Pen Densham and John Watson.

Guy of Gisbourne English folklore character from Robin Hood

Sir Guy of Gisbourne is a character from the Robin Hood legends of English folklore. He first appears in "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne", where he is a hired killer who attempts to kill Robin Hood but is killed by him. In later depictions, he has become a romantic rival to Robin Hood for Maid Marian's love.

Maid Marian Love interest of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood in English folklore

Maid Marian or Marion is the love interest of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood in English folklore. Maid Marian was in origin a "shepherdess" figure associated with May Day. Her role as the love interest of Robin Hood dates to at least the 16th century. She is typically portrayed as beautiful, confident, and sincere in her love of Robin Hood. Often, she is a noblewoman in the stories, though sometimes she is a commoner. Most modern Robin Hood stories feature her prominently and present her as an admirable woman. Of particular note are Marian's independence and relative equality to her lover, marking her as one of the earliest strong female characters in English literature.

<i>The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men</i> 1952 film by Ken Annakin

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men is a 1952 action adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and RKO Radio Pictures based on the Robin Hood legend, made in Technicolor and filmed in Buckinghamshire, England. It was written by Lawrence Edward Watkin and directed by Ken Annakin. It is the second of Disney's complete live-action films, after Treasure Island (1950), and the first of four films Annakin directed for Disney.

Will Scarlet is a prominent member of Robin Hood's Merry Men. He is present in the earliest ballads along with Little John and Much the Miller's Son.

<i>When Things Were Rotten</i> American television series - 1975

When Things Were Rotten is an American sitcom television series created in 1975 by Mel Brooks and aired for half a season by ABC.

<i>Princess of Thieves</i> 2001 television film directed by Peter Hewitt

Princess of Thieves is a romantic adventure TV movie starring Keira Knightley, produced by Granada Productions in 2001 and first broadcast on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC in the United States that same year. Co-starring in the film are Malcolm McDowell as the Sheriff, Jonathan Hyde as Prince John, Stuart Wilson as Robin Hood, Del Synnott as Froderick, and Stephen Moyer as Philip. The movie was directed by Peter Hewitt and filmed in Romania. The film's plotline draws inspiration from the classic Robin Hood legend, which has been adapted many times for screen.

"Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow" is Child ballad 152.

Walk this way (humor) Recurrent pun in comedy films and television shows

"Walk this way" is a recurrent pun in a number of comedy films and television shows. It may be derived from an old vaudeville joke. It refers to the double usage of "way" in English as both a direction and a manner.

The Merry Men are the group of outlaws who follow Robin Hood in English literature and folklore. The band appears in the earliest ballads about Robin Hood and remains popular in modern adaptations.

<i>Robin Hood</i> (2010 film) 2010 adventure movie by Ridley Scott

Robin Hood is a 2010 historical adventure film based on the Robin Hood legend, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, and Max von Sydow. It was released in 12 countries on 12 May 2010, including the United Kingdom and Ireland and was also the opening film at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival the same day. It was released in a further 23 countries the following day, among them Australia, and an additional 17 countries on 14 May 2010, among them the United States and Canada. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $321.7 million against its $200 million budget, thus being considered a box office disappointment.

<i>The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood</i> 1984 film by Ray Austin

The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood is a 1984 American made-for-television comedy film directed by Ray Austin and starring George Segal, Morgan Fairchild, Roddy McDowell, Janet Suzman and Tom Baker. It is a parody of the Robin Hood story.

Cultural depictions of John, King of England

John of England has been portrayed many times in fiction, generally reflecting the overwhelmingly negative view of his reputation.

Sheriff of Nottingham the main villain in the legend of Robin Hood

The Sheriff of Nottingham is the main antagonist in the legend of Robin Hood. He is generally depicted as an unjust tyrant, who mistreats the local people of Nottinghamshire, subjecting them to unaffordable taxes. Robin Hood fights against him, stealing from the rich, and the Sheriff, in order to give to the poor; a characteristic for which Robin Hood is best known.

Friar Tuck character from the Robin Hood legend

Friar Tuck is a companion to Robin Hood in the legends about that character.

<i>Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse</i> 2012 film by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse is a 2012 American animated direct-to-video action comedy film starring the seven-time Academy Award-winning cat-and-mouse duo Tom and Jerry as well as the historical and heroic outlaw Robin Hood. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Turner Entertainment Co., the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 28, 2012.


  1. Communications, Bpi (October 1, 1992). "Brooks Plans `Robin Hood: Men In Tights". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  2. "Robin Hood - Men in Tights (PG)". British Board of Film Classification . August 25, 1993. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. Rainer, Peter (July 28, 1993). "Men in Tights': A See-Through Laugh". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  5. Canby, Vincent (July 28, 1993). "Mel Brooks Aims His Comedic Barbs At Robin Hood et al." The New York Times . C13.
  6. James, Caryn (August 1, 1993). "FILM VIEW; Mel Brooks Vs. the Boyz N the Wood". The New York Times . Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  7. Siskel, Gene (July 30, 1993). "Mel Brooks loses his way in lame 'Robin Hood' parody". Chicago Tribune . Section 7, page C.
  8. Kempley, Rita (July 28, 1993). "No Goyz in This 'Hood'". The Washington Post . C2.
  9. Rainer, Peter (July 28, 1993). "FILM VIEW; Mel Brooks Vs. the Boyz N the Wood". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  10. Boyar, Jay (July 30, 1993). "Brooks Recycles His Old Jokes For The Tedious 'Robin Hood'". Orlando Sentinel . Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  11. "Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango Media . Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  12. "1993 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights'". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  13. 1 2 Fox, David J. (August 2, 1993). "'Sun' Rises Over 'Justice'". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  14. 1 2 3 "Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)". IMDb.