Robin and the 7 Hoods

Robin and the 7 Hoods is a 1964 American musical film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bing Crosby. The picture features Peter Falk, Barbara Rush, and an uncredited Edward G. Robinson.

Robin and the 7 Hoods
theatrical release poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Produced byFrank Sinatra
Screenplay byDavid R. Schwartz
Music byNelson Riddle
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited bySam O'Steen
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • June 24, 1964 (1964-06-24) (USA)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box officec. $4,200,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Written by David R. Schwartz, the film transplants the Robin Hood legend to a 1920s Chicago gangster setting, though this story's utterly opportunistic Marian is very different from the faithful Maid Marian of the original legend.

Produced by Frank Sinatra, the film introduced the hit song "My Kind of Town" by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and achieved a career of its own independent of the film.


"Big" Jim Stevens (Edward G. Robinson), undisputed boss of the Chicago underworld, gets an unexpected birthday present from his ambitious lieutenant, Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk). Instead of a stripper popping out of the cake, Big Jim gets shot by all the guests. Gisborne takes over. He orders all the other gangsters in town to pay him protection money, but declares it's still "All for One." The news does not sit well with Big Jim's friend and fellow gangster, Robbo, and a gangland war breaks out.

Robbo (Frank Sinatra) recruits pool hustler Little John (Dean Martin), who demonstrates his billiards skills while singing "A Man Who Loves His Mother," plus quick-draw artist Will (Sammy Davis Jr.) and a few others, but they are still greatly outnumbered. In addition, the corrupt Sheriff Octavius Glick is on Gisborne's payroll. Gisborne and Robbo come up with the same idea, to destroy the other's gambling joint on the same night, with Will enjoying every moment of shooting up Gisborne's place ("Bang! Bang!").

Big Jim's refined, educated daughter, Marian (Barbara Rush), shows up. She asks Robbo to avenge her father's death (wrongfully attributed to the sheriff), a request which Robbo flatly refuses.

Gisborne disposes of the sheriff. Marian then invites Robbo to dinner and gives him $50,000, falsely assuming that Robbo did as she had asked. Robbo refuses the money, so Marian attempts to seduce him into joining forces to take over the whole town. Robbo turns her down. When she sends the money to his under-repair gambling club, Robbo donates it to a boys' orphanage.

Alan A. Dale (Bing Crosby), the orphanage's director, notifies the newspapers about this good deed. A new Chicago star is born: a gangster who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Robbo finds it useful to have the public on his side. He invites the delighted Dale to join his gang, having him handle all the charities. Dale starts the Robbo Foundation and opens a string of soup kitchens, free clinics and orphan shelters. He even gives green, feathered hats and bows and arrows to the orphans, while thoroughly milking the Robin Hood image. In the meantime, Robbo and Little John give tips to Dale on how to improve his own image ("Style").

Robbo's joint reopens and is an instant hit while Gisborne, whose place is now empty, is infuriated. He and the new sheriff, Potts, organize a police raid. Robbo has anticipated this and when a few switches are pulled, the entire club is disguised as a mission. The sheriff and Gisborne burst in to find Robbo's gang singing gospel songs and preaching the evils of alcohol, complete with hymnals and tambourines ("Mr. Booze").

Robbo is framed for Glick's murder. At the trial, Gisborne and Potts claim that Robbo planned the whole thing. Dale tries to teach the despondent orphans to view this as a lesson ("Don't Be a Do-Badder"). The jury finds Robbo innocent. Wearing a green suit, Robbo publicly thanks everyone in Chicago ("My Kind of Town").

When he returns to his club, Robbo finds every one of his charities is now a front for counterfeiting. The soup kitchen smuggles fake bills in soup cans over state lines. Robbo also finds Little John living it up in Marian's mansion. Marian is willing to keep Robbo as a front, as long as she is in charge. Robbo shows his contempt for her and leaves, with Little John following him out the door.

Marian finds another willing partner in Gisborne, but the gangster is no match for Robbo and is killed. Robbo tells a shocked Marian to clear out of town.

She instead turns public opinion against him, starting a Women's League for Better Government and framing Robbo for the counterfeiting ring that she and Little John started. Unable to fight an angry mob of women, Robbo and his gang flee. Robbo and his merry men are reduced to working as Santa Clauses to solicit charitable donations. They watch dumbfounded as Marian steps out of a car with her latest partner, Alan A. Dale, who casually gives the Santas money before going off with Marian.



Cast notes

  • Peter Lawford was originally cast as Alan A. Dale, but was replaced with Bing Crosby following a break in Sinatra's relationship with Lawford. The break stemmed from a scheduled visit to Sinatra's home by Lawford's brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy during a 1962 West Coast trip.[2] Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was long concerned about Sinatra's rumored ties with underworld figures, encouraged the President to change his plans and stay at Crosby's home, which (it was maintained) could provide better security for the President. The change came at the last minute, after Sinatra made extensive arrangements for the promised and eagerly awaited presidential visit, including the construction of a helipad. Sinatra was furious, believing that Lawford had failed to intercede with the Kennedys on his behalf, and ostracized him from the Rat Pack.[3] Sinatra and Lawford never spoke again. Sinatra endorsed incumbent Democrat Pat Brown for his unsuccessful re-election as governor of California in 1966, and then backed Vice-President Hubert Humphrey in his equally unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1968. These were the last two Democrats that Sinatra gave his public support to. Crosby, a staunch Republican, ended up cast in Lawford's role.[4]


Variety commented: "Warner Bros. has a solid money entry in "Robin and the Seven Hoods," a spoof on gangster pix of bygone days sparked by the names of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby to give marquee power ... Performance-wise, Falk comes out best. His comic gangster is a pure gem and he should get plenty of offers after this. Sinatra, of course, is smooth and Crosby in a "different" type of role rates a big hand. Martin seems lost in the shuffle. Davis is slick and Miss Rush, going heavy, is beautiful to look at."[5]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times said, inter alia: "The minor musical whimsey that arrived at the Palace and other theaters yesterday under the just-too-cunning title of "Robin and the 7 Hoods" is almost as strained and archaic in the fable it has to tell of Prohibition-era gangsters in Chicago as the fable of Robin Hood it travesties. Dishing up Frank Sinatra as the leader of a mob that enhances its public image by giving large sums of money to charity, it runs through some all-too-familiar plot arrangements and farce routines that have a fleeting and far-away resemblance to some of the stuff in the old Damon Runyon tales."[6]

Michael Thornton, writing in the British newspaper The Sunday Express had this to say as part of his review. "I must confess I was yawning up to the moment Bing Crosby made his quiet and studious entrance as the unworldly secretary of a children's orphanage. The years have not dealt lightly with Mr. Crosby. The tips of the famous toupee have receded still further back upon that time-honoured face. But after some moments of horrifying suspicion that he had been introduced as a mute stooge for the Sinatra Clan, the Old Master opened his mouth to sing again and to prove that his sweetness of tone remains unimpaired and undiminished for all his years of seniority."[7]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the score. Crosby, still a major movie star at the time who had top billing over Sinatra in their last film together, High Society, sang more songs than Sinatra in this film as well.

"My Kind of Town" is the centerpiece number of the film. Orchestral versions of the song are the primary element of the opening and closing credits. A dance band also plays the song in Robbo's speakeasy. Sinatra sings the song to the citizens outside the courthouse after having been framed for, and acquitted of, murdering the sheriff.


  • "All for One and One for All" - Peter Falk and others
  • "Any Man Who Loves His Mother" - Dean Martin
  • "Bang! Bang!" - Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • "Style" - Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin
  • "Mr. Booze" - Bing Crosby and others
  • "Don't be a Do-Badder" - Bing Crosby and the Mitchell Boy Singers
  • "My Kind of Town" - Frank Sinatra
  • "Don't Be a Do-Badder" (reprise) - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.


Robin and the 7 Hoods was filmed in November–December 1963. According to Robert Osborne, primary host for Turner Classic Movies, this was a very troubled production for Sinatra due to two outside events, so much so that he considered not completing the film. Close friend President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Sinatra's son, Frank Sinatra, Jr., was kidnapped and held for ransom only weeks later.

Stage musical

A new version of Robin and the 7 Hoods, with a book by Rupert Holmes, premiered on stage July 30, 2010 at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California. Updated to the early 1960s, it includes only one of the film's songs, "My Kind of Town," but features 18 others composed by Cahn and Van Heusen, among them "Come Fly With Me" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" The piece ran throughout August 2010. Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed the musical, set in the Mad Men era of 1962. The story is about a likable gangster hoping to get out of the crime business. A do-gooding TV reporter likens him to a modern-day Robin Hood.[9]

Home media

Robin and the 7 Hoods has been released on a number of home video editions including individually[10] and as part of the deluxe multi-movie set The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition.[11] The individual DVD editions cases depicted a portrait of Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr and Crosby with guns in their hands. However, since Crosby's character is not involved in the criminal operations of the group, the portrait was later altered to show him without the gun.

The film's soundtrack album was re-released on compact disc in 2000 on Artanis Records.[12]

See also



  1. "Big Rental Pictures of 1964". Variety Magazine. 6 January 1965. p. 39. Retrieved 4 December 2014. Please note this figure of c. US$4,200,000 is rentals accruing to distributors, not total gross.
  2. Macfarlane, Malcolm. "Bing Crosby - Day by Day". BING magazine. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  3. Spada, James (1991). Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets (product page) ( Bantam Books. pp. 292–293. ISBN 0-553-07185-8. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  4. Spada, James (1991). Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets (product page) ( Bantam Books. p. 294. ISBN 0-553-07185-8. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  5. "Variety". June 24, 1964. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. Crowther, Bosley (August 6, 1964). "The New York Times". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. Thornton, Michael (July 26, 1964). "The Sunday Express". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  9. Stevens, Rob (August 2, 2010). "Robin and the 7 Hoods: This new musical at the Old Globe using the popular songs of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen is absolutely delightful". Theater Mania: For Theater Everywhere. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  10. "Robin and the 7 Hoods". Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  11. "The Rat Pack Ultimate Collectors Edition: "Ocean's 11" (1960), "Robin and the 7 Hoods" (1964), "4 for Texas" (1963) & "Sergeants 3" (1962)" (Box set, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1, NTSC DVD). Warner Home Video. Retrieved 4 December 2014. DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008. Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  12. Sinatra, Frank; Crosby, Bing; Martin, Dean; Davis Jr., Sammy. "Frank Sinatra's Robin & The Seven Hoods Gold CD" (CD). Artanis Records. Retrieved 4 December 2014. CD Release Date: October 24, 2000


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.