The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men

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.

The Story of Robin Hood and
His Merrie Men
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Annakin
Produced byPerce Pearce
Walt Disney
Written byLawrence Edward Watkin
StarringRichard Todd
Joan Rice
Peter Finch
Music byClifton Parker
CinematographyGuy Green
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • March 13, 1952 (1952-03-13) (Premiere-London)[2]
  • June 26, 1952 (1952-06-26) (US)[2]
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom
Box office$2.1 million (US rentals)[3]


Young Robin Hood, in love with Maid Marian, enters an archery contest with his father at the King's palace. On the way home his father is killed by henchmen of Prince John. Robin takes up the life of an outlaw, gathering together his band of merry men with him in Sherwood Forest, to avenge his father's death and to help the people of the land whom Prince John is over taxing.



Production began in April 1951 at Denham Film Studios in London.[4] This was the second film Disney made in the United Kingdom, the first being Treasure Island (1950).[5] These and several other Disney films were made using British funds frozen during World War II. The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men was filmed in 3-strip Technicolor.[6]


The world premiere was in London on March 13, 1952; the New York opening was on June 26, 1952. In the wake of this film a promotional short entitled The Riddle of Robin Hood was produced.[7]

The film was one of the most popular in Britain in 1952,[8] and would eventually gross over $4,578,000 at the American box office.[4]

Critical reception

The New York Times called it "an expert rendition of an ancient legend that is as pretty as its Technicolor hues and as lively as a sturdy Western... (T)he action - the courtly speeches and romance are kept to a sensible minimum - is robust and fairly continuous";[4] and Leonard Maltin similarly noted a "Zesty, colorful retelling of the familiar story, filmed in England by Walt Disney with excellent cast. Not as personality oriented as other versions, but just as good in its own way";[9] and the Radio Times wrote, "This may not hold a candle to the Errol Flynn version, but the authentic English locations and fine Technicolor photography make it excellent family entertainment. Richard Todd enjoys himself as the famous outlaw, but is up against strong competition from Peter Finch as the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham and the delightful Hubert Gregg, cast against type as the evil King John."[10]

Home releases

A Laserdisc was released in 1992, a VHS tape was released in 1994 (the Walt Disney's Studio Film Collection) and a limited Disney Movie Club DVD was released in July 2006. All releases are 1.33:1 fullscreen in monaural (as shot).

A Disneyland Records LP of four songs from the soundtrack with narration by Dallas McKennon was released in 1963.[11]


  1. Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 266. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  2. "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  3. 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
  4. "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men". Turner Classic Movies.
  5. "The Story Of Robin Hood".
  6. "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men DVD Review (Former Disney Movie Club Exclusive)".
  7. "- Disney Shorts: 1950ies".
  8. "Robert Beatty in boxing picture". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 31 January 1953. p. 3 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  9. "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies.
  10. "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
  11. " - DQ-1249 Walt Disney Presents The Story Of Robin Hood".
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