Australian Council on Children and the Media

Robin Hood

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Not suitable under 12, PG to 15 (Violence, Disturbing scenes, Sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Robin Hood
  • a review of Robin Hood completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 May 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence, disturbing scenes and sexual references
Children aged 12-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and sexual references

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Robin Hood
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Violence and infrequent sexual references
Length 140 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This film tells the story of the events leading up to Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) becoming an outlaw. We meet him as Robin Longstride, an archer in Kings Richard’s army. He is an honest individual whose outspoken opinions land him in hot water with the king. When King Richard is killed in battle, Robin and his band of followers, Little John, Will Scarlet and Alan A’Dayle, decide to leave the battle behind and head home for England. Meanwhile Godfrey (Mark Strong) is conspiring with the French to kill King Richard, not knowing that the king is already dead.

Godfrey and his men ambush the dead king’s escort, fatally wounding all the knights before Robin and his companions arrive to rescue the king’s crown. One of the knights left dying is Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge) who makes Robin promise to return his family sword to his father Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) in Nottingham. Robin and his men don the knights’ armour and Robin takes on the identity of Sir Robert Loxley. 

After arriving in England and returning King Richard’s crown to Prince John, Robin and his men go to Nottingham where Robin returns Sir Robert’s sword to Sir Walter and meets Sir Robert’s wife Marion (Cate Blanchett).  In a bid to allow Marion to keep her family lands, Sir Walter convinces Robin to continue with the ruse of being her husband

Meanwhile Godfrey is busy terrorising half of England in a bid to both raise taxes for King John and stir up unrest with the nobles ahead of the French invasion. Robin discovers Godfrey’s treason and takes up the struggle against him.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Treason; death and killing; outlaws

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Robin Hood contains intense sequences of medieval battle violence and war scenes. The film contains some brutal and gruesome images although these images appear briefly with minimal depiction of blood and gore. Examples include:

  • One scene depicts King Richard sacking a castle. Arrows rain down on the shields of the attackers and boiling oil is poured over them. Soldiers are engulfed in flames. Numerous soldiers are shot by arrows which protrude from legs, arms, and chests and archers fall from the castle battlements. King Richard is shot through the neck by an arrow and lies on the ground with the arrow through his neck.  
  • During a fist fight between Robin and Little John the two men punch each other in the face, head-butting the other and throw each other around.
  • Robin talks about women and children he was forced to kill and the effect that it had on him.
  • Robin and several other men are restrained in stocks with their feet, hands and neck bound by the stocks.
  • The King of France slices his finger while opening an oyster (we see a small amount of blood) and hands a bloodied oyster to a second man to eat.
  • During an ambush scene trees fall on top of horseman, knocking the riders from their mounts, and horsemen are shot in the chest with arrows. A man is speared through the chest and we see him lying on the ground with the spear protruding from his chest with blood around the wound and on the man’s mouth The man dies from his wounds. Men are shot through the neck, in the chest and in the back with arrows.
  • A slow motion shot shows an arrow flying past a man’s face and slicing open the man’s cheek (minimal blood and gore are depicted).
  • The Sheriff of Nottingham grabs Marion by the throat and kisses her roughly on the lips.
  • King John’s elderly mother slaps him hard across the face.          
  • Mounted soldiers ride over the top of villagers, slashing them with swords
  • A large group of villagers (woman and children) are locked in a barn with the doors nailed shut and the barn set on fire. The building fills with smoke before the group is rescued unharmed.
  • Godfrey slashes Sir Walter Loxley, who is old and blind across the back and then runs his sword through Sir Walter’s chest, killing him.
  • Friar Tuck hurls two bee hives at a group of soldiers in a room and leaves the soldiers to be attacked by the bees.
  • A French soldier traps Marion in a room, taking off his gloves and belt in an intimidating manner. He then physically forces himself upon Marion, kissing her on the face. Marion distracts the soldier by pulling up the bottom of her skirt, then stabs him in the back of the neck. We do not see Marion stab the man, but see the dagger protruding from the man’s neck.
  • When Godfrey attacks Nottingham we see both Robin and Marion slashing soldiers across the chest and throat with their swords. We see a soldier impaled upon a sword and soldiers shot in the throat and chest with arrows.  
  • During the final battle between the English and French armies we see boats turning over while attempting to land on the beach and men in armour sinking and drowning in the water. Arrows rain down on the French invaders and see men with arrows protruding from their necks, chests and legs gasping for air in the water and also see numerous dead bodies in the water which is red with blood. Friar Tuck breaks a man’s neck with his hands and we hear the sound of bones breaking. Robin and Godfrey engage in an extended sword fight. Both men and Marion are nearly crushed between two boats. Robin fires an arrow at Godfrey and we see Godfrey impaled through the neck by the arrow. 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • After being shot in the cheek by an arrow, Godfrey is seen with an angry, jagged stitched up wound on the side of his face. His scarred faced is shown on several occasions and looks scary.
  • Bee hives are thrown into a room full of soldiers with the hives breaking open and the bees attacking screaming soldiers.      
  • Sir Walter’s body lies in a coffin on top of a funeral pyre of wood and is engulfed in flames.
  • In a flashback scene, a young Robin (six years) watches his father being beheaded. We do not see the image of the beheading - the act is inferred.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Prince John’s concubine is referred to as a “French pastry”. His mother tells John “bed her and wed her.”
  • In relation to a scar disfiguring Godfrey’s face, the King says “the ladies will love you even more”.
  • Little John is asked the question “so why do they call you Little John?” the question having sexual connotations   
  • Sir Walter, an old man in his seventies, says that he woke up this morning with a glow, the comment having sexual connotations.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Prince John’s mother bursts into his bedchamber to find the Prince and a woman lying naked beneath the bed covers. We see the woman’s bare shoulders and the Prince’s naked chest. At one point the Prince stands naked on the bed in front of his mother, but only his naked back is shown. 
  • Several village women are seen with shirts half falling off their shoulders and using subtle body gestures to sexually entice Robin’s men. The next day we see  the same men stumbling out of a house followed by the same women
  • Robin kisses Marion on the lips.
  • Scenes of sexual assault and attempted rape (see Violence listed above) 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • King Richard drinks wine from a flagon, appearing mildly intoxicated.
  • King Richard asks for wine while dying on the battle field. 
  • In several scenes men drinking wine and mead, singing and appearing mildly intoxicated.
  • Robin Hood’s men ask Friar Tuck if he knows where they can get a drink (alcohol), the Friar asks if they if they have tried a honey liqueur called mead.
  • In one scene we see images of Friar Tuck making mead and in one scene he appears quite intoxicated
  • French soldiers break open Friar Tuck’s barrels of mead.

Coarse language

Robin Hood contains occasional coarse language. Examples include:

  • “Bastard”, “bloody expensive”, “by Christ”.

In a nutshell

Robin Hood is an action adventure that gives us a new picture of this legendary character. The film is likely to entertain a wide ranging audience although not suited to younger viewers. While the film contains violence and disturbing scenes, the depiction of blood and gore is kept to a minimum. Russell Crow and Cate Blanchett along with much of the film’s high profile supporting cast provide excellent performances.  

The main messages from this movie are that fair play and liberty are worth believing in and fighting for, and that you should never give up or give in to tyranny.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • honesty
  • selflessness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as the consequences of King John’s greed, dishonesty and his betrayal of his people

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