The English city of Nottingham is known for its lace, its annual Goose Fair, and most of all for Sherwood Forest and the legend of Robin Hood. Because the Robin Hood story is a folk tale, film and television adaptations are free to add to the basic plot. In Ridley Scott's 2010 film "Robin Hood" starring Russell Crowe as Robin, we find Robin and a few of his "merry men" returning from fighting in the Crusades in what might be called a "prequel" to the legend.
Robin Longstride (Crowe) is an archer in King Richard's crusading army. This is the third campaign he has fought with Richard. On their return to France, where they are laying siege to a castle, the king asks Robin for a frank opinion of the king's behavior and battle tactics. Robin speaks his mind, but the king doesn't like what he hears and has Robin and his comrades arrested. The friends decide to escape and become deserters. The group includes Alan-a-Dale, Will Scarlett and Little John, all familiar members of Robin's band of "merry men" in the original legend.
King Richard dies, so Robin and his friends plan a return to England. On the journey they come across an English knight, Sir Godfrey, who supports the French king. Sir Godfrey flees, but Robin and his band fight his followers and steal their armor. Robin promises one dying knight, Robert of Loxley, that he will return his sword to his father in Nottingham. They can now travel disguised as knights, and Robin changes his name from Longstride to Loxley.
Back in England, Robin witnesses the coronation of King John, who rules the country harshly. Sir Godfrey turns up as a tax collector for the king, who is unaware the knight is a French agent. Robin and his friends travel to Nottingham to find Robert Loxley's father, who encourages Robin to impersonate his son. However, Loxley's widow, the Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett), is not so impressed by Robin, and she warms to him only when she sees how he helps the poor.
Meanwhile, Sir Godfrey has formed an army against King John and wants him to sign a charter of rights. By now the king knows that Sir Godfrey is a traitor and that he will help the French invade England. Robin and his friends join the king's army and fight Godfrey's men in Nottingham. The French invade, and Lady Marian attempts to kill Godfrey herself. Robin comes to her rescue and kills a fleeing Godfrey. Instead of thanking Robin for his help, the king declares him to be an outlaw, and Robin, Marian and his band hide out in Sherwood Forest, where, as it says on screen, "The legend begins."
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images