Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Corrected entry: The Sheriff of Nottingham refers to swords being forged from Spanish steel shortly before stabbing his cousin. After the stabbing he again says, "This is good steel." Steel wasn't invented until the 19th century.

Correction: Rubbish. Steel was first produced in Cyprus around 1100 BC (as far as we know. It could have been invented earlier, but the oldest surviving artifacts are from this age). This was a very inferior carburized iron, but the principal technique spread and by the year 900 AD Middle Eastern smiths could make "Damascus steel", which is said to be ideal for swords. The "Spanish Steel" the Sheriff talks about probably mean that the blade was made in Toledo, a city famous for making excellent swordsteel since the early Middle Ages.


Corrected entry: During the religious service we see noblemen and women sitting on benches - benches were not introduced in churches until the 19th century.

Correction: No they were not. I live in Suffolk, England: many churches had benches by the end of the middle ages. Many churches just in Suffolk have fifteenth century bench ends (Woolpit, Blythburgh, Wordwell). In fact, all English churches probably had benches and seats for the congregation by the sixteenth century. A recent specialist study "Pews, Benches And Chairs" edited by Trevor Cooper and Sarah Brown (Ecclesiological Society, London, 2011) shows that sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century benches, seats and pews are quite common, and that that some thirteenth century benches may still survive in a few churches. So benches in a church in the twelfth century is a possibility.

Rob Halliday

Corrected entry: What's that 'arrow-cam' shot all about? Later on in the film Robin shoots at the hanging ropes and the arrow spins. This is correct for arrows travelling in a straight line. Its physically impossible for an arrow to weave and wobble in the way that the 'arrow-cam' shows and travel in a perfectly straight line.

Correction: Arrows bend and wobble in flight. As shown by slow-motion video of a flying arrow.


Corrected entry: It's Hadrian's Wall where Freeman and Costner first encounter the Sheriff's men (the tree the mistletoe is growing on is an apple tree. Been there, no doubt about it). So are we to understand that they landed at Dover, schlepped all the way to the Scottish border, and then backtracked to Nottingham?

Correction: Although the location used is Hadrian's Wall, there is no indication that it is supposed to be Hadrian's Wall in the movie. I think it is just supposed to be some sort of boundary wall.

J I Cohen

Corrected entry: When Robin battles the Sheriff's men under the tree by the wall, he takes a crossbow from the horse and shoots one of the men in the stomach. Moments later after the battle the soldier can be seen with the arrow protruding from his head.

Correction: Robin shoots two men with crossbows: one in the stomach through his hand, one in the head.


Corrected entry: In the scene when Robin is trying to cross the river, and the Little John's men pull the rope to tip him in, Will Scarlet starts to sing "Pop Goes the Weasel" with different lyrics. The film takes place around 1200 and this song was published in 1855.

António Ferreira Costa

Correction: The LYRICS are from the 1850's, the MUSIC (which is all Will uses) is older. We don't know exactly how old. It was described as "an Old English Dance" on a sheet of music dating back to 1853, and that's just when it was written down, not the first time anybody ever put those notes together.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: In one scene we see Maid Marian weaving the Bayeaux Tapestry. The original tapestry is a Norman French document, made in Bayeaux France. In a time when the vast majority of the population was illiterate, the Tapestry's images were designed to tell the story of the conquest of England from the Norman perspective. Thus, Marian's weaving of it would make her a traitor.

Correction: It is unlikely that Marian would have been working on the Bayeux Tapestry in the 12th century, as it was almost certainly made in the 11th century. That rather important point aside, many historians now argue the Bayeux Tapestry was created in Kent very possibly by Anglo-Saxon women who had the appropriate embroidery skills for this particular style. Plus the Anglo-Saxon nobility was not 'wiped out', though it was indeed heavily reduced in size and power after 1066 and gradually assimilated. Therefore Marian could easily be of Anglo-Saxon descent and identify herself as such.

Corrected entry: Towards the end of the film, Robin climbs on to the catapult, followed by Azeem, who moves his sword as though putting it in a sheath, but you can clearly see he either misses or there is no sheath, and so he just holds it there. When the two are catapulted in the next shot, both of Azeem's hands can be seen flailing and the sword can be seen fixed at his waist.

Correction: There's no sheath, but the sword is in his belt. He simply rests his hand on it, he's not holding it in place.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: Robin's sword bends when he presses it against Guy of Gisborne's throat.

Correction: Longsword blades are made to have spring and flexibility. "Cheaper" blades will bend too much, eventually warping permanently. Robin was probably using a poorly made sword as he had no time to acquire a quality blade.


Corrected entry: When Robin and John are fighting in the river, John has his stick under Robin's, and forces it around in a 360 degree motion twice - once in the wide shot, and immediately again in the closeup.


Correction: It is very likely that John made the circular move twice in a row. There is no reason to assume he did it only once.


Corrected entry: When Robin, Azeem, and Duncan are escaping Maid Marian's place and the soldiers, they come upon one of those rock walls. It is run down and sometimes is built up, sometimes is crumbled. They decide to crash through a built-up part instead of jumping over the crumbled section a couple of feet over.

Correction: High intensity, spur of the moment decisions use very little logic. This was a character choice, not a movie mistake.


Corrected entry: When Robin is attempting to rescue Marian from the chapel, he holds the scribe against the wall with his sword. You can clearly see the fake sword bending as too much pressure is applied against the Scribe's chest.

Correction: Actually this was done on purpose it is not a mistake, Kevin Costner included it as a homage to Errol Flynn as when Errol played Robin Hood and would pin the bad guy to the wall the sword would bend, hence thats why theres a long shot of it as it moves round to Azim.


Corrected entry: When Marian is being chased by the Sheriff up the stairs, she's got a bare backside. Later, when he's trying to have his way with her, she's wearing bloomers.

Correction: Incorrect, if you still frame it she is wearing knickers, They are tight but you can definitely tell she is not "bare". The material stretches as she climbs the stairs across her backside.

Corrected entry: When the sheriff's men are robbing a church, they post a "wanted" sign for Robin Hood. From the front the sign looks fine, but from the side it looks very shiny, like it's laminated.


Correction: It's oiled to protect the ink from the elements.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: When the outlaws' hideout in Sherwood Forest is attacked 'by surprise' there are a large number of heavy catapults, which attack the hideout. Given the density of the forest and the size of the catapults, it probably would have taken over a week to get them in position.

Correction: They were assembled on site. While travelling through the forest, they were much more compact allowing them to be moved very quickly.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: Freeman uses a retractable telescope, which wasn't invented until 1608. While lenses, etc. had been developed earlier and in different areas of the world, it is simply not possible that he would have a working telescope that early. See:

Correction: The "telescope" that he uses is 2 lens at ends of a rolled piece of leather. Polished lens with optical properties such as the Visby lens have been found in the 11th century tombs of Vikings. As the Arab world of the time was more advanced in many scientific areas, it is not inconceivable that they had developed simple telescopic devices.

Corrected entry: Robin says that the last thing he said to his father was an argument about having a lover in the village (who was Will's mother). He later says that he was 6 years old when this happened. Taking into account the characters' (or at least actors') ages, Robin must have been on the crusades for a very long time and from an unusually young age.

Correction: Robin says he was 12, not 6, when his father had a lover and that he never forgave him. Judging from the actor's ages that makes Will about 20 and Robin early thirties. Earlier he says he's been at the crusades for nearly 6 years, i.e. he would have left when he was in his twenties.

Correction: Why would the posters have to be printed on a printing press? Given that we only see one or two posters throughout the course of the movie, the Sheriff could have had someone draw posters by hand and have them placed in strategic locations.


Corrected entry: When Robin, Azeem, and Duncan are walking through Sherwood Forest, they hear noises and Azeem draws his sword. There's a distinct sound of metal on metal, like a straight sword would make being pulled out. But a Saracen sword can't be drawn out like that, since the tip is larger than the base. But if you look at Azeem's sword sheath, it appears to be exactly the shape and size of the sword. It would have to open up sideways or something to conceivably get the sword out.


Correction: The sheath for Azeem's sword is not open only at the top. It has a slit on the back so the sword may be drawn.

Corrected entry: The mistake pretty much all Robin Hood films make is to have the Sheriff of Nottingham simply called 'Nottingham' by his friends/ peers. This would only be the case with the Earl or Lord of Nottingham who, coincidentally, would have lived in Nottingham Castle (since it would have been his family's). The Sheriff didn't live in Nottingham as his duties covered the whole shire ('shire-reeve'= 'Sheriff'). It'd be like confusing the Governor of California with the Mayor of Los Angeles.

Correction: This isn't necessarily a movie mistake. It sounds more like arrogance on the part of the sheriff, expecting his associates to call him "Nottingham." His enemies do so only because that is what they are accustomed to hearing him called.

Phixius Premium member

Plot hole: The Bishop in the film is performing the duties you would expect of someone in his position (giving mass, hearing confessions, performing weddings etc.) He has his own private chambers in the cathedral, refers to Robin as 'the boy I knew' and talks about hearing his Father's confession four months earlier; so he's been around for a while. The problem is the credits refer to him as the 'Bishop of Hereford'. No explanation is ever given for why the Bishop of a city 100 miles away is living and working in Nottingham rather than looking after his own diocese; or why the Bishop of Nottingham isn't around to look after his. (The Bishop of Hereford was an enemy of Robin Hood in the original ballads, and it's likely the filmmakers just gave that name to the Bishop in the film due to its familiarity, without thinking about the plot hole this creates).

More mistakes in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Guy of Gisbourne: Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?
Sheriff of Nottingham: Because it's dull, you twit! It'll hurt more!

More quotes from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
More trivia for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Question: Who exactly are the masked cult of which the Sheriff is a member, shown at the beginning when he unmasks and demands that Robin's father join them or die? If memory serves, the cult and the Sheriff's affiliation with them isn't referenced again at any point in the film. I know the Sheriff and the Witch are dark magic practitioners, but that was suggested to be a private thing between them in the bowels of the castle.


Chosen answer: The masked men weren't part of a cult, they were the Sheriff's soldiers, the same ones that Robin meets when he first returns home. They are just in hoods and masks to appear intimidating while trying to kill the noblemen, like Locksley.


More questions & answers from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

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