Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

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: 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: In the scene where Will Scarlet is presented to the Sheriff of Nottingham after being discovered in the crowd at the execution, the sheriff calls Will a "turncoat". The term "turncoat" did not originate until the American Revolutionary War.

Correction: The entire film is presented in modern-day English, despite the fact that this would bear only a limited resemblance to what would actually have been spoken at the time. As such, present day terminology has been used to allow audiences to understand what's going on. This is a dramatic convention and is not considered a mistake.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: While Azeem is off praying, Robin fights the men attempting to capture the young poacher. As Robin defeats the men, careful viewers will notice Azeem climb down the rock wall, climb back up, and once more, climb down to join Robin.

Correction: While it certainly appears that Azeem climbs down the climbs back up, the author failed to write that the first time, Azeem tries to descend backwards, and the second time tries descends forwards. It is not climbing down then up, then down again. It is merely a failed attempt to descend the first time, while successful on the second.

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: 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: 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.

Corrected entry: Given the period in time and the "wanted" posters of Robin,did the Sheriff of Nottingham invent the printing press before Guttenburg or Caxton?

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

Corrected entry: When Costner escapes after slashing Rickman's face, Rickman starts beating up the guard at the gate who let him get away. The shot is at right angles to Rickman throwing the last punch so we can see that his fist misses the guard's face by miles.

Correction: I've seen this movie countless times and I always thought this was intentional. The sheriff was so flustered that he missed. It fits with his next action of tearing his cloak as he tries to stalk away.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: At the end when King Richard makes a surprise appearance at the wedding, Marian calls him by his first name, and remains standing while everyone else bows. It's unlikely that she would show so little decorum, considering he's the king. Being a semi-distant relative would not give her the right to be so casual with him, especially in public, and at a time when sometimes kings' immediate families addressed them as "Your Majesty."


Correction: But considering he's a fictionalized version of Richard the Lionheart, and he seems remarkably informal with her in return, it is a more than safe assumption that the matter has been addressed long since, with Richard asking, if not telling Marian not to be so formal with him. Much like Elizabeth Swann asked repeatedly of Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: In the hanging scene, the executioner steps out in public and THEN puts on his hood. The idea of the hood was that people would not know who he was, but his face is visible to the crowd gathered, so there was little point in him putting on the hood after all.

Deborah Nolan

Correction: This is a character mistake at best. In many medieval communities, people knew who the local executioner was regardless of whether he covered his face or not (often, criminals were sentenced to being executioners, or people could figure out his identity based on bodily distinctions). If the crowd knew who the executioner were and what he looked like, the hood would be used more out of tradition, and not to hide his identity. So it is possible that the headsman in this movie simply did not care to hide himself.


Corrected entry: When Robin and Marian descend on the rope together, when they are on the ground the rope should be completely firm from the counterweight, but instead it is dangling loosely.

El Peligro

Correction: The firmness of the rope would depend of how the system was made so when the rope is at the bottom it might not be firm.

Corrected entry: At the beginning when the prisoners have escaped into the city, they come out through a manhole cover, now I doubt that Jerusalem would have had manholes that far back.

Correction: The Indus Valley civilisation had covered sewerage systems in their cities as early as 2500BC, a mere 3500 years before the events of the film. The ancient Romans had them, too, and they were responsible for much rebuilding in Jerusalem - it's hardly likely that they would have left out their sanitation methods while doing so.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: When the survivors of the Sherwood battle decide to go to Nottingham, Friar Tuck calls them all "daft buggers." It is very clear that his mouth is not moving.

Correction: John Little says "daft buggers" not Friar Tuck.

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: When Robin has just stolen the Sheriffs horse he picks up a bag of food, which he hits a soldier with. When he rides out of the gates (in the same scene) he throws the bag behind him. However, in the next scene, back at the 'hide-out' he has the bag of food with him.

Correction: He doesn't throw the bag behind him, he carries it over his shoulder. What he throws off is the disguise he's wearing.

Corrected entry: When Robin shoots Will through the hand the arrow clearly misses by a mile and passes off screen, Will already has the arrow in his hand and you can see both at the same time.

Correction: It's not the arrow that you can see, it's the dagger thats in Will's hand that falls down screen from his hand.

Corrected entry: This is only relevant to the extended version DVD. At the start of the bonus scene where the Sheriff finds the hole, the scribe writes on a blackboard "How is your bride?". The "s" looks like it does today (i.e. snake shape). Until the early 19th century, the "s" was written to look more like an "f."

Correction: The "long" s (that looks like an f) was only used in the middle of a word. The familiar "short" s was used at the end of a word.

Corrected entry: When the Celts storm the forest hideaway, Costner kneels down and fires at the horsemen. He fires the first arrow into a man's chest. The second arrow goes into the same man (posing as a different one) from a different angle and he falls off.

Correction: It's not the same man. The only reason it looked like the same man was because all the Celts had that design painted around their eyes.

Corrected entry: In the extended version where the Sheriff finds out Mortianna the Witch is his mother, something doesn't make sense. Mortianna says she killed a baby from the castle and replaced it with her own (the infant Sheriff). What would that achieve? As far as anyone in the castle is concerned it would be the same baby and there'd be a new mad old crone hanging around saying it was her charge. She'd be burnt as a witch. Alternatively, they'd realise it was a different baby and Mortianna would still be burnt as a witch and a murderess. Either way, it doesn't make sense that Mortianna would have managed to have stay with the Sheriff whilst he grew up.

Correction: You are assuming that Mortianna had told her story to others. If she never told anyone that she had had a baby, nobody would know, and her child would grow up in a richer and better household than she could provide. She only tells him when he is grown up. In addition, Mortianna has the protection of the Prince. This makes it very difficult to have her burned, and as we can see it lets her practice her witchcraft quite freely.


Corrected entry: In the shot when Robin Hood, dressed as a beggar, enters the chapel during mass, look in the lower right hand corner. You will see the sheriff in the foreground, slightly out-of-focus, smiling very broadly and uncharacteristically to someone off camera.

Correction: He could have been smiling at a nobleman or someone else he would like to have a good relationship with in order to get his way with them.

Corrected entry: 98% of characters mentioned or featured in this film are entirely fictional, so saying that they didn't exist isn't really a mistake. However the Sheriff of Nottingham is called 'George' at one point. The Sheriff in 1194 and up to the 1200's was Eustace of Edwinstowe. I'm not making that up, even the flimsiest historical research will uncover that fact. The film-makers obviously thought it too much trouble.

Correction: Yes, almost all characters are fictional, and the entire story is a work of fiction. In fiction you can have whatever name you wish for the sheriff. Kind of how you can make a movie set in 2002 with a president main character who isn't named George.

Corrected entry: Before the hanging at the end, a boy drops Will's sword. Will walks without picking up his sword. Still, the Sheriff's soldiers find him with the sword on him.

Correction: The boy is never actually holding Will's sword, so he doesn't drop it. It seems to be fastened around the back of Will's waist, and when Will spins around, it just falls back against his bum. There is the sound of metal hitting something, so if it was indeed supposed to hit the ground, there is still plenty of time Will is offscreen that he could have picked it up.


Corrected entry: At the beginning, Peter shouts at the dead Arab: "That's for five years of Hell." The year is 1194, so he has been locked up since the beginning of the Third Crusade which was between the years 1189-1192. He cannot have been locked up from 1189 because King Richard I arrived in the Holy Land only in 1191.

Correction: It is possible that he was either generalizing (as it had been close to five years) or had lost track of time since he had been locked underground for that long of time. Plus it just sounds more dramatic than 3 years 2 months and 5 days.

Corrected entry: The small poacher climbs the tree on Hadrian's wall to escape the men chasing him. If you notice we don't see him climb up the trunk of the tree. That's because it's impossible, there is nowhere to put your feet or hands.

Correction: We do see Wulf climbing the tree, at least in the Two-Disc Special Edition, at 0:16:11 and a few shots afterward.

Corrected entry: During Robin's fight with the men at Hadrian's Wall, there is a shot when he fires a crossbow and then immediately tosses it away. In the very next shot of Robin, he suddenly has the crossbow again.

Correction: Robin retreived 2 crossbows from the saddles of the soldiers' horses. There is a shot of him sneaking between the horses during Guy of Gisborne's "game bird" speech.

Corrected entry: In the scene near the end when the villagers raise the gates into the next courtyard, the aerial shot shows a villager picking up a sword from a dead soldier's body. How did the soldier die in the middle of an empty courtyard?

Correction: Robin and Azeem killed him while they were trying to save Marian and stop the Sheriff.

Corrected entry: There's a scene where they are drinking Madeira wine. The island of Madeira wasn't found until the early 15th century, and wine started to be produced long after...

Correction: It's not wine they were drinking it was mead. And it didn't come from Madeira. John Little told Robin that he made it himself.

Corrected entry: 12th Century man Azeem uses gunpowder 171 years before Marco Polo brought any back from China.

Correction: Azeem is not from England, he is from the Middle East. Perhaps they had traveled to China earlier and learned how to make it, which is what Azeem does.

Corrected entry: The post of 'Sheriff of Nottingham' was not created until the fifteenth century. The county had a Sheriff for centuries beforehand but from watching this film you'd think that the city alone was under his sole authority which it definitely was not. Yes it's standard movie lore, but that doesn't make it less of a mistake.

Correction: Although his power has always been exaggerated in the films to a certain extent, the position did exist.

David Mercier

Corrected entry: When Fanny says she wants to help in the fight, John says, "Are you on bleeding crack, girl?" Somehow I doubt the substance or the saying existed at the time.


Correction: He doesn't say "Are you on bleeding crack?" What he says is "Have you gone bleedin' cracked?"

Garlonuss Premium member

Corrected entry: When Robin uses the "telescope" by the laws of physics the image should appear upside-down. Yet the image incorrectly appears right-side-up.

Correction: This error would be true were there only one lens in the telescope. However, this is not the case. When we get our first look at the telescope, the big lens has already been placed and we can see him placing the second lens in the back before fastening it shut.

Garlonuss Premium member

Corrected entry: By the time Robin and Azeem reach England, they have been traveling together for four months. And yet, in the scene by the wall, Robin asks Azeem very personal (and expositional) questions that he definitely would have asked earlier during those four months. Why were you in jail, what does your name mean, etc.

Correction: There are also other people in the boat besides Robin and Azeem. Given the fact they are fugitives, it's quite possible they didn't want to reveal any personal information about themselves until they arrived safely in England.

Corrected entry: The Sheriff tells two girls to be at his room at 10:30 and 10:45. The concept of the 24 hour clock had not yet been thought of - it was thought of by a group of monks who needed to know when to start their morning prayers in the 1330's.

Correction: But there's nothing there to say he is using the 24 hour clock. 10 pm in 24 hr is 2200 - which he doesn't say. 10.30 / 10.45 is in 12 hr mode, which is fine. Even if the mistake refers to modern time conventions, it's acceptable given that language back then would be near-incomprehensible to us now anyway - this is just another example of dialogue being "translated" into modern English.

Chimera Premium member

Corrected entry: The Sheriff says something like "It's a wonder I'm still sane." at one point. Surely the concept of sanity didn't come about until centuries later?

Correction: The word 'sane' comes from the Latin word 'sanus' meaning healthy (as in mind). Why wouldn't the concept of sanity have been around? By the time in the movie, Latin was no longer a living language, so the word 'sanus' would not have been made up after the 12th century. Just because there were no shrinks or insane asylums doesn't mean no one was crazy.

Corrected entry: The portrayal of the Celts is not particularly accurate. The Celts were not even that wild or barbarous when Caesar first encountered them in 55 BC. During the Roman occupation many Celts became Romanised and "civilised." By the 12th century most Celts lived in the North, the West (Wales), or the Southwest (Cornwall), but other than their language, they were basically the same as anyone else in the country. They weren't wild men living in the forest wearing animal skins. They look more like Picts than Celts, although there were no Picts like that by that time either, and the Picts were definitely not Celtic.

Correction: The Sheriff is supposedly racist for one thing. For another, they're identified as hired thugs or mercenaries. Probably violent Celt outcasts.

Corrected entry: The first person to use sutures on wounds - instead of cauterizing them with boiling oil or some such thing - was Ambroise Paré, who lived from 1520-1590, after the time period in which the sheriff is shown having his wound stitched.

Correction: Actually, stitches were used as far back as the Romans, whose medical tradition was referenced extensively by the medievals. (There's a horrifying little bit of history about how Cato after Caesar's victory tried to kill himself by stabbing himself, but fell over some furniture, and his family heard him, "put his bowels back in" and got him medical help in time. Then they took his knife away and thought he was safe, but he managed to rip out his stitches, and bleed to death.) Cautery won't stop major bleeding, or keep open skin together, after all. I've read that castle ladies used to practice stitching-up on the carcases of pigs before they were roasted: medical dummy and dinner all in one.

Corrected entry: This happens at the beginning of the battle with the Celts when Robin runs up the hill to fire a few arrows at them. When he kills the first one, you can clearly see he leans back on his horse before the arrow hits him in the chest.

Correction: He may have been trying to dodge the 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: In the scene where Robin is taking a bath at the foot of the waterfall, you can see a tan line from swim trunks when he walks under the waterfall.

Correction: Robin has just recently completed a long journey from Jerusalem, who knows what tan lines he might have.

Sol Parker

Corrected entry: In the scene where Robin shoots his arrow to cut down Wolf from the noose, we get a close up side view of the arrow flying. The arrowhead is slid over the shaft - this is different than the way they were making the arrows in the camp. In this scene they were making a type of arrowhead that is fitted into the split shaft and tied on.

Correction: It is quite possible this could be an arrow stolen from the soldiers in one of the highway robbings, or reused from the attack on the forest hideout.

Sol Parker

Corrected entry: Azeem first wounds the witch with the spear outside the room that Marian and the Sheriff are being married in. Then in a later scene when the witch attacks Robin, and Azeem kills her with his sword she has miraculously made it back into the room even though Azeem has not yet broken down the door.

Correction: The Witch obviously knows secret passages and other doors within the castle. She could've used one of them.

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Sheriff of Nottingham: Locksley! I'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon.
Robin Hood: Then it begins.



Robin and Azeem land at the white cliffs and Robin says something like, 'Tonight we will dine with my father'. Those white cliffs are the Seven Sisters in East Sussex, about 200 miles from Nottingham. It would probably take about two weeks to walk it. They also reach Hadrian's Wall in the next scene, which is 200 miles further north than Nottingham.



There was a series made in the UK (and very popular in many other countries) in the 80's called Robin of Sherwood. One of the characters was a Saracen called Nasir. He was not originally supposed to be one of the regulars, but the actor (Mark Ryan) got on so well with the rest of the cast, the decided not to kill Nasir, but keep him on as one of Robin's men. When Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was in development, a character called Nazeem was written because the writer thought that the Saracen was a traditional part of the legend (along with Little John, Will Scarlet and Marian). The name was changed to Azeem because they found out that the character was unique to Richard Carpenter's Robin of Sherwood. So, thanks to a random piece of casting in the UK in the 80's, we were given Morgan Freeman's Azeem.