Hollywood has come up with countless versions of Robin Hood and his Merry Men over the years, but only one of them stars a fox, a badger, and a wolf. If Disney's 1973 version of Robin Hood is one of your favorite adaptations (along with this one, of course), read on for a few fun facts.
1. Robin Hood was the result of another movie getting canned.
Disney had been considering making a movie about Reynard the Fox since at least the 1930s. Reynard was a lesser-known fable from the 1100s that told the tales of a scoundrel fox. The problem was, Reynard skewed more toward villain than antihero, which ended up being a challenge for the writers. Despite scripts and storyboards, the Reynard movie still hadn’t come to fruition more than two decades later. Animator Ken Anderson eventually blended the idea into the Robin Hood script, reasoning that Robin Hood’s outlaw status made him sort of Reynard-like.
2. Robin's voice, Brian Bedford, is a Shakespearean-Trained Actor.
The Tony Award-winning Brian Bedford is well known for his Shakespearean work, including acting and directing in the Stratford Festival.
3. “The Phony King of England” was likely based on a real song.
It has been said, but never confirmed, that author Rudyard Kipling penned the lyrics to the bawdy pub song “The Bastard King of England.” Whoever’s responsible, it’s likely that the much tamer “The Phony King of England” was inspired by the dirty version. Have a listen:
4. There's a notable fight song during a chase sequence.
The University of Wisconsin’s fight song, “On Wisconsin,” makes an appearance when Lady Kluck takes on the hippo guards.
5. Allan-a-Dale the Rooster may sound familiar to you.
Roger Miller was a respected singer-songwriter in Nashville long before Disney recruited him to voice and write songs for Allan-a-Dale. Miller worked with legends like Minnie Pearl, Chet Atkins, George Jones, and Ernest Tubb before writing his biggest hit, “King of the Road.”
6. A deleted scene shows another one of Prince John’s schemes.
In it, Prince John dictates a letter to Sir Hiss in which he pretends to be Maid Marian. It’s all part of luring Robin Hood into a trap, of course. You can see the storyboards with rough voiceover work here.
7. “Love” was nominated for an Oscar.
The ballad that plays while Robin and Marian make eyes at each other was written by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns. Nancy Adams, Huddleston’s wife, provided Maid Marian’s singing voice for the song. Though "Love" was nominated at the 1974 Academy Awards, it lost to “The Way We Were” from the movie of the same name.
8. Robin Hood reuses pieces of other Disney movies.
The dance sequence that goes with “The Phony King of England” was made from a potpourri of dances from other Disney movies, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Aristocats. This was achieved by an animation technique called “rotoscoping,” where animators trace over the frames of old footage to use it in a different environment.
9. Friar Tuck was originally a pig.
Animator Ken Anderson first conceived Friar Tuck as a pig, but then decided that the church might take that particular depiction as a slight. He’s not the only character that switched animals: the Sheriff of Nottingham was supposed to be a goat, but changed to a wolf to seem more villainous.
10. Robin was wounded in an alternate ending.
Near the end of the movie, Robin is struck by an arrow and whisked off to the safety of a church. Prince John finds his hideout and is about to kill both Robin and Maid Marian when King Richard bursts in, back from the Crusades. From there on out, the ending is about the same: Prince John and his cohorts are banished to the rock pile, and Robin and Marian get married. Check out the storyboards:
11. It was Disney's biggest hit.
Despite mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, Robin Hood ended up doing very well at the box office, taking in $9.5 million. At the time, it was Disney’s biggest box office total to date.