Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993)

This review includes full spoilers. Proceed accordingly. For other movie reviews from me, click HERE:

Prince Dusty: Tell everyone that when the day is out we shall have a movie review. Or a hanging. Either way, we’re gonna have a lot of fun, huh

Rating: PG-13
Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: J.D. Shapiro, Evan Chandler, Mel Brooks
Stars: Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Roger Reese, Dave Chapppelle
Release Date: July 28, 1993 (United States)
Run time: 1 hour, 44 minutes


via Wiki:

Robin of Loxley is captured during the Crusades and is imprisoned in Jerusalem. With the help of fellow inmate Asneeze, he escapes and frees the other inmates. Upon returning to England, Robin finds Asneeze’s son, Ahchoo, and discovers that Prince John has assumed control while King Richard is away fighting in the Crusades. Unbeknownst to Richard, the prince is abusing his power. Robin returns to his family home, Loxley Hall, only to find it being repossessed by John’s men. His family’s blind servant, Blinkin, informs Robin that his family is dead, and his father left him a key which opens “the greatest treasure in all the land.”

Robin recruits Little John and Will Scarlet O’Hara to help regain his father’s land and oust Prince John from the throne. On his quest, Robin attracts the attention of Maid Marian of Bagelle, who wants to find the man who has the key to her Everlast chastity belt. They are also joined by Rabbi Tuckman, who shares with them his sacramental wine and bargain circumcisions.

While Robin is training his band of tights-clad Merry Men, the spoonerism-spouting Sheriff of Rottingham hires the mafioso Don Giovanni to assassinate Robin at the Spring Festival. They plan to hold an archery tournament to attract Robin. Maid Marian hears of the plot, and sneaks out of her castle to warn Robin, accompanied by her heavyset, German lady-in-waiting, Broomhilde.

At the archery tournament, a disguised Robin makes it to the final round, but loses after his arrow is split in two by his opponent. Confused that he lost, Robin reviews the movie’s script to discover that he gets another shot. Giovanni’s assassin attempts to kill Robin by shooting at him with a scoped crossbow from Royal Folio Depository, but Blinkin catches the arrow in midair. Robin then takes the second shot, this time using a special “PATRIOT arrow”, hitting the target. Robin is arrested, with Marian promising to marry the Sheriff to spare his life.

Robin and the Merry Men interrupt the wedding between the Sheriff and Maid Marian. She is carried off to the tower by the Sheriff, who wants to deflower her but cannot open her chastity belt. Robin arrives and duels the sheriff, during which Robin’s key falls into the lock of Marian’s chastity belt.

After winning the fight Robin spares the Sheriff’s life only to miss his sheath and accidentally run the Sheriff through. The witch Latrine, Prince John’s cook and adviser, saves him by giving him a magical Life Saver in exchange for marriage. Before Robin and Marian can attempt to open the lock, Broomhilde arrives, insisting they get married first. Rabbi Tuckman conducts the ceremony, but they are suddenly interrupted by King Richard, recently returned from the Crusades, who orders Prince John to be taken away to the Tower of London and made part of the tour.

Robin and Marian are married, and Ahchoo is made the new sheriff of Rottingham. That night, Robin and Maid Marian attempt to open the chastity belt, only to discover that even with the key, the lock won’t open. The film ends with Robin calling for a locksmith.


Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a Mel Brooks cult classic that will turn thirty years old in 2023. If you are old enough to have been a movie-goer in 1993, the “men in tights” song is probably lying dormant somewhere in a corner of your brain, ready to spring forth and sing along with Robin and his Merry Men. The film is a spoof of the Robin Hood story, quite broadly, but it takes aim at Kevin Costner’s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” most of all. Its greatest relevance to the present day is that it was the first credited acting role for comedian Dave Chappelle (he plays Achoo.) The movie is funny, in a very juvenile way. However, it is not so laugh-laden that I would recommend a re-watch unless you have a strong nostalgic attachment to the film, or a deep love of the Robin Hood character.

The movie leans really heavily on silly gags and puns for its comedy. Some highlights:

  • Robin of Loxley’s castle is rolled away while being repossessed,
  • Little John and Robin have a quarterstaffs battle where their sticks continue to break – causing each of them to use increasingly smaller sticks against each other
  • Little John almost drowns in a creek more shallow than the average bathtub,
  • Maid Marian wears a chastity belt, with the Everlast logo visible, complete with a key lock,
  • When Robin asks villagers to led him their ears, they literally throws their ears at him, and
  • Rottingham’s life is saved, after being run through with a sword, by a Lifesavers mint.

Probably my favorite joke of the movie happens during Robin’s return to England at the outset of the story. He swims around the coast of Europe until he reaches England – and we see that journey via a line being drawn onto a map of Europe. When he arrives, exhausted, he kisses the ground, and immediately begins coughing over the sand he has inhaled. As I said before, the humor in this film is quite juvenile.

The film is PG 13 for a reason. There is quite a bit of sexual innuendo (you might not feel comfortable explaining chastity belts to a 7 year old) and several profane words are said throughout. I would not recommend showing this to a young child.

Cary Elwes deserves most of the credit for making this film work at all. He is clearly enjoying himself in this role and that comes through on screen. I have a hard time imaging another actor pulling this character off.

Comedy legend Dave Chappelle makes his acting debut in this movie, portraying “Achoo,” ten years before “Chappelle Show” made him enormously famous, and five years prior to his well-remembered role in Half Baked. The screenplay doesn’t give him much to do in the film, other than provide an occasional voice of reason, and to bring up Mel Brooks’ earlier film Blazing Saddles when Robin appoints him to be the new sheriff.

Patrick Stewart makes an entertaining cameo appearance as King Richard as the movie concludes, giving an uncomfortably vigorous kiss to Maid Marian upon her wedding to Robin.

If you are not familiar with the Robin Hood story, then I would recommend at least watching Costner’s Robin Hood film before tackling this spoof. Otherwise, you will likely not be aware of some of this film’s spoofing targets. If you are pretty familiar with the story, though, I think you could jump right into this and understand most of the jokes without taking the time to watch some non-spoof Robin Hood primers.

Overall, I thought the movie was funny, but I did not think this was funny enough to give it a full recommendation. I chuckled throughout but had no big laughs. It felt like a movie with a good idea, and a strong cast, that just could not come all the way together. Alas, humor is not universal, so perhaps you might enjoy it more than I did. Either way, let me know what you think!

2 thoughts on “Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993)

  1. This movie had the #1 slot of movies my friends thought was hilarious and I didn’t care for, it briefly became a “thing” because those kinds of things are important when you’re 15

    1. Yeah. I never really got into it the way that a lot of other people did at the time, but I now feel pretty certain about the people in my life who 1) loved the movie when it came out, and 2) still love it. It just has an identifiable “vibe” that you can identify with specific people.