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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Cut
  • Extended Version
Release: Dec 12, 2022 - Author: Glogcke - Translator: Gladion - external link: IMDB

The theatrical version (originally taken from Concorde Video's German FSK 12 tape) was compared to the extended version (originally taken from Warner's 2003 US DVD reissue). The report has been revised with Arrow Video's 2022 UK 4K UHD premiere featuring both versions.


- 11 altered scenes
- Difference: 11:56 min


The home theater releases & versions of ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES

A DVD reissue of Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves was released in the U.S. in June 2003. The previous DVD editions (including the German one) contained the well-known theatrical version and were rather unsatisfactory in terms of quality. In addition to a new "extended version" that was 12 minutes longer, the 2-DVD set at the time offered reworked audio in DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as anamorphic widescreen in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1:1.85. Most TV/VHS versions to date were in 4:3/full frame and the first theatrical version DVD was letterboxed only. With this starting point, the present report was first produced in July 2003.

Most Blu-ray releases in the years afterwards "only" contained the Extended Version. Since November 28, 2022, the worldwide 4K Blu-ray premiere is available from Arrow Video in the UK. Fortunately, both versions are available in UHD. You once again get a nifty complete package with lots of exclusive bonus material. We have taken this new release as an opportunity to give the report another makeover.


The Extended Version of ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES

Director Kevin Reynolds maintained a good friendship with star Kevin Costner even before production began, and their subsequent collaboration on Waterworld is testament to that. But we also know that there were problems between the two on Waterworld and that Costner finally got his way, which was accompanied by Reynolds' dismissal - more on that in our corresponding reports. In the case of Robin Hood, however, it was probably "only" the studio and the producers that denied Reynolds the final cut. Alan Rickman is said to have made quite an impression on the cast and crew, and in post-production, cuts were requested on some scenes with Rickman so that he wouldn't steal the show from the titular hero (and thus Costner's performance, of course). An article in Entertainment Weekly (1991) went into more depth about this even back then.

Now, it must be clearly emphasized that the longer version of Robin Hood was never marketed as a "director's cut." It can therefore be assumed that Reynolds was not granted the opportunity, even in retrospect, to give the film, which was quite hectically completed for the planned release date, another fine-tuning. However, it is interesting that in some extensions especially Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham got more screentime. The entire sub-plot around the sheriff and witch Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan) gives him a dark backstory centered around child abduction that is rolled out over several scenes. This even includes satanic rituals and a small torture sequence. One can understand a bit why it was cut for the theatrical release at the time. After all, they wanted to market the film as suitable for families.

Apart from that, there are a few small additions during the robbery of the sheriff's men in the middle of the film and with Morgan Freeman in the forest camp. These are basically not worth mentioning, but round out the respective scenes quite well. All in all, the extended version can be described as the version to be preferred, as Rickman's additional scenes are great and this should also at least come closer to Reynolds' vision. However, those who want the movie to be a little less harsh and gritty are better served with the theatrical version.


By the way: Even in the theatrical version there are of course still lots of violent bits in the fight scenes and the implied rape in the finale is also rather hard to digest for some viewers. In America, the theatrical version got a PG-13 and the extended version was not rated. However, this does not say anything about the realistically achievable rating. However, the discussion about the release in Great Britain is clearer, as you can read here or in the booklet of Arrow Video. The PG-rating there led to the fact that according to a BBFC report in 1992 over 30 letters were sent from parents with complaints about the low rating - although 14 seconds (opening scene + a nasty F-word) were already removed here. With the release of the extended version, it was quickly "corrected" to a BBFC 12, after which another PG-rated VHS was released, censored a bit more heavily by 28 seconds.


Running time details are arranged according to the scheme
Theatrical version on UK Blu-ray / Extended version on UK Blu-ray

The Sheriff's cousin reports in Locksley's arrival
21:16-21:35 / 21:16-21:39
Both versions miss something here - the entire scene had been changed rather complicatedly.

The cut starts exactly after the Sheriff said to his cousin that, strangely, he had survived. The cousin says it had been very close. From here on, both versions differ. Here are two pictures of this scene, which both versions contain, for orientation:
Scene for orientation:


After this scene for orientation, in the Theatrical Cut, the cousin reports about the Moorish companion of Robin Locksley (Azeem, played by Morgan Freeman), while the Sheriff walks past him and sits down next to the woman in the background.


In the Extended Version, after the scene for orientation, there is something completely different:

The camera goes past the statue of the Sherrif and zooms in at the wall behind it. In the wall, there is a small peephole, through which the Sheriff and his cousin are being watched. You can see a somber-blank eye through the hole. (Later, you find out it is the witch who had raised the Sheriff). The final shot in the EV shows the Sheriff together with the woman. Suddenly, a carillon starts playing at the wall. The Sheriff looks up to the bells and says that it is time for something important.


Theatrical Cut: 16 Sec.
Extended Version: 20 Sec.
Difference: 4 Sec.

In the theatrical cut, the sequence of Robin finding his dead father inside the castle follows immediately. In the EV, though, you first see the next scene, in which the Sheriff climbs down into the dungeon to visit the witch. So you get the impression she had called him with the carillon. During the re-cut scene there's another small change, marked in the following coloured box:

The Sheriff visits the witch
25:15-25:20 / 21:59-22:13
While the Sheriff is looking for the witch in her arch, you see him in the EV turn to a falcon, go toward it and say "Shut up!".
The TC shows a shorter alternate take instead, with the sheriff also walking around but not turning around.

Theatrical Cut:Extended Version:


Theatrical Cut: 5 Sec.
Extended Version: 14 Sec.
Difference: 9 Sec.


New scene at the witch
48:15 / 48:28-50:00
In the Extended Version, before the scene in which Robin Hood visits Lady Mariane in the church, dressed as a homeless person, you see an entirely new sequence:
An altar made of stone on which countless intestines and accessoires lie appears on the screen. A hooded figure with a coat is standing in front of it, performing a ritual. After finishing, it throws away the coat and turns out to be the Sheriff of Nottingham. He is chewing on a bone with raw meat.

Behind him, there is the witch he turns around to and starts explaining to that it is important to show yourself at dominical masses, but that he is still faithful to his true belief. Then he turns back to the altar and watches the crucifix, which is, as per Satan, hanging upside down. He turns it correctly and ironically says that he sometimes didn't even recognize any difference. Then, he lets it fall upside down again. He is asking the witch a little oddly and unsatisfied whether it really had been the wish of his parents for her to instruct him in satanism (OT: "All this"). She only answers that it was their dying wish, whereas the Sheriff leaves the locale. The witch stays and gives a bird in a cage a piece of raw meat.


Robin approaches the castle area. He is dressed as a homeless person and seems to examine the big fortress.


Total: 91 Sec


The Sheriff's wound gets stitched
56:26 / 58:10-58:16
The scene is identical to the one in the Theatrical Cut, but at the end, it has been extended:
After the Sheriff has commanded them to stitch and said that he wanted small scars, in the EV his cousin can be seen, but then the camera sways away from him and, again, shows the hole in the wall. Again, there is the witch's blank eye.
5 Sec.



Another additional scene with the witch
65:31 / 67:21-67:55

Again, the Sheriff descends to the witch's arch using the dark stars.
The witch is performing a ritual. During that, she looks into a laid out skull that gives off many clouds of smoke. The Sheriff irritatedly leans before her at the altar.
Following dialog:
Witch: "A tongue offends thee."
Sheriff: "Whose?"
Witch: "One who writes all."
Sheriff (thinking): "One who...", (then understanding) "That horrible little scribe? - His tongue?"
Witch: "Cut it out."
After that, the Sheriff furiously takes a small dagger and leaves the scenery.
34 Sec.



Raid on the Sheriff's men
68:23 / 70:47-71:13
The scene has been expanded in the EV:
The Sheriff's cousin returns to the place where Robin and his men had abducted the carriage and only finds a soldiers' helmet. From here on the scene continues in the Extended Version as follows:
Robin and Azeem quickly ride with the carriage through the forest. It seems some men have dug themselves inside the carriage. Robin shouts that they should surrender and promises to let them all free. Azeem seemingly has no understanding for this diplomatic attempt by Robin and jumps off the carriage onto the carthorses (typical western-stunt). He removes the retainer and leads the horses to the side. Robin bewilderedly stays on the, now leaderless, racing carriage and, to crown it all, has to notice that it's driving directly toward a lake. With an, actually spectacular, jump Robin saves himself into the safe water. The carriage (with the soldiers inside) drives at full tilt into the water.

Annotation: Unintelligible that the scene is missing in the theatrical cut, because its nice, funny and spectacular. The shooting certainly wasn't very easy, too.
26 Sec



Marian spends the night in the forestcamp
80:26 / 83:16-83:45
While everyone is celebrating, a little girl confronts Azeem with his skin color. This scene has been meaningfully enhanced in the Extended Version:
Azeem continues his explanation. He adds that, because of Allahs love of variety e.g. her hair is brown. Suddenly brother Tuck comes inbetween and pushes the girl away. Angrily he warns Azeem not to infatuate the innocent with his misbelief or else he would have to deal with him. Azeem firstly is disappointed and taken by surprise, recovers himself quickly, though and asks if Allah wasn't Abraham's god, just like his. Brother Tuck only answers scornfully that he could not fool him with his lies. Then he takes the girl and carries her away. Azeem remains, disappointed.
29 Sec



New Scene: Occult mass of the barons
91:21 / 94:40-97:29
A group of hooded persons is standing around a table. They hum imploringly. Under a cloth in the middle of the table, a pentagram appears. The Sheriff walks around the table and hectically distributes small, strumming bags. You can often see the faces of the hooded ones and you can easily conclude they are the barons the Sheriff wants to bribe to rebel against the king. It seems they are all members of some sort of occult sect, just like the Sheriff.
Disdainfully the barons look at the small bags. The final one takes the bag, opens it, looks inside and pours the content on the table. (Reminder: The money the Sheriff wanted to bribe the bishops with was, for the most part, stolen by Robin Hood.)
Uncomprehendingly the baron asks the Sheriff what this is and points at the money. The Sheriff looks caught in the act and says it was an appetizer. Another baron reminds him he had promised them much more gold. The Sheriff smiles awkwardly and starts with a little speech. He says that there are bigger things than gold, while walking around the table taking off his coat. He lists land and power as examples. Then he takes the cover from the yet concealed pentagram and climbs onto the table. Below the pentagram, there appears some sort of map on which he divides all of England among the barons.
One of the barons objects against him. He reminds that the Sheriff abets them to treatory but couldn't even bring enough gold. Then he turns to the other barons and tries to urge them. He asks him how he would want to control England if he couldn't even control his own country. The Sheriff seizes this issue and climbs down from the table. He turns to the door and loudly calls a man. Then the door opens quickly and a giant furred celt enters the room. The barons first are bewildered that the Sheriff has called even the celts to aid them and ask him what these mercenaries could do that they couldn't do themselves. The celt answers this question himself though, going to the chimney fire, taking a burning log out of it and stubing it out with his bare hand. The Sheriff, delightedly laughing, goes to the huge man and slaps on his shoulder. One of the barons admits that it is impressive. Now the other barons conclude that the Sheriff wants the throne and ask him about that. The Sheriff confirms with a mean smile on his face.
169 Sec = 2 Min. 49 Sec.



Inside the Sheriff's dungeon
106:03-106:13 / 112:11-113:14
Again, in both versions, different footage has been used. The EV is drastically longer, though.
For classification: It is about the scene, in which Will Scarlet (Christian Slater) lends himself to the Sheriff of Nottingham and proposes killing Robin Hood.

Firstly, the scene begins completely different in the Extended Version:
A rat is on the screen, suddenly it gets slapped away panically by a hand. Now you can see that the rat had been sitting on one of two prisoners, who are chained together in some kind of disgusting waters. From here on the camera moves a little through the dungeon, whereas countless suffering and moaning prisoners appear on the screen. Suddenly the dungeon door opens and the Sheriff enters. He says ironically that he apologizes for letting them hang around here. Then he goes to a shackled prisoner and asks him whether he would prefer pain or death. The prisoner answers: "Death". The Sheriff looks over to a torturer and orders him to torment the prisoner. While, in the background, the prisoner gets freed of his bonds for the torture, the Sheriff goes to the next prisoner. Again, he asks him which he would prefer - pain or death. He seems to have observed the devilry from before and says "pain". The Sheriff tells another servant to torture him, too, though. Quickly, he goes to a third prisoner and explains to him that it wouldn't matter whatever they chose. Another prisoner asks the Sheriff to spare him. But he only says that they should be quiet. ("Will you keep the noise down, please!")

Image sections of this new scene (below the pictures continuation with alternative footage):


The following two scenes are shown with different perspectives and footage in both versions:

1.) The Theatrical Cut begins with this take. In the Extended Version, the scene starts with the rat, as mentioned above, and the Sheriff enters the dungeon only shortly after. The takings are different in both versions, though, which is being exemplified by the following comparison:
Theatrical Cut:Extended Version:


2.) In both versions, you can hear that Robin Hood might still be alive. In the theatrical cut the sentence begins directly after the Sheriff has entered the dungeon. In the Extended Version though, only at the end of the additional footage. After the sentence the scenes in both versions are identical again. During this line, too, the footage and takes are different here, as the following pictures illustrate:

Theatrical Cut:Extended Version:


Again, it's hard to exactly determine the time, since partly, different footage has been used. Clocking both versions from the first take inside the dungeon up until the first take after the sentence mentioned above, results in the following times:
Extended Version: 63 Sec.
Theatrical Cut: 10
Difference:53 Sec

107:05-107:17 / 114:05-114:23 resp. 124:13-124:25
The end of the scene is a little bit different in both versions, again: After the Sheriff has threatened Will Scarlet to cut his lying tounge out if he would fail, the scene continues as follows:

In the Extended Version the conversation between the Sheriff and Will is a bit longer. Will calls another requirement if he should succeed. He demands his freedom and the bounty for Robin Hood. The Sheriff is a little upset, but leaves the room like a clown after a short comment. The scene in which you see an executioner prepare the gallows is just a little later in the EV, but it is included!
17 Sec.



The Sheriff celebrates his victory over Robin Hood / New scene at the witch
112:29 / 119:34-124:13
A description field can be seen. The Sheriff's caretaker asks how the Sheriff's bride feels by writing the question down there. Then he goes to the Sheriff and shows it to him (it seems the Sheriff did cut out his tounge, like the witch had ordered --> see above). The Sheriff answers ironically, saying she was delirious with joy. The Sheriff himself is pretty drunk, sitting at a long table that is rife with riches. He explains that all these things are his belongings Robin Hood had stolen before. When he stands up some money falls down and his caretaker darts at it to pick it up. The Sheriff tells him not to. Meanwhile he is moving to a corner that seems to have a strange draft. After a short examination, the Sheriff finds the hole through which the witch had always watched him before. Angrily he yells at his caretaker if he had spied on him. He shakes his head anxiously. But the Sheriff saw daylight. He leaves the room and goes to Mortiana in the basement. Angrily he confronts her. After avoiding for a short time, she explains him the true circumstances of his birth and the relation between the two: A long time ago she had kidnapped and murdered a baby. She put the Sheriff, her biological son, in the space of the baby she had killed. As soon as the Sheriff would make his son ascend to the throne it would be her grandchild, too etc. Finally, the Sheriff leaves the basement speechless and crushed.
279 Sec. = 4 Min. 39 Sec.






UK 4K UHD / Blu-ray combo by Arrow Video - Zavvi Exclusive Edition: