Saturday, March 11, 2017

Chris' #96: Robin Hood: Men in Tights (Mel Brooks, 1993)

Starring: Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Roger Rees, Amy Yasbeck, Dave Chappelle
Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: Mel Brooks, Evan Chandler, J. David Shapiro
Release Date: July 28, 1993

First Time
1994, probably. My brothers and I recorded this on VHS when it premiered on HBO. I also remember watching the behind-the-scenes featurette on HBO multiple times.

Why it's on the List
I grew up with this one and have quoted it with friends and family for the past 20+ years. In terms of movies that I've watched the most on my list, it would probably rank in the top five.

I re-watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights this past week to prepare for this write-up. Make no mistake, this is not a good movie. Every scene has at least one terrible, cringe-worthy joke. All of Mel Brooks' movies are silly, but this one is pretty over-the-top. The line-to-joke ratio is fairly high, and there are a lot of misses as a result (though thirty year-old me could never convince eight year-old me of this).

Having said all that, even with this last re-watch, there are plenty of scenes that still make me laugh/smile. In my opinion, the casting is perfect - Elwes is charming and makes for a great Robin Hood; Rees is maybe too good in this as the Sheriff of Rottingham; Chappelle, Mark Blankfield, Eric Allan Kramer, and Matthew Poretta are all great and hilarious.

I didn't understand a lot of the jokes when I was a kid. In a scenario like this, it's fun to pick up on different jokes as you re-watch it over the years. For example, "My full name is Will Scarlett O'Hara...we're from Georgia" was a line that I loved to quote as a kid, but had no idea that it was a reference to Gone with the Wind. That joke is really dumb, but I've always loved Poretta's line reading, for some strange reason.

Additional Notes/Stats

  • This is the only Mel Brooks movie on my list. I really enjoy Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, but they didn't make the cut. I wrote this in the comments of John's Willy Wonka post - regrettably there are no Gene Wilder movies on my list, which doesn't feel right. Wilder is one of my favorite actors.
  • This is it for Cary Elwes as well. I remember seeing Princess Bride when I was a kid but it didn't stick. It just wasn't something that I ended up watching repeatedly, and obviously that's essential for establishing one's early favorites.
  • Confession: speaking of Dave Chappelle films, I have never seen Half Baked in its entirety. I've always meant to watch it, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
  • My dad was a fan of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves back in the day, which this movie heavily parodies. Do we all remember the Bryan Adams music video?
  • As far as RH: MiT moving up or down my list is concerned, it'd be more likely to move down. But it is a big childhood favorite, so if it stays, it'll remain in the 90s.


  1. Roger Rees's is too good as the Sheriff of Rottingham. Such a good sport in this.

  2. I never liked this one.

    I was, however, a fan of Prince of Thieves. I'm beginning to think that Richard Howard should be here providing us with a list.

    Also, (everything I do) I do it for you. Love that music video.

    1. Rich Howard's list would probably be full of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, JCVD, and Steven Seagal movies. You two would get along famously, but also...he has weird ass tastes.