Robin Hood is a 1922 adventure film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery. It was the first motion picture ever to have a Hollywood premiere, held at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre on October 18, 1922. The movie’s full title, under which it was copyrighted, is Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood. It was one of the most expensive films of the 1920s, with a budget estimated at approximately one million dollars. The film was a smash hit and generally received favorable reviews.
The opening has the dashing Earl of Huntingdon besting his bitter enemy, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, in a joust. Huntingdon then joins King Richard the Lion-Hearted, who is going off to fight in the Crusades and has left his brother, Prince John, as regent. The prince soon emerges as a cruel, treacherous tyrant. Goaded on by Sir Guy, he usurps Richard’s throne. When Huntingdon receives a message from Lady Marian Fitzwalter, his love interest, telling him of all that has transpired, he requests permission to return to England. King Richard assumes that the Earl has turned coward and denies him permission. The Earl seeks to leave in spite of this, but is ambushed by Sir Guy and imprisoned as a deserter. Upon escaping from his confines, he returns to England, endangering his life and honor, to oppose Prince John and restore King Richard’s throne. He finds himself and his friends outlawed and Marian apparently dead.
Huntingdon returns to Nottingham and adopts the name of Robin Hood, acrobatic champion of the oppressed. Leading a band that steals from the rich to give to the poor, including Friar Tuck, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Alan-a-Dale, he labors to set things right through swashbuckling feats and makes life miserable for Prince John and his cohort, the High Sheriff of Nottingham. After rescuing Marian from Prince John’s prison and defeating Sir Guy in a final conflict, Robin is captured. The timely reappearance of King Richard returns him to Marian and foils the efforts of Prince John.