Robin and Marian (1976)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure, Swashbuckler  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Boundless energy characterized director Richard Lester's career from the start, making it hard to think of a director better suited to deal with the point at which such energy hits the boundaries of age. With Robin and Marian, Lester crafted an English equivalent to the revisionist Westerns of the '60s and '70s, offering a new look at a story whose impact has become somewhat blunted by familiarity. One scene says it all: after a feat of derring-do shot with typical Lester exuberance, Robin (Sean Connery) attempts to flee the scene by climbing a wall, only to find that what in the past he could have done in the blink of an eye now takes much longer, almost losing his life in the process of discovery. Lester could simply have played this for laughs, but while the film contains its fair share of humor, he has other aims in mind. Though some dismissed Robin and Marian as coldhearted for tampering with the Robin Hood myth, the accusation doesn't hold up in light of the director's obvious affection for his well-known characters and Connery's and Audrey Hepburn's excellent turns as the aging lovers. By its end, it's revealed itself as a moving examination of aging, the ending of eras, and the ways history and folklore can conceal the ugliness of violence.