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The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (6)  | Character error (3)  | Continuity (27)  | Crew or equipment visible (1)  | Factual errors (2)  | Incorrectly regarded as goofs (4)  | Plot holes (1)  | Revealing mistakes (12)  | Spoilers (3)

Anachronisms 

A car can be seen in the background when Will Scarlet gets off his horse to go to the aid of Much (who has just fought with Dickon Malbete).
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When the Bishop of the Black Canons puts his shoe back on in the tavern scene with Richard, it is a shoe for the left foot. Shoes which fit individual feet weren't invented until the 1800s. In 1191, shoes were the same for each foot.
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The film takes place in 1191 and in the banquet scene Prince John says that Richard the Lionheart had been captured in Austria. In 1191 Richard the Lionheart was seizing Acre from Muslim control and was not captured in Austria until December of 1192.
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In the archery contest, when the arrows are shot they have old-fashioned metal tips, but when the arrows hit the target they have modern metal tips.
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During the archery tournament, Robin's final shot splits his competitor's arrow. The arrow split was made of bamboo, a material unknown in England at the time.
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All the sword fighting scenes show the characters using one-handed swords. At this time, swords were two-handed swords, the necessary refinements in steel making that allowed lighter, more maneuverable swords had not been developed.
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Character error 

At the banquet in the early part of the film, Robin brings a deer (presumably the one shot in front of Sir Guy) but it has not been field dressed. It shows no sign of ever being shot at all.
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Why was Robin Hood deemed the winner of the archery tournament? As you recall, all other archers were eliminated except Robin and one other. During the final round of the competition the other archer's arrow hit the bullseye dead center. Robin Hood then shot and his arrow split his competitor's arrow and Robin Hood was deemed the winner. Technically, both arrows hit the exact same spot in the center of the bullseye so why was Robin Hood declared the winner?
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Robin and Little John finish the fight on the log and sit down. Little John asks him his name, and Robin tells him "Robin", however previously before they fought, Will yelled to Robin "Let him pass Robin, it's much too warm to brawl with such a wind bag." John had heard his name before the fight.
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Continuity 

During Robin's escape from the banquet Sir Guy passes through the door twice.
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When Robin is standing on the gallows, he notices that his merry men are scattered throughout the crowd waiting to rescue him. One of the people he notices is Friar Tuck. But, moments later when Robin escapes, Friar Tuck is blocks away, driving a wagon which he uses to impede the progress of Robin's pursuers. Robin could not have noticed him from this great distance.
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When Robin Hood escapes the trap in the great hall, Sir Guy passes through the door; in the next shot he is at the back of the crowd nowhere near the door.
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When Robin delivers the deer to Nottingham, it can be clearly seen that he has only five arrows in his quiver. In the fight scene that follows, he fires 12 arrows, and the number in the quiver never decreases.
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During the final fight scene between Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne, when Guy knocks Robin over with a table, the leg of the table breaks off. In the next shot, when Robin kicks the table at Guy, the leg has re-attached itself.
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Around 00:22:59, Robin sits down next to Will. In the next shot, he sits down again.
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In the final duel, Robin pushes Guy of Gisbourne off the stairs and Guy loses his sword which slides down the steps. Robin jumps down the side of the stairs and gives Guy back his sword, which now is lying at Guy's feet.
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In the first scene of Robin and Friar Tuck, the leg of meat he has keeps changing from one with a joint in it to a straight cut.
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When Robin is fighting Little John on the log, Little John asks Will to play a faster tune on his instrument. Although he begins to strum faster and a musical score begins to matches his strumming, later shots in the background reveal he is playing very slowly, not matching the fast score he had started.
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When Robin first meets Richard the Lionheart, the position of Robin's bow changes. From one angle, Robin has his arm extended and the bow is away from his body. From the reverse angle, Robin has his arm close to his body and the bow is being held in both hands.
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The chicken Robin eats after greeting Prince John is inconsistent.
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When Robin and Marian are eating in Sherwood, Robin slices a small piece of mutton off of the leg and starts to eat it; the angle switches to Marian, but when the camera switches back to Robin, he is holding the whole leg to his mouth. Another camera cut to Marian, and now Robin Hood's mutton leg has been eaten down clean to the bone.
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When Robin leaps off the gallows his hands are tied behind him. For a split second after jumping on the horse he reaches around and grabs the horse to steady himself. Then as he rides off his hands are tied again.
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During the final fight with Gisbourne, a candelabrum is knocked over and Robin is trapped under it while Gisbourne gloats. A few seconds later, Robin gets up and the fight continues and the candles have dripped what looks like an hour's worth of wax onto the floor.
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Robin's position in the water changes after the sword fight with Friar Tuck.
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When Sir Guy rides off, Much is holding the reins of Robin's horse. In the next cut, Much approaches Robin and has no hold of the reins.
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During the final fight scene between Robin and Guy, Guy falls over a short wall that is about 5-6 feet wide with a rather plain staircase immediately to the right. However when the camera angle changes, the wall is much wider and there is additional stone work around the staircase.
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When escaping from his hanging, Robin rides to the town gates and circles his horse twice. The first time, there is no sword attached to the saddle. The second time he circles, the sword is there and he uses it to cut the rope causing the gate to drop down.
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During a long shot in the banquet, Robin jumps on the table to address those assembled. The closer shot of him jumping up takes place a few seconds later.
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Following his escape from the gallows, Robin closes the gate and then climbs over the wall and down a rope, while facing the wall. Just as he lands on the ground, while facing the wall, the scene jumps to a close-up showing him landing facing away from the wall.
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At the conclusion of the final fight scene between Robin and Guy, Guy falls over the wall and lands with both arms extended. Moments later, Robin runs by Guy and Guy's arms are straight down by his side.
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After his capture, the distant shots show Robin two steps below Prince John and Sir Guy. But during their conversation, they are on the same level.
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After Robin and Little John fight on the log, Little John pulls Robin out out of the stream on the opposite bank from Will Scarlet yet when they turn around they sit down next to Will.
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During the first fight scene in the castle, there is an arrow lodged in the door to the right that we did not see Robin shoot.
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After Much dispatches Dickon before Dickon can intercept Richard, Will takes Much to report to Robin. As Will and Much are riding through a wooded passage, a low-hanging branch knocks Much's cap off, but when they meet Robin a few seconds later, his cap is back on.
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When Richard and his men are disguised as clerics, part of Ian Hunter's neck is visible under the hood of his robe. However, when he removes the robe to show his royal raiment, he is wearing chain mail that completely covers his neck.
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After Much dispatches Dickon before Dickon can intercept Richard, Will takes Much to report to Robin. While Much is Leaning against a rock telling Robin what has transpired, Robin puts his hand on Much's shoulder and Robin's hand is on top of Much's collar. When the camera changes angles, Robin's hand is under Much's collar.
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Crew or equipment visible 

Camera shadow is visible on the row of halberd tips at the execution, as the camera pans in towards the dignitary seating area.
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Factual errors 

The film plays very fancifully with real history. Even the opening titles are full of inaccuracies.
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At the banquet, Prince John announces that the Saxons will be taxed "not two gold marks in the pound but three!" A mark was two-thirds of a pound, so there aren't even two marks in a pound, and a tax of three marks per pound is a 200% tax.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Prince John is shown to be very greedy and an enemy of the people. There is a myth that, contrary to this, he later gave rights to the common folk by signing the Magna Carta. In fact, while the Magna Carta did reduce the powers of the King, it did so in favour of the Barons and the Church. It did not help the common folk. And in any case, neither side kept to the agreement. The historical significance of the Magna Carta is complex and derives more from later modifications. In John's time it was just a failed attempt to broker peace between him and the aristocracy. While the details of his character may be fictionalised in the film, there is truth in the fact that he was relatively unpopular, and that he was trying to usurp his brother.
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At the time of King Richard the Lionheart's reign, the syllable "Fitz" was always added to the name of an illegitimate child of the aristocracy. Marion Fitzwalter is referred to as "Lady" even though illegitimate children could not inherit titles. They could have titles created for them, however.
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There is a mistaken rumor that Prince (later King) John Lackland was illiterate. In fact, he had a church education in letters.
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When a soldier is shot in the back and the arrow that hits him also puts out a candle, the arrow goes nowhere near the flame. However, it's the gust of wind that puts out the flame - a popular trick among marksmen and bullwhip artists.
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Plot holes 

Bess sees Marian arrested and then runs to tell Much about the assassination plot and Marian's arrest. Much kills the assassin, but when he reports to Robin and Richard, he says Marian has been "condemned to the block." He couldn't have known that from what Bess told him, because Marian was condemned after Bess ran to warn Much.
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Revealing mistakes 

Just after Robin has slain Sir Guy, he fights off three guards on the steps but is then helped by his men. Robin then jumps from the stairwell and lands beside Sir Guy's body - either Basil Rathbone or his stand-in, still lying on the floor acting 'dead' - get such a fright at Errol Flynn landing nearby that their body jerks.
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In many instances, when Robin's men engage the soldiers carrying pikes and halberds, the "metal" points are seen to wobble back and forth wildly, revealing that they are actually made of rubber.
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When Friar Tuck is about to carry Robin on his back into the stream, his robes are already wet, presumably from an earlier take.
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Right before Robin kicks the sheriff at the archery tournament, the footage jumps from another take.
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When fighting Little John, the log is wet before Robin falls in the water.
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When Robin captures Sir Guy in the forest and his men open the treasure chest the "coins" are blank slugs.
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When fighting Robin, Little John, using his staff, supposedly hits Robin on the top of his foot, causing him to fall into the stream. However, the end of the staff actually misses the foot by a very wide margin, hitting only the log.
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During the rescue of Robin from the gallows, Friar Tuck drives a cart across the street to block the way of the pursuers. When they crash into the cart, it is clearly seen that a stunt double is driving the cart.
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As Robin Hood makes his escape from the gallows, the top of the castle in the background, matted in the previous shots, is missing. The lower part disappears behind some foreground scenery but the upper floors fail to emerge on the other side.
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The target board is clearly seen under the garments of most of the victims of arrow shots.
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During the fight scene between Robin and Little John on the log, Will Scarlett begins to play his mandolin. However, there seem to be no strings on the instrument.
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During the final fight scene between Robin's men and Prince John's guards a close up of a sword can be seen being extracted from a guard. However, upon full extraction, there is no blood nor is there a hole in the guard's tunic.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

In the final scene, Richard creates Robin both "Baron of Locksley, Earl of Sherwood and Nottingham." Richard then calls Robin "Baron." As an earldom is a superior rank of peerage, the King would always refer to Robin by that title, never by the barony.
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Plot holes 

King Richard suddenly turns up in England at the Boar's Head Tavern without any explanation of how he escaped, or why he is there (the explanatory scenes having been cut from the movie prior to its release).
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Revealing mistakes 

When Robin's executioner is shot, he falls onto a spear-point, which is seen to bend double as it is dropped. Similarly, when Robin threatens Marian's cell guard, his sword is definitely bent. His sword also bends in the final battle, when Robin knocks a candle off a table.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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