Princess of Thieves is a 2001 romantic action-adventure TV movie starring Keira Knightley as Gwyn, the daughter of Robin Hood. Co-starring in the film are Malcolm McDowell as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Jonathan Hyde as Prince John, Stuart Wilson as Robin Hood, Del Synnott as Froderick, and Stephen Moyer as Philip. The movie was directed by Peter Hewitt and filmed in Romania.
Just as Robin Hood and Will Scarlett return from their most recent Crusade, King Richard is wounded and dying. Richard's son Phillip must journey from France to England to stop the evil Prince John from assuming the throne. John's henchmen are everywhere, set to assassinate Phillip before and after he arrives. Robin and Will are ordered to safely bring him in, but they're captured. Robin's fiery daughter Gwynn (an equal to any man in archery and horse riding) disguises herself as a boy to earn her father's respect, since he forbade her to get involved because of a promise he made to her mother, the now dead Marian. After narrowly escaping death two times, Phillip and Gwynn team up to free Robin and Will and stop the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John.
Only shares a general subject with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Princess of Thieves contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Gwyn is easily as good an archer as her father, and ends up saving Prince Philip and helping seize his throne from his Evil Uncle. (As a side note, this was the film where Keira Knightley learned the archery skills she later used in King Arthur (2004).)
- Age Cut: We see Robin Hood's young daughter folding the blanket at the bottom of her bed, then we see the same scene with Keira Knightley in the place of the young girl.
- Archer Archetype: Gwyn. Scarcely surprising given she is the daughter of Robin Hood. Independent, stealthy, graceful, and a Nature Hero..
- Artistic License – History: Philip was not legitimized, and thus never the heir to the throne. It was lawfully John's. He never became king in reality, even briefly. In the film, they excuse this saying his reign was later scrubbed out of history.
- Body Double: Prince Philip has one to protect him from assassins. This pays off, as the double is killed in his place, with the enemy thinking initially that they got him.
- Casting Gag: Stuart Wilson, who plays Robin Hood, previously played Maurice de Bracy in the 1982 screen adaptation of Ivanhoe, which featured Robin Hood who de Bracy was on the opposite side of.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Froderick, a young friar with a not-so-subtle crush on Gwyn.
- Evil Uncle: Prince John is Philip's evil uncle, and attempts to usurp Philip's claim to the throne.
- Faux Action Girl: The unfortunate truth is that for all her Action Girl cred, Gwyn accomplishes very little throughout the film. It's Philip, Robin and Frederick do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to plot-driving decisions/actions, and whenever Gwyn acts, it either goes terribly wrong or requires male assistance. Her one clean "win" is saving her father's life at the climax of the film with a miraculous Splitting the Arrow shot.
- Generation Xerox: Gwyn, as is noted repeatedly, has many of her father Robin's character traits and faces much the same situations. Both of them fight the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John to have a good king reign, at first separately but then together.
- Gratuitous French: Milder than most, but the Baroness, who is loyal to Prince John, speaks with a French accent and threw in the occasional French term.
- Heroic Bastard: Philip of Cognac is the bastard son of Richard the Lionheart (and Gwyn's love interest).
- Historical Hero Upgrade: The film upgrades Richard the Lionheart's illegitimate son Philip of Cognac, a historic figure about whom almost nothing is known, into a full-blown Action Hero who prevents his Evil Uncle Prince John from claiming the throne and wins the girl, who happens to be Robin Hood's daughter.
- Important Haircut: Gwyn gives herself one when she decides to follow after Robin, in an attempt to follow him to war.
- The Lad-ette: Gwyn is a total tomboy who much prefers to go off riding and have adventures, displaying her skill at archery disguised as a man, with a very masculine attitude which lets her fit in perfectly. Philip lampshades this by saying she wants be a man. Gwyn has no interest in female things (according to what's expected then) but still has obvious attraction to Philip that he fully reciprocates.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Gwyn first appears a young girl before an Age Cut takes us to her as a teenager.
- Missing Mom: Marian has been dead for years at the start of the film. Her absence is one of the reasons Gwyn grows up such a tomboy.
- Old-School Chivalry:Gwyn: Now you let me steal your horse?Prince Philip: I give it to you freely madam. A woman should not have to walk.Gwyn: Has not a woman legs? Do we not walk and run just as you do?
- One of the Boys: Gwyn is happy running around along with men in the film and fits in perfectly, as a tomboy Action Girl (granted, she's disguised as male for most of it). Prince Philip even says she wants to be a man.
- Outdoorsy Gal: Gwyn. Raised in the forest and totally at home there, far more so than performing traditional domestic duties.
- Posthumous Narration: Marian dies soon after the birth of Gwyn, but provides the omniscient narration at the very start and end of the film.
- Rebel Prince: Prince Philip's head aches just to contemplate a list of king's duties.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: After having short hair and masculine attire for most of the film (when she's largely disguised as a boy), Gwyn is shown with her hair coiffed neatly and wearing a dress at the end, with her quite lovely (not that she was ugly in disguise either).
- Smart People Know Latin: Gwyn struggles through her Latin grammar lessons with the more studious Froderick.
- Splitting the Arrow: Gwyn does this, splitting the arrow at 100 yards to win the tournament.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Gwyn cuts off her hair and takes her friend's clothes to pose as a boy. In the commentary they admit that she still looks completely feminine but we should just go with it.
- Taking the Bullet: Froderick heroically leaps in front of Philip when the Sheriff shoots at him, taking an arrow in his shoulder.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Froderick, a young friar with a not-so-subtle crush on Gwyn.
- You Must Be Cold: A subversion, where Prince Philip gives his coat to Connor, in what might be seen as Ho Yay.