Robin Hood starts out as Robert, the Earl of Huntington and a loyal lieutenant to Richard I of England, the Lionheart. Scheming Prince John is plotting to seize his brother's throne, with Sir Guy of Gisborne as his evil sidekick, and Maid Marian as Robin's loyal girlfriend.
King Richard goes off on a Crusade with Robin as one of his right-hand men. While he is away, Prince John embarks on a cruel, despotic rule of England. Maid Marian sends a desperate plea to Robin for help, but Sir Guy, also on crusade with Robin and the King, has plans to stop Robert. And plans to get rid of Richard as well.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Maid Marian is not at all pleased by the attentions of Sir Guy.
- Boss Subtitles: Each character gets a caption with their name as they are introduced.
- Chick Magnet: All the women of Richard's court are drawn to Robin, which isn't the greatest for Robin, since he's scared of girls.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Prince John has red-hot needles stuck under the nails of Lady Marian's maid to get the maid to tell what Marian has been up to with Alan.
- Curtain Camouflage: Averted. With Robin Hood zipping around the castle, John's knights see a pair of shoes sticking out from behind a curtain and pounce—but they were empty shoes placed there by Robin as a diversion.
- Epic Movie: One of the most expensive ever made in Hollywood up to that date, with enormous sets. Also the first movie to ever receive a premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
- Establishing Character Moment: Sir Guy cheats at jousting, strapping himself to his saddle before facing Robin. He still loses.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Like most Robin Hood stories, this one portrays Richard the Lionheart as a noble and just king, rather than a selfish prick who didn't care about England and rarely bothered to visit and regarded his kingdom as little more than a piggy bank to tax the bejesus out of so he could fight wars in France and the Holy Land.
- Hollywood Darkness: As was customary for the era, night is tinted vaguely bluish.
- Human Shield: Robin is just finishing strangling a mook when another mook appears in a castle window and draws a bow. Robin whips the mook around in time to catch the arrow.
- Idiot Ball: Having tortured out of Lady Marian's maid the truth about Marian's activities, John and his mooks proceed to let her walk out of the room. The maid goes to Marian and gives her a warning, allowing her to escape.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Technically, the film isn't titled Robin Hood. It's actually Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Played pretty darn realistically, as a one-way messaging tool from Crusade back to England, with Marian having to send her message with Little John. Also played realistically when the pigeon gets eaten by Sir Guy's falcon.
- King Incognito: Richard shows up in full suit of armor including face mask, and joins the Merry Men.
- Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: The opening titles are a meditation on this theme, showing the crumbling ruins of 12th century England, before a dissolve shows a ruined castle in its former glory and the story begins.
- Lost in Imitation: All the business with Robin on crusade owes more to Ivanhoe than it does to the Robin Hood story.
- The Matchmaker: King Richard himself is determined to get girl-shy Robin a wife.
- Poor Communication Kills: Despite being Richard's most trusted lieutenant Robin doesn't feel like he can tell him the truth about John being a despot back in England. This causes a lot of problems when Robin asks to go home and Richard thinks Robin is being a coward.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: This film is rather different than most Robin Hood adaptations. It includes a long chunk of story following Richard and Robin on crusade, which almost no other Robin Hood adaptation does. It does not include some common elements of the Robin Hood myth, like Robin shooting one of the king's deer or the archery tournament where Robin splits an arrow.
- Rightful King Returns: Richard does finally manage to make it back to England.
- Side Bet: There are bets all over the place amongst the spectators when Robin is jousting with Sir Guy.
- Storming the Castle: The relevant chapter on the Kino DVD is even titled "Storming the Castle". After Robin Hood infiltrates the castle and distracts Prince John's goons, the Merry Men invade it.
- A Taste of the Lash: Prince John has women who refuse to have sex with him whipped.
- The Tourney: Opens with a grand tourney that featured Robin jousting with Sir Guy.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Mixing and matching "thou" and "you". Like when Friar Tuck says to Robin Hood, "Prepare thyself. Within these walls there is someone dear to you."