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Film / Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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The legend had it coming.

"We're men
We're men in tights,
Always on guard,
Defending the people's rights!"
The Merry Men

Really, it was only a matter of time before Mel Brooks turned his sights on the venerable legend of Robin Hood and completely shredded it (again - see When Things Were Rotten). This 1993 anachronistic, irreverent romp through one of the best-known tales of the Western world runs roughshod over classic and modern adaptations alike, aiming most of its quips at Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves version but also getting in a good many jabs at the classic Errol Flynn The Adventures of Robin Hood, and parodying the archery tournament from the Disney version as well... and unlike some other Robin Hoods, this one has an English accent! (instead of an Australian, Scottish, New Zealand, or American one, that is.)

This movie contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Latrine. Even her cardboard picture of Rottingham ends up cringing when she says she's attracted to him. To the point when Rottingham agrees to marry her in exchange for saving him from death, he changes his mind.
  • Aborted Arc: When Prince John first visits Latrine for a way to deal with Robin, she suggests a potion that will prevent Robin from performing even the simplest tasks. However, because she only promised to help if John could "Put in a good word for me with the Sheriff of Rottingham"—which he never successfully did—the matter is dropped.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Achoo manages to shoot the rope that Robin would have been hung from the gallows with, saving him. But Achoo quickly admits "to tell you the truth, I was aiming for the hangman!"
  • Affably Evil
    • The dungeon master in the opening scene, who acts more like a hotel concierge or a host in a busy upscale restaurant.
    • Rottingham has his moments. During his final duel with Robin, he lunges at Robin before stopping politely, saying to him "En garde!" and Robin, just as politely, thanks him for the warning.
    • Hangman Harry from Harry's House of Hanging is just as affable as ever. Sure, he's about to hang you, but he's going to be civil about it.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: When Sheriff Rottingham has been (accidentally) run through and lies dying on the ground, our heroes look on with dismay.
  • Affectionate Parody: Mel Brooks' raison d'etre. The sheer number of Shout Outs to previous Robin Hood films (especially The Adventures of Robin Hood) is really impressive, especially the sets. The Tag Line for the movie is "The legend had it coming", and several shots and scenes are homages to classic tales of Robin Hood.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • Everyone wants to bang Maid Marian. Not only is she hot, but marrying her puts their children (and possibly her husband) in line for the throne. That's a pretty damn good treasure.
    • Used for Exact Words when "that which all men desire" turns out to be the key to her chastity belt.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Broomhilde immediately tries to pick up Little John, and Maid Marian's locked chastity belt is a major frustration in her life. And let's not even get started on Latrine.
  • Almost Kiss: The kiss between Robin and Marian is interrupted numerous times in the film as a running gag.
  • Altar the Speed: Subverted. The Sheriff of Rottingham tries to speed things up at the altar, but the abbot has none of it. Even then, despite being threatened, Marian says "I do not" after the Merry Men free Robin from the hangman's noose.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Prince John seems to do a pretty good amount of Jewish Complaining, and also mentions a Seder.
  • Anachronism Stew: By Rule of Funny. The opening features a rap group as minstrels, the abbot closes the castle gate with a garage door opener, and a lot of contemporary references are made (like Achoo referencing the film White Men Can't Jump).
  • Angrish: The Sheriff of Rottingham, numerous times. Normally, he just transposes two words ("Over that boy hand"), or swaps syllables of words ("Struckey has loxed again"), or a little Pronoun Trouble ("I'll pay for this!") when mildly annoyed. But watching Robin and Marian kiss at the ball causes him to rant out a sentence with every single word out of order.
    Everyone: What?
    Sheriff: I mean, don't you know it is illegal to kill a wild pig in the king's forest?!
  • Arrow Catch: Blinkin grabs an arrow before it hits Robin as Robin aims at an archery target, saying "I heard that coming a mile away."
  • Arrows on Fire: In the opening credits.
    Villager: Every time they make a Robin Hood movie, they burn our village down!
    Produced and Directed by Mel Brooks
  • Aside Glance: During the Training Montage, the villagers are demonstrating their complete lack of skill while trying to draw arrows from their quivers. Robin just looks to the camera with a look of amused despair, then back to his pupils with a snort.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Used by Dirty Ezio, complete with laser sight and lots of clicking.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Marian," complete with a soft rock cover at the ending, parodying Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and similar credits songs from the Disney Animated Canon at the time.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Robin and Ahchoo do this after meeting each other in order to fight off the Sheriff's guards.
    Robin: By the by, do you know praying mantis?
    Ahchoo: You're lookin' at him!
  • Badass Back: Subverted. Ahchoo is told to watch Robin's back. So he does that, and nothing else.
    Ahchoo: Your back just got punched twice.
  • Badass Boast: From the title song.
    We may look like sissies
    But watch what you say, or else we'll punch out your lights!
  • Bad News in a Good Way: Trope Namer. Prince John requests that the Sheriff keep his news positive, but when the Sheriff attempts it, it doesn't come off very well:
    Prince John: I knew it! I knew it would be bad news. Wait, I have an idea. Maybe if you tell me the bad news in a good way, it wouldn't sound so bad.
    Sheriff of Rottingham: The bad news in a good way. Yes, yes, I can do that. The bad news in a good way. Well, here it goes. [hysterically] Ha! Ha! Ha! W-wait till you hear this! I just saw Robin of Locksley, he's back from the crusades. [laughs] You know, he just beat the crap out of me and my men. [laughs] He hates you and he loves your brother, Richard! [laughs] And... [laughs] ... he wants to see you hanged! [laughs and snorts loudly] We, we're in an awful lot of trouble! [laughs]
    Prince John: What, are you crazy?! Why are you laughing?! This is terrible news!
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: At the feast after Robin deposits a hog on Prince John's table.
    Sheriff: That's a wild boar!
    Robin: No, that's a wild pig. [points at Prince John] That's a wild bore!
  • Beard of Sorrow: They're complimentary at the Khalil Prison, so everyone fits in.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Robin's crews came to his rescue just as a chandelier fell on him during his fight with the Sheriff's guards.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The Sheriff abducts Marian to exercise his Marital Rape License on her (and they're not even married yet!), but the whole scene is played for laughs. Of course, since it's been established that she's wearing nigh-impermeable underwear, we know he won't get too far.
    Rottingham A chastity belt?! That's going to chafe my willy!
  • Blade Enthusiast: Will Scarlet. He's so fast with his daggers that Robin shoots an arrow at Will per Will's request, only for Will to slice the arrow to pieces before it can hit him.
  • Blade Lock: Subverted. Robin and the sheriff try it in the fight scene, but their blades end up sliding off one another.
  • Blind Mistake: Blinkin's entire character. His Establishing Character Moment is mistaking a statue for Robin, which not only has no arms, but is female.
  • Bluebird of Happiness: Marian spots one on her windowsill and makes a wish on it.
  • Brawn Hilda: Broomhilde. She speaks with a heavy German accent, and is a heavy-set woman. It's to the point that when she attempts to jump out of a window onto a horse, the horse moves out of the way rather than catch her.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Repeatedly. Starting with the opening credits, when a group of peasants storms out of their burning homes to complain every time somebody makes a Robin Hood movie their village gets burned down by flaming arrows so the credits can look cool. When Mel Brooks' name then pops up on screen with his producer credit, they blame him for their latest suffering.
    • At one point during the archery contest, several characters pull out the script to see that Robin gets another shot at the target. Also, during the final fight scene, Robin breaks a window and stabs a cameraman's lunch by accident.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rottingham. In addition to constantly getting his words mixed up, Robin frequently humiliates him by making him ride upside-down on his horse, mocking his archery contest, and refusing to take their fight seriously.
  • The Cameo:
  • Camera Abuse:
    • The camera moving in on Marian singing in the bath crashes through a window before sheepishly retreating.
    • The abbot's staff smashing into the camera lens.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Filthy Luca: I will take these cotton balls from you with my hand and put them in my pocket.

    Little John: They call me Little John. Oh, but don't let my name fool you; in real life, I'm very big.
  • Cardboard Prison: Parodied (as with everything else) in the intro, with the Robin and Asneeze escaping from Le Dungeon within five minutes of Robin getting tossed in.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During the fight at the castle feast, Robin and Blinkin have this exchange.
    Blinkin: Drink, Sire?
    Robin: Ah, thank you, Blinkin.
    continues sword-fighting a mook one-handed and downs a goblet of wine with the other
    Blinkin: Sounds like we're winning, Sire.
    Robin: So we are. Carry on.
  • Catapult to Glory: Prince John accidentally sends the Sheriff flying during a demonstration of a "stealth" catapult. He lands in the bed of a very happy Latrine, who'd just been praying for God to send her her one true love.
  • Character Filibuster: Played for laughs. At one point used twice in quick succession, first with Robin as Winston Churchill, then with Ahchoo (BLESS YOU!) as Malcolm X (complete with glasses).
  • Check, Please!: Prince John, when the fight during the banquet scene lands on his table.
  • Chosen One: Subverted. Robin's key fits Marian's chastity belt, but it doesn't work. Then again, Broomhilde did say it would rust in the bath, and the sheriff had just taken a jackhammer to it; that can't have been good for the mechanism.
  • Clapper Gag: Maid Marian uses it to turn on the lights in her room.
  • Combat Breakdown: Literally and figuratively. Damn substandard quarterstaves; they broke apart until all Robin and John were fighting with were sticks that rapped each other's knuckles.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: When Will sheaths his knives after shredding Robin's arrow in midair, he manages to accidentally shove his pants down as well.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: As punishment for his treachery, King Richard names all the toilets in England after Prince John. Then he has him locked in the Tower of London. "Make him part of the tour."
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Yeah, we all believe that Prince John's misdeeds were totally the Sheriff's fault...
    Everyone: *cough* Bullshit! *cough* Bullshit!
  • Creator Cameo: Mel Brooks as the Jewish rabbi Tuckman, peddling circumcisions and sacramental wine.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: Played for Laughs with the sheriff's cardboard cutout.
  • Crippling Castration: Rabbi Tuckman offers to circumcise Robin and his group of Merry Men, who at first enthusiastically agree ("I'll take two!"), then somebody thinks to ask what it is and he demonstrates the circumcision as putting one's manhood through the chopping end of a small guillotine. They all change their mind immediately (and warn Blinkin too)
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Aspects of Alan Rickman's version of the Sheriff of Nottingham from Prince of Thieves are split up between this film's Sheriff of Rottingham (such as his title, physical appearance and habit of angrily shouting) and Prince John (such as his consorting with a "witch" to maintain power).
    • From the same film, Morgan Freeman's Azeem is split into Asneeze (who helps Robin escape from prison in Jerusalem) and his son Ahchoo (who accompanies Robin on his adventures back in Britain).
  • Deus Angst Machina: Parodied with the number of tragedies Blinkin says happened to Robin's family, and then he hugs Robin and says it's great to see him home.
  • Deliberately Jumping the Gun: Played for Laughs. As the final duel is beginning, the Sheriff makes a thrust at Robin before he's ready. Only after Robin manages to dodge does the Sheriff say "En Garde."
  • Disability Superpower: Blinkin. He beats the hell out of a stationary pillar during the dinner fight. For a blind man, Blinkin is really, really fast. To say nothing of when he catches the assassin's arrow in his bare hand!
    Blinkin: I heard that coming a mile away!
    Robin: Right-o, Blinkin, very good.
    Blinkin: Pardon? Who's talking?
  • Disaster Dominoes: Robin takes out an entire corps of armored knights by hitting one, who then falls into the next, who knocks down the one in front of him, etc.
  • The Don: The Sheriff enlists the help of Don Giovanni (Dom De Luise), a mafia boss from Jersey, to get rid of Robin Hood.
  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: Marian coaxes a bluebird into landing on her finger. Shortly after, it leaves, having pooped on her finger.
    Broomhilde: Oh! It looks like that happy little bluebird left a happy little doo-doo on your hand.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: At the banquet fracas, a steward and several busty court ladies watch the mayhem in shock from afar. After a moment, he starts checking out the boobage while they're none the wiser.
  • Distressed Dude: Prince John's strategy in times of danger is to yell "Save me, save me!" to his guards and the Sheriff and hide under a table.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: When Robin appoints Ahchoo as the new Sheriff of Rottingham, the townspeople exclaim, "A black sheriff?" Ahchoo responds by pointing out, "It worked in Blazing Saddles," just in case you didn't catch the reference. Doesn't make it any less funny, though.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted; the Sheriff attempting to rape Marian and Latrine planning to rape the Sheriff are equally Played for Laughs. While it looks like (unlike the Sheriff) Latrine will actually be successful, that comes from the fact that the Sheriff is an Asshole Victim, as evidenced by his aforementioned rape attempt on Marian.
  • Droit du Seigneur: King Richard demands the PG-rated version of this trope before Robin and Marian get married. It's just a kiss, but it's a substantial one.
    Rabbi Tuckman: [observing] It's good to be the king.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go:
    Blinkin: [falls out of a tree] I CAN SEE! [runs into another tree] No, I was wrong.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Mervin, the Sheriff of Rottingham.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Mercilessly parodying a similar scene in Prince of Thieves.
    Robin Hood: Blinkin, listen to me. They've taken the castle!
    Blinkin: I thought it felt a bit drafty. Cor, this never would have happened if your father was alive.
    Robin Hood: He's dead?
    Blinkin: Yes.
    Robin Hood: And my mother?
    Blinkin: She died of pneumonia while... oh, you were away...
    Robin Hood: My brothers?
    Blinkin: They were all killed by the plague.
    Robin Hood: [sounding a little sadder] My dog, Pongo?
    Blinkin: Run over by a carriage.
    Robin Hood: [sounding a little more hopeful] My goldfish, Goldie?
    Blinkin: Eaten by the cat.
    Robin Hood: [on the verge of tears] My cat?
    Blinkin: Choked on the goldfish.
    Blinkin: Oh, it's good to be home, ain't it, Master Robin?
  • Exact Words:
    • Robin tells Achoo to watch his back. Achoo complies, by just watching.
      Robin: Watch my back!
      [a soldier runs up and hits him two times]
      Ahchoo: Your back just got punched twice.
    • During a speech to the assembled Merry Men, Robin gets an earful.
      Robin: Lend me your ears!
      [villagers pull off their ears and throw them to Robin]
      Robin: That's disgusting...
    • After capturing Robin, the Sheriff has plans for Robin.
      Sheriff: HA! Walk This Way! [tosses his head and struts away]
      [Robin and guards shrug and imitate the struting walk]
    • When Marian tries to talk Robin out of attending the archery tournament:
      Marian: Promise you won't go!
      Robin: Okay. I promise you won't go.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Provides the trope page image. Robin drinks while parrying with a guard while his back is turned.
  • Expy:
  • Eye of Newt: Subverted. Latrine adds these ingredients into a pot, ostensibly looking like a classic medieval witch. But she's actually the cook; not that Prince John likes it.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Right trope, wrong rope. It fell on Robin, not the guards.
  • Famed in Story: "Robin of Loxley" is rather well-known across England for his skills. The sheriff, Little John, Rabbi Tuckman, and the populace at large all recognize Robin's name when he introduces himself. The sheriff of Rottingham in particular says he's heard that Robin is "pretty handy with a sword".
  • Fanfare:
    • The film opens with one over the credits.
    • The Sheriff gets a hilarious one, played without trumpets.
    • During the archery tournament, trumpets are played directly into Prince John's ears.
  • Fanservice: Maid Marian coming out of the bath in nothing but Godiva Hair and a very contoured chastity belt.
  • Fate Worse than Death
    • The Sheriff of Rottingham reluctantly agrees to marry Latrine if she saves his life. He quickly regrets that decision.
    • Later, King Richard throws Prince John into the Tower (of London), and tells his men "make him part of the tour."
  • Flipping the Bird: At the beginning of the movie a jailer whips a bunch of prisoners sticking their hands up through a grate so he can walk across it with Robin. This is what they're doing a second later when they reach up through the grate again.
  • Flynning: Parodied, played straight, and then spanked like a naughty child. The fight scenes do feature quite a good bit of it, but it's also used as the set-up for jokes like drinking a goblet of wine while Flynning.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The "magic pill" that Latrine gives to the Sheriff after he's run through to save his life is a Lifesaver.
  • Fun with Subtitles: As Marian's hefty nurse prepares to drop into the saddle, her horse is thinking, "You've got to be kidding!"
  • Funny Background Event: When Blinkin is hacking and slashing his way through what he thinks is an army of mooks (he's actually just beating up a wooden support beam), one of the castle maids hiding under the stairs is giving him a "WTF?" look.
  • Gag Penis: By way of a suggestive shadow puppet and a scabbard. It makes the Merry Men burst into spontaneous applause. When the curtain falls, the Merry Men are all quite disappointed.
  • Gale-Force Sound: When Robin sings with Marian in his arms, the force of his singing blows her hair back and messes up her tiara.
  • Gesundheit: A Running Gag regarding Ahchoo (BLESS YOU!). His name is frequently heard as a sneeze — Asneeze is his father's name, incidentally.
  • Glove Slap: Parodied when Robin grabs a much bigger glove.
    Sheriff of Rottingham: I challenge you... to a duel! [slaps Robin Hood across the face with his glove] Hahahahaha! [throws down glove]
    Robin Hood: [calmly puts down his drink, then grabs a gauntlet from a suit of armor and slaps the Sheriff back]
    Robin Hood: I accept!
  • Godiva Hair: Maid Marian coming out of the bath.
  • Greek Chorus: A chorus of rappers. Their leader raps the plot while his three others dance behind him.
  • Groin Attack:
    • An accidental one on Blinkin's part:
      Ahchoo: [extending his hand] What's up man?
      Blinkin: How do you do? [reaches out to shake Ahchoo's hand, but ends up hitting him in the happy spot]
      Ahchoo: [in much pain] I've been better.
    • Another unintentional one when Robin discovers Maid Marian's chastity belt.
    Maid Marian: It's an Everlast.
    Robin: [in pain] I'll bet...
    • Earlier, Robin Hood accidentally does one to himself; failing to jump onto a horse from behind.
  • Ground-Shattering Landing: As Broomhilde picks herself up after her failed attempt to drop into her horse's saddle, she reveals a large crack in the ground from where she landed.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Quite a bit of it during the "Men in Tights" song. They insist they "may look like sissies", but they're really very tough.
    We're butch!
  • Having a Heart: "Lend me your ears!" Cue the Merry Men throwing their ears at Robin.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Maid Marian is played by a redhead, and everyone wants her. Robin's the only one who has even a shot with her, though.
  • Home Guard: The Sheriff and his men. Robin takes a cheap shot at the Sheriff, who seized his family's property while Robin was fighting in the Crusades.
    Robin: My father couldn't get me into the National Guard.
    Crowd: Oooooooohh...
  • Honor Before Reason: Robin decides to fight Little John to cross the bridge, even though, as Ahchoo points out, it "ain't exactly the Mississippi." Robin insists that it's "the principle of the thing."
  • Idiot Ball: Robin grabs it hard when he decides that he absolutely has to compete in the archery tournament at the festival, which he didn't learn about until after he was told that the festival was a trap. Everyone present when he makes that decision realizes it, too.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Prince John calls for the knights to stop Robin and his men. About 50 men in suits of armor start marching into the room from all sides, the clanging of their armor getting louder and louder and louder. After several minutes of this, Prince John, who is holding his ears, says, "I hope this is worth THE NOISE!!!"
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Sheriff manages to get Marian alone in a tower. Too bad about the chastity belt, though.
    Sheriff: That's going to chafe my willy.
    Marian: [as the Sheriff attempts to open it with a jackhammer] No matter what you do, I shall never submi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-it!
  • I Know Kung-Faux: Robin and Ahchoo engage in some very fake-looking martial arts when they first meet against the Sheriff's men. It includes loud vaguely threatening shouting, fake poses, and surprising effectiveness as Robin and Ahchoo eat up the corrupt guardsmen.
    Robin: By the by. Do you know "Praying Mantis"?
    Ahchoo: You're looking at him.
  • Insistent Terminology:
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: The bridge that Little John guards, spanning a stream that's only a few inches wide and deep. Ahchoo notices this and tries to explain it to Robin:
    Ahchoo: You don't have to do this. Look... this ain't exactly the Mississippi. [jumps across the river] I'm on one side... [jumps back] I'm on the other side! [jumps back] I'm on the east bank... [jumps back] I'm on the west bank! [straddles the stream] It is not that critical.
    Robin: That's not the point. It's the principle of the thing.
    Ahchoo: (looking at the burly Little John, then back at Robin) Nice knowin' ya.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    Crowd: A black sheriff?!
    Ahchoo: Hey, why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles...
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS!: The Sheriff of Rottingham supplies the Trope Namer. When Robin challenges the Sheriff to a duel at the party, the Sheriff looks like he's going to accept, then calls in the castle guards to attack Robin.
  • Kissing the Ground: Parodied. Robin kisses the ground noisily when he lands in England, then spits sand out of his mouth.
  • Knife Outline: Using six arrows, fired all at once.
  • Knighting: One of the few things played straight. Robin Hood gets knighted by King Richard after the climax.
  • Land in the Saddle: Marian leaps from a balcony onto her horse. When her large lady-in-waiting attempts to do the same, her horse dodges. Given that she cracks the stones the horse was previously standing on, you can't blame the horse.
    Brunhilde: Fahrvergkügel! If I vas you, I vould never do zat again! Any qvestions? [horse shakes its head] Gut.
  • Large Ham: King Richard. Prior to him, the Sheriff handles the rest of the movie's hamminess; more than half his lines are either intensely sinister whispers or resounding shouts.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Marian is wearing a large chastity belt. She hopes a man will come along who has the key to her... heart.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Robin sings "The Night is Young" to Marian, some of the Merry Men join in as the background music. Marian keeps turning her head every time they pitch in, wondering where it's coming from.
    • When the Sheriff and his henchmen catch up to the screaming kid, they're playing their own theme music, and do it again when they ride away.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Rabbi Tuckman's wine is sacramental wine. It's only for blessing things. But on seeing the dejected looks on Robin and his men, the good Rabbi decides they can just bless the trees and squirrels and such until they're all good and drunk.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When the Sheriff's plot to marry Maid Marian fails, he simply grabs her and runs. This sudden motion causes her shoes to fall off.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Ahchoo's Rousing Speech to the villagers, to the point he re-quotes Malcolm X's "Plymouth Rock landed on us" line.
  • Matron Chaperone: Broomhilde. Her entire job is to ensure that Maid Marian stays that way.
    Broomhilde: Before you do it, you must go through it! Or else I blew it.
  • Meet Cute: While the Sheriff of Rottingham is demonstrating how a catapult works, the device accidentally launches him high into the air. Meanwhile, Latrine is in her bedroom praying for God to send her a man she can marry. Just then Rottingham crashes through the ceiling and lands on her bed, much to her delight.
  • Mess on a Plate: Latrine's omelet from hell. The intact eyeballs aren't the most visually disturbing thing on that plate.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Rabbi Tuckman mistakenly labels all of the Merry Men as this upon their first meeting.
    Rabbi Tuckman: [shaky hand motion] Faygeles?
    (The Merry Men, who've all been standing close to one another or leaning on each other's shoulders, suddenly back away from one another)
    Robin Hood: No, we're straight. Just... merry.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Like everything else in the movie, intentional and played for laughs. The 12th Century Fox that they use to send a message note  is a grey fox, which aren't native to England. To add to the absurdity, it makes the sound of a dolphin as it runs off. The "happy little bluebird" isn't a native species, either.
  • Misspelling Out Loud:
    Don Giovanni: OK, you want plain English: Robin is gonna be dead. D-E-D. Dead.
  • Mock Hollywood Sign: The film shows off a Hollywood-styled sign which reads ENGLAND when Robin reaches the beach.
  • Moment Killer: Marian's nursemaid. That's her job. And, of course, a shout out to Spaceballs.
    Broomhilde: You aren't married yet! Before you do it, you must go through it! Or else I blew it.
    • Also when Robin and Marian are about to be married, who should show up to object but King Richard himself, played by Patrick Stewart no less.
    Rabbi Tuckman: I now pronounce you man and...
    King Richard: I OBJECT!
    Rabbi Tuckman: Who asked?!
  • Multishot: Featured on the posters. In the film proper, Robin fires six arrows at once at a guard to intimidate him.
  • Mutual Kill: Blinkin’s account of how Robin’s entire family died ends with his cat choking to death in the process of eating the goldfish.
  • Neutral Female: Marian to an extreme extent during the swordfight between Robin and the Sheriff. She doesn't even try to get off the bed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You had to mention the archery contest, didn't you, Maid Marian? Robin can't resist going, even knowing that it's going to be a trap.
  • No Fourth Wall: There's characters referencing other Robin Hood movies, there's Camera Abuse with actual cameramen, and there's characters literally pulling out the script to make sure everything is on track.
  • Noisy Guns: As with everything else, done for giggles. With crossbows.
  • Offhand Backhand:
    • During the brawl at the feast, Blinkin gives Robin a drink, and as he downs it, he carries on a swordfight in this vein.
    • One of the villagers does this to one guard accidentally while celebrating taking another one down a moment beforehand.
  • Offing the Annoyance: Almost invoked when a mime annoys the Sheriff to the point that he just shouts 'Kill him!', before he's stopped by Prince John, who says 'You know, a mime is a terrible thing to waste.'note 
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Hilariously averted by Rottingham. It looks like he's going to do this at the dinner fight scene, but then calls in the guards.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Robin woos Maid Marian, the merry men set out some benches and gather to watch, and a couple of the villagers are eating popcorn, right off the cob, on a stick.
  • Period Piece, Modern Language: The parodic film (ostensibly set during The Crusades) mixes modern speech with the occasional older English line with the spoonerisms of the Sherriff of Rottingham. This is most obvious with Ahchoo, who speaks like a modern black man.
    Robin Hood: Fare thee well. I'll see thee upon my return.
    Ahchoo: All right, man. Peace, bro.
  • Pig Latin: The New Latin used by the Abbot.
    Abbot: Oh ordLay, ivethgay usway ouryay essingsblay. Amen-ay!
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Robin and the Merry Men are never shown robbing the rich or giving to the poor. For that matter, their actions to take down Prince John and restore Richard to the throne are mildly irritating at worst and only serve to distract John until Richard returns and deals with his brother by himself.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Courtesy of the Greek Chorus of merry b-boys.
  • Police Brutality: We first see Ahchoo when he's being worked over by Rottingham's grunts.
    Ahchoo: Man, I hope somebody's gettin' a video of this!
  • Popcorn on the Cob: When Robin woos Maid Marian, the merry men set out some benches and gather to watch, and a couple of the villagers are eating popcorn, right off the cob, on a stick.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: In spades. Notably...
    "Care for some... dessert?"
    [mashes his face with a grapefruit]
  • Precision F-Strike: When Blinkin is trying to get down from the observation tower, he ends up knocking over the ladder, which he only discovers after leaning forward to grab it.
    Blinkin: Oh, shit!
  • Pretty Boy: Will Scarlet O'Hara. (He's from Georgia).
  • Produce Pelting: At Robin, after he actually loses an archery contest.
    Blinkin: Oh, they've opened the salad bar.
  • Projectile Kiss: Robin blows a kiss to Marian as he leaves Prince John's castle. Broomhilde intercepts it.
  • Promise Me You Won't X: Marian has Robin promise he won't go to the archery contest. Robin responds with "All right. I promise you won't go."
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The outrageously silly castle hangman, who doesn't seem to care one whit when his charge breaks free and chases after Rottingham.
  • Rage Against the Author: The villagers in the opening sequence yell at Mel Brooks for burning down their village. Again.
  • Raging Stiffie: Robin's painful method of discovering Marian wears a chastity belt ("clang!"). Played for Laughs in a later scene where the scabbard of Robin's sword rises and creates a suggestive shadow.
  • Reading Ahead in the Script: When Filthy Luca bests Robin, during Prince John's archery contest, by splitting his arrow. Robin literally pulls out the movie's script and quickly flips through it, 'til he finds where it says he gets another shot. Prince John and the Sheriff of Rottingham, along with the rest of the cast, consult their own copies and see that he's right. Cue Robin's "Patriot Arrow".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Real Men wear tights. Tight tights!
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The melody "Men in Tights" is borrowed from a different Mel Brooks song, "Jews in Space" from History of the World Part I.
  • Redshirt Army: What does Robin do when surrounded by Prince John's knights? He sends them all toppling over in one gigantic domino fall.
  • Repeat After Me: Walk this way, indeed. It's what Robin and the guards do when Rottingham tells them to.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: Robin arrives home just in time to see Locksley Castle repossessed after his father's death; the repo men literally haul the entire castle away on wheels (revealing the blind servant Blinkin on the chamberpot, unaware that the bathroom is now gone).
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted and played straight, in that order. Robin tries a realistic speech, but it does nothing. Then, Achoo does a Malcolm Xerox impression, and it works.
  • Running Gag:
    • Robin lapsing into long-winded speeches.
    • Robin and Maid Marian being prevented from kissing.
    • People mistaking Ahchoo's name for a sneeze.
    • The Sheriff's dyslexia.
    • Prince John's mole moving around his face....
      Prince John: I have a mole?
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: A variant — Marian promises to marry Rottingham if he will spare Robin. The Sheriff has Robin standing at the gallows anyway, just for insurance. Inverted at the end when Rottingham is run through. Latrine has a magic pill that will save his lifenote ... but she'll only give it to him if he promises to marry her.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Cary Elwes Is About To Shoot You With Six Arrows At Once!
  • Sequel Snark: The rapping Greek Chorus jokes about reappearing in Robin Hood 2.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Subverted for laughs, when it looks like Robin has a Gag Penis. It's just his sword.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Robin is revealed about midway through the film that he has the key to Maid Marian's chastity belt. By the end of the film, after defeating the Sheriff of Rottingham and marrying Maid Marian, when he and Marian finally prepare to do the deed, it turns out his key doesn't work... Apparently it wasn't the real key. Or Rottingham's attempts to break the lock open messed it up. Or Marian just spent too long in the bath. They decided to just call the locksmith.
  • Shoot the Rope: Not what he was aiming at; Achoo was aiming for the hangman, but hit the rope that would have hung Robin instead.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Marian volunteers for one with Rottingham to save Robin from the gallows. Later, Rabbi Tuckman seems to think that Robin's gotten Marian pregnant (it's actually to get Broomhilde to quit cockblocking):
    Rabbi: Married in a hurry! Please invite me to the bris.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Of course, the whole movie picks all of the best parts of many other beloved Robin Hood films (Errol Flynn's epic poses in The Adventures of Robin Hood, the Award-Bait Song in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and even the archery contest from the Disney version) and distills it into a lighthearted pastiche.
    • "Robin of Locksley? I just came back from Maid Marian, the lady whose heart you stole. You prince of thieves you!"
    • When the villagers are shocked to learn that their new sheriff will be a black man, Ahchoo retorts "Hey, why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles." Bonus points for doing a flawless Clevon Little impression!
    • Speaking of Blazing Saddles, that hangman sure looks familiar...
    • Prince John's ever-shifting mole.
    • It's good to be the king.
    • The screaming kid:
      Boy: Well, it's getting late and I've got to go home alone now. Ahhhhhh!
    • During the wedding:
      Person in Crowd: Good morrow, Abbot.
      Abbot: Good morrow.
      Person in Crowd: Good morrow, Abbot.
      Abbot: Good morrow.
      Person in Crowd: Heeeeey A-BAA-att!
      Abbot: ...I hate that guy!
    • When Robin fails to jump on his horse, Ahchoo remarks "Man, White Men Can't Jump!"note 
    • The camera crashing through the window during a truck-in, a gag Mel Brooks had previously used in High Anxiety.
    • Will Scarlet O'Hara (from Georgia) is a nod to Gone with the Wind.
    • This isn't the first time the hero of a film set in medieval England decided to fight somebody blocking him from crossing a bridge over a tiny stream that could easily be jumped over.
    • "We'll make him an offer he can't refuse", and the whole Don Corle... er, Don Giovanni scene. "I was just gonna say that!!". Also during this scene, Dirty Ezio is a doppelganger for Dirty Harry's Clint Eastwood.
    • Sir Patrick Stewart as King Richard puts on a voice that sounds a lot like another well-known knighted actor from the UK who played King Richard in a Robin Hood film.
    • When Robin first meets Ahchoo, he's being beaten up by guards. Ahchoo comments "I hope somebody's getting a video of this thing," referencing the infamous video of Rodney King being assaulted by LAPD officers which had come out two years prior.
    • The camels after Robin and Asneeze escape from prison are references to famous racing horses.
    • Robin Hood channels Winston Churchill during his motivational speech to the townsfolk. Ahchoo's, meanwhile, channels Malcom X, complete with putting on a pair of X's iconic glasses and referencing a line made famous by Spike Lee's biopic from the previous year.
    "We didn't land on Sherwood Forrest. Sherwood Forrest landed on us!"
    • Don Giovanni gets his name from a famous piece by Mozart.
    • "A magic pill that can save your life..." In other words, Lifesaver brand candy.
    • As the 12th Century Fox runs off to deliver its message, it's accompanied by a dolphin cry.
  • Something Else Also Rises: The moonlight serenade ends with an exceedingly suggestive silhouette on a sheet that makes the Merry Men cheer (It's actually Robin's sword).
  • Stock Poses: If Robin isn't in motion, he's doing some kind of dramatic pose. On occasion he manages to maintain it while he is in motion.
  • Stompy Mooks: Lampshaded when the Sheriff calls in a bunch of guards in heavy, clanking armor to surround the protagonists.
    Prince John: I hope it's worth the noise!
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: In about an inch of water. Little John keeps freaking out anyway, so Robin helps him stand up.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Parodied when Little John falls into an inch of water and starts freaking out, screaming he's drowning. When Robin helps him up, Little John pulls him into a Bear Hug and promises him his life in thanks.
  • Sword over Head: Variant. After Robin defeats the Sheriff of Rottingham, he turns away, compliments his sword, and makes to sheathe it ... and accidentally runs the Sheriff through as he tries to backstab Robin.
  • Sword Sparks: Lampshaded when Robin looks at the camera and exclaims "Shocking!", just after the Sheriff's sword makes sparks from striking a stone column.
  • Take That!: "Unlike other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent."
    • Both Italian and French versions do a variation on this: "I'm not someone who Dances with Wolves".
    • The German version has him say that he doesn't cost ("Kosten") the producers several million.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: The Sheriff of Rottingham at the end of his first run-in with Robin and Ahchoo, when Robin dumped him over so he was riding his horse upside-down.
    Rottingham: I was angry at you before Loxley, but now I'm really pissed off!
    Ahchoo: Pissed off? If I was that close to a horse's wiener I'd be worried about being pissed on!
  • Theme Tune Rap: The group of minstrels who frame the story do so using this trope. What is hip-hop doing in 12th-century England? Don't ask.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Played for Laughs, of course, when Robin develops a hammed-up version as Blinkin goes over the long list of Robin's loved ones, now deceased. Blinkin, being blind, is totally oblivious to it and is overjoyed at Robin's return.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Parodied: the Sheriff of Rottingham slaps Robin with a glove to challenge him to a duel, and Robin counters with an actual gauntlet by way of accepting the challenge. Rottingham then lays out the terms of the duel, which happen to include calling in a whole mess of guards.
  • Title Drop: The musical number "Men In Tights" in the middle of the movie.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Mervin, The Sheriff of Rottingham. When everyone hears his first name is "Mervin", everyone starts laughing.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: As it turns out, the villagers are not really suited to be trained - Robin's men wonder if it might not be best to go with the training dummies instead. In the end, they manage to get their act together and come to the rescue.
  • Travel Montage: Robin's journey from Jerusalem to England early in the film is represented by a dotted line appearing on a map of Europe.
  • Trick Arrow: Laser-guided Patriot Arrow.
  • Troll Bridge: Guarded by Little John over a little trickle of water. Again, Robin only goes through with fighting him because it's "the principle of the thing."
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Parodied by Dave Chappelle. While this was a pastiche of other Robin Hood films (especially the Costner version), because of the extremes that this role sometimes goes to in a movie playing it straight, this rather exaggerated parody was actually not that far off the norm.
  • Understatement: Robin briefly complains that his noose is a little tight. Lampshade courtesy of the hangman.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Latrine. Her ancestors changed it to Latrine — it used to be "Shithouse."
      Prince John: ...good change! It's a... good change.
    • Also Ahchoo, son of Ahsneeze.
      • BLESS YOU!!!
      Blinkin: A Jew? Here?
  • Villains Want Mercy: Prince John tries to beg his way out of trouble with King Richard.
    John: It's not my fault. I got a lot of bad advice from Rottingham.
    Merry Men: *cough* Bullshit! *cough* Bullshit!
  • Visual Pun:
    • Look closely at the magic pill Latrine gives the Sheriff to "save his life." It's a Life Saver candy!note 
    • "Lend me your ears!" Cue inevitable joke.
      Robin: That’s disgusting.
    • Dom's little iguana apparently has a problem with narcolepsy, a reptile dysfunction. How sad. Either that or he can't keep it up...
      Rottingham: Excuse me for saying, Dom Giovanni: Your lizard... seems limp.
    • 12th Century Fox. Actually a double pun, as they use it to "send a fox/fax."
  • Walk This Way: Led by the Sheriff of Rottingham after the archery contest.
  • We Will Meet Again: Parodied and subverted.
    Thug: You haven't seen the last of us!
    [Robin does his six arrows at once thing, pinning him to the tree]
    Thug: [sheepishly] You've seen the last of us.
  • What Are You in For?: "...Jaywalking."
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Invoked with Richard Lewis as Prince John. The whole joke of his character is just how poorly his neurotic Jewishness fits into this story and setting.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Well, it is a Mel Brooks movie. Prince John is Ambiguously Jewish, and Rabbi Tuckman inserts Yiddish into his speech.


Robin Hood Men in Tights

Blinkin mistaking a statue for Robin.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlindMistake

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