Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 4K UHD Limited Edition

Back in the early nineties, Kevin Costner was at the zenith of his cinematic reach. With the likes of Bull Durham, The Untouchables and his Oscar-winning Dances with Wolves under his belt already, the man could (and did) write his own ticket. In these happy times, a star with that pedigree could make whatever the bloody hell they wanted to and what Costner wanted to tackle next was a take on Robin Hood.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was in fact one of two films, based on the old British myth of the hero of Sherwood Forest, vying for the screen in 1991. The other being a Patrick Berman/Uma Thurman starrer from 20th Century Fox. But it would be the Morgan Creek, Kevin Reynolds directed feature that would snag Costner and beat them to release with a severely truncated and harried production slate. This film actually fractured the star’s long-standing relationship with the director for a while. What resulted in the end was a film that Costner still draws ridicule from, especially considering it’s the meat between the quality of Dances with Wolves and JFK. But to dismiss this film is folly. Sure, Costner’s attempt at a British accent is laughable.  The rushed production leaves the cinematography a decidedly rough and inconsistent affair at best. But it is fun—damn fun!

"To dismiss this film is folly. Sure, Costner’s attempt at a British accent is laughable.  The rushed production leaves the cinematography a decidedly rough and inconsistent affair at best. But it is fun—damn fun!"

Set in the 1100s, Prince of Thieves departs from the traditional origins of Robin by making him a soldier/prisoner of war in King Richard’s Crusade in the middle east. Robin (Costner) manages to escape his vicious captors with the help of a Moor (Morgan Freeman) but not before his childhood friend Peter is slain during the escape. He vows to return home to England and look out for Peter’s sister, Marian. Only when he comes ashore, he finds that Nottingham has fallen to a corrupt Sheriff (Alan Rickman), he has no home to return to, his estranged father has been executed, and Nottingham lives in fear in King Richard’s absence. Robin searches for answers, running afoul of the Sheriff’s men quickly and unwittingly dragging Marian into danger with him. Not willing to accept the way things are, Robin flees to Sherwood Forest, rallies the unwilling, and begins a campaign to take back what has been stolen: their freedom.

This is a cracking good yarn, told in a memorable and easily digested way. It balances pathos, tragedy, humour, romance and adventure perfectly. This film was never going to be lauded for originality, but it knows what it wants to be and executes every element excellently. The dialogue is punchy and accessible, especially the Sheriff’s lines. Every character is richly drawn and memorable. Its pacing is also terrific, balancing its peaks and valleys with aplomb.Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 4K UHD Limited Edition

The performances from some major stars of the day all hit, there are no misses (and yes, that includes Costner). Christian Slater, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Morgan Freeman, Brian Blessed, Michael McShane all turn in stand out renditions of well-mined characters and make them their own. Freeman garnered a lot of praise for depicting a sympathetic Muslim character. The stand-out, though, is Alan Rickman as the Sheriff. He had delivered a star making turn as the bad guy in Die Hard only a few years before and proved it was no fluke with this one. His Sheriff is lecherous, malevolent, egregious and hilarious. His one-liners in this film are the stuff of legend alone. And Costner, accent aside, is charismatic and sympathetic and a very magnetic Robin that easily suspends disbelief to inspire the masses to save the day and win the hand of his beloved Maid Marian.

Another major feather in this film’s cap is the music. Not only did this film deliver a tie in number one hit, with Bryan Adams’s Everything I do, I do it for you’, but the late (and always great) Michael Kaman delivered a rousing and emotional score that is still listened to by this reviewer to this day.

This film hits the top 100 of guilty pleasures lists often but I don’t feel guilty one little bit. I loved this flick as a teenager and still love it to this day. It’s an easy watch and always a fun night at the movies. It may not be a masterpiece, but it is a confident, well-made, adventure flick that hits all the right beats. What else could anyone ask for in a Robin Hood tale, apart from a solid British accent ;) ?

3/5 stars


Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 4K UHD Limited Edition

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Edition

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Films
Available on Blu-ray
- December 1, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
Discs: 4K Ultra HD
Region Encoding:


Arrow Video (ironic distributor, considering this title) never cheap out on their releases. They always go to the Nth degree to release a back catalogue title that rivals anything that has come before. Renowned for faithful transfers, this time is no exception. As mentioned in the review, Robin Hood was a harried and rushed production. As a result, it ain’t the sexiest looking movie, replete with inconsistencies with focus and shifting colours and the difficulties of a rapid shoot, heavily reliant on natural light. With a new native 4K scan that comes to the fore like never before. But it is accurate. What this transfer improves on accurately is fine detail, the elimination of crush in the blacks and some wonderful DOLBY Vision HDR that brings forest and fire tones alive like never before. There are no signs of heavy DNR or clean up. Contrast is noticeably and vastly improved from previous releases, especially in darker lit scenes. Fine details in faces and clothing render beautifully. The open credits, backdropped with ancient tapestries announce a depth and detail as yet unseen on home media. It’s a damn solid scan of the original camera negative. You won’t be breaking this film out to show off your set-up, but it’s a damn fine job on offer here from Arrow.


Arrow Video hasn’t offered a new ATMOS mix to accompany the terrific new image quality. This is disappointing, but hardly a bust. The DTS-HD 5.1 track is a competent mix, replete with rich surrounds, especially when it comes to the score. Dialogue is crisp and centred. I detected a couple of moments, like Robin and Azeem’s exchange at the tree in England, where there was a slight synching delay, but it’s not offensively bad. Where it lacks, in modern terms, are directional effects. This is more noticeable due to the subject matter. It made me appreciate the ATMOS arrow effects whooshing past my ears in the Gladiator 4K and wish it was present here. It’s still a verbose and immersive mix but it could have been—no, it should have been—a mix that matches modern capabilities. You also get a lossless 2.0 mix if stereo is your thing.



Special Features:

Copious! Generous! There’s just one big friggen problem on the disc I received: there’s no bloody sound on the documentaries or interviews! I reached out to Arrow Video yesterday and they assure me this is an isolated fault, not a batch release issue. But since I can’t mine through their new and legacy documentaries, I can’t give points for my experience. There are several different packaging releases: a steelbook version, just the disc version, and then the one I got which came encased in a thick, high quality box with wonderful artwork by Paul Shipper. There is a reversible poster with the film’s theatrical poster and new art by Jose Saccone, as well as a reversible disc  cover art with your choice of the theatrical art or Shipper’s art. Finally, there are a set of film still cards included that are really good quality. Great looking set! Damn shame about the fault on my set.

  • Brand new 4K restorations of both the theatrical and extended cuts from the original negative by Arrow Films
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation of both cuts in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper
  • 60-page perfect-bound illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jackson Cooper and Mark Cunliffe
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by José Saccone
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized artcards
  • Original uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with director Kevin Reynolds and actor Kevin Costner
  • Audio commentary with actors Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater and writers/producers Pen Densham and John Watson
  • Here We Are Kings: Making Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – a brand new, multi-part documentary featuring brand new interviews with Densham, Watson, director of photography Douglas Milsome, editor Peter Boyle, costume designer John Bloomfield and many more members of the creative team
  • Robin Hood: The Myth, the Man, the Movie – an archival 1991 documentary hosted by Pierce Brosnan

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars

Film Details

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 4K UHD Limited Edition

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
143 mins
: Kevin Reynolds
John Watson
Kevin Costner; Morgan Freeman; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
: Adventure | Action
Sometimes the only way to uphold to break the law.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Just a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 14, 1991
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Robin Hood decides to fight back as an outlaw when faced with the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham.


Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 4K UHD Limited Edition