The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is one of the greatest, most colorful costume dramas, swashbucklers, and romantically-tinged adventure films in film history. After the icy restrictions placed on the film industry following the establishment of the Production Code Administration (Breen Office) in the mid-1930s, Warner Bros. Studios decided to find relief from censorship by bringing about a renaissance of the historical-costume adventure film, with swordplay, sweeping action, and romantic charm.
Although its main star had portrayed a similar role in Captain Blood (1935) with the same dynamic director, Michael Curtiz, this film established 29-year-old actor Errol Flynn as a dashing, gallant, romantic, impudent but light-hearted, athletic legendary adventure hero – it is the Errol Flynn picture and the definitive film portraying the Robin Hood legend. [This was another of the twelve films that Curtiz ultimately directed with Flynn as a star.]
Director Michael Curtiz was brought in by studio executives to quickly replace William Keighley when incapacitated by illness, according to Variety, while other sources claimed that Curtiz was chosen to create more engaging, impactful, fast-moving and action-oriented content when Keighley couldn’t meet the tight production schedule. Both directors received screen credit for their work. [William Keighley had previously directed top-billed Flynn in the Warner Bros’ costume drama The Prince and the Pauper (1937) a year earlier