Robin Hood, One Of The Most Beloved Films In The Disney Canon.

Robin Hood, the twenty-first animated film released by Walt Disney Studios, premiered on November 8, 1973. It was the first feature the studio released that had no creative input from Disney himself, who died in 1966, and had many Hollywood insiders doubting the ability of the studio to carry on without him. The success or failure of this one production would make or break the most successful animation studio in U.S. history.

With so much at stake, it is surprising that the studio had allotted such a small budget to the production. To save money, the animators were told to recycle animation cells from previous films. These cells could be amended, touched up, and re-colored, allowing new characters to perform old routines. In particular, the song-and-dance sequence for "The Phony King of England" used cells from The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Snow White. Moreover, the animation cells of Baloo in The Jungle Book were used to animate Little John, while Robin Hood's cells were originally those used for Peter Pan. The sequences involving the snake Sir Hiss and his mesmerizing of King John are recycled cells used for Kaa in The Jungle Book.

The original theatrical release, in 1973, earned approximately $9.5 million. This was the biggest box office return Disney had ever enjoyed up to that point. It was a tremendous success, though some critics cited the lack of grandeur that marked earlier Disney films.

Despite the minor detractions, Robin Hood is still one of the most beloved films in the Disney canon, with fans citing the lively characters, catchy songs, and intelligent dialogue as reasons for its appeal. The 1982 re-release garnered even more box office success for Disney, catapulting the studio past its creative founder and well into a new generation of animated filmmaking.