A wounded man arrives in Sherwood forest and is taken into the care of outlaw Robin Hood. But, according to the nefarious Sheriff of Nottingham, this man is a criminal and nothing will prevent the Sheriff from capturing him. But what is the genuine nature of this stranger? And can Robin discover the truth before it's too late?
To television audiences of the '50s Richard Greene was Robin Hood and it's no surprise that his popularity was capitalised on by giving him a big screen adventure in this effort from 1960. Alas it's not exactly the best romp for everyone's favourite outlaw. Despite all the main elements being in place - the evil scheming sheriff, swashbuckling, Maid Marian, Little John, a gluttonous Friar Tuck - it's a pretty unremarkable escapade. The average plot tries to add some variation and mystery to the usual tale with an incognito Robin recruited by assassins and undertaking some bizarre tasks to demonstrate his skills, but despite its relatively short running time it all feels like a protracted episode of the tv show.
Coming from Hammer studios - who made three Robin Hood movies - it's no surprise that at least things look decent with Bray Studios genius Terence Fisher in the director's chair realising the tale in glorious Technicolor. Another Hammer regular, Peter Cushing, gives it his best as the dastardly Sheriff but these are slim highpoints in a bland adventure yarn whose conspiracy plot should have been engaging rather than uninvolving. Proceedings aren't enlivened by perfunctory sword fights and routine action scenes with Robin's Merry Men barely getting a look in and there isn't even a hint of robbing the rich antics.
The arbitrarily titled Sword of Sherwood Forest is a run of the mill offering playing off the popularity of Richard Greene. Alas he hasn't got the charisma to carry a movie that needs something to maintain audience interest beyond the dull narrative. Whenever Peter Cushing is on screen things liven up, and Oliver Reed gives an inadvertently amusing performance as an effete conspirator, but there isn't much to recommended here. Fans of the philanthropic outlaw are really spoilt for choice when it comes to big screen versions of his adventures and this one would probably appear near the bottom of the long list of Robin Hood movies.