WCW: Maid Marian


Well, we can’t cover Robin Hood without looking at Maid Marian! The legendary medieval hero/outlaw’s love interest is part and parcel (usually) of the Robin Hood story.

According to legend, while Robin Hood was stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, he was also pining for, and often saving, his lady love: Maid Marian. Who has played this role? Well, so many actresses!


Barbara Tennant in Robin Hood (1912)

1912 Robin Hood

That outfit looks very RenFaire/Oktoberfest!


Gerda Holmes in Robin Hood (1913)

1913 Robin Hood

I am always down for a hennin!


Enid Bennett in Robin Hood (1922)

1922 Robin Hood

I like how they both look confused.

1922 Robin Hood

Okay, that’s SO pretty!


Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

She always looks so futuristic in these outfits.

1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood

But this is absolutely my platonic ideal of “medieval” hair (with ALL the quotes).

1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood

Gorgeous! But futuristic!


Patricia Morison in The Prince of Thieves (1948)

1948 The Prince of Thieves

I like her swashbuckle-y pirate-y look!


Diana Lynn in Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950)

1950 Rogues of Sherwood Forest

Courtesy Everett Collection

1950 Rogues of Sherwood Forest


Mary Hatcher in Tales of Robin Hood (1951)

1951 Tales of Robin Hood

Alright, I want to know where they scored that metallic trim on the headpiece (look at that and not the bangs!)


Joan Rice in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952)

1952 The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men

Feeding the chickens!


Bernadette O’Farrell in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-57)

1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood

Okay, you can’t get much more 1950s than this pink plus that hair!

1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood


Patricia Driscoll in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955)

1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood

Going full Peter Pan, the both of them!

1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood


Sarah Branch in Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

1960 Sword of Sherwood Forest

THAT WIMPLE. Is ALLL kinds of 1960s fabulous.

1960 Sword of Sherwood Forest


Gay Hamilton in A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967)

1967 A Challenge for Robin Hood

She looks very Brenda from 90210…

1967 A Challenge for Robin Hood


Silvia Dionisio in Long Live Robin Hood (1971)

1971 Long Live Robin Hood

Yeah, that 1971 looks about right!

1971 Long Live Robin Hood



Audrey Hepburn in Robin and Marian (1973)

1973 Robin and Marian

I truly do not understand this haircut. Except for the fact that it’s 1973.

1973 Robin and Marian

Now this looks much better, although is there a reason she’s wearing a burlap dress?


A Vixen in Robin Hood (1973)

1973 Robin Hood

You guys gave me so much shit last time! See the things I do for you??

1973 Robin Hood


Diane Keen in The Legend of Robin Hood (1975)

1975 The Legend of Robin Hood

An actual attempt at historical accuracy?

1975 The Legend of Robin Hood


Misty Rowe in When Things Were Rotten (1975)

1975 When Things Were Rotten

Get My Tits Out… and that’s the doctor from Love Boat to her left/our right, if I’m not mistaken…

1975 When Things Were Rotten



Lynn Redgrave in The Muppet Show (1979)

1979 The Muppet Show

Yes really! Poor Miss Piggy gets stuck with “Sister Tuck,” which is some bullshit.


Morgan Fairchild in The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1984)

1984 The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood

GOD I love Morgan Fairchild. I thought she was the epitome of beauty and glamour as a child. Check out those plastic pearls!


Judi Trott in Robin of Sherwood (1984-86)

1984-86 Robin of Sherwood

She’s giving me Mylene Farmer vibes…

1984-86 Robin of Sherwood

Also, Kim Thompson in Stealing Heaven. It’s the hair!

1984-86 Robin of Sherwood

Alright! Attempts were made!


Kate Lonergan in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men (1989)

1989 Maid Marian and Her Merry Men

A children’s comedy led by Tony Robinson of Blackadder.


Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

1991 Robin Hood- Prince of Thieves


1991 Robin Hood- Prince of Thieves

On a I-know-nothing-about-medieval level, I love it!

1991 Robin Hood- Prince of Thieves

I’m guessing that hair would be SO MUCH work, but it’s all my curl dreams!


Uma Thurman in Robin Hood (1991)

Uma Thurman, Robin Hood (1991)

No doubt Sarah wants me to point out the machine-sewn wimple hem.

1991 Robin Hood

Loosening up! I can’t see Patrick Bergin without thinking of him as the abusive husband of Julia Roberts, however.


Amy Yasbeck in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

1993 Robin Hood- Men in Tights

Team Redhead!

1993 Robin Hood- Men in Tights

This was all my ideals of Hair Metal Chick hair when I was age 14ish!


Anna Galvin in The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997)

1997 The New Adventures of Robin Hood

Deeply suspect.


Barbara Griffin in The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997)

1997 The New Adventures of Robin Hood

The only image I can find that’s reliably her. I think.



Kate Moss in Blackadder: Back & Forth (2000)

2000 Blackadder- Back & Forth

No really! Kate Moss! No idea why. Check out ALL the unnecessary lacing!


Lucy Griffiths in Robin Hood (2006)

2006 Robin Hood

Cold shoulders, unnecessary lacing… gimme some grommets and we’ve got a trifecta!

2006 Robin Hood

Is that boiled wool? Or?


Cate Blanchett in Robin Hood (2010)

2010 Robin Hood

In desperate need of hairpins, but the dress is nice!


I have more questions about the flappy corset.


Christie Laing in Once Upon a Time (2011-18)

2011-18 Once Upon a Time 2011-18 Once Upon a Time


Sabrina Bartlett in Doctor Who (2014)

2014 Doctor Who

She’s in everything these days!


Eve Hewson in Robin Hood (2018)

2018 Robin Hood


2018 Robin Hood

Like, what decade/century are we in?

2018 Robin Hood

How many blow dryers does she own?

Who’s YOUR favorite Maid Marian?

43 Responses

  1. MoHub

    Bernadette O’Farrell. A Marian who was touted in the script as being a better archer and equestrian than Robin.

  2. Jen

    Came here purely to check that you knew about Maid Marian and Her Merry Men!

    Kate Moss – because Richard Curtis thinks it’s hilarious to put her in things. See also the Red Nose Day “sequel” to Love Actually.

    • Jen

      Oh and I missed the question at the end – Kate Moss is definitely NOT my favourite!

    • Katie

      I loved the Uma Thurman MM as a teen, and want to rewatch it. But my absolute favorite is Olivia de Havilland.
      On an unrelated note, That Is A Raven, although given the general attention to detail and care in selecting chickens for movies, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to pass off a raven.

  3. Eileen

    Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is an underappreciated goddess.

    As for the divine Ms. Hepburn, her Marian was a nun (Mother Superior if I remember correctly), and nuns cut their hair short.

    • Roxana

      Robin: What are you doing in that outfit?
      Marian: Living in it!

  4. Roxana

    Judi Trott. I loved that curly red hair. Also she never played maiden in distress but was treated as a full member of the band.
    I do know medieval but I loved Mastrantonio’s costumes anyway. Olivia de Havilland ‘s too.

    • Mab

      Absolutely agree with Judi Trott. Part of the gang but in a way that doesn’t jar too much with the period whilst still being awesome. (Plus her theme is beautiful. Clannad really did a stunning job with the music)

      • Lucy Collin

        No, only an extension to make it longer at the back, her curls are natural. Little John had a wig for a bit called Doug the Rug.after Clive Mantle shaved his hair for a play.

  5. mmcquown

    Blanchett: she was tough, she was ironic, she was funny, and she could rescue herself most of the time. “How the Aussies Saved England” will always be my fave version of the story. I interviewed Morgan Fairchild for “The Seduction” in Atlantic City back in the day. She was very friendly and relaxed. I also watched “Ben Casey” drop $7000 at the crap tables and not even wince.

  6. Constance

    Wow I had no idea there were so many versions…I admit to seeing none of them…or even knowing much about the story. Can’t decide if any of these images encourage me to find one to watch now…

  7. Boxermom

    Methinks I spy a recycled movie costume; the white dress that Gay Hamilton wore in A Challenge for Robin Hood looks an awful lot like a dress Jane Asher wore in Masque of the Red Death. :)

    • hsc

      Good catch! Googling photos of Jane Asher for comparison, they look identical.

      Additionally, MASQUE (an American-International Pictures/Anglo-Amalgamated co-production) credits a “Costume Supervisor” while CHALLENGE (a Hammer film) credits a “Wardrobe Mistress”– in both cases, low-budget productions working with rentals rather than designing much of anything for the film.

      I wonder what bigger-budget production used that costume originally?

  8. Saraquill

    Mary Elizabeth from Prince of Thieves is giving me horrible flashbacks to my childhood. Long curly hair + mom how only knows how to rip out tangles = nothing good.

  9. florenceandtheai

    Regarding Audrey’s burlap and short hair: in some versions Maid Marian became a nun when she was older. She was a noble woman and would’ve had the necessary education and dowry funds. I think that’s what supposed to be going on. TBH, your guess is as good as mine. Historically, women got haircuts when they were invested with religious habits as a symbol of giving up worldly vanity. There’s more to it, but that’s the monastic history nerd in me talking.

    • Aleko

      But the dressing essentially as widows and penitents was a rather later thing. St Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179, so 100% contemporary with the reign of Richard I) , when she wasn’t composing music, having visions, writing huge tomes of science, herbalism and theology, and acting as an agony aunt for European monarchs, founded two convents of her own where she took the idea ‘brides of Christ’ quite literally: the nuns dressed as princesses with long white silk veils, gold crowns and wedding rings. The contemporary description doesn’t mention their hair, but certainly chopping it off short wouldn’t tie in with that look and idea at all.

      • Eileen

        Different orders of nuns and sisters had different dress and rules, and most took vows of poverty or dressed in clothing to show their solidarity with the poor. Audrey’s burlap dress would have been in keeping with this. My understanding from growing up Catholic is that nun’s cut their hair or shaved their heads when they joined the order as a sign of eschewing vanity. It’s not required of all orders, but even today sisters will keep their hair short even if they don’t wear a veil.

  10. Aleko

    I know just what you mean by ‘futuristic’ – OdH in that third picture could be playing Princess Aura in Flash Gordon.

    • VKestrel

      I wonder how much of the “futuristic” look of the clothing is due to the coloring choices and processing. The film was originally Black and White.

      • hsc

        While the images posted might include a couple of color-tinted B/W promotional stills, the film itself was definitely shot in three-strip Technicolor.

        However, it was indeed planned as a B/W film until three months before shooting started.

      • Aleko

        Yes, indeed, but if she ever had decided to cover up I can totes see her wearing something like that sunburst gown!

  11. mjsamuelson

    Oh, totally love the Disney version, and that particular Maid Marian was IT for me until I saw Prince of Thieves and fell for Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. She and Alan Rickman saved that movie for me, honestly (even if it is still….a whole thing). I knew about Olivia de Havilland in that role long, long before I actually saw the movie – I think generally she’s the gold standard for a certain vibe of Maids Marian.

    • Mary

      I totally agree about Alan Rickman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantinio saving the movie, and they are generously helped by NIck Brimble as Little John. But Mary Elizabeth is my favourite Maid Marian, HER HAIR is so amazing. I mostly like her costumes too. My second favourite is Disney’s vixen

  12. EA Gorman

    My two favorite Lady/Maid Marians were Olivia De Havilland and that Disney cartoon vixen. Thank you for putting up with all of our protests for putting her in there, btw. [And yes, Miss Piggy would have made a better Marian but that wouldn’t been as funny…or something.]

    • SarahV

      I would like add a +1 for Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), the artifacts thief/conwoman in SPAAAAAAAAAACE from Star Trek: Next Generation, who a) was turned into an ever so slightly rambunctious incarnation of Marion in the delightful episode “Q-pid” (replete with this wear hair braid cage thingy) and b) gets to snog prime Patrick Stewart at his most Picardiest, incarnated as a reluctant Robin Hood!.

  13. Nico

    I hope you have a Book of Gems somewhere and that Silvia Dionisio’s yellow outfit is in it :)

  14. Lynne Connolly

    Oh, Olivia de Havilland! She was so good, and she gave Erroll Flynn what for!
    But I also loved the Robin of Sherwood TV series. It had all the feels! (and mullets!)

  15. Jenni Lumikettu

    Since Spede Pasanen and About Seven Brothers was mentioned in the Robin Hood post, could I add the females? Sure, neither is named “Marian” but do have Marian-esque qualities. First we have Helena, the Lord’s daughter (Kaisu Vuoristo) and the Lord’s bride, who doesn’t have a name until Robin names her Venla (Pirkko Kankaanpää). To my understanding, Venla becomes the 7th Merry Man hence the title “About Seven Brothers”. The movie was very much a product of it’s time, with the female roles very much overlooked (plus the blatant sexism, so watching them with modern eye does not look good). It’s still one of the Spede movies I enjoy (with a good dose of salt).

  16. Heather Ripley

    I just watched most of the OdH version, so shiny!! I agree she does have future vibes. There are so many versions to watch (or avoid).

    Thanks for sharing the link about the real MM, very interesting and sad.

  17. Fiona

    I have a big soft spot for the BBC Robin Hood, despite Lucy often being dressed like a kid whose mum has thrown together a costume from her own wardrobe and the dress up box. Mind you that Richard Armitage is a big part of the allure of that series!

  18. shoujofan

    Marian is a nun in Robin and Marian, for that reason her hair is short. They were living separated for a long time, I don’t remember the number of years and when he returns, she gets really angry but the make up in the end… well not in the end.

    • SarahV

      That version gets a lot of grief, but it’s actually lovely and a heartfelt visitation with the characters later in life when the grand passionate affair didn’t pan as planned.

  19. Gill

    Not enough love given for Kate Lonergan in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men . She was the lead, people! Brilliant – written by Tony Robinson of Baldrick fame, with a core cast which played lots of characters. Funny, but also sometimes touching and thought-provoking. And with the amazing Danny John-Jules too.

  20. Damnitz

    To be honest at least in some scenes Uma Thurman was looking to me as the perfect actress for Maid Marian especially when she is not too much bad ass in that movie.

    But to see that Giuliano Gemma once was Robin Hood threw me out of my shoes. He just was one of the perfect actors for the Italowestern, but in that film with medieval T-Shirts? Oh no, it’s just looking so poor. But maybe in the 60s and 70s actors like him had to make 2-3 movies per year at least?

  21. Jamie J LaMoreaux

    Olivia de Haviland, the Vixen and as an honorable mention Glynis Jones as Maid Jean (from the Danny Kaye homage to Robin Hood The Court Jester.)

    • SarahV

      Yes! Glynis Johns was so beautifully spunky in that movie, and was so so good at the snapy patter. And she had such a wonderful voice – so full of quirk!