Errol Flynn: Peter Blood vs. Robin Hood

One actor. Two film roles. You tell us which portrayal was the best. The most memorable. Or iconic. Or simply your favorite.

But before you pass judgment, a few words defending the “character” of each…

The case for Peter Blood

Errol Flynn’s first Hollywood film was Captain Blood, about an Irishman doctor-turned-buccaneer. Directed by Michael Curtiz, co-starring (a 19-year old) Olivia de Havilland, and scored by Erich Korngold this swashbuckling favorite is notable for an epic dual with Basil Rathbone.

The case for Robin Hood

Directed by Michael Curtiz, co-starring Olivia de Havilland, and scored by Erich Korngold this swashbuckling favorite is notable for an epic dual with Basil Rathbone. (Wait…where did I hear this before?) Instead of an Irish surgeon, this time Flynn portrays the famed English archer in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Now that you’ve heard the arguments for both it’s time to render your verdict!

  • Steve

    Considering that I’ve been an Errol Flynn fan for almost my entire life, this is a bit of a tough one.  However, I have to go with The Adventures of Robin Hood.  It is Flynn’s greatest moment on screen, one of the most iconic images in film history.  I feel that the film is the template for all action/adventure films that has followed in the decades since.  The writing is crisp, the interplay between the characters is unmatched.  For example:
    Maid Marian: “Why, you speak treason!”
    Robin: “Fluently!”

    Sir Guy of Gisbourne: “You’ve come to Nottingham once too often!”
    Robin: “When this is over my friend there’ll be no need for me to come again!”

    Flynn, Oliva de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Raines, Alan Hale — what more could anyone want in a cast? 

    Technically, the three-strip Technicolor is still so incredibly vivid that the forests and costumes nearly jump at you from the screen.

    Yes, Robin of Locksley wins out over Peter Blood.

  • Tony Payne

    Steve’s said it all. Errol was irreplaceable as the screens greatest swashbuckler. Rathbone as most people know, was a superb swordsman in his own right, shame he never won any duels on screen. My other favourite scene is the duel between Rathbone and Ty Power in The Mark of Zorro. Fabulous stuff. Who could do this now??

  • Pepe38

    Have to agree that Flynn was the quintessential swashbuckler of any era. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. never had Flynn’s handsome face and athletic body. No male actor ever looked better than Errol in period movies or in uniform.
    I believe Flynn’s portrayal of Robin Hood was the better of the two roles in question. In 1938 Flynn was a more polished actor as well as mature man at age twenty nine. By now, he sported a mustache which enhanced his already good looks as it did for Gable in 1934’s Manhattan Melodrama.
    As noted, Basil Rathbone who appeared with Flynn in the both mentioned flicks was a superb actor and expert swordsman. I met in the early sixties in california. An extremely charming man.

  • Cbldw

    The Adventures of Robin Hood.  Everyone was having such great fun.  Flynn still had a twinkle in his eye and a pinch of innocence.  And Korngold’s film score was joyous.  Just humming the opening measures brings smile to my face.

  • Wayne P.

    Almost impossible to choose here…but since Captain Blood came first about 3 yrs. before Robin Hood, then will give it the slight edge and also for its originality of plot as opposed to the classic retelling of the Sherwood Forest/Nottingham story one more time even if for the ages!  One more thing, will also note that of the 8 DeHavilland/Flynn movie pairings CB was the one that got them off and running as the ‘hot’ young screen couple of their time or any period, for that matter, and that chemistry held at a high quality level throughout their amazing run…thanks for offering one of the best match-ups to date and do keep ’em coming..:)

  • Blair Kramer

    Errol Flynn was born to play ROBIN HOOD.  No one else who ever played that character even comes close!

    • Dennispharrington

      Douglas Fairbanks came close, but I agree that the Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood is the best of all time.

  • Gemini09

    Both are excellent films but my vote goes to The Adventure of Robin Hood which has stood the test of time. Fabulous cast, great script and beautiful cinematography combine to make a truly memorable and entertaining film. Errol Flynn could swashbuckle like no other.

  • Gin Baldwin

    Gin,  Been a Flynn fan for ever and Robin Hood was my favorite film of his. I thought no one ever could match his Robin, but I did enjoy Kevin Costner’s version.

  • Marty

    It’s a difficult choice. I’ve seen both of them many times. Korngold’s music provides the setting for two of Flynn’s best films. Olivia de Havilland was absolutely stunning. When you speak of Robin Hood, nobody before or after played the role the way Flynn did. Only Warner Bros. could make these films part of the Golden Age of Films.

  • SandyG

    I’ve seen both films many times, and am very fond of them, but my vote goes to Robin Hood.
    The colour just zings out of the screen and I prefer the Errol/Basil duel in this one.  The cast is perfect – I have to mention Una O’Connor, she’s brilliant in this – but the whole film is the perfect package as far as I’m concerned and is one of the main reasons I adore classic/vintage films.

  • Kingpong

    I’ve never seen Capt. Blood so I have to vote for Robin Hood. It appears that that is also TCM’s choice as it’s been
    shown over and over again on the network and hardly ever shows Capt. Blood so I’ll have to watch for it. Robin Hood has such a great supporting cast also.

  • The RainMan

    Having to choose one of these classis as “better than the other” reminds me of having to choose which liquor I most preferred, tequila or vodka. Since I like them both equally I gave them both Number One. I’ll do the same with these two Errol Flynn classics.

  • Stevemartin

    Robin Hood without doubt but a closer call would be Vs ‘”The Sea Hawk” Capt Thrope! 

  • the Fan

    Robin Hood has to be my choice. Never a dull moment, great actors and Trigger’s screen debut!! What more could you ask for.

  • Buz

    Tough choice!!  Probably vote for Robin Hood.  Story line and music is great for both, but the color productiion leaves a slightly better feeling.  (I learned recently that Hitler was so impressed that he let Korngold and his family out of Germany…otherwise they’d have wound up in the ovens!)

  • Rob

    Robin Hood was made to be a lasting favorite but for all out adventure I would have to choose Captain Blood.

  • Devans

    Korngold’s music was the best, no one did it better.  He was Austrian.  I liked Robin Hood, mayb it is the color.

    • cinemabon

      March of the Merry Men is right up there with the Imperial March… isn’t it? Charles Gerhardt’s rendition is perfectly orchestrated.

  • Keith

    Both excellent films, but Captain Blood is my choice

  • Rich Bees

    I’ve got a ton of Korngold on my iPod, play it in my car constantly.  I have to go with Robin Hood, because Flynn and Robin are almost synonymous.  Snappy patter, great swordplay and a very tight script.  I would actually pick The Sea Hawk second, due to its ‘Britain vs Germany’ allegory and its effort to muster allied support in pre-war America.

    • Oldfrogg

      The music score is great.

  • Joe

    Lots of men have played Robin Hood on the screen, including Academy Award winners, Kevin costner and Russell Crowe.  However, all of them are always compared to Errol Flynn’s version.  People want to see how their view of the character stacks up against Flynn’s.  It’s a lot to live up to.  I’ll go with Robin Hood.

  • Ken Walker

    Robin Hood. Best of the Robin Hood films . Solid all around.

  • fw1421

    Robin Hood,no doubt about it!

  • ladybegood

    Captain Blood, hands down. I love Robin Hood, but it’s not accurate – I know, I know it’s only a movie but the costumes (especially for Robin) are too sissified. Kevin Costner’s portrayal was more to the point historically. The only thing is, he shouldn’t have tried to sound British – he came off as not know how to sound.

    • thegallus

      Not accurate – who cares? It’s entertaining as hell.  Over 70 years later and we’re still talking about this classic film.  70 years from now, do you thing anyone, except you perhaps, will even remember Kevin Costner, much less his lame version of this classic story.  You can let kids of any age watch the Flynn version and not have to worry about them watching a rape scene!

  • Aktres

    I loved them both, but Robin Hood is my favorite. He could have swashbuckeled his way into my bedroom anytime

  • Joseph23006

    “Peter Hood”, “Robin Blood”, who cares?  We wanted to see Errol Flynn, ‘in like Flynn’.   Buckling a swash or skewering Basil, who was really the better swordsman, but died well on the screen.  I give a slight edge to ‘Robin Hood’ because of Technicolor®.  I can sit and watch all of those WB movies, “Charge”, Santa Fe”, “Blood”, “Hood”, “Custer”, etc., only because I know that I will be entertained.

  • Bill Young

    Robin Hood no doubt.  The camera work with the sword fighting scene was the best.

  • Geezerfitz

    Both great but I liked Captain Geofrey Thorpe in the “Sea Hawk”.

    • Oldfrogg

      Ya almost as good as Robin

  • Robert0320

    Robin Hood followed by Objective-Burma!

  • Fracandi9

    No question, Robin Hood, closely followed by Capt. Blood

  • Mike

    Captain blood absolutely!

  • cinemabon

    Can you imagine Cagney as Robin Hood? Would never be remembered today! You dirty rat, your the guy who killed my brother… Sheriff of Nottingham! This is Flynn’s greatest role!

  • Wjack_51

    Sea Hawks, Robin Hood, Captain Blood, and Don Juan are the best ever.

  • Joe Yachimowski

    Both are great movies, but give the edge t Robin Hood.  Why do they keep trying to remake Robin Hood when the Flynn version will never be equaled.  Remember how bad the  Costner version was.

  • Captainrailroad

    Robin Hood followed by Custer in They Died With Their Boots On.

  • Nom de plume 17

    Peter Blood!

  • The Ringo Kid

    Both are great films and no one could swash their buckle like Flynn, but I have to go with “Robin Hood”. As much as I love black and white films “Robin Hood” is a visual Feast in every way.

  • Fbusch

    When Iwas 12 yrs. old I was given a book. “The Adventurers of Robin Hood”, is still on my book shelf at age 73. While I’ve seen Blood several times Flynn as Robin still overshadows everyone who has come after. No one can Buskle a Swash like Flynn. And to be fair all those who came after, tried to be different to keep from appearing to be copycats. Blood, boots, light brigade, Flynn was born for these roles.

  • Tony Caruana

    As much as I love Flynn as Captain Blood, it has to be The Adventures of Robin Hood.

  • Richardrandbman

    Robin Hood-or as Basil Rathbone pronounced it- Rob-een Hood

  • Scarlett

    Both are great films but Robin Hood is so memorable. Errol Flynn was truly the greatest Swashbuckler of them all. Does anyone remember Richard Greene as Robin Hood……. the television series?e He was another GREAT Robin!

    • Noverton

      Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen… Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men.. Feared by the bad, loved by the good… Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood…

  • Palmer6285

    Robin Hood    TCP.

  • David Miles

    Robin Hood, nobody has, or can, play the role better than Flynn. Douglas Fairbanks Snr, was also great, but seeing that his version was a silent B & W movie there’s really no comparison. Pity the Sea Hawk hadn’t been in color, it would have given The Adventures of Robin Hood a run for its money.

    David Miles

  • Carlos

    Errol became a star with Captain Blood,but he became a superstar with Robin Hood.

  • Bwhowser

    Robin Hood……no contest!

  • Garykoca

    Both great, but no contest – Robin Hood is the classic adventure movie and Flynn’s signature role. 

  • Ridedeaddog

    Robin Hood

  • Libertyfloss

    Robin Hood

  • JackJones

    Peter Blood made him a star but Robin Hood was his definitive role. 

  • Keithb

    Has to be Robin Hood. Iconic.

  • Flafreshairmately

    Robin Hood, but yet Peter Blood was pretty good, don’t forget one is older than the other, making a difference

  • thegallus

    Too close to call.  Why in God’s name was this man never nominated for an Oscar with all his memorable roles?

  • Magman1

    The swordfight scene shadowed on the wall is a classic for all time for all films. Gotta be Robin Hood..

  • charles

    The first time I saw an Errol Flynn movie I was flipping through channels one night. I flipped over to TCM and The Adventures of Robin Hood had only been on a few minutes. I was curious because I had often heard of Errol and dedcided to watch. It was fabulous and I had a new favorite actor from that moment on. He was fabulous as Robin Hood so I definitely would pick Robin Hood. It is the most entertaining movie I believe I have ever seen. I love Captain Blood and several other Flynn movies.I now have quite a collection of Errol Flynn films of my own. He is the greatest ever in my book.

  • Frankox  Robin Hood but only by a hair. I saw both when they were first shown.

    • cinemabon

      Tip of the hat to you, Frank. You must defnitely be old school, man. What a thrill it must have been to be in that audience on the first run and see “Robin Hood” on the big screen. Kudos.

  • Frankox

    Robin Hood but only by a hair. I saw both when they were first released.

  • pauljeep

    it’s a hard choice,but i might go with robin hood,,,,,and not just because it was in color,,,   but i also liked him in    ‘the prince and the pauper’

  • lily flynn

    ROBIN HOOD    is  just wonderful

  • PBreitmann

    for me , Errol Flynn is in both really good but i prefere Robin Hood !!

  • Pacerdad

    Robin Hood!!  Excellent movie to watch on blu-ray!

  • Flip

    Captain Blood. I think the role was a bit more challenging. Seventy-five years later, the “Pirate” genre has provided few memorable films that haven’t sacrificed believability. I think the black & white format + plain old age actually enhance the overall effect. A remake of Sabatini’s tale, inspired by the life of Sir Henry Morgan, is long overdue. Rumours have it that Daniel Day Lewis turned it down? What a shame, could you imagine?! Meanwhile, everytime I rewatch Robin Hood, I’m startled by the vividness of color, it’s almost overwhelming. 

  • Wolfingham

    Neither. “The Sea Hawk” is the quintessential Flynn swashbuckler. It also has the best duel, the best Korngold score, and the best movie Queen Elizabeth I.

    • cinemabon

      I have two versions of this score and find the Charles Gerhardt compilation the most satisfying emotionally for me with the rousing men’s chorus “Row for the shores of Dover” a strong finish, available in reissue at a well known online retail outlet.

      • Wolfingham

        Try listening to the original Korngold score recordings, also available on CD. They are incredible — also incredibly Viennese sounding, away from the picture. Must be due to half the WB orchestra being émigré Central Europeans, like the composer himself.

    • Noverton

      Ah, but no Olivia de Havilland. I like the “The Sea Hawk” too, but the absence of Olivia de Havilland is a very, very large bite missing from the chemistry she gave to Captain Blood and then The Adventures of Robin Hood. 

  • Errolflynn

    Captain Blood would have to be my choice and the captain Blood that first came out not the 50s version
     with which they cut it to bits.I lost a son with sids and one late night not long after his death I was up watching  vintage movies when all of a sudden this stunning looking man came on the screen. Do you know for the whole time I forgot my grief.And the case of Errol and Olivia starting out there lives work one to die way to young and te other to out live many people. When they are together sparks fly.Captain Blood has so many characters That make it like Honesty Nutall. Ho shot his toe of and does not get anything for it.  Captain blood for me. 

  • ekim smada

    I love the black and whites. Captain Blood then Robin followed by; Santa Fe, [because I,m a Civil War Buff], Sea Hawks and Charge in that order. Flynn=none better!

  • twinarchers

    Seeing for the first time you have to go with Robin but now that I am much older and have seen both many times, I like Blood for the main reason that he was just starting out and had his whole film career ahead of him which makes me feel good.  Beyond that as a film, Robin Hood ranks up there with the likes of Gone With The Wind etc.

  • Lacewing_3

    I have seen both, but I like Captain Blood

  • Carol Chambo

    Errol Flynn as Robin Hood.  He did his own fencing because he was just so good. The Adventures of Robin Hood is in my top ten of the best films ever made.

    • cinemabon

      Actually, that was Bob Anderson who taught Errol Flynn how to “act” like he was fencing. He also taught many stars through the years including “Star Wars” and “LOTR” actors. Anderson recently passed away. Oddly, it was Basil Rathbone who was a fencer in private life and could have easily beaten Flynn even though he lost two times to the actor in Captain Blood and Robin Hood, and once to Tyrone Power in The Mark of Zorro.

      • Wolfingham

        AND he also lost to Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester”. Rathbone was 64 when he did that movie, and he was in great shape, playing his quintessential villain-swordsman image to the hilt, with unsurpassed self-irony.

  • Eric Nilsson

    Like Lacewing_3, I’ve seen them both and enjoyed the duels between Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn.  Overall, I think Captain Blood is the better picture.

  • Lauradyoung

    I have to go with Robin Hood. Errol Flynn has never been surpassed in that role by anyone. And the supporting cast was an amazing line up of Hollywood greats.

  • Lauradyoung

    I would also like to offer up Objective Burma as Errol Flynn’s greatest piece of acting. It was his favorite, too. Truly a great role for him. The scene where he cries after his Lieutenant dies is heart wrenching. Marvelous actor and unfortunately never adequately rewarded for his work by Hollywood and his peers.

    • cinemabon

      Critics and film buffs agree with you but even more so for “The Sun Also Rises” in which Flynn basically played himself and deserved the Oscar that year. He never won and joins the list of lovable losers that includes Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant (they later won “honorary” Oscars but never in their catagory).

      • Lorrenie

        Errol Flynn as a fact was nominated for an Oscar for “The Sun Also Rises”but the nomination papers mysteriously disappeared before the awards ceremony. I wonder what goes on with these Oscars? So many great actors in particular from the real great stars never received an Oscar. Like Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole etc.
        I wonder what their criteria is to win an Oscar. Does anybody know?

        • cinemabon

          Academy members are required to see the films in Los Angeles prior to the end of the year. The film must show for at least one week in a LA movie theater. Members may now see the films on a DVD if they are unable to attend and give a good reason why (such as I’m in Australia shooting my next picture). Nominations are made by Academy members of each category – editors can only nominate editors, camera people can only nominate camera people, etc. Once the top five nominations are decided in each category, final ballots go out to all the Academy members who can vote on all of the categories. Only members who keep their dues current can remain a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or AMPAS. Voting is kept a secret until the night of the award ceremony. Final voting closes about a month prior to tabulate votes and make up those fancy envelopes – “… and the winner is…”

          • cinemabon

            Also, I made a big boo-boo! Flynn was never nominated for an Oscar. My bad. I surmised he was and I’m wrong. In fact, twice his fellow actors and crew named him “the least cooperative actor” in 1943 and 1948 – the sour apple award – which meant he made such a fuss on the set, it upset the production. Golden Apple awards were given out to most liked actors due to their on set professionalism. Flynn had a reputation for being one of the least liked actors to work with on the set.

  • Jerry Victory

    Robin Hood. Both are heroic but Robin was a selfless revolutionary where Peter was forced into being a rebel after experiencing the tyranny of the crown first hand by being arrested and convicted unjustly. Also, Robin has the most memorable dialogue. “You speak treason.”  “Fluently!” is one of my favorite lines of all time.

  • lily flynn

    It`s amazing  that ERROL had never got  an Oscar , and I`m not  surprised that the  great Hollywood moguls  had  something to do with it.

    It`s a pleasure to watch each of his films.

    • Robert the Wallace

      I grew up Loving, Appreciating and forever Enthralled by Both of these cinematic Masterpieces. . .it’s impossible to choose between them!
      I will say though, that all ‘ ROBIN ‘ re–makes, and any ‘ CAPTAIN ‘ re–makes, Pale or would Pale in compairison!
      As to previous posts on the dueling scenes, beyond any shadow of Doubt, ( IMO ) BASIL RATHBONE was the screens Greatest and most Accomplished Swordsman Ever! Even though Ty Power was extremely good fencing { way Better than Mr. Flynn [ he was very Athletic, interested only getting by in ‘ ROBIN ‘ ], fencing Master Fred Cavens had to double Ty somewhat because BASIL was so intensely Accomplished! Love RATHBONE, ” R. HOOD ” and ” CAPTAIN BLOOD “, FLYNN and POWER. . .no others will Ever take their places, or ANY Re–makes!
      GOD BLESS you guys–RIP!

  • Guest

    Blood was the first Flynn Flick I ever saw as a kid in the 50’s. That seared into my mind the sea, pirates and swordplay forever! Robin Hood was the most important movie of it’s time, Technicolor was really IN LIKE FLYNN!! 
    However Elizabeth and Essex was my favorite as I got older and I laughed and laughed as my sides hurt at the chemistry between the 2 main characters. However the cocky Robin (Earl of Huntington) Locksley has to be my choice here. Same as Laurie’s vote!

  • Rogerzotti

    I don’t think Flynn realized how much enjoyment he gave to movie-goers. A wonderfully talented actor who, yes, deserved as Oscar…I’ll go with Robin Hood by a split decision…

  • Rogerzotti

    Olivia and Errol — what a duo! I believe they were as terrific as Powell-Loy and Bacall-Bacall…Hepburn-Tracy….

  • Lisaclark354

    Robin Hood

  • tunaman62

    Robin Hood or Blood would have loved to seen both filmed today , can picture  Flynn taking De Haviland into the woods or into the ships cabin

  • Sandras995

    Robin Hood, hands down, without a doubt!!!!!!!!!

  • Tom Muscarello

    Captain Blood by a nose.  Fantastic movies, music and performances in both.  This movie set the mark for Pirate films and, imho, it has never been met. (I am a big fan of Douglas Fairbanks but as great as he was, the “modern technology” used in Flynn’s movies makes the talkie era pirate flicks harder to beat than the silent era films.)   The nose is based on the duels.  Having fenced, I have to say that the duel in Captain Blood is more accurate based on the weapons used.  And Basil Rathbone was the best swordsman in Hollywood, though he usually was the loser on screen.

  • Earl Artis

    Robin Hood is the one. It sort of reminds me of my city of brotherly love (Philadelphia),  but instead they rob from the poor and give to the rich.

  • MACSTER0823


  • erfr

    Errol Flynn is my all time favorite actor.  He epitomizes the swashbuckler in many of his movies, but Captail Blood is my all time favorite with Robin Hood coming in second by a hair!

  • Kulick1959

    captain blood wins hands down

  • Retiredjim5

    Robin Hood had it all. A grear cast, great action, comedy, romance and the best sword-fighting scene between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone ever filmed. And to boot, Maid Marian’s horse was Trigger.

  • Craftlady1

    It’s a tough choice. Both films are wonderful and Errol Flynn was great as both Robin Hood and Peter Blood (aka Captain Blood). If I had to choose, I’d have to pick Robin Hood because of the humor injected into the script.

  • gifraf

    Captain Blood  by an arrow

  • Dennis Hurst1

    Robin Hood is not only Errol Flynns best Film but the best version ever made. 

  • Ddicicco646

    Welcome to Sherwood My Lady! Errol Flynn was Robin Hood.

  • Tnyary

    What a hard choice to give as there are so many wonderful and very fine movies Errol Flynn did and of Oscar quality. He most definitely deserved an Oscar for several of his movies. I would say for any one of them – like Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Robin Hood, The Dawn Patrol, Essex, The Sea Hawk, They Died with their Boots On,  Gentleman Jim, Uncertain Glory, Objective Burma and most definitely for That Forsyte Woman. He most definitely was in the league of Oscar winning actors, which lets me believe that was blackballed to receive an Oscar!
    So – the vote? Very, very hard? I adore Captain Blood, but I give my vote to Robin Hood as he without a doubt was the best Robin Hood ever in history and should have received an Oscar for it! Robin Hood it is!

  • JLCassidy

    rrol Flynn was one of the most charismatic actors of his time I have watched so many of his movies I can’t begin  to count but I always go back to my favourite Robin Hood Hands down I think it’s the best

  • Jhong Dhu

    Peter Blood and Robin Hood.  Both are great Errol Flynn roles.  Each of them ends with “ood”  The OOD are a strange alien race on the Doctor Who television show.  Peter Cushing played Doctor Who twice on the big screen.  Cushing was often paired with Christopher Lee. Cushing and Lee appeared in ‘The Mummy’ with actress, Yvonne Furneaux.  Ms. Furneaux appeared in two Flynn movies – one also featured Christopher Lee, ‘The Dark Avenger’.  Peter Blood was a doctor turned pirate – Lee played a pirate in two films – Robin Hood was based in Sherwood Forest – Cushing confronted Robin Hood in “Sword of Sherwood Forest”  Many interesting turns in the course of movie careers.