In 1993, comedy legend Mel Brooks had an answer to Kevin Costner’s accent-less portrayal of Sherwood Forest’s most famous outlaw from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Robin Hood: Men In Tights. Like he did with the Western genre in Blazing Saddles, Brooks throws all the conventions of a period piece out the window, as characters make topical jokes and contemporary (for the time) references. It’s also the film that introduced Dave Chappelle, who’s unique sense of humor was evident even back then. So, with that, here are some of the best lines from the movie that so lovingly spoofed medieval swashbuckling.
“There’s Got To Be Another Way Of Doing The Credits!” – Villager
Wasting no time going after common Robin Hood film tropes, the opening credits don’t get a chance to really get going before a group of angry villagers gather together as knights stand off in the distance shooting flaming arrows onto their rooftops. “Every time there’s a Robin Hood movie, they destroy our village!” one proclaims, and before long, they all have a rallying cry to get behind. Cue title card.
“Welcome To The Dungeon!” – Dungeon Master
This scene isn’t Brooks’ first dungeon scene, but instead of singing about converting, Robin — who has been captured while fighting The Crusades — meets a foppish Dungeon Master (Brian George) who shows him the kind of hospitality that you’d expect from the kind of restaurant where the bill would have a comma in it. That is until the torture begins, of course.
“Okay, Honkies. Time In!” – Achoo
Here, Robin (Cary Elwes) finds Achoo (Dave Chappelle) in the forest while in the midst of getting beat by the authorities. The two team up to strike back, but not before a glorious ’90s fashion trend is immortalized in the Mel Brooks canon. If you lived through 1992 and could tie your own shoelaces at the time, there’s a decent chance that you can relate to stopping in your tracks and making people wait while you pumped up your shoes. Because an un-pumped shoe in battle is as good as wearing no shoe at all. Also, how about some love for Brooks, because it’s pretty clear he had a keen sense of Dave Chappelle’s comedic voice more than ten years before the world came together to declare him the funniest man on the planet (and like 13 years before we all came together to try and find him when he disappeared).
“My Cat?” – Robin
“Choked On The Goldfish!” – Blinkin
Robin’s home got repossessed, his family died off, his cat ate his fish as some kind of murder/suicide pact (guessing), and his buddy Blinkin is blind. Mel Brooks wrote a country song and wrapped it with a comedy.
“Man, If I Was That Close To A Horse’s Wiener, I’d Worry About Getting Pissed On!” – Achoo
Robin’s first encounter with the Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) finds him mounted on his saddle on the wrong side of the horse. While he tries to warn Robin — while still upside-down — not to “piss him off,” it’s the perfect setup for Achoo to come in and spike it for the punchline.
“Bad News… In A Good Way?” – Sheriff
The next time you have to deliver some bad news try laughing your way through it the entire time. It certainly didn’t work here, but it’s bound to at some point, right?
“Used To Be Sh*thouse!” – Latrine
It’s kind of surprising that Tracey Ullman hasn’t become a bigger film star but her work as Latrine and her ceaseless hunt for Roger Rees’ Sherriff of Rottingham is a highlight of this film. Here, Latrine reveals the origins of her family’s name, which, as she promised, really is much worse than Latrine.
“Don’t Worry, In Real Life, I’m Quite Big.” – Little John
There’s a lot to love about his classically absurdist Mel Brooks scene. It starts with the idea that an inches deep creek needs a bridge to pass over, continues with the sight of the near-giant (Eric Allan Kramer) who guards it, and the slapstick fight scene between he and Robin. The best part, however, may be the unusually specific explanation for Little John’s utterly ironic nickname.
“A Mime Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.” – King Richard
Another a contender for most dated reference, as it seems like this entire scene was written so Richard Lewis could say a line lifted from an old UNCF ad campaign while dressed like a disinterested medieval King during a feast. I am in no way saying this was a bad idea, though.