Tag Archives: Michael Kamen

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991)


I can’t believe this movie is 25 years old, but it’s true! On this day in film history, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was released to theaters. Starring Kevin Costner, the film sought to re-tell the classic story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but in a much darker fashion than its predecessors. If you’re looking for the bright spectacle as seen in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), then keep looking because this is not the film for you.

Robin (Kevin Costner) escapes captivity in Jerusalem with a condemned Moor named Azeem (Morgan Freeman). He returns to England, only to find that his father (Brian Blessed) has been murdered, his family castle burned to the ground and his lands claimed by the utterly corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman). This telling of the Robin Hood story is unusual in that Prince John (typically the villain of the story) does not appear nor is he mentioned.


Robin becomes reacquainted with Lady Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), a childhood friend (and also a cousin to King Richard). After killing some of the Sheriff’s men, Robin, Azeem and the blind servant Duncan are forced to take refuge in Sherwood Forest, where they encounter a sizable band of outlaws, led by John Little and the brash Will Scarlett (Christian Slater), the latter taking an instant dislike to Robin, even after he beats John Little in a fight and renames him “Little John.”

Robin declares war on the Sheriff and proceeds to rob every rich man passing through the forest, organizing the outlaws into a rather prosperous community along the way. Desperate, the Sheriff (goaded on by the witch Mortiana) hires Celtic mercenaries to track Duncan to the outlaws hideout after Marian is kidnapped by the Sheriff’s men (Duncan having been sent to live with Marian due to his failing health). A vicious battle ensues, and Robin is missing, presumed dead. The devastated Marian learns that the Sheriff wishes to marry her (as he seeks the throne for himself and marrying the king’s cousin would give him a semi-legitimate claim) and believing Robin dead, she has no choice but to accept.


But Robin isn’t dead, and while they plan their next move, a captured-then-released Will Scarlett appears and informs everyone that a large number of prisoners  taken during the battle (including Little John’s oldest son) are to be hanged the very next day. Will also drops a veritable bombshell: he is the half-brother to Robin, the son of a woman that their father loved for a time after Robin’s mother died. The woman was sent away because Robin didn’t like her, therefore Will holds Robin responsible for the rough life he has led.

The next day, just as the prisoners are to be hung, Robin and his men appear, and chaos erupts. The prisoners are saved just in time, while the Sheriff drags a screaming Marian away to be married (he intends to claim his “marital rights” as soon as the ceremony is completed). Robin and Azeem give chase and just as the ceremony is finished, Robin literally crashes the wedding by entering through a stained glass window.


A huge sword fight follows between Robin and the Sheriff. The fight is largely equal, until the Sheriff’s sword breaks Robin’s blade into pieces, leaving him pinned against a wall. But just as the Sheriff lunges for the killing blow, Robin reveals his last weapon: a dagger given to him by Marian (who received it from the Sheriff) plunged straight into the villain’s heart! With the Sheriff dead (and Mortiana the witch dying soon afterward), Marian and Robin are reunited and shortly thereafter, married, with the returning King Richard (Sean Connery) in attendance.

I’ve seen this movie get a lot of flak because of Costner’s performance, but personally I enjoyed it very much. It’s a different spin on the Robin Hood story and it’s full of humorous little moments. Alan Rickman in particular slays the role of the Sheriff (he allegedly refused the role three times until the director offered him carte blanche in how he played the character). Another favorite character is Friar Tuck (played by Mike McShane), a hilariously funny character, with a big booming laugh and an obsession with beer!

If you haven’t seen this film, it is definitely worth seeing at least once. It also features a great score by the late Michael Kamen.

*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Studios

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Marco Beltrami talks Live Free or Die Hard (2007)


Marco Beltrami talks Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

I have a slight confession to make: I’ve never actually seen any of the Die Hard movies. I’ve heard of them yes, but actually sat down and watched? No. I do know they all star Bruce Willis, and as far as I know they’ve all done pretty well at the box office. I happened across this interview by Marco Beltrami, who composed the music for Live Free or Die Hard and I found myself entranced by his work.


Beltrami mentions (and I did not know this) that the late Michael Kamen composed the music for the first three Die Hard films, and that he did his best to live up to Kamen’s musical legacy. What I love about this interview is the depth that Beltrami goes into. He actually describes (in brief) the recording process, so even if you don’t like Die Hard, you should still watch this interview because of the detail he goes into.

After all, it’s not every day you see an interview like this one. Enjoy! (I know you will)

See also:

Marco Beltrami talks Blade II (2002)

Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson talk Resident Evil (2002)

Marco Beltrami talks 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Marco Beltrami talks The Wolverine (2013)

Marco Beltrami talks World War Z (2013)

My thoughts on: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Michael Kamen talks The Iron Giant (1999)


Credit to Warner Bros.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

At the close of the old century, Warner Bros. Studio released The Iron Giant. The feature starred Eli Marienthal as Hogarth Hughes, Christopher McDonald as Agent Kent Mansley, Harry Connick Jr. as Dean, Jennifer Aniston as Hogarth’s mother and Vin Diesel (yes, THAT Vin Diesel) as the voice of the Giant. This film marked the directorial debut of Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol).

The composer, Michael Kamen, was initially given a temp score of science-fiction music composed by Bernard Herrmann, but the music “scared him completely.” As a result, Kamen traveled to Prague for inspiration and eventually found it listening to the Czech Philharmonic.


Rather unusually, Kamen not only recorded the score over a single week (as opposed to a month), it was also recorded without synchronizing the music to the picture. By that I mean, Kamen did not have a visual of the film present during the recording process (very unusual). Kamen visualized the score as something that could be recorded and listened to as a single piece of concert music.

The score went on to win an Annie Award for Music in an Animated Feature Production on November 6th, 1999.

The interview is broken into three parts (hence the three links) and I hope you enjoy Kamen’s talk about creating the score for this adorable film.

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Michael Kamen talks Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Michael Kamen- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was one of my favorite movies growing up. I never tired of watching the fearless Robin Hood (played very well by Kevin Costner in my opinion) finally defeat the vile Sheriff of Nottingham (played by the late Alan Rickman, RIP), to rescue his true love, the lady Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio)


Marian and Robin

As I grew older, however, I found myself more and more drawn to the music of this film, and how it enhanced the drama on the screen (as all good film scores do). Michael Kamen gives a relatively short talk about the score, how he developed it, and there’s some neat insight into the recording process. I was so sad to learn that this gifted composer died in 2003. Please enjoy.

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*Everything is copyright to Warner Bros.