The Princess Bride

  • Directed and Co-Produced by Rob Reiner
  • September 25, 1987
  • Based on the 1973 book The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A farmhand turned pirate must rescue his true love from an evil prince.

I think I stand with many people when I call The Princess Bride one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time. It is very nearly perfect from start to finish. It is funny and emotional and just sweet. There is so much emotion and well-done humor in this and how can you not love this movie?

The characters are set up quickly and effectively. They are traditional in the sense of fantasy films but in a humorous way. It’s special in the sense of romantic comedies. This film is magic. This is lightning in a bottle. Perfection from the start.

The writing is perfect with great individual characters, memorable scenes, and memorable dialogue. There are loving pokes at romantic as well as fantasy films. They use your expectations against you but in a positive way.

None of the jokes will get belly laughs out of you but you might get a chuckle. Some are sillier than others. For example in the fencing scene towards the beginning when Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) must use his left hand because if he uses his right the fight is over too quickly. That sounded like a juvenile masturbation joke to me.

Despite any mature elements in this movie, they are not so over that you couldn’t sit down and watch this with your kids. Nothing is done to make this other than the sweet and loving story. It is largely sweet and romantic about one man going to great lengths to reunite and save his love. He has survived pirates and crossed great lengths to save her from kidnappers and a murderous prince.

The movie is infinitely quotable. From “As you wish” to “Inconceivable!” to “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”, this film has so much that can be referenced. This gives the audience some much that sticks with them. But it is just well crafted on so many levels.

For example the relationship between Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes) is developed through acting and not just handed to the audience. You can tell in real life when two people are in love and you can just tell here.

Our villain is Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) of the nation of Florin and aided by the six fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Maybe it’s the modern era creeping into my thinking but were they supposed to be gay? There is nothing overt to confirm this but there are a few exchanges between them where I get that they are interested in each other and not just working together. Anywho…

Humperdinck plans on using his marriage to Buttercup as part of a plan to start a war with the neighboring kingdom of Guilder. Initially this is to be accomplished with the aid of the Sicillian Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) and his henchman: the Spaniard Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and the giant Fezzik (André the Giant). Montoya is on a quest to avenge the murder of his father who it turns out was killed by Rugen.

They are all such engaging and entertaining characters but what makes this film really work is the element with the grandfather (Peter Falk who also serves as narrator) reading to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). If it wasn’t for that, the whole movie would fall apart. Somehow that element gives this film something extra special and helps makes this an instant classic.

And something that is so silly and goofy takes a real serious turn, when Inigo Montoya finally gets to avenge his father. That not only goes to the writing of the film, but the talent of Mandy Patinkin. The man is not a huge name, but he is an amazing talent. That scene packs a greater punch than one would think it should.

It’s not always easy turning a book into film. Sometimes it’s downright impossible. Sometimes they change too much and sometimes they try to change too little. While a one-to-one translation is not possible you can probably get in the 90 percentile. Whether or not you’re familiar with the material a poor translation is obvious. I’m not familiar with the material but it is clear they did a very fine job taking from page to screen.

The music is great and this movie features perhaps one of the most perfect songs for any film ever. “Storybook Love” is essentially the film put to song. And it is beautiful and emotional.

The Princess Bride is an amazing classic. It hits all the right romantic notes and all the right humorous notes with surprising emotion at points good drama. This is a must see. It does not disappoint.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: