“As you wish.”
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”
Who can forget these and other quotes from the classic 80s film The Princess Bride? Effortlessly combining all the elements of a great romance/fantasy story – swashbuckling duels, a daring rescue, scheming villains, deadly monsters, torture, miracles, and the ultimate triumph of True Love – and wonderful performances by Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin and others, this adaptation of William Goldman’s original novel is not to be missed.
The story is simple, but it fits the movie’s nostalgia-tinged, gently satirical sensibilities like a glove: a beautiful young woman, Buttercup (played by Robin Wright), is in love with her stablehand Westley (Cary Elwes). Westley disappears for a time and is thought to have been killed by pirates, and a heartbroken Buttercup reluctantly agrees to marry a prince intent on making her his bride (Chris Sarandon). Yet Buttercup learns that death cannot stop true love – “all it can do is delay it for a while,” as her beloved tells her upon his return.
The characters are also immensely satisfying, from the lovers themselves to the vengeful Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and his gentle giant of a partner, Fezzik (the late André “the Giant” René Roussimoff), to even the grandfather who is periodically shown reading The Princess Bride story to his sick grandson (Peter Falk and Fred Savage, respectively). Each character is written and acted with sincere, yet subversively fun overtones that make them a joy to watch.
A final plus of the movie is its visuals and music, which continue to impress even today. The film was shot in various locations in England and Ireland, and it shows, with gorgeous shots of such locations as the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland and Haddon Hall in England. The fight scenes are also directed and choreographed to that same standard of excellence, with few stunt doubles and no blink-and-you’ll-miss-it camera changes. And the score, as composed by Mark Knopfler, boasts a repertoire of diverse and moving songs that fit each scene perfectly.
Overall, The Princess Bride is a film that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it, whether that was in movie theaters as a kid in 1987, or as someone who just discovered it for the first time (as was the case for me). As the tagline says, it’s “not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairy tale.”
Where you can buy The Princess Bride:
Barnes and Noble