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The Princess Bride (1987)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
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7.3
 / 10
16 votes
Genres:
Adventure, Adventure Comedy, Children's / Family, Fairy Tales & Legends, Romantic Adventure
Director:
Rob Reiner Rob Reiner
Starring:
Cary Elwes Cary Elwes
Mandy Patinkin Mandy Patinkin
Chris Sarandon Chris Sarandon
Christopher Guest Christopher Guest
Wallace Shawn Wallace Shawn
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Review by 385
Added: January 06, 2008
In this story within a story approach, an old man (Peter Falk) is reading a book to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). The boy is unwilling at first, but he soon becomes completely entranced with the tale. The book is The Princess Bride and it tells of the land of Florin and a maiden named Buttercup (Robin Wright) who takes a certain glee in tormenting the farm hand, Wesley (Carey Elwes). No matter what she commands him to do, he replies with a humble, "As you wish." However, she soon realizes she loves the man and his replies of "As you wish" were actually his way of saying "I love you." Before they wed, he leaves to join a merchant's ship so he can afford his new life with his betrothed. Buttercup soon receives word that the ship has been attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts and that Wesley is certainly dead, since Roberts is notorious for never taking prisoners. Heartbroken, she vows never to love again. Three years later, she finds herself engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), but she makes it perfectly clear that she does not love him. The day before the wedding, she is kidnapped by a band of thieves led by the brilliant Vizzini (Wallace Shawn). His two assistants, the Spanish fencing master Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and giant Fezzik (Andre the Giant), make their way across the sea to the neighboring country of Guilder, who they plan on framing for Buttercup's murder. Along the way, Inigo notices they are being followed by a strange ship steered by a man in black. The rest of the story deals with Buttercup's relationship with Humperdinck, Inigo's quest to avenge his murdered father, and of course, the mysterious man in black; with occasional commentary from the grandfather and his young audience.

You'll have to forgive my barebones plot synopsis up there, but I was really trying not to ruin anything. Granted, it's probably a wasted effort anyway, because the number of people who haven't seen this flick can probably be counted on one hand. To put this simply, the movie is an absolute classic, appealing to all viewers between the ages of 7 and 87. Instead of taking the usual approach of a children's movie with the occasional joke that's aimed over the kids' heads at the adults, Reiner was actually able to make a film that is universally for everyone. It doesn't matter how old you are, watching our heroes journey through the perilous Fireswamp, the agony of withstanding the torture of The Machine, or Inigo's duel with the man in black will captivate all viewers, and therein lies the magic. The story has action, comedy, love and everything else in between. No matter what kind of movie you enjoy, you're sure to find something for you here.

Making this even more of a blast is how wonderful of a job the actors did. From the charismatic role of Petinkin's to the new levels of despicable that Sarandon was able to achieve, just about everyone brought their A-games. The only exception here was Andre the Giant, whose French accent can barely be understood at times. I'm sure many old-school WWF fans will remember his promos, and it's just as bad here. In an early take, he was having so much trouble speaking quickly and clearly that Patinkin actually slaps him across the face and yells, "Faster Fezzik!" which allegedly did the huge man a lot of good. Now, as bad as it was, it doesn't ruin anything. In fact, it suits his character very well, since he's presented as somewhat simple-minded. Don't you just love it when the silver linings outweigh the clouds? And finally, mention has to be made of Billy Crystal's small role as Miracle Max, a wizard of sorts who was recently fired by the prince. His was my favorite scene in the movie, and I was amazed to find that Crystal's lines were all ad libbed right on the spot. In fact, he was so funny that director Rob Reiner actually had to walk off set because he was getting nauseous from holding back his laughter.

This movie is actually based on a novel of the same name, with a great legend behind it. You see, when the book was written, author William Goldman invented this huge backstory, ultimately claiming it wasn't even his story. He tells of his father reading him the book when he was sick in bed, the story then being written by S. Morgenstein. Years later, when his own son was sick, he follows in his father's footsteps and starts to read, only to find the book is horribly boring, with a lot of satire and padding between the familiar scenes. It doesn't take him long to realize that his father had abridged his bedside version, and Goldman took it into his own hands to do the same. And so, The Princess Bride was released as "The Princess Bride: The 'Good Parts' Version Abridged by William Goldman. This is the same caliber of heart-warming camp that makes the movie so great. Great actors across the board, an entrancing story, and an amazing selection of characters had given this movie the cult status it well deserves. Indeed, this movie is still a sight for everyone, twenty years after its release. 10/10
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 01/06/2008, 07:03 PM
"Great actors across the board." Carey Elwes? I hate you so much.
But yeah, excellent movie. 8/10
385 #2: 385 - added 01/06/2008, 07:31 PM
Elwes has to be in his element. He does very well in these goofy sort of roles like this and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It's the serious roles that he falls short.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 03/18/2010, 12:47 AM
A classic that is for sure. I made my wife watch this a few months ago because she had never seen it. 10/10
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