Film Fridays – ‘The Princess Bride’

Film Fridays is a project initiated by Sarah and I. See previous posts for a longer preamble!

We would be delighted if you would join us! We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in out hearts, and any personal memories they evoke. 

‘The Princess Bride’ (1987)

The Trailer :

Yes – I am still posting about ‘comfort food’ movies because the world still sucks! What passes for normal service may return to the blog soon, or it may not depending on if I can get the internet at home fixed….

Why this movie? It is not a typical ‘bloke’ movie I know. But it IS just wonderful!

Adapted by William Goldman from his own novel (which I confess I have never read, though Sarah tells me it is great). This tells the story of farm boy Westley and his quest to rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from evil suitor Prince Humperdinck. Along the way he encounters a trio of outlaws who have kidnapped the Princess, and outwits their leader before teaming up with the other two.

The Story is presented as a bedtime tale being read to a young Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) by his grandfather Peter (Columbo) Falk.

The main cast is great: Cary Elwes, with his old fashioned matinee idol looks, is perfectly cast as Westley. Robin Wright is great as Buttercup and Chris Sarandon suitably evil as Humperdinck. Of these, it is refreshing that Robin Wright has perhaps the greatest profile these days, with recent important roles in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ – in which she was quite magnificent.

However, that said, it is the supporting cast that makes this movie for me: The three outlaws played by Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, and Wallace Shawn. The latter two get the most quotable lines from a very quotable script! (Wallace Shawn is still recognisable in his current role as Dr Sturgis in ‘Young Sheldon, and apparently in his private life often still has people saying his Princess Bride catchphrases back to him – “Inconceivable!” indeed).

‘Spinal Tap’ star (and husband of Jamie Lee Curtis) Christopher Guest is the cruel Count Rugen, Humperdinck’s right-hand man. He has six fingers on his hands – a matter of great consequence to Patinkin’s character Montoya….

Then there are the small but wonderful roles for a series of comedy legends: Billy Crystal as healer Miracle Max, with Carol Kane as his wife Valerie. British comics Peter Cook as a Clergyman and Mel Smith as the Humperdinck’s torturer, the Albino. My favourite characters are Miracle Max and Valerie with their hilarious bickering, much of which was improvised after Billy Crystal and Carol Kane took time to discuss a back story for their characters.

Filming locations were in the UK and Ireland, though the movie has a number of ‘outdoor’ scenes clearly filmed on sound stages. The ‘Rodents of Unusual Size’ in the Fire Swamp are not terribly convincing it has to be said, yet it kind of works with the general pantomime air of the story.

The movie got great reviews but did not do well at the box office, however – it rapidly became a cult hit afterwards on home video. Rightly so too!

12 Comments

  1. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie. When the eldest was tiny, he’d ask for the ‘Black Man’ movie. Which was really confusing until I realised it was ‘The Princess Bride’. This is a fascinating book, but my all time absolute favorite book is Cary’s book, ‘As You Wish’. I laughed and cried as I read so many bits about the making of this movie. What a legacy these actors left! I recall a story Mandy told. He was at a hotel and left for a bit. When he returned, his wife was watching ‘The Princess Bride’, because she just enjoyed it. And so did he! Although, the actors didn’t think it would go anywhere, it did. It lives, for me, in lines that are part of the family, kids who can quote the entire movie on a car ride and not be bored, and a story that has a great deal of wisdom in it. If only all romances were story book loves, but” life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death.” And “death cannot stop true love, all it can do is delay it for awhile.:” Although, at this point in our world, we probably should focus on this line that reminds us that “true love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.” (unless you want the movie line and it is an “MLT!!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that Cary’s book is good and am really keen to read it. I might add it to my Christmas list!
      And yes – it has so so many quotable lines and is a great fun movie too. I love that last line you quoted. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will LOVE the book. I learned so much about the movie and about the friendships within it. I love ‘behind the cinema’ books, especially if they don’t bash anyone. Jamie Farr wrote about M*A*S*H*, he had a heck of a time getting it published because there wasn’t any anger in it. He was one of the first to self publish and it was a favorite book that is now hard to find.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Have fun storming the castle!” – can’t get much better than that. 😁 Love this film so much, and for all the reasons you mentioned. Funny, I never even thought about it not being your typical bloke film, it’s just damn brilliant so who cares? 😄
    Hope you can fix your internet. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo. I was just wondering the other day if anyone had nabbed this movie yet. Perfectly cast. I remember not too long ago someone was trying to get a remake made and CW was like, “NOOOOO!’. God, I hope they don’t touch it.

    Adore EVERYTHING about this movie. It’s perfect in every way. I was watching one those ‘experts talk about their craft in movies’ on YT and the expert swordsman mentioned the PB scene as absolutely iconic and wonderful 🙂 Naturally. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a movie nobody should ever remake. Like Jaws it is a perfect and ageless classic. I had actually suggested it to Sarah for last week but she surprised me with another Cary Elwes movie!
      Apparently Elwes and Patinkin learned to fence both right and left handed for that scene. X

      Liked by 2 people

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