The Princess Bride movie, along with Star Wars and Jurassic Park, pretty much made up my childhood. It’s a film my parents watched throughout their engagement and eventual marriage, and as such, it has a very special place in my heart. It’s a true classic, and a story everyone should find time to experience.
In the imaginary land of Floren, young Buttercup (played by Robin Wright) falls in love with her humble farm-boy Westley (Cary Elwes in a truly swoon-worthy performance). But when Westley, who’s too poor to marry Buttercup, leaves to find his wealth at sea, he disappears, and Buttercup is left alone.
Five years pass, and Buttercup has caught the eye of pompous Prince Humperdink, who, as soon-to-be ruler over Floren, takes her to be his bride.
I’m not going to lie and say the story is anything wholly unique. Romance tales such as this are a dime a dozen, but no movie has ever done such a good job in injecting life into such an old plot better than The Princess Bride.
While it does follow many of the familiar, expected fairy-tale cliches, it does so with such a genuine and sincere sense of meaning and wit that it’s impossible not to fall in love with it.
But the real reason the film succeeds in the way it does is because it’s so sincere. You really can’t find a better example of ‘true love’ than Westley and Buttercup; and their romance comes across as so seamless, so genuine, and without ever becoming melodramatic, that it’s hard not to fall in love right alongside them.
Rob Reiner does an excellent job in bringing the classic novel to movie format, and the script (written by William Goldman, the original author of the novel, himself) is so witty, colorful, and even action-packed that you really do get swept up in the adventure.
And to make a good thing even better, Reiner’s a natural at setting a scene, and the way he directs the movie is fantastic. Add that on top of the oh, so memorable soundtrack, and you have a fairy-tale adventure that, to this day, has not been topped.
However, all this wouldn’t have been possible without the all-star cast. Cary Elwes has a defining role as Wesley, the relatable, romantic, and heroic hero. And Robin Wright, although less exuberant than the rest of the cast, also deserves credit for playing a rather dramatic character without ever over-acting.
As great as the two leads are however, for me, the real star is Mandy Patinkin’s performance as Inigo Montaya. Not only has he created one of the best, most quotable lines of all-time, but Patinkin brings a sincere and human take on the revenge-bound Montaya, and many of the best scenes center around Montaya.
Also commendable are Andre the Giant, who plays Fezzik, a giant from Greenland. He performs surprisingly well and is able to not only win the hearts of the viewer, but also remain consistently entertaining. Chris Sarandon is also good as Humperdink, and Billy Crystal makes a splendid cameo appearance as the eccentric Miracle Max.
While The Princess Bride is a romance at heart, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all it is. I’ve been watching this movie since I was at least six-years old, and any movie that’s able to hold a kid’s attention for two-hours has to have action in it.
In fact, some of the very best scenes in The Princess Bride are, in fact, fight scenes. From the wonderfully choreographed, initial fight between Wesley and Inigo, to the intense, more violent showdown between Inigo and the man who killed his father, Count Rugen, The Princess Bride has something for everyone.
The Princess Bride is, hands down, one of the very best fairy-tales ever. It’s got action, true love, revenge, betrayal, torture, and so, so much more. Although some of the sets definitely look aged, and a few of the special effects definitely stand out as being from the 80’s, the movie holds up surprisingly well, and it would be a crime if you haven’t seen it yet.
A classic in the best sense, The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable, lovable, and fun movies to comes out of the 80’s, and it’s done so well, that to this day, over 25 years later, it hasn’t lost even an ounce of its magic.
It would be inconceivable to think anything else.