“The Princess Bride” stars Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, and Fred Savage. Released on September 25, 1987, the film has a farmhand rescuing a princess from an unpleasant prince.
The film was directed by Rob Reiner, who also directed films such as “This Is Spinal Tap”, “Stand By Me”, “A Few Good Men”, and “The American President”. It is based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, who wrote the film’s screenplay. The 1980s was a special decade for actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner. He went from acting in the famous 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” to directing some of the best films of all time. Before his directorial fame came crashing down with some of his notable flops like “North”, “Rumor Has It”, and “LBJ”, he became a household name by making several classics that spanned many different genres like comedy and drama. One of those classics in mind is a fairy tale that depicts swashbuckling heroes, a princess in distress, and twists that were inconceivable. That fairy tale is none other than “The Princess Bride”. Since its release in 1987, the film has been well-received for its delightful and fresh take on the classic damsel-in-distress story. Plus, it became a modest success at the box office. It even became a cult classic after it premiered on the home video market, with many people regarding it as one of the films that are highly quotable. It is a fantasy classic that still holds the test of time as of today. Sadly, I was one of the very few people who haven’t watched the film all the way through until now. I only saw parts of the film, but other than that, my experience with it is so small that you need a magnifying glass to see how small it is. Thankfully, the movie just premiered on Disney+ a month ago, which means I didn’t have to wait for it to appear on television. I can just watch it anytime I want, and by that, I mean today. With that in mind, let’s see if this fairy tale classic has enough magic in its soul to impress me.
The film is a story within a story in which the grandfather (Falk) visits his sick grandson (Savage) and reads him a story to cheer him up. Fun fact: that sequence went on to be parodied in the PG-13 version of “Deadpool 2” entitled “Once Upon a Deadpool” with Fred Savage reprising his role as the grandson. The second narrative, which is the grandfather’s book, takes place in the fictional land of Florin where a farmhand named Westley (Elwes) falls in love with a gorgeous young woman named Buttercup (Wright). When Westley sets out to seek his fortune so they can marry each other, he unfortunately gets axed off by the hands of the mysterious figure known as the Dread Pirate Roberts. A few years later, Buttercup is now forced to marry the heir to the throne of Florin, Prince Humperdinck (Sarandon). Moments before the wedding, Buttercup is captured by three outlaws: a Sicilian boss named Vizzini (Shawn), a giant named Fezzik (André the Giant), and a Spanish fencing master named Inigo Montoya (Patinkin), who seeks revenge against the person who killed his father. Prince Humperdinck sets out to rescue the fair maiden, not knowing that a peculiar Man in Black is also in pursuit of the outlaws. This film had the proper ingredients to make a fairy tale come to life on screen: a love story set in a fantasy world, side characters that provide comic relief, and plenty of action. On paper, it sounded like something that Disney would’ve created as an animated film, but in reality, it’s a kid-friendly fantasy adventure that not only respects the fairy tale tropes, but also includes several moments that are light-hearted and surprising to make the entire experience fresh and endearing for newcomers. Along with a story that’s well-told and nicely-paced for the young kids and characters that are extremely lovable, “The Princess Bride” also had the most crucial part that kept it going strong for more than 30 years, and that is its flawless blend of comedy, adventure, fantasy, and romance. Sure, the latter has a few corny moments, but I think that’s what makes the film charming in its own right. It’s the film’s corniness that help it celebrate the joy and imagination of listening to a bedtime story as a child. To remind ourselves how fun it is to envision a world filled with never-ending possibilities that are straight out of the pages instead of a television screen. The romance element may not be for everyone, but for those who do, I can assure you that there’s lots to enjoy from it. Then there’s the comedy element and the adventure element, both of which were properly well-balanced with one another. It’s hilarious without becoming a straight-up parody of itself, and it’s adventurous without taking itself too seriously. It’s a win-win on both fronts. The majority of the film’s comedy comes from William Goldman’s screenplay and the characters themselves, most notably Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo Montoya, aka the best parts of the film. The screenplay offers some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard in a film as well as some of the most memorable lines in film history, such as “Inconceivable” and “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!”. So if you’re wondering why a lot of people are quoting these lines over and over again, “The Princess Bride” has the answer you’re looking for. As for the cast themselves, they did a really nice job with their performances. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright were both good together as Westley and Buttercup respectively, but the real stars of the show, in my humble opinion, were the three outlaws who captured Buttercup, played by Shawn, André the Giant, and Patinkin. These guys have a chemistry that was absolutely hysterical and noticeably fun to watch. If they decide to do a spin-off of the film centering on the outlaws, I will watch that in a heartbeat. It probably will never happen since this is something that deserves to be left untouched, but Hollywood has a way of surprising us almost every day, so…
Overall, “The Princess Bride” is a delightful and astonishing fairy tale classic that showcases Rob Reiner’s directorial style and its genre mixtures. Ranging from its charming characters to its memorable dialogue, the film has the right blend of adventure, comedy, and romance to enchant and entertain people of all ages for generations to come. After finally watching it all the way through, I can now declare myself as one of the people who witnessed “The Princess Bride” and loved every minute of it. The film is available on Disney+ as of this writing, so if you haven’t seen it and you got a Disney+ subscription, do yourself a favor and experience it for yourself because not watching it is nothing but inconceivable.