The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

Part swashbuckling adventure, part tongue-in-cheek parody, The Princess Bride was a fairy tale with a comic edge and a magical cast. A sleeper that only found moderate success during its initial run, it has since gone on to become a cult classic, with millions of fans eager to quote their favorite lines from the 1987 film at any and every opportunity.

William Goldman (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) first adapted his novel into a screenplay in 1973, but it took well over a decade to find someone willing and able to turn it into a feature film. Eventually, Rob Reiner (This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me) came on board as director, and with a cast that included Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Billy Crystal and Andre the Giant (yes, that Andre the Giant), The Princess Bride finally found its way to the big screen.

The story begins when a gravel-voiced Grandpa offers to read a book to his Grandson, who’s home sick with the flu. The boy resists, but Grandpa wins him over with promises of revenge, swordplay and Shrieking Eels. In the story-within-a-story, dashing Westley works as a “farm boy” for the beautiful Buttercup, and the two soon fall in love. Poor Westley goes to sea to find a fortune, and Buttercup gets news that her love has died at the hand of the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Years pass, and Buttercup becomes engaged to wed Prince Humperdinck, the ruler-in-waiting of the kingdom of Florin. Unbeknownst to her, the marriage is part of the Prince’s ploy to start a war with neighboring Guilder, and the Prince has arranged for Buttercup to be captured by a trio of criminals-diminutive “brain” Vizzini, fencing Spaniard Inigo Montoya and gigantic strongman Fezzik.

As the kidnappers carry the bride-to-be away, they spot a mysterious man in black following them. They scale the Cliffs of Insanity to lose their pursuer, but he continues the chase, taking on the trio in tests of swordplay, strength and wits. True love gets a second chance, but if it’s going to survive this time, Buttercup and the man in black will have to endure the Fireswamp, Prince Humperdinck’s schemes and even death itself.

Thrilling, romantic, but never too serious, The Princess Bride was a movie any child could understand but only an adult could fully appreciate. When the mood turned too “kissy,” the Grandson was always there to interrupt and get things back on track. Blessed with more funny lines and moments than any film deserves – including the “Mawwiage” ceremony, Billy Crystal and Carol Kane’s routine as resurrectionist Miracle Max and his crone Valerie, and the hand-switching swordfight between Westley and Montoya – the movie has earned a cult of devoted disciples to rival any film this side of Star Wars.

A word of advice to the uninitiated: try not to watch The Princess Bride for the first time with a group of lifelong fans. You won’t be able to hear the actors over the audience’s quoting. That’s the kind of rabid devotion this movie continues to inspire.

If you were a fan of The Princess Bride, maybe have a few memorable quotes of your own that you would like to share, we welcome your thoughts and recollections in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to this timeless adventure.

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