It’s been a long time since I’ve feasted my eyes on this outrageous classic. Thanks to my friend Brandon, I’ll be pulling this one out of the dust and cobwebs — and I think I’ve had to do more looking up plot synopses for this movie than I have for any review I’ve done so far. I also think that when some people read this and learn of my forgetting about this film, they might be surprised with how I might forget a gem from the ’80s, but hey that’s how it goes sometimes.
But I suppose that is all the more reason for keeping this thread going. TBT is a good excuse to think. And think hard, for once. So I’m going to put on my thinking cap today and deliver a review of the 1987 Rob Reiner-directed comedy/fairy-tale.
Today’s food for thought: The Princess Bride.
Release: September 25, 1987
Rob Reiner really made something back in the day. He expertly crafted a love story featuring a cast that is as solid as his direction is confident. Not only is this movie ridiculously funny, it manages to pull off (in my opinion) the near-impossible: making a very satisfying story that makes sense and does NOT depend on the silliness of some of the jokes and sight-gags to get it done. One could not say the same for some (all??) of the Monty Python sketch-based movies. Indeed, those are funny too, but The Princess Bride is an amazingly feel-good movie, one that reaches this rare level of perfection and beauty that (as it has turned out) has been often imitated, but never duplicated.
Applying the story-within-a-story concept to this modern twist on fairy tales, Reiner starts the film off with a boy (Fred Savage) having a story read to him by good old gramps. The boy’s attention is completely drawn into a story about a lowly farm boy (Cary Elwes) named Westley who once was the love of the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright)’s life, but was presumed dead when his ship was taken over by Dread Pirate Roberts.
Years go by without her hearing anything from Westley — whose always soothing “As you wish” responses clung to her memory painfully. Eventually she has to give it all up as her life is on an unnatural collision course with the obnoxious royalty — Prince Humperdinck (marvelously played by Chris Sarandon). The Prince’s ultimate plan, though, is to have his newlywed Princess kidnapped and taken by boat elsewhere, and later to be murdered. He would go on to announce the news as an act committed by neighboring country Guilder, and thus would give reason to wage war on the other.
Hence, we are locked into a timeless story of heroism, fate and romance.
- names of things/places in this movie. A few that stand out: Prince Humperdinck; the Cliffs of Insanity; Inigo Montoya; the Fire Swamp; ROUS (Rodents Of Unusual Size); the Pit of Despair
- Andre the Giant (as Fezzik) shaking Cary Elwes’ limp head to respond ‘Yes/No.’ Best moment in the movie IMO.
- the hill scene
- Cary Elwes’ hair
- “As you wish. . .” is quite the charming line
- how good this film is. . . was? no. . . still is. I know I’ve seen it before — there are more fantastic scenes in this movie than I can name. (I know what I’m about to add to my list of re-watches. . .)
- the fact that Cary Elwes really can act, if given great material. Seeing him in Saw is really quite funny when considering this role. . .
- Fred Savage. . . ,(sorry dude)
- PG movies CAN be really good movies
- Billy Crystal was in this???
Recommendation: If a recommendation is actually needed here, I will say that yes. Everyone who hasn’t checked it out yet, needs to. Rob Reiner began a string of something like seven films that were both critically and commercially praised intensely with this film. And its arguably the best in that string of seven. There’s just such a great chemistry among the cast, story and comedic/dramatic nature to this film that is next to impossible to reproduce. It’s a must-see for sure.
Running Time: 98 mins.
Quoted: “And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.” / “They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.”
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