“Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”
After years on her farm, Buttercup realizes she is in love with the farm boy, Westley. When he goes to seek his fortune so they can marry, he is murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Years later, Buttercup has agreed to marry Prince Humperdink, but before the wedding she is kidnapped by three men. But they are being followed by the man in black…
William Goldman wrote The Princess Bride in 1973 for his two daughters; one wanted a story about a princess, the other wanted a story about a bride. A satirical love story, written as “an abridgement of S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure” the “good parts version” includes the story of a little boy discovering books because of the story his father read to him when he was sick.
When the movie was finally made, Goldman wrote the screenplay (he had already won an Oscar for writing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). He was approached by Rob Reiner, who had loved the book, and after watching This is Spinal Tap, Goldman agreed. So casting began. Reiner said “there was only one man in the entire world who could play Fezzik: Andre the Giant. Billy [William Goldman] wrote the part with him in mind”. Robin Wright was one of the last women they saw, Cary Elwes was spotted in another movie, and Mandy Patinkin was sent the script and hired.
The film had a limited budget, so they tried to use as many existing locations as they could. Most of the castle scenes were filmed in a castle built in the 11th Century (with some of the original tapestries still on the walls). Really only the scenes with water and the fire swap didn’t already exist, which helped the actors, and is wonderful for the viewers.
A movie so well know that it completely overshadows William Goldman’s “abridgement”, The Princess Bride has been a classic since it came out (seriously, do you know anyone who hasn’t seen it?) While the book is wonderful and funny, I think this is one of the few times where the movie is better: it’s really the good parts version.
• Almost all of the lines are straight out of the book; especially the hilarious ones (like “Jesus, what’d you read me this for?”
• The only character’s that were cut were Buttercup’s parents. All of the rest are in the movie.
• The movie is more upbeat; the book has some dark moments
• More history: Buttercup’s childhood, Humperdink’s hunting obsession, Westley’s torture.
Accuracy rating: 5 out of 5. The books 400 pages, but what matters is what’s in the movie.