“Do you hear that, Fezzik? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when Rugen slaughtered my father. The man in black makes it now.”
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… It’s a movie that defies genres and, despite not making much of a splash when it was released more than 30 years ago, it’s become a beloved cinematic treasure.
The Princess Bride (1987)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by William Goldman, based on the novel by William Goldman
I know I wrote about THE PRINCESS BRIDE a bit right before its 30th anniversary this past fall, but I never get sick of watching this movie. I saw it in theaters, and then multiple times when it appeared on television in the late-1980s. By the time I got to college, I rediscovered my love for it and then found I wasn’t the only person my age with fond memories of the tale of true love between Westley and Buttercup. Some of the closest friendships I’ve developed since college have included bonding over the story told by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage).
It really does have a little bit of everything – a love story in a fantasy setting that includes pirates, giant rats, fencing… I know, you already read the first line. You know what’s in the movie already. But the action, the humor and the romance are blended so well. Nothing seems out of place and nothing seems lacking here. I’ve probably seen THE PRINCESS BRIDE more than 100 times by now, and I don’t think I would change a thing.
The main actors in the film – Cary Elwes as Westley and Robin Wright as Buttercup – were basically unknowns at the time in 1987. The only reason I went to go see this in theaters was Andre the Giant, who had a featured role as Fezzik, the giant hired by Vizzini to kill Buttercup and kick off a war between Florin and Guilder. To this day, Fezzik is probably still my favorite character in the movie and Andre – who wasn’t really an actor – gives such an earnest performance. I love hearing stories from the cast about their time filming with Andre, because their love and appreciation for him is so very obvious.
Also amazing are Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie. The Spaniard Inigo Montoya and Fezzik bring a “mostly dead” Westley to Max to revive him before Buttercup’s wedding to Prince Humperdink, but Max is having a crisis of confidence after being fired by the Prince. The bickering between Max and Valerie is gold – probably mostly improvised – and in a movie full of quotable material, probably have some of the most quotable lines in the film.
I really have no complaints about this movie, and I’m sure I’ll watch it again and again, especially now that I have a daughter that I can tach to love the movie as much as I do. Seriously, if you don’t like this movie, I can’t imagine why you would even bother with this site…