The Princess Bride (1973) – William Goldman


William Goldman’s ‘abridged version of S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure” has been long overdue for a read. It should come as no surprise that the movie follows the book very closely, as Goldman adapted his own book to the screen, but it was still fun to dive into the source material and suss out the tiny differences.

Now let’s be clear, I love the movie, and loved my experience with the book. I know the film so well now that as I was reading it, I could hear the dialogue and music from the film. It was also a nice opportunity to see a little bit more of the characters, Fezzik and Inigo, illustrated through flashback. But, in both versions, the character that suffers the most is Buttercup, in the film she is nothing more than a goal, a damsel in distress to be rescued. In the book, she’s also not the sharpest knife in the drawer, though it’s something she is working on.

In both situations, if it wasn’t for the True Love aspect of her and Westley’s story, the impetus in fact for the entire adventure, there isn’t a lot to her.

Sorry, but it’s true.


There are a couple of other differences, the modern-day character, is William Goldman as a child, and as an adult, working on the abridged version of this Florinese book by S. Morgenstern, who apparently rambled a lot. He talks briefly about his screenwriting, including my favorite western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He hunts down the book for his own son, who doesn’t like it, and Goldman discovers why… his dad edited out all the borrowing stuff!

There are a couple of different sequences from the film. In the film, there are the shrieking eels (probably easier to produce), while in the original novel, it’s sharks, and Vizzini, threatens to put blood in the water to drive them to frenzy. The other bit that has been changed, a lot, is the Zoo of Death that Humperdinck has. It’s filled with the most dangerous animals to hunt, and this is where Westley is imprisoned. The ‘guide my sword’ sequence from the film is instead a journey of Inigo and Fezzik through the zoo, faces terrifying dangers.

There are also a bunch of hilarious asides made by Goldman throughout the book, that a number of times, had me chuckling aloud. And all your favorite lines are there, everything that made the movie what it is, is there in the book.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this and, like I said, I heard all the dialogue and music in my head, so much so that it was like one of those read-a-long books, from when I was a kid.

Good times.





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