The next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of The Fellowship of the Ring is this fantastic adaptation by William Goldman of his highly enjoyable novel, The Princess Bride.
Director Rob Reiner gathers a fantastic cast that includes Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and Andre the Giant.
An elderly grandfather (Falk) comes to spend some time with his grandson (Savage) and reads him the story of The Princess Bride. The tale tells of Buttercup (Wright) who loves a young farmboy, Westley (Elwes). When she learns of his death at the hands of the Dread Pirate Roberts she agrees to marry a prince, Humperdink (Sarandon).
As the wedding draws closer Buttercup is kidnapped in an attempt to frame a neighbouring country for her murder. Her kidnappers are pursued by a man all in black, and when his identity is revealed, Buttercup learns that perhaps true love really exists.
With fantastic comedic moments, wonderful sword fights (the chatty duellists fight may be one of the best every created), and a stellar performance by Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, a swordsman on a mission of revenge, The Princess Bride still entertains.
It also features a wonderful score, featuring some beautiful acoustic guitar, all written by Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler. This was a soundtrack that got played a lot on my tape deck when I bought it.
This film is still a crowd-pleaser, and is endlessly quotable. Reiner males the film a comedic, action-filled family delight.
I remember the first time I saw this one, I had even showed my dad the trailer (recorded from Entertainment Tonight) so that he would know it would be a ‘safe’ movie for my friends and I to go see.
This is a beautifully made film, and it’s obviously crafted with a lot of passion. The cast seems to be having a brilliant time. Everything just seemed to come together to make an enduring film that played the tropes of the fairy tale, investing the audience in the characters, and still having a good time.
While some films from the 80s haven’t weathered the years very well, this one stands tall, and can be enjoyed over and over again, for the wonderful cinematic experience it is.
For me this film has become wrapped up in my own life, imbued with a nostalgia for friends and places of my youth. It’s a treasure that I like to revisit time and again.
I love it.