The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride photo starrating-5stars.jpgCinemark theaters’ Classic Series has become an easy way for people to see older films on the big screen. I recently watched 1987’s The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner’s glorious comedy adventure is a delightful tribute to vintage fairy tales of old. Almost 30 years later and the picture has lost none of its luster.

The production captures lightning in a bottle with each actor arguably giving the most memorable performance of their film careers. Mandy Patinkin deserves a lot of credit for his noble Spaniard out to avenge the death of his father. His famous oath: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” is the stuff of movie legend. Wallace Shawn is particularly funny as a delusional criminal genius. Joining the two is André the Giant perfectly cast as, what else, their giant friend Fezzik. The three of them form a wandering outlaw trio with camaraderie to spare. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright perfectly embody the quintessential romantic duo. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane are amusing as a forest dwelling troll doctor and his wife. “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”  Even Peter Falk as Grandpa who narrates and Fred Savage as his grandson provide a wonderful framing device through which the story is told. In this way, developments are halted at opportune times where jokes can be inserted for comic effect.

What makes The Princess Bride so enjoyable is Rob Reiner’s ability to send-up traditional fables without descending into acerbity. Novelist and screenwriter William Goldman brilliantly adapts his own 1973 novel of the same name. It gently pokes fun at the sentimentality of fairy tales while still genuinely capitalizing on their innocence. There’s a modern sensibility but it never threatens to contaminate the sincerity of the proceedings. Mandy Patinkin’s declaration is the most well known, but iconic dialogue abounds. “Inconceivable!” The Cliffs of Insanity, the Pit of Despair, the Fire Swamp where the Rodents of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S.) dwell – each location highlights another hilarious set piece. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer, you’ll thrill to every recognizable line and action spectacle. Its one lone Oscar nomination for Best Original Song is a complete headscratcher today. Although it wasn’t a huge hit in its day ($61.9 million in today’s dollars), the film has since gone on to achieve classic status. I’ll choose long term longevity to instant gratification any day. “As you wish.”

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24 Responses to “The Princess Bride”

  1. Alexander Diminiano Says:

    Great review. I love this movie. Shame Rob Reiner will never make a movie this good again.

    • At first I thought, hey wait a minute, let’s not write him off just yet. Then I looked at his filmography. The last “hit” he directed was 2007’s The Bucket List which I hated. The last movie I actually enjoyed from him was The American President and that was almost 2 decades ago.

      • Rob Reiner’s filmography is amazing. For further proof..check out his Oscar nominated 1986 hit “Stand By Me”,not to mention his other Oscar nominated films like “A Few Good Men”,and “Sleepless in Seattle”. The last “big” hit Reiner directed was 2007’s “The Bucket List” which critics thought would be the next big thing….a critically acclaimed Oscar tour-de-force with powerhouse stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman which became a huge box-office flop. His other film “The American President” was well-liked by critics and became a huge Oscar nominated film that brought Michael Douglas an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The last movie I enjoy from him that I got a second chance at viewing was 1986’s “Stand By Me”

  2. GaryLee828 Says:

    I think this is the first 5 star rating I’ve seen from you; is this your favorite movie? What is your top 5 favorites of all-time??

    • I give at least one 5-star review every year.

      Not my Top 5, but 5 movies I do love:
      The Wizard of Oz
      One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
      Star Wars
      The Shawshank Redemption
      The Fifth Element

      • GaryLee828 Says:

        When you have a chance you should make a top 5 – 10 list of your all-time favorites. It’s always interesting to me to see people’s top lists. That could actually make for an interesting entry. I think I will work on one for myself soon. 🙂

  3. The Princess Bride is truly a fairy tale classic. I agree with your review whole heartily with one exception. Mandy Patinkin’s final revenge scene as Indigo Montoya was too blood thirsty for the rest of the mood of the tale.

  4. Great review. And completely agreed.

    I just rewatched this myself, actually, and was every bit as amused as I ever was.

    • I don’t know if they have a Cinemark theater chain where you live, but I think you’d enjoy seeing these films on a big screen again.

    • THE PRINCESS BRIDE was one of the biggest hits of 1987 in a year that was dominated “Fatal Attraction”,”Moonstruck”,and “The Last Emperor”,not to mention was dominated by the year’s top grossing film “Lethal Weapon”

      THE PRINCESS BRIDE put two unknowns on the Hollywood map…Cary Elwes and Robin Wright not to mention Fred Savage who would go on to bigger and better things in their professional careers….including Robin Wright who would go on to win the Best Actress Oscar later on.

      • It’s hard to believe, but The Princess Bride didn’t even make the Top 40 highest grossing films in the year it came out.

        Robin Wright has never even been nominated for an Oscar.

  5. The Princess Bride made stars out of two unknowns who went on to become big time actors in their own right….Cary Elwes and Robin Wright.

    • I always expected Cary Elwes would become more of an action star in the mold of Errol Flynn. After this, I think Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Saw are what remember him from most.

  6. Carolina based Stone Theatres show classic movies also. Check out the website at http://www.stonetheatres.com
    They do showings of classic movies during their weekday schedule that show films from the 1930’s and beyond,but they do this once a week with special admission.

  7. “Inconceivable”! Love this movie. I would also have to give this 5 stars. It’s a lot of fun, with a lot of memorable lines. I think each actor did a phenomenal job. It was nice to see it on the big screen for the first time. I really enjoyed it

  8. martin250 Says:

    this is a film that i have to revisit.
    it will be difficult to forget Cary Elwes in Robin Hood: M.I.T. ,
    but just to further support him, he is also memorable in The Crush, Days of Thunder, and most especially Hot Shots.

  9. I wish they showed The Princess Bride around here on the big screen more often. I totally would go see it. You’re totally right, many of these actors give the finest performances of their career in this film. There’s also great set pieces and memorable goofy lines that are endlessly quotable. Case in point: “Inconceivable!” I loved it a couple of years ago when someone came out with the Inigo Montoya meme “I don’t think it memes what you think it memes.” That one cracked me up.

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