- Entertainment and Media
Inconceivable! The Princess Bride
My fiance and I were walking hand in hand through the nearly empty mall in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As we passed the posters for the theatre, we saw the now-iconic image of Farm Boy Westley and Buttercup in a tender moment. Minutes later, we were sitting in the darkened theatre. I honestly don't remember anyone else being there, it was so empty.
Then the movie started, and we were...
Is this a kissing book?
What were we watching? Wasn't this a romance movie?
As you wish.
No, it's a fairy tale.
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
No, it's an action movie.
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
No wait... it's...
Then we got it.
It's a comedy.
Inigo Montoya: Where did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?
Fezzik: Over the albino, I think.
After that, it all made sense, and we laughed our way to the end.
Inigo Montoya: Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
Fezzik: If there are, we all be dead.
Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it.
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?
Then we sat through the credits, just to listen to the song being played; Storybook Love, written and performed by Willy DeVille.
Come my Love, I'll tell you a tale
Of a boy and girl
And their love story.
Thus began our decades long love of The Princess Bride, which may well be the most quoteable movie ever made!
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Over the next while, my fiance and I came back to see it a total of five times in the theatre. Then, after he left for Basic Training, he saw it two more times in the theatre. During one of our first Christmases together after we were married, I bought him the VHS. Years later, it was replaced with a DVD (though we still have the old VHS!).
Miracle Max: Have fun stormin' da castle.
Valerie: Think it'll work?
Miracle Max: It would take a miracle.
After we had children, we watched it with them - though by the time we did, they had heard us throwing out lines from the movie so often, they practically had it memorised already.
Westley: Why won't my arms move?
Fezzik: You've been mostly-dead all day.
Then my husband found the book, The Princess Bride: The Good Parts.
Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
We were thrilled to discover that there really was a book called The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern! In The Good Parts version, William Goldman took out various parts, but added in explainations as to why he did it, recalling memories of his father reading the book to him when he was sick, then his discovery of the parts his father had skipped after finding the book to read to his own son, when he was ill.
Miracle Max: Go away or I'll call the Brute Squad.
Fezzik: I'm on the Brute Squad.
Miracle Max: [sees Fezzik] You *are* the Brute Squad!
Did you know that (according to the non-existent original version) Prince Humperdinck was supposed to marry a different princess at first? Goldman's explanation of that part of the story is hilarious.
You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.
The Princess Bride was perfectly cast. Can anyone imagine someone other than Cary Ewles playing Westley? No one but the late Andr the Giant could possibly have played Fezzik. Mandy Patinkin was awesome as Inigo Montoya, Wallace Shawn hilarious as Vizzini, and of course, Robin Wright's introductory role as Princess Buttercup. Who can forget Count Rugen aka The Six Fingered Man (Christopher Guest) or Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon)? Even the smaller roles were brilliantely cast and played, with Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) gleefully matched by Valerie (Carol Kane), the wonderfully senile King (Willoughby Gray), and the hilarious Albino (Mel Smith). We mustn't forget those most iconic of minor characters, The Impressive Clergyman (Peter Cook) and The Ancient Booer (Margery Mason), all brought to life by The Grandfather (the late Peter Falk) for The Grandson (Fred Savage)
My way's not very sportsman-like.
After more than twenty-five years, The Princess Bride continues to enchant and entertain, and its fans have taken their enjoyment to new levels.
The chocolate coating makes it go down easier.
In many places, inculding my home city of Edmonton, there are Princess Bride events, where people gather to watch the movie, dressed in costumes (with prizes for the best ones), shouting out favourite lines, blowing horns, bubbles or kisses at key parts of the movie. Locally, these events started out in one of our main library branch's conference rooms. By 2013, it had become so popular, it was held outdoors, watched on a giant inflatable screen. The square it was held in was jam packed with people, and it was incredible fun. That was the first time I'd ever taken part (I got a few photos with my cell phone before it got too dark, which you can see below), and I've never encountered a friendlier, more welcoming bunch. We didn't know what to expect and brought nothing but chairs and some snacks. Complete strangers happily gave the kids little princess tiaras, tiny bottles of bubble solution and party horns to blow! It was a wonderful experience.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, watch it. If you don't own it yet, buy it! If your community holds one of the annual Princess Bride events, take it in, and if they don't, I recommend finding a group of Princess Bride fans (there will be many!) and starting your own.
The Princess Bride is not just a romance movie. It's not just an action movie or a fairy tale. It's not not even a comedy.
The Princess Bride is a cultural phenomenon.
Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The end.