The Princess Bride (film)

The Princess Bride (film)

Infobox Film
name = The Princess Bride

caption = North American movie poster.
writer = William Goldman
starring = Cary Elwes
Robin Wright
Mandy Patinkin
Chris Sarandon
André the Giant
Christopher Guest
Wallace Shawn
Peter Falk
Billy Crystal
Carol Kane
Fred Savage
director = Rob Reiner
music = Mark Knopfler
producer = Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman for Act III Communications
cinematography = Adrian Biddle
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = September 25 1987 (USA)
runtime = 98 mins
language = English
amg_id = 1:39218
imdb_id = 0093779

"The Princess Bride" is a 1987 film, based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, combining comedy, adventure, romance and fantasy.

The movie was directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Goldman. The story is presented in the movie as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), thus echoing the book's narrative style.

This film is number 50 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" and number 88 on The American Film Institute's (AFI) "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions" listing the 100 greatest film love stories of all time.

Plot synopsis

The narrative of the movie is framed by a scene featuring a boy sick in bed (Fred Savage) and his grandfather (Peter Falk). The plot of the movie is the enactment of the story as it is being read, which is interrupted by comments from the grandson and grandfather.

A beautiful woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) lives on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. She delights in ordering the farm hand Westley (Cary Elwes) to perform chores for her. Westley's only answer is "As you wish". Eventually Buttercup realizes his true affection for her and returns his love. Westley soon leaves to seek his fortune so that they can marry; but Buttercup later receives word that his ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for leaving no victim alive. Five years later, believing Westley to be dead, Buttercup is reluctantly engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne of Florin.

Before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws: the Sicilian criminal genius Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the Spanish fencing master Íñigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and the gigantic Turkish wrestler Fezzik (André the Giant). They are pursued by a masked man in black. Íñigo, who is seeking revenge on a six-fingered man who killed his father, duels the man in black but is knocked unconscious and thus defeated. Later the man in black wrestles Fezzik and chokes the giant until he blacks out. The man in black then catches up with Vizzini, who is holding Buttercup hostage, and proposes a battle of wits. Vizzini is tricked into drinking poison, and subsequently dies.

Having captured Buttercup, the man in black reveals that he is the Dread Pirate Roberts, Westley's murderer. Enraged, Buttercup shoves him into a gorge, yelling "You can die too, for all I care!" only to hear him call "As you wish!" in reply. She therefore realizes that he is Westley, who tells her that the Dread Pirate Roberts attacked his ship, but made Westley his apprentice after hearing of the depths of his love for Buttercup; eventually, Roberts secretly passed Westley his name and captaincy. The couple travel through the feared Fire Swamp to evade Humperdinck's rescue party, but upon exiting, they are captured by Humperdinck and his menacing six-fingered vizier Count Tyrone Rugen (Christopher Guest). Buttercup agrees to return with Humperdinck in exchange for Westley's release, but instead he is brought to Rugen's torture chambers, where he is 'prepared' by The Albino (Mel Smith).

Buttercup expresses unhappiness regarding her marriage, and Humperdinck claims he will send ships to locate Westley, but if they fail, Buttercup will marry him. Humperdinck reveals that although he arranged Buttercup's kidnapping to start a war with the country of Guilder, it will be better propaganda if she dies on her wedding night.

On the day of the wedding, Íñigo learns about Rugen from Fezzik and decides to kill Rugen, so they seek out the man in black, hoping that his wits will help them overcome the guards. Buttercup learns that Humperdinck never sent the ships, and taunts him with her enduring love for Westley. Enraged, he tortures Westley to near-death. Íñigo and Fezzik later find Westley's body and bring it to the magician Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), who revives Westley in order to satisfy his grudge against Humperdinck. Westley, Íñigo, and Fezzik invade the castle, and Humperdinck orders the wedding ceremony cut short. Íñigo pursues Rugen through the castle and kills him. Westley reaches Buttercup, who has decided to commit suicide, and assures her that her marriage is a sham because she never made any vows. Still partly paralyzed, he bluffs his way out of a sword fight with Humperdinck, whom Buttercup then ties to a chair. As the party rides off on white horses conveniently discovered by Fezzik, Westley offers the role of Dread Pirate Roberts to Íñigo, who has avenged his father and needs a new purpose in life.

Having finished the story, the grandfather gets up to leave. The grandson—who had grown more interested throughout—asks his grandfather to read it to him again the following day. The grandfather replies, "As you wish".


* Cary Elwes as Westley
* Robin Wright as Buttercup
* Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck
* Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya
* Christopher Guest as Count Tyrone Rugen
* André the Giant as Fezzik
* Wallace Shawn as Vizzini
* Peter Falk as The Grandfather/Narrator
* Fred Savage as The Grandson
* Billy Crystal as Miracle Max
* Carol Kane as Valerie
* Peter Cook as The Impressive Clergyman
* Mel Smith as The Albino
* Anne Dyson as The Queen
* Margery Mason as The Ancient Booer
* Malcolm Storry as Yellin
* Willoughby Gray as The King
* Betsy Brantley as The Mother
* Paul Badger as The Assistant Brute


The film was shot in various locations in England and Ireland:

* Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, England
* Castleton, Derbyshire, England
* Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland (for the Cliffs of Insanity)
* Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England

Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin learned to fence (both left- and right-handed) for the film, reportedly spending all their free time during the production practicing with fencing instructor Bob Anderson and with each other. They performed all of the fencing in the swordfight scene; the only stunt doubles used were for the two somersaults. [Reiner, Rob. "The Princess Bride". DVD Audio Commentary. Directed by Rob Reiner. 1987; Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2001. "(see Ch. 06, time 17:45)"] This amount of time spent practicing came in handy for Elwes, who later starred—and used his fencing skills—in the film "Glory" and in the Mel Brooks movie "", notably against Roger Rees, and even going so far as to call out, 'Parry, parry, thrust, thrust—good!'.

André the Giant had undergone major back surgery prior to filming, and despite his great size, could not support the weight of the much lighter Cary Elwes or Robin Wright for a scene at the end of the movie. For the wrestling scene, when Elwes was pretending to hang on André's back, he was actually walking on a series of ramps below the camera during close-ups. For the wide shots, a stunt double took the place of André; on close examination, it is apparent that the double is much smaller than André. [Reiner, Rob. "The Princess Bride". DVD Audio Commentary. Directed by Rob Reiner. 1987; Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2001. "(see Ch. 08, time 25:40)"]

André the Giant had trouble with both the speed and clarity of his lines, prompting Patinkin to actually slap him in the face to get him to concentrate harder. In the first script reading, Patinkin slapped André in the face and screamed at him, "Faster, Fezzik!" It worked. [Goldman, William. "The Princess Bride". DVD Audio Commentary. Directed by Rob Reiner. 1987; Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2001. "(see time 1:02:00)"]

Billy Crystal meeting André the Giant later inspired Crystal to create the movie "My Giant".

When Count Rugen hits Westley over the head, Cary Elwes told Christopher Guest to go ahead and hit him for real. Guest hit him hard enough to shut down production for a day while Elwes went to the hospital.

In the "As You Wish" documentary in the Special Features section, it is stated that one of the few injuries in the making of the film was a bruised rib from trying not to laugh too loud at Billy Crystal's joke (Crystal was actually on camera).Fact|date=August 2007


The movie was initially a modest success, though not a huge blockbuster, grossing twice its $15,000,000 (USD) production costs at the U.S. box office. It received highly favorable reviews from some critics, including Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel who gave the film a "two thumbs up" rating on the television program "Siskel & Ebert & the Movies". Roger Ebert also wrote a very favorable print review. [Roger Ebert, [ The Princess Bride] , "Chicago Sun-Times", October 9, 1987] Richard Corliss of "Time" felt the film was fun for the whole family, [ [,9171,965565,00.html "Errol Flynn Meets Gunga Din THE PRINCESS BRIDE"] , Richard Corliss, "Time", September 21, 1987.] and later, "Time" listed the film as one of the "Best of '87". [ [,9171,966369,00.html "Best of '87"] , "Time", January 4, 1988.]

Over the years, the film's reputation has grown and it has become a cult film, with frequent television and occasional big-screen showings. In 2000, readers of "Total Film" magazine voted "The Princess Bride" the 38th-greatest comedy film of all time. In 2006, William Goldman's screenplay was selected by the Writers Guild of America as the 84th best screenplay of all time. The film has a percentage of 95 on Rotten Tomatoes, with a Cream of the Crop percentage of 86. The film was selected number 88 on The American Film Institute's (AFI) "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions" listing the 100 greatest film love stories of all time. BBC Radio 5's resident film critic Mark Kermode is a fan of the film, frequently considering it a model to which similar films aspire.

Post theatrical release


Infobox Album |
Name = The Princess Bride
Type = soundtrack
Artist =Mark Knopfler

Released = November, 1987
Recorded =
Genre = Film score
Length = 39:25
Label = Warner Bros.
Producer = Mark Knopfler
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
Chronology = Mark Knopfler film score
Last album = "Comfort and Joy"
This album = "The Princess Bride"
Next album = "Last Exit to Brooklyn"
The soundtrack was originally released by Warner Bros. Records in November 1987. It was co-written and recorded by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, the only person whom director Rob Reiner felt could create a soundtrack to capture the film's quirky yet romantic nature. Reiner was an admirer of Knopfler's work but did not know him before working on the film – he sent the script to him hoping he would agree to score the movie. Knopfler agreed on one condition: that somewhere in the film Rob Reiner include the USS Coral Sea baseball cap he wore as Marty DiBergi in "This is Spinal Tap". Reiner was unable to produce the original cap, but did include a similar cap in the grandson's room. Later Knopfler said he was joking.

The song "Storybook Love" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 60th Academy Awards.

Track listing

"All songs composed by Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher unless otherwise noted."
# "Once upon a Time...Storybook Love" – 4:00
# "I Will Never Love Again" – 3:04
# "Florin Dance" – 1:32
# "Morning Ride" – 1:36
# "The Friends' Song" – 3:02
# "The Cliffs of Insanity" – 3:18
# "The Swordfight" – 2:43
# "Guide My Sword" – 5:11
# "The Fire Swamp and the Rodents of Unusual Size" – 4:47
# "Revenge" – 3:51
# "A Happy Ending" – 1:52
# "Storybook Love" (composed and performed by Willy DeVille) – 4:24

Musical adaptation

Tony Award-winning composer Adam Guettel spent much of 2006 working with William Goldman on a musical adaptation of "The Princess Bride". The project was abandoned in February 2007 after Goldman reportedly demanded 75 percent of the author's share, even though Guettel was writing both the music and the lyrics. [cite news |last=Riedel |first=Michael |url= |title='Bride' Not to Be While Broderick Balks at 'Producers' |publisher=New York Post |date=2007-02-16 |accessdate=2007-03-19] Some of Guettel's music for the production has since surfaced in concert performances and workshops.

Rights issues

The film was released by 20th Century Fox in North America, and internationally by what was then Vestron Pictures. When it was first issued on home video, Fox lost all but the television rights, and to the present day Fox remains the TV distributor. Domestically, the ancillary rights ended up changing hands and eventually became part of the Epic Productions package acquired by MGM, so today it is the latter studio that is responsible for most rights. Ironically, Fox (the original theatrical distributor) today acts as distributor for the MGM video library.

What became Lionsgate still holds international rights to the film outside North America.

Home video history

In North America, the film was released on VHS and laserdisc in 1988 by Nelson Entertainment, the latter being a "bare bones" release and in unmatted full screen. In 1989, The Criterion Collection also released a bare bones matted widescreen version on laserdisc, supplementing it with liner notes. Criterion re-released the laserdisc as a "Special Edition" in 1997, this time in widescreen and including an audio commentary by Rob Reiner, William Goldman, Andrew Scheinman, Billy Crystal, and Peter Falk; excerpts from the novel read by Rob Reiner; behind the scenes footage; a production scrapbook by unit photographer Clive Coote; design sketches by production designer Norman Garwood; and excerpts from the television series "Morton and Hayes", directed by Christopher Guest.

By 2000, MGM had acquired some rights to the film (as part of the aforementioned "Epic Productions" package) and released the film on VHS and DVD. The DVD release featured the soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and both wide and full screen versions as well as the theatrical trailer. In 2001, the film was re-released by MGM as a widescreen "Special Edition" and included two audio commentaries—one by Rob Reiner and the other by William Goldman, "As You Wish," "Promotional" and "Making Of" featurettes, a "Cary Elwes Video Diary", the US and UK theatrical trailers, four television spots, a photo gallery, and a collectible booklet.

In 2006, MGM released a two-disc set with varying covers—the "Dread Pirate Edition" and the "Buttercup Edition"—but identical features. In addition to the features in the previous release were the "Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Legend Of The Seven Seas", "Love Is Like A Storybook Story", and "Miraculous Make Up" featurettes, "The Quotable Battle Of Wits" game and Fezzik's "Guide To Florin" booklet. A year later, for the 20th anniversary of the film, MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment rereleased the movie on November 13, 2007 with flippable cover art featuring the title displayed in an ambigram. This DVD did not include any of the bonus features from the older editions, but had new short featurettes and a new game.

In 2007, the film was released for download in the iTunes Store.

The film is available in Region 2 and is published by Lionsgate. Its extras are the Theatrical Trailer and Text Filmographies.


Beginning in 2007 a new round of licensing came to light with several large companies picking up new rights to produce Princess Bride merchandise. Among those is Toy Vault Inc., McFarlane Toys, and Worldwide Biggies. Toy Vault Inc. has released a line of plush toys based on the film's main characters, as well as the very first card games based on the film. Worldwide Biggies made headlines on various technology websites with their release of the first ever video game based on the film. McFarlane Toys will release a line of collectible sculpts for which they are well known.

In 2008 PlayRoom Entertainment in association with Toy Vault Inc. released , a board game based on the movie. The game is for 2-4 players and it is based on the assault by Westley and his companions to the Humperdink's castle, during the wedding. The game received a fairly good reception on board-game review websites and, as of September 2008, got a 6.29/10.00 rating on BoardGameGeek, based on 14 ratings by players The game includes a comic book adaptation of the movie. [ BoardGameGeek page for the board game]


External links

* [ Reconstructivist Art] : The Princess Bride
* [ Princess Bride Script]

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