The Princess Bride – a film directed by Rob Reiner – spoiler light

The Princess Bride – Directed by Rob Reiner

Starring

Peter Falk
Fred Savage

Cary Elwes
Robin Wright
Wallace Shawn
Mandy Patinkin
Andre The Giant
Chris Sarandon

Originally released in the US in 1987 and on general release in the UK in March 1988. I saw this earlier this month in a special 25th anniversary screening at Leeds Kirkstall Road Vue.

I first saw this film on VHS round a mate’s house. I hadn’t heard about it in the 80s, if I had I’d have seen it at the cinema I’m sure. I bought the 20th anniversary DVD a few years ago but this was the first time I had seen this on the big screen, having seen it dozens of times on the small screen. My son and daughter like this film and last year I bought it for my Mum for her birthday – she loved it too.

This film isn’t a spoof despite some people saying it is. It is a Rom-Com, but it isn’t a chick flick. This film is a family film but it isn’t. What I am saying is it is for everyone.

The film is based on the book by William Goldman, who adapted the story as a screenplay. To illustrate this the film is narrated by Peter Falk who is reading the book to his slightly under-the-weather grandson, played by Fred Savage.

The action starts with setting out the love story between farmer’s daughter Buttercup (Robin Wright) and farmhand Westly (Cary Elwes). The grandson isn’t so sure he wants to hear a kissy story but Grandpa eases his misgivings and they continue.

Westley is killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts and Buttercup gets engaged to Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon). That puts a kink in the course of true love.

Buttercup is kidnapped by the Sicillian criminal mastermind Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), muscle-man Turkish wrestler Fezzik (Andre the Giant) and expert swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Potinkin). They are pursued in turn by a mystery masked man and Prince Humperdink and his men.

The mystery man takes on the kidnappers in an attempt to either rescue or counter-kidnap Buttercup.

Vizzini is confident no one can ever out think him and his henchmen may not be as crooked as Vizzini himself. Fezzik knows that no one is as strong as him. Inigo Montoya is searching for the six fingered man who killed his father when he was a small boy, when he meets him he plans to say; “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” which he may mention more than once. Prince Humperdink may not be as heroic as he seems. The mystery masked man might not be quite what he seems either.

There are wonderful cameos by Billy Chrystal as Miracle Max, Peter Cook as The Impressive Clergyman and Mel Smith as The Albino.

This is a fairy tale adventure with plenty of comedy and brilliantly sculpted characters. The sets aren’t brilliant, even for the 80s but that doesn’t distract. The script and direction are excellent and the performances are very enjoyable.

After watching the film I left feeling like I’d seen it for the first time. A couple that were directly behind me leaving were talking, she’d clearly taken him to see it, ‘I can’t believe I’ve never seen that!’ he enthused, ‘brilliant isn’t it?’ she said with a ‘mission accomplished’ tone.

 

The thought that someone can watch this film without enjoying it is inconceivable.

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