The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is a 1987 film, based on the 1973 novel The Princess Bride 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 fairy tale 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". It is consistently placed in the Internet Movie Database's top Top 250 list of films, with over 73,000 votes. This list is derived from the votes of IMDb registered users.


* Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, Battling Rodents of Unusual Size, Facing torture in the Pit of Despair. - True love has never been a snap.
* It's as real as the feelings you feel.
* Heroes. Giants. Villains. Wizards. True Love.
* Not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairy tale.
* She gets kidnapped. He gets killed. But it all ends up okay.

The main plot is accompanied by a frame story, consisting of a grandfather (played by Peter Falk) reading a book, The Princess Bride, to his sick 11-year-old grandson (played by Fred Savage). The main story is occasionally interrupted by the grandson or grandfather, who comment on the tale as it is read.

The heroine of "The Princess Bride," the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright), was raised on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. She delights in verbally abusing the farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) by demanding that he perform chores for her. Westley's only answer is, "As you wish," and Buttercup finally realizes that when he says this, what he really means is, "I love you." Soon Buttercup realizes that she loves him as well, and they become engaged. Westley must leave the farm to seek his fortune so they can marry. He promises to return, but Buttercup later receives word that his ship was attacked at sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for taking no prisoners. Assuming him dead, she vows never to love again.

Five years later, Buttercup is forced by the law of the land to become engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne of Florin. Heartbroken by the loss of her true love, Buttercup accepts her fate.

Shortly before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a bizarre trio of outlaws: the stunted Sicilian genius Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the expert Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and the enormous and mighty Turk Fezzik (André the Giant). They have been hired to murder her and frame Florin's enemy, the neighboring country of Guilder, in order to start a war. After Buttercup bravely tries, but fails, to swim to safety in a sea full of carnivorous eels, a masked man in black clothing - the "Man in Black" - follows them across the sea to the Cliffs of Insanity. The Man in Black manages to climb up after them, so Inigo is ordered to stop him. But Inigo goes out of his way to arrange a fair fight with the stranger, including letting him get some rest before the duel and holding a pleasant conversation with him. Inigo reveals that he has been studying fencing since the age of eleven (including the teachings of Renaissance fencing expert Agrippa) in order to gain the skill necessary to avenge his father, a swordmaker murdered by a six-fingered man. After an epic duel, the Man in Black wins, but leaves the Spaniard alive out of respect for his swordsmanship and honorable behavior. He knocks Inigo unconscious instead.

Vizzini, stunned that the Man in Black has won the duel, leaves Fezzik behind with orders to ambush and kill him. Fezzik, also honorable, throws a rock as a warning, and challenges the Man in Black to a wrestling match. Though Fezzik is powerful, he is slow and accustomed to fighting swarms of men. The Man in Black manages to climb onto the giant's back and use a sleeper hold against him, knocking him out. He leaves Fezzik alive as well.

Finally, the Man in Black catches up with Vizzini, who holds Buttercup hostage at knifepoint, and proposes a battle of the wits to the death. The Man in Black produces a vial of "iocane powder," a fictional poison, and takes two goblets of wine behind his back, then instructs Vizzini to choose a goblet, saying one is poisoned. After trying to cheat, Vizzini drinks from a goblet and dies; the Man in Black, having previously developed an immunity to iocane, has played on Vizzini's arrogance to provoke him into a false dilemma and poisoned both cups.

With Prince Humperdinck's rescue party in hot pursuit, the Man in Black flees with Buttercup. She deduces that he is really the Dread Pirate Roberts, but it is only after she shoves him down a ravine and hears him shout "As you wish!" that she realizes he is also her long-lost love, Westley. She tumbles down the ravine and they are reunited with a passionate kiss (to the annoyance of the grandson, who insists his grandfather stop reading the kissing part).

Westley reveals that the Dread Pirate Roberts did attack his ship, but kept Westley alive after hearing the depths of his love for Buttercup. Westley signed on as his apprentice, learning to sail, fence, and fight. Eventually, Roberts (whose real name was Ryan) secretly passed the name and the ship on to Westley, who thus became the latest in a line of men to assume the identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts after the original Roberts retired.

Westley and Buttercup try to evade Humperdinck's pursuit by traveling through the Fire Swamp. They manage to survive the three terrors of the swamp (quicksand or "lightning sand", spurts of fire from the ground, and the R.O.U.S.'s, or Rodents Of Unusual Size). They emerge out the other side, only to be captured by Humperdinck and his menacing vizier Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Buttercup negotiates for Westley's release and is returned to the palace to await her wedding, which, now that she knows Westley is alive, is a fate worse than death. However, Rugen has no intention of releasing Westley. Rugen also has six fingers on his right hand, and when Westley remarks that someone (Inigo) was looking for him, Rugen knocks him out. He is taken to the Pit of Despair, where he is tended by an albino (Mel Smith) and learns that he is to be tortured for the Count's "pain research" by an elaborate device, "The Machine," which functions by sucking years of life from its victims.

Meanwhile, the tormented Buttercup decides that she can't go through with the wedding and demands that Humperdinck send out four ships to locate Westley. He agrees on condition that if the ships fail, she will marry him. But Humperdinck secretly reveals that he arranged Buttercup's kidnapping in order to start a war with Guilder. He decides it will be much better propaganda if people learn that she was strangled on her wedding night.

On the day of the wedding, Inigo and Fezzik meet up again by chance, and Inigo learns of the death of Vizzini and the existence of Count Rugen, the six-fingered man. Inigo decides he must break into the heavily guarded castle to kill Rugen, so they seek out the Man in Black, hoping his brains will help them overcome the guards. But Buttercup learns that Humperdinck never sent the four ships, and taunts him with her enduring love for Westley. Enraged, he tortures Westley to death (which causes the grandson to assume that the story must have made a mistake).

On finding Westley's dead body, Inigo and Fezzik enlist the help of Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), a washed-up wizard, and his wife Valerie (Carol Kane). Max is initially refuses to help, but changes his mind when Inigo promises that treating Westley will ensure the hated Humperdinck will suffer because of it. They pronounce Westley to be merely "mostly dead" (as opposed to "all dead") and resurrect him with a magical, chocolate-coated pill. Alive but extremely weakened, Westley devises a successful plan to invade the castle, putting the three men inside just as the wedding takes place. The ceremony, led by the squeaky-voiced Bishop (Peter Cook), concludes abruptly when Humperdinck hears fighting outside. Believing she is married, Buttercup decides to kill herself as soon as she reaches the honeymoon suite.

Inigo pursues Rugen throughout the castle, repeating his much-practiced line, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," and finally kills him, successfully avenging his father. Westley manages to reach Buttercup before she kills herself, reminds her that she's not married if she never said "I do," and then bluffs his way out of a swordfight with Humperdinck. Instead of killing him, Westley decides to leave him alone with his cowardice. In classic fairytale style, the party rides off into the sunset on conveniently-provided white horses that had been found by Fezzik. Westley and Buttercup reach for each other and the story concludes with: Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.

At the end of the story, the grandson decides that it will be okay if his grandfather returns the next day to read the story again. His smiling grandfather replies, "As you wish."

[edit] Cast

* Cary Elwes as Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts/Man in Black/Farm Boy
* 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 movie was initially a modest success, though not a huge blockbuster, grossing twice its $15,000,000 (USD) production costs at the US box office. It received highly favorable reviews from some critics, including Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel who gave "Two thumbs up" on the television show Siskel & Ebert & The Movies. Roger Ebert also wrote a very favorable print review.[2] 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 100 on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, the screenplay introduced a number of quotations into popular culture,[citation needed] including the lines "As you wish," "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," and "Inconceivable!", all of which are uttered several times in the film.

* 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. Some of Guettel's music for the production has since surfaced in concert performances and workshops.

The soundtrack was originally released by Warner Bros. Records in 1987. It was written and recorded by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, the only person 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

1. "Once upon a Time...Storybook Love"
2. "I Will Never Love Again"
3. "Florin Dance"
4. "Morning Ride"
5. "The Friends' Song"
6. "The Cliffs of Insanity"
7. "The Swordfight"
8. "Guide My Sword"
9. "The Fire Swamp and the Rodents of Unusual Size"
10. "Revenge"
11. "A Happy Ending"
12. "Storybook Love" (composed and performed by Willy DeVille)

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 an instructor and with each other. They performed all of the fencing in the swordfight scene; the only stunt doubles used were for the two somersaults. 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 Robin Hood: Men In Tights, notably against Roger Rees, and even going so far as to call out, 'Parry, parry, thrust, thrust—good!'.
* André the Giant had under gone 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.
* André the Giant had trouble with both the speed and clarity of his lines, prompting Mandy Patinkin to actually slap him in the face to get him to concentrate harder. On one shoot, Patinkin slapped Andre in the face and screamed at him, "Faster, Fezzik!" It worked.
* Billy Crystal's 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.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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