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THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987)
"The Princess Bride" is a hilariously entertaining romantic fairytale that centers around the trials and triumphs of the noble farm boy Westley, his love Buttercup, and their friends Inigo and Fezzik. In the typical 'noble knight saves his beloved princess from the evil Prince' fashion, "The Princess Bride" combines the best of deliberate ironic puns and a fantastically elaborated plot scheme to render a truly entertaining tale for child and adult alike.
Directed by: Rob Reiner. Written by: William Goldman (novel and screenplay).
Genre: Adventure, fantasy, comedy, romance.
Rated: PG for thematic content and a single reference to profanity.
Tagline: Consider you an alternative to suicide... Inconceivable!
Think "Monty Python" meets "Robin Hood" and then you will have "The Princess Bride": a fantastical fairytale about pirates, fencing, felons, evil kings, and of course…True love!
A story within a story, “The Princess Bride”, 'by S Morgenstern', is the fairytale of all fairytales that ‘The Grandfather’ (Peter Falk) brings to his sick ‘Grandson’ (Fred Savage) on a day that one too many video games have been played by the 'uncultured' little boy. Reluctantly, ‘The Grandson’ begins to listen to the tale, only to find himself quickly sucked in by its fantastic adventures.
Thus "The Princess Bride" begins…the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) diligently taunts her obedient farm boy (Cary Elwes) until one day, when 'True Love' reveals itself, the two begin to live their common lives happily together: but not forever. Just as soon as they find happiness, Westley the farm boy leaves to seek out provisions and goods for his new life with his true love. But five years later, Westley has yet to return and rumors of his death have long since circulated Buttercup’s village.
One day, while on her daily horsehide as it were, Buttercup is abducted by three conspicuous men: Inigo (Mandy Pantikin), Fezzik (Andre the Giant), and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn). Along their sea voyage back to Gilder, whereby Vinzinni means to provoke a war via Buttercup's assassination, Fezzik and Inigo avidly protest her foreshadowed death. But Vizzini, despite his many ‘Inconceivable’ obstacles, refuses to put down his plans. That is, until a masked hero appears, duping Vizzini's protégés Inigo and Fezzik one by one. But leaving them mercifully, he encounters Fezzik whereby, after his ironic feats of brawn and skill have outdone his accomplices, Vizinni challenges the masked man to a game of wits. Quickly outsmarted however, the wily Vizzini meets his death, and Buttercup is now at the mercy of the masked man’s will.
After a quick banter of insults and ironic discourse, Buttercup realizes that the masked man is none other than her beloved Westley. Together they embrace while Buttercup's new fiancé, Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon) views from a top a hill. Having come all this way to track her down, he by no means intends on letting her be taken by some masked man. But Westley and Buttercup run into the dreaded 'Fire Swamp', where Westley must save Buttercup from further dangers of oversized rodents, fire shoots, and quicksand pits. But after surviving all of it, they are confronted with the determined Prince Humperdink on the other side, whereby Buttercup avows to return with the Prince in exchange for Westley's freedom. But of course, Humperdink has other plans in mind, and assigns his evil six-fingered sidekick, Count Rugen (Christopher Guest), to banish Westley to the 'Pit of Despair' where he will soon face torture and death by the hands of the dreaded 'Life Sucking Machine'.
Meanwhile, Buttercup is heartbroken once again, wallowing high in her castle tower. But Prince Humperdink, after one false promise to the next, remains adamant on marrying her, with the secret intent to assassinate her as quickly, so that he too can start a war. But alas, the noble Fezzik and Inigo return to save their friend Westley and avenge Inigo's father's death. But first, Westley must be taken to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) so that he can be brought back to life, 'The Life Sucking Machine' having killed him after taking away 50 years of his would-be life. After some bribery and a magical chocolate-coated pill, Westley is back alive, though rubbery and useless, and it is up to Fezzik to carry his little friend through the chaos beyond the castle walls, to stop the sinister Prince Humperdink from marrying his bride. Meanwhile Inigo sets out, with his ‘overdeveloped sense of vengeance’ to avenge his father's death by killing the evil six-fingered Count Rugen: ‘Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’
With much fencing, cowardice on behalf of the villains, and true love conquering all, Fezzik saves the day with a quick 'Hello Lady' and a gift of four beautiful white steeds that the quartet use to escape the Humperdink castle and ride off into the sunset with bigger plans ahead. But not of course, without Westley first sentencing Prince Humperdink 'To the Pain'.
The story ends of course with a kiss, as all fairytales do, and the Grandson innocently asks his Grandfather to return the next day with yet another tale of adventure. The Grandfather's response… 'As you wish.'
"The Princess Bride" is a delightful film of comedic genius and top-notch humor. Akin to "Monty Python", the repetitious puns, comedic conventions, witty banter, and ironic parody makes the film a brilliant masterpiece that ‘children of all ages’ can appreciate: yes, that means you adults. The film is loaded with brilliant one-liners and double entendre that will have the adults rolling as their children look innocently on, awaiting the fate of Buttercup and her beloved Westley.
Moreover the plot if flawless: encapsulating the best of action, adventure, fantasy, comedy, and romance, there isn’t a stone left unturned by the film and its satirical take on fairytales. Appropriately enough, each person receives their proper fate, as is always the case in conventional tales. But don’t worry; Rob Reiner makes sure to deliberately pun on the absurdity of the characters’ ironically appropriate fates.
Moreover, entertaining slang and ridiculous euphemisms are applied to geographic locations, which act as an amplifier for the fantasy element for children, and comedic relief for adult. Who could forget the 'Cliff of Insanity', the 'Pit of Despair', and the ‘Dreaded Life Sucking Machine’, etc. etc.?
So grab your children, your beloved, and or your popcorn and snuggle up for a morally endearing tale about true love and its ability to overcome any obstacle. There may be hope for us yet!
Robin Wright Penn plays Buttercup, the common woman betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdink and whose heart lay in the hands of the farm boy Westley.
Cary Elwes plays Westley the dashing farm boy turned masked hero that goes in search of his stolen love Buttercup.
Chris Sarandon plays Prince Humperdink the antihero with a villainous plot and cold heart that steals Buttercup from Westley with ill intentions.
Mandy Patinkin plays Inigo Montoya the honorable Spaniard who promises to avenge his father’s death by killing the evil six-fingered man.
Andre the Giant plays Fezzik, the genteel Giant who, along with Inigo, goes in search of their gentle masked friend.
Christopher Guest plays Count Tyrone Rugen, the slimy six-fingered man who hides sheepishly behind the evil Prince Humperdink.
Billy Crystal plays Miracle Max, the exiled magician with a quirky way of making things happen by way of bribery and uncanny tricks.
Fred Savage plays the Grandson, the little boy who sits ill in his bad anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the fairytale.
Peter Falk plays the Grandfather, the gentle man with the perfect remedy for his sick grandson: a good fairytale.