Sunday, 30 September 2012

Film Review: THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987)

The Princess Bride - poster Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman (Book/Screenplay)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Romance
USA Release date: 25th September 1987

Watched on DVD Sunday 30th September 2012.


I have to admit I fell in love with this film the first time I saw it on TV back in the nineties. It just occurred to me when I pulled out the DVD to give it a viewing today that it was released 25 years ago (almost to the day!). Certain of my friends will give me some stick for liking this “chick flick”, (their words, not mine) but they’ve never seen what I see in it; much to their loss I might add. But enough of my prattling on, here’s a brief summary before I tell you just why I love this film so much.

The Princess Bride - 10 The story is told by a grandfather to his grandson who is sick in bed; as he explains, “When I was your age, television was called books.” He tells the boy that this is a very special book that has been passed down through the generations. Having allayed his fears about the amount of kissing; he begins. The story concerns a girl, Buttercup, who falls in love with a farm boy, Westley. He leaves to seek his fortune but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts and, as everyone knows, the Dread Pirate Roberts doesn’t take prisoners. Buttercup is devastated and becomes numb to the world. Years later we find she is betrothed to Prince Humperdinck; but she will only ever have one true love (sorry, that part’s a tad soppy). She is out riding one day when she is kidnapped by an evil genius, Vizzini, a giant, Fezzik and an expert swordsman, Inigo Montoya. They set off towards the neighbouring kingdom of Guilder but soon find they are being pursued by a masked man… There is much more to tell but I’m going to leave it here with you wondering just who this masked stranger could be.

The Princess Bride - 9 Really well made with one or two dodgy amamatronics, but I’ll forgive that given its vintage. A great score by Mark Knopfler complements the film without overpowering it at all; in fact it wasn’t until we were well into it that I noted that the music sounded kinda familiar. Great performances all round; of particular note were; Cary Elwes as Westley, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck, Christopher Guest as Count Tyrone Rugen, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, AndrĂ© the Giant as Fezzik and introducing Robin Wright as The Princess Bride. I also have to give honourable mentions to; Fred Savage as The Grandson, Peter Falk as The Grandfather/Narrator, Peter Cook as The Impressive Clergyman, Mel Smith as The Albino, Carol Kane as Valerie and finally Billy Crystal as Miracle Max.

The Princess Bride - 4 So why do I love this film so much? Well, for me it has everything; pirates, a giant, great swordplay, a damsel in distress, an evil bad guy, revenge, an awful lot of humour and not least a happy ending. There is quite a modern feel to it all but with the traditional values of chivalry along with a little dastardly play. Of course, some magic; how could you have a fairytale without magic? But over all, I love it because it doesn’t pretend to be anything more or less than it is; a great adventure. If I ever need cheering up or I need to restore my faith in human nature I can escape into this film and when I come out the other side I know I’ll feel better. No, it’s not perfect, but I’d watch it in preference to many modern films any day.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 8.9/10

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 171,422 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 77/100: (Based on 20 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

The Princess Bride - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 96/100 (based on 48 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 39/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 489,334 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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The Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
The Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

Vizzini: A word, my lady. We are but poor, lost circus performers. Is there a village nearby?
Buttercup: There is nothing nearby... Not for miles.
Vizzini: Then there will be no one to hear you scream.

The Princess Bride - 3 Fezzik: [to Inigo regarding the man in black] You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.

Man in Black: I challenge you to a battle of wits.
Vizzini: For the Princess?
Man in Black: [nods]
Vizzini: To the death?
Man in Black: [nods]
Vizzini: I accept!

Fezzik: Inigo?
Inigo Montoya: What?
Fezzik: I hope we win.

The Princess Bride - 5 Inigo Montoya: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Count Rugen: Stop saying that!

Buttercup: You mock my pain.
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Prince Humperdinck: Surrender.
Westley: You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept.

…there are many more but they might give too much away, so I’ll leave you with these…

The Princess Bride - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:
Official Facebook:
Trailer (apologies for the advertisement at the beginning):

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