Fantasy Romance — Movie Review
The Princess Bride
Death Cannot Stop True Love
This classic fantasy romance film from the 1980s never gets old. Even some 30 years after it was made, The Princess Bride has a little something to offer everyone. Whether you want comedy, action, adventure, or romance (or maybe you just have a huge crush on Cary Elwes), this move delivers it all in spades, which might explain why I’ve been able to watch it dozens of times without the appeal being lost. At just 1:38 runtime, it manages to pack a lot of laughs and love into a relatively short timespan. Best of all, it’s perfect for the whole family.
In this romantic romp, Cary Elwes is Westley, a young man and common farmhand who is deeply in love with the maiden Buttercup (Robin Wright). Lacking the money needed for marriage, Westley departs to seek his fortunes but is soon reported dead, presumed murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. A few years later, we find Buttercup newly engaged to Prince Humperdinck, and so begins the fun and adventure of The Princess Bride.
A number of fine actors fill out the supporting cast, including Wallace Shawn as the Italian criminal genius Vizzini, André the Giant as the rhyme loving Fezzik, and Mandy Patinkin as the vengeance seeking Spaniard Inigo Montoya. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane appear briefly in the roles of Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie, a delightfully cantankerous old couple with a crucial role to play in the latter part of the film, while Mel Smith’s brief appearance as an albino assistant to the evil, six-fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) is also entertaining.
Peter Falk also appears as the grandfather narrating the story to his sick grandson, played by a young Fred Savage. Finally, Chris Sarandon deserves mention for his flawless portrayal of the handsome but cowardly, self-absorbed Prince Humperdinck, an egomaniac willing to commit some pretty heinous crimes in the name of furthering his political ambitions. Sarandon’s Humperdinck makes for a great antagonist, and yet there is some humor in his role too.
For a film with such an apparently simple plot (the classic damsel in distress trope), The Princess Bride also manages to weave in several nice subplots without compromising the integrity of the storyline or distracting from the main quest. There is great friendship, as displayed between Montoya and Fezzik, the sweet love of Westley and Buttercup (who, though a damsel in distress, is not entirely stupid or helpless, thankfully), camaraderie, and enough sarcastic quips from the wonderful Vizzini to make you wish he lasted longer in the film.
Add to all that the smooth scene transitions, flawless dialog throughout, and some truly gorgeous settings plus outstanding costume designs, and it’s no wonder this film is still being shared and quoted by fans 30+ years after the fact. If you haven’t already seen it, get yourself a copy today—and if you have seen it, maybe it’s time for a rewatch?