Saturday Movie Review – “Princess Bride”

The Saturday reviews march on, continuing what
X-Men: The Last Stand started in what is sure
to be a review-filled weekend on the Bureau.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Cary Elwes as Westley

Robin Wright as Buttercup

Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya

Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck

Christopher Guest as Count Tyrone Rugen

Wallace Shawn as Vizzini

Andre the Giant as Fezzik

Fred Savage as the Grandson

Peter Falk as the Grandfather

Peter Cook as the Impressive Clergyman

Mel Smith as the Albino

Carol Kane as Valerie

Billy Crystal as Miracle Max

Written by William Goldman, based on his own
novel.

Directed by Rob Reiner.

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Premise

A man reads his son a fairytale, complete with “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… ”

High Point

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Low Point

Multiple shadows are present while swordfighting outside. If that doesn’t scream “you’re watching a movie!” nothing does.

The Scores

Normally, adaptations suffer for originality, given that they aren’t original materials. In this case, however, Goldman had been trying to translate his own work for years, and was doing something a little bit different from the book, so it doesn’t feel the same. It’s also a satire of fairy tales that long predates Shrek, and there aren’t many of those at all. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were not so good. The plastic creatures looked unmistakably like plastic creatures. The eels seem to be running on tracks, and the ROUSs don’t seem as threatening with completely immobile faces. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story was very nicely interwoven between the sick grandson and the story he’s listening to. There are some interesting twists that we aren’t used to, such as the survival of the villain (spoiled in the movie as well) that keep the audience guessing. Most importantly, it seems to have hit every goal it set for itself. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting could have been exceedingly hammy, given the nature of the story, but they avoided that temptation nicely. The casting in general, such as Falk and Crystal, was incredible for all roles, regardless of whether they were big or small. That pair nailed every element of their roles, doing perfect jobs. The rest of the cast, while not perfect, was merely fantastic. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is wonderful. This is fun and funny, and a great way to spend part of an evening. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production has some shining moments, such as the angle shot at the beginning of the “guide my sword” portion. Other moments are quite pedestrian, while some just have obvious goofs (such as the aforementioned low point.) The actors do a wonderful job with their lines, but the director leaves the entertainment almost entirely up to them. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, despite its production flaws, I have to recommend this movie without reservation. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, The Princess Bride receives 36 out of 42.

The Coming Weeks

The first three Saturdays in June will be home to reviews of the Indiana Jones trilogy. On June 24, a review of Return to the Batcave will wrap up the month’s Saturday reviews.

15 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Princess Bride””

  1. hans says:

    The Music
    It’s a great movie, but the music just screams low budget. I think it’s the cheesiest music I’ve ever noticed in a movie. The interesting thing is that it’s charming because it’s this movie.

    • Jethro says:

      Re: The Music

      It’s a great movie, but the music just screams low budget. I think it’s the cheesiest music I’ve ever noticed in a movie. The interesting thing is that it’s charming because it’s this movie.

      I could NOT disagree with you more. The music is absolutely perfect. Listen to the soundtrack without the movie and you can see the movie. It might still be a teeeny bit 80s, but not overly so.

      If you want cheesy movie music, try Ladyhawke or *shudder* Labirynth.

    • TomSwiss says:

      Re: The Music

      I think it’s the cheesiest music I’ve ever noticed in a movie.

      I though Knopfler’s soundtrack was fantastic. (Well, except for the song under the closing credits.)

      If you want cheesy music in a fantasy flick, check out the cringe-inducing soundtrack of Ladyhawke.

  2. J_W_W says:

    High Point?
    Only one high point????

    "Inconcievable!!"

    or maybe

    "I am not left handed."

    or

    "Surely, I cannot drink from the cup in front of me ….." and the whold rest of that conversation.

    or

    "Mostly Dead"

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: High Point?

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      I missed this film when it came out, and saw it some years later, after I read the book (which I also recommend). I couldn’t believe what I was missing. It approaches the Pythons or the original Star Wars trilogy for the sheer number of geeky pop culture references– no small feat for a low-budget, goofy film.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: High Point?

      Only one high point????

      "Inconcievable!!"

      or maybe

      "I am not left handed."

      or

      "Surely, I cannot drink from the cup in front of me ….." and the whold rest of that conversation.

      or

      "Mostly Dead"

      MAWWIAGE! MAWWIAGE IS WHAT BWINGS US TOGETHEW …

      WOVE, TWUE WOVE, WILL BE WIFF YOU FOWEVEW …

      Peter Cook’s last role.

      There are just so many high points in this movie. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. :)

      -Joe

      • Fozzy_Bear says:

        Re: High Point?


        This is one of my favorite movies of all time. :)

        -Joe

        Mine too. Probably THE favorite movie for me.

    • TechnoGirl says:

      Re: High Point?

      Only one high point????

      And how can you forget:

      "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous being to never get involved in a land war in Asia, …."

  3. Jethro says:

    Perfect
    First, if you haven’t read the book, read the book! There are some things you dont’ really get in the movie, like just what a stuck-up twit Buttercup is, and what a total dork Wesley is.

    Second, I always thought The Princess Bride is a perfect movie. Each actor is perfect for their character. The music is perfect. The locations are perfect… all of it!

    Yeah, it’s a little low-budget and suffers from 80s Special Effects. Yes, the lighting in the swordfighting scene is not perfect, but you have to admire the fact that those two guys did virtually all their own fencing.

    I went on a trip to Ireland a bit ago and got to see the Cliffs of Insanity for real. That was super-cool.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Perfect

      Second, I always thought The Princess Bride is a perfect movie. Each actor is perfect for their character. The music is perfect. The locations are perfect… all of it!

      Yeah, it’s a little low-budget and suffers from 80s Special Effects. Yes, the lighting in the swordfighting scene is not perfect, but you have to admire the fact that those two guys did virtually all their own fencing.

      Hear hear! :) The cheesy special effects are a part of the charm. The eel’s eyes look painted on, because they *are* painted on. :) +6 for charm. +6 for perfect casting. +6 just because, well, because you can never trust a Sicilian when death is on the line. :)

      -Joe

  4. GrimSean says:

    Special Edition DVD Extras
    I picked up the Special Edition DVD a while ago to replace my ailing VHS copy – the extras include footage shot on set by Cary Elwes and a cast remembrance of Andre (the best story is the one about Andre telling them he had to be driven to school by his neighbour Samuel Beckett – theatre of the absurd Samuel Beckett – as a child, since he was too big for the bus in rural France).

    The reason I mention this is because these special features make it obvious that the cast really enjoyed making the movie, which I think helps it to transcend the low budget and is part of the reason it has a place of honour in my childhood memories.

  5. fsphil says:

    Fantastic!
    I’d never heard of this movie before, I just happen to find it last month when flicking through the channels one morning and ended up on Sci-Fi (UK) watching two people having a very good and polite sword fight! I enjoyed it so much I bought the DVD that night. It is simply a fantastic movie, and I think even it’s flaws add to that. We need more like this!

    What’s also notable is that this was the first time I’ve ever seen anything decent on Sci-Fi UK. I avoided Firefly on it because they refuse to broadcast in 16:9, and plaster half the screen with graffiti advertising … but that’s another story :-)

  6. GSVNofixedabode says:

    …now read the book!
    Read the book – the one that came after the movie with the comments and asides, not the extremely long original story of Gilder. That’ll give you an insight on just how well the actors pinned their roles: especially the scene with Inigo fighting the 6-fingered man. You see sooo much more in it once you’ve read it!

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: …now read the book!

      Read the book – the one that came after the movie with the comments and asides, not the extremely long original story of Gilder.

      There is no "original long story." Goldman wrote the entire thing, including the fake history of the "original" book. The one with the asides is the only one that exists, and it came before the movie.

      But yes, the book is a great read. Perhaps we should review it.

    • TomSwiss says:

      Re: …now read the book!

      Read the book – the one that came after the movie with the comments and asides, not the extremely long original story of Gilder.

      Goldman got ya. :-) "S. Morgenstern" and the whole backstory about a longer version, about him passing the book on to his son, is part of the fiction. (He actually has two daughters and no son).

      The other book he wrote under the "S. Morgenstern" psudonym, The Silent Gondoliers, is also excellent, the same balance of fairy-tale romaticism and crushing reality.

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