Movies from the Vault: The Princess Bride

Alex Baden

When you’re stuck in bed, feeling on the verge of death by flu, a visit from Grandpa and an uncomfortable cheek-pinching session is about the last thing you want. However, when your Grandpa happens to be the kindly and comical Peter Falk bearing a copy of The Princess Bride, you’re in for a treat.

Rob Reiner and William Goldman’s 1987 novel-based classic is in many ways what every good movie should be. The tale of a beautiful young girl who is separated from her true love and forced to marry an evil prince works on multiple levels, managing to be a romantic fairytale, a high-action adventure, and a genre-mocking satirical piece all at once.

The film, which includes swordfights, giants, battles of wits, the dreaded fire swap (complete with the unforgettable rodents of unusual size), and a magical faith healer is completely enthralling. But even more entertaining than its constantly moving plot is the movie’s hilarious and highly-quotable dialogue. Really, who has ever watched the film without reciting Inigo Montoya’s epic “You killed my father, prepare to die” speech?

The talented cast of Robin Wright (long before she married Sean and added the Penn), Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, and many others, brings the ingenious script to life, delivering memorable performances in every scene.  The Princess Bride is proof that a good story can bring people of all ages together. It is one of those rare films that can be enjoyed by sixteen-year-olds and sixty-year-olds alike.

Its lasting and ever increasing popularity and wide appeal have earned The Princess Bride the deserving title of one of the best movies of all time. So it is not surprising that more recent movies such as the Shrek trilogy and Enchanted have attempted to capture the spirit of the film. But though it has been copied many a time nothing has ever quite equaled the brilliance of The Princess Bride. So if you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s time to reach for that old VHS. If you’ve never seen it…well, that’s just inconceivable!