For the final day of swashbuckler week, I’ve chosen one of my all-time favorite movies (and my wife’s #1 favorite) – The Princess Bride. The Princess Bride is currently available on Netflix instant play.
WATCH: The Princess Bride (1987) – Rated PG for adult language and violence
“In this enchantingly cracked fairy tale, the beautiful Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) and the dashing Westley (Cary Elwes) must overcome staggering odds to find happiness amid six-fingered swordsmen (Christopher Guest), murderous princes (Chris Sarandon), Sicilians (Wallace Shawn) and rodents of unusual size. But even death can’t stop these true lovebirds from triumphing. Fred Savage and Peter Falk co-star.”
Like Robin and Marian earlier this week, this film is all about love. William Goldman’s script is magical and Rob Reiner’s direction perfect. While I suppose this film would have to be categorized as a comedy, it works as an adventure story, a revenge fantasy and a romance as well. The dialogue is quoted more often at our house than that of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Rob Reiner underplays any effects – the rodents are cheerfully B-esque, the tree with a door is clearly a prop, and there is clearly a landing mat under the gymnastics bar used in one of the sword fights.
The performances – all from B-listers and character actors are uniformly wonderful – in fact for each of the actors involved I’d say that it is their best performance. Peter Falk is warm and loving as the uncle telling the story to his sick nephew (a cute Fred Savage). Cary Elwes plays the dashing hero with elan (sort of a snarky Errol Flynn) and Robin Wright infuses Princess Buttercup with a charming cluelessness. As played by Chris Sarandon, Prince Humperdinck is deliciously slimy and he is aided by a matter-of-fact Christopher Guest as his second. Wallace Shawn is all over the top ego as Vizzini. Everyone attempts to steal every scene that they are in and mostly succeed especially Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant.
People Watch: Several cameos in this film – an over the top Peter Cook as a clergyman, Mel Smith as a hilarious albino, and Carol Kane and Billy Crystal under almost unrecognizable makeup as an old bickering couple.