I guess it took an everything quest for me to finally sit my butt down and write a serious review on this, the greatest movie ever made. Well, at least the movie I have seen more than any other 10 movies combined.
The Princess Bride
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure / Comedy
Production year: 1987
Director: Rob Reiner
Script: William Goldman, based on his book
Music: Mark Knopfler
Running time: 98 minutes
William Goldman wrote the script for the movie, and he based it very tightly on his book (of the same name). In fact, most of the dialogues are just about identical to the ones in the book.
The plot (of the movie) can be summarized as follows:
A child (played by Fred Savage) is ill, and so his grandfather (Peter Falk) comes to read him a story, because "When I was your age, television was called books". He reads him the story of The Princess Bride, as told by S. Morgenstern. (Now would be a good time to spoil many people's fantasy and say that, no, S. Morgenstern doesn't exist. Don't look for his books. William Goldman made him up). The story begins thus:
"Buttercup was raised on a small farm in the country of Florin. Her
favorite past-times were riding her horse and tormenting the farm boy
that worked there. His name was Westley. But she never called him
Isn't that a wonderful beginning?
Then Westley leaves to seek his fortune across the sea, but his ship is attacked by the
Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves captives alive.
So Buttercup is forced to marry the horrible Prince Humperdink (because the law of the land gives Humperdink the right to choose his bride), even though she does not love him. But she is kidnapped, and the chase begins.
And that's all I'm going to tell, so you're just going to have to watch the movie now. (And if you've seen it, why not watch it again?).
The question that's probably on your mind is:
Does it got any sports in it?
Are you kidding? It has fencing
, true love
Especially fencing. You will learn fascinating facts you never know about fencing, like when to use Bonetti's defense, and what you should do unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa (which I have).
If you watch the movie for no other reason, then watch it for the quotes. Almost every line in the movie is a gem
, and I find myself constantly quoting it. There is a quote for every situation:
- When two of your friends begin kissing in public: "Do we have to hear the kissing part?"
- When tucking someone in: "Rest well, and dream of large women."
- When in a debate: "You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work."
- Instead of "you're welcome": "As you wish."
- When you're waiting: "I'm waiting."
- When someone says a difficult word: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
And a million others.
Differences between the book and the movie
There are many differences between the book and the movie.
- The book is supposed to be "the good parts version" of the S. Morgenstern book, and you get a lot of unexciting details, like an explanation of the fact that Morgenstern wasted 44 pages on the description of the wedding arrangement.
- In the book, you learn a lot about the background of each character. You learn about their history what they did when they were younger, and about their parents. In the movie, all of the past is summed up by a short monologue by Inigo, about his father ("He was a great sword maker, my father...") . The book is much more detailed.
- The book has some more fencing moves, like McBone.
The five-level zoo of death in the book has been transformed into the one-level pit of despair in the movie, which is surprising, but it provides for a more concise story. In this case the book and the movie are quite spectacularly different.
- In the book, the narrator is the father, not the grandfather, and the boy is fat, not the studly-looking Fred Savage.
- In the book, you get a map.
But otherwise, they are very similar.
I think that Mark Knopfler
deserves a special mention here. Until this movie, I had only known him as the lead man for Dire Straits
, but he showed an entirely different side in composing the sound track to this movie. The fight scenes
are extremely well orchestrated
, and I think that the music in general is terrific, and really works well with the movie setting. However, a friend of mine got me the sound track
a few years back, and it's really not all that exciting. It's just got the music. But the music for the sword fight is not really worth listening to alone. And the song at the end of the songtrack (Storybook Love
) is pretty crap, IMHO, and it's not by Mark Knopfler, incidentally.
When the man in black beats Fezzik, he rolls him over. As he rolls him, the long shot
shows he is about to roll him straight into a massive rock. But lo and behold, as he turns him over, the rock is gone!
When Fezzik reaches for Buttercup, in the woods, she faints just a *bit* too quickly. By the time his hand actually reaches her neck, she has already been out for about half a second.
When Prince Humperdink retraces the steps of the mighty duel, he shuffles his feet and erases the steps made by Inigo and the Man In Black. Being such a great hunter, he should have stepped precisely in the steps made during the duel.
Inigo says about the man in black: "his true love marries another tonight." How does he know this? There is no way he could know that the man in black is Westley or that Buttercup is Westley's true love.
mkb says: The first time we see Inigo Montoya in the forest, he is just a cardboard cutout. The eyes and the hand are by a guy behind the cutout. You can tell if you pay attention to the reflection off it. I never noticed that. Imagine that - after probably over 100 viewings, I never noticed it!
Come on Rob Reiner, who did you think you were fooling?
, the two rival countries, are in fact the two names for Dutch currency
(or what it was before the Euro, anyway).
Ouroboros says: If you look closely on the shelf behind Fred Savage is the hat Marti DeBergi wore in Spinal Tap. (Allegedly, Mark Knopfler agreed to compose the music only if Rob Reiner put it in the movie).
Australia is entirely peopled with criminals.
The Princess Bride
is a cult movie
. There are online and offline The Princess Bride
clubs. There are a myriad
web pages dedicated to the movie. Millions of people (just my humble estimate) say it's their favorite movie. So don't just take my word for it. It must be pretty damn good if so many people dig it.
And finally, if you are one of those people who know the movie by heart and speak it out loud, much to everyone's delight: you must remember to leave THE line for the amateurs to say. We are men of action. That line does not become us.