The Princess Bride
Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, Battling Rodents of Unusual Size, Facing torture in the Pit of Despair - True love has never been a snap.
Buttercup (Wright) is a farmgirl soon to be married to the slimy prince Humperdinck. Unfortunately she doesn't like Humperdinck, and her one true love, Westley, was killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts while on a voyage. To complicate matters Buttercup is then kidnapped by a sneaky Sicilian and his henchmen, Iniga Montoya (Patinkin) and Fezzik (Andre the Giant) and the scene is sets for some exhilarating fairytale swashbuckling as true love wins through!
It's hard to fault this good-natured, tongue-in-cheek fairytale. Directed throughout with an eye for wit and humour, it is at it's best when it catches you off guard with its excellent script and the faultless comic timing. It has funny, delightful and touching moments in addition to some delicious cameo appearances. Pay attention during the sword-fighting scene, as some of the funniest lines go so quickly you could miss them.
The film starts simply enough. Fred Savage (yes, Kevin from the Wonder Years) is ill in bed. His Grandfather (Peter Falk) arrives to tell him the tale of the Princess Bride. So begins an adventure, with all the usual ingredients: Giants, monsters, sword fighting etc.
The Princess Bride in question is Buttercup, a poor farmgirl plucked from the masses by evil Prince Humperdinck (boooo!) to be his wife, after she loses her true love Westly (Ewles), at sea to the Dread Pirate Roberts. One day our Princess Buttercup is out riding in the forest, when she is apprehended by 3 mercenaries - A giant and Spaniard lead by a cunning trickster.
She is taken on a journey towards the neighbouring Kingdom of Guilder, as the mercenaries have been hired to start a war between that country and Buttercup's borne nation of Florin. They appear to have made a clean getaway, when the mercenaries notice a mysterious ship in hot pursuit. They know it can't be Humperdinck and his men, but continue to flee nonetheless. The ship is piloted by an adept masked stranger, who defeats the mercenaries one by one to take the Princess into his custody. It turns out that the mysterious masked man- the Dread Pirate Roberts, has no intention of returning Buttercup to the palace.
Meanwhile Humperdinck is on the trail, and his men soon catch up with Roberts, restoring Buttercup to her evil prospective husband. It is then up to Roberts to team up with the surviving two mercenaries to storm the castle and save the girl.
This film came as part of a spate of fairytale movies in the 1980s, and whilst it doesn't have the animatronic wizardry of Labyrinthe, or the special effects of Legend, it is at least as good, if not better.
The film makes excellent use of the characters, with Rob Reiner (Stand By Me) you already know you'll come away with some kind of warm glow inside. Also, play spot the stars, as Peter Cook, Mel Smith, and Billy Crystal pop up in minor roles.
All in all, one of the best 'fairy-tale' films ever made.
Screenings of this film:
|1994/1995 Spring Term – (35mm)|
|1997/1998 Spring Term – (35mm)|
|1999/2000 Summer Term – (35mm)|
|2021/2022 Autumn Term – (35mm)|