57. The Princess Bride

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Movie: The Princess Bride

Release Date: September 25, 1987

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Billy Crystal.

Tag Lines: “The story of a man and a woman who lived happily ever after. Even though the courtship almost killed them.”

“Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, Battling Rodents of Unusual Size, Facing torture in the Pit of Despair. – True love has never been a snap.”

“It’s as real as the feelings you feel.”

“Heroes. Giants. Villains. Wizards. True Love. – Not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairy tale.”

“Heroes, giants, villains, wizards, true love.”

Relevance: ‘The Princess Bride’ was a movie that flew way under my radar when it was released in theaters. Released on September 25, 1987, the Rob Reiner directed film received generally favorable reviews from critics, some even calling it “the best movie of 1987.” Despite those glowing words, the film was only a modest box office success. I don’t even remember seeing the trailer, but my knowledge of the film changed considerably when it aired on HBO in 1988.

When the movie finally started playing on HBO, it wasn’t a film that I made a point to sit down and watch on its premier day. In fact, I think the first time I saw the movie was by accident, not even seeing it from the beginning. Back in the day, we did not have as many channels to choose from as we do today. When I had nothing to do, and at seventeen years old besides work and school, I didn’t have much to do, I would sit in front of the television and scope out certain channels. MTV was always my first glimpse. If there wasn’t anything to my liking on the screen, I would then turn it to my second choice, HBO. My first sighting of ‘The Princess Bride’ was somewhere in the middle of the film, but something about it made me stop and watch it. My dad soon joined me in the living room and both of us became instantly entertained causing huge bouts of laughter while watching it. When the movie ended, I immediately checked the handy, dandy HBO Guide to see when it was playing again.

Thankfully HBO played movies on a very high rotation and I was able to check out the movie in its entirety pretty shortly after that first time. It may have even been later that same day. HBO was pretty infamous for playing the same movie in the morning as well as that same night. Regardless when it was, I watched ‘The Princess Bride’ with my dad again, this time from its beginning. It was a movie that caused so much glee and laughter from both of us, it was difficult not to be entertained. My dad had such an infectious laugh, especially when something really cracked me up, which always made a film more enjoyable. Seeing him wipe away tears because he was laughing so hard was always such a joy to watch.

From that point on, the movie seemed to always be playing in our house. Every time it was on HBO, the television was set to that channel. The movie eventually became one of our “recorded on VHS tape” movies in our movie collection. By then, the rest of my family had joined in with the adulation of the film and we seemed to be watching it all of the time. I had also noticed that a lot more of my friends were talking about the film, all with high praise, and it quickly became an incessantly referenced and quoted movie within my close circle.

‘The Princess Bride’ remained a favorite film and catalyst for conversation through my entire college years and beyond. It was even more quoted by everyone and a film that was watched on many a drunken (and sober) nights. By the late 1990’s, the film was starting to reach cult classic status and there wasn’t anyone in any facet of my life, school, job or friends, that didn’t speak of it fondly. And the quotes and references were endless. It was also a movie I was very excited to pass along to my son. Once he reached five years old or so, we sat down to watch it. It became a movie that he loved to watch. Luckily I owned the VHS tape at the time because like most five year old’s, we watched the movie on what seemed to be a non-stop loop. Sometimes that non-stop loop can get boring and repetitive for parents. ‘The Princess Bride’ never did.

Rob Reiner had created a lovely modern day fairy tale with the perfect amount of heart, humor and adventure. It was a movie I have enjoyed as both a teenager and as a parent of a teenager. In fact, the movie has remained not only one of my favorites, but one of my son’s favorite movies as well. That is a rare feat as usually my taste in movies gets the “eye-roll.” Mr. Reiner has since become one of my favorite directors. ‘The Princess Bride’ is his fourth out of five films on my list of most influential movies of all time (see 251. The American President, 218. Misery and184. Misery for the first three). It’s a classic film for the entire family and one that no matter my age, I will never be too old to watch it. That’s cinema at its best.

Today’s Thoughts: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

After only sleeping about five hours the past two nights with glazed over eyes thanks to our electoral college, watching ‘The Princess Bride’ was a welcome treat today. I was home alone, but if I were not, this easily could have been a film where my entire family sat down together to watch it from beginning to end. Something that would normally be deemed as “inconceivable.”

I have seen ‘The Princess Bride’ so many times, I could probably quote about 90% of it. Despite that, it never gets old. It is just as fun, charming and laugh out loud funny as it was the first time I watched it with my dad. That stands true thanks to the great screenplay, its beautiful direction and the most perfect ensemble cast. Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk and Billy Crystal are all wonderful in their roles, all having many quotable moments.

‘The Princess Bride’ has not only become a cult classic, it has become a true classic. Despite it being thirty-three years old, it is still a fresh, hip take on the classic tale of true love. I will always love this movie. I will always quote this movie. And my hope is that one day I get to share it with my grandchildren, that is if I survive 2020.

Inconceivable.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “Storybook Love,” Willie DeVille, National Film Registry (2016), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, William Goldman.

Ways to Watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Blue says:

    This has always been a classic for my family too! Have you read the book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oliver says:

      It has been on my “to read” list for years…I really need to tackle it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Blue says:

        It’s wonderful! I recommend reading the 30th anniversary edition if you can snag a copy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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