I’m a sucker for Monty Python’s work. Heck, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is one of my all-time favorite films because of its semblance between comedy and a medieval tale . With “The Princess Bride” (1987), there’s a similar, enjoyable taste of the same formula.
Director Rob Reiner is of “This is Spinal Tap” fame, so I had good expectations for the comedy in this film. With a cast led by Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) and Cary Elwes (Westley), the chemistry felt natural between everyone.
The story begins in present-time, with a mother attending to her son who seemed to be sick and home from school. The young boy gets a visit from his grandfather, who narrates the story, played by Peter Falk.
“The Princess Bride” is adapted from the original novel and work by S. Morgenstern, which Falk’s character is assumed to be reading to his grandson.
This is, on the surface, your classic tale of love. Woman falls in love with man, man leaves and true love bounds the two back together after much time apart. Yet, there wasn’t a time where I felt it to be a tired retelling of the same old story.
When introduced, Westley is a farmhand to the princess who didn’t think twice about carrying out orders.”As you wish” is all he would say, which undoubtedly swooned the princess.
Both get separated after Westley fails to return after setting sail on the seven seas. In this time, the princess ends up in a forced relationship with Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), a name that misled me upon hearing for the first time.
The comedy really gets going once the uncanny trio, led by Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), is introduced. The princess is taken by these men who set to the high seas in order to escape Humperdinck. The prince is a great hunter, but isn’t alone in his quest to retrieve the Princess Bride. The Man in Black (who we later discover is Westley) tries to foil the trio’s plans.
Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) stole the show. Every minute of his screen time cracked a smile on my face, leading to countless amounts of laughter. Patinkin brought the smooth delivery of a clever Spaniard hungry to avenge his father’s death.
There are many great jokes that have held up, even to this day. One clever bit of back-and-forth dialogue between Andre the Giant’s lovable character, Fezzik, and Westley played on the masked heroes we’re accustomed to seeing in today’s age of movies.
Seems The Man in Black was correct — everyone will be wearing them in the future.
Of course, the story has a fairy tale ending. Westley ends up with the princess, Inigo Montoya kills his father’s murderer — everyone lives happily ever after, sans Vizzini.
The movie was a perfect blend of that old-time feel with medieval comedy. It’s a classic that shouldn’t go unseen by anyone.