The Princess Bride - 1987
Director Rob Reiner continued his hot-streak of classic eighties movies (Spinal Tap-1984 and Stand by Me-1986), with 1987’s The Princess Bride. This movie has the distinction of being considered a romantic, fantasy adventure, comedy and it lives up to it, creating a wonderful balance among all the genres. The story is straight forward (yet weirdly complexed), having the classic fairytale of the princess in peril being saved by her one true love.
One of the things I love about the movie is how the entire cast has its moments to shine and to make the audience laugh. So, while I know that there have been more than a few reviews of this movie, I will focus on breaking down the cast of actors into groups. I’ll focus on three groups: Heroes, Villains and Supporting Players.
Let’s start with the heroes, this group is comprised of Westley, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik. They originally are presented to the audience as villains of the story, since Inigo and Fezzik helped kidnaped Princess Buttercup and Westly is first introduced as the dreaded pirate Roberts. As the story progresses they are quickly turned into heroes with real motivations pushing them forward. Westly is motivated to save his true love, Inigo is motivated by revenge in seeking the six-fingered man that killed his father and Fezzik is motivated by loyalty to his friend.
Care Elwes plays Westly, always being quick witted, smooth talking and confident in his abilities. Elwes comedic timing is precise and cocky, something Robert Downey Jr. has mastered during his Tony Stark days for Marvel. He is always mentally ahead of his opponents, ready with a comment or an insult to put them on their heels. My favorite scene that showcases his line delivery and his upper hand against his enemies is the one below.
Mandy Patinkin plays Inigo, a Spaniard -set on a path of revenge, yet always having a joyful attitude even during battle, especially in the beginning sword battle with Westley. He has arguably one of the most quotable lines of all time in “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die!”. I’m not sure if its quotable because it’s a funny line or because he repeats it, maybe 20 to 30 times throughout the entire movie. My favorite scene of Inigo is the one below.
The late great André the Giant plays Fezzik, a gentle loyal giant. André has by far the funniest performance in the entire movie that’s filled with legendary comedic actors. I can make this entire review just about how all his lines are hilarious and how they play to the contrast of the gentle giant. One of my favorite lines comes when they leave Inigo alone to face Westly, he tells his friend “Be careful, people in masks can’t be trusted”. The best lines come from his fight with Westly, please enjoy below.
The villains’ group is comprised of Prince Humperdinck, Count Rugen and Vizzini. All of them completely different from each-other, both in how they are written and portrayed by the actors.
Chris Sarandon plays Prince Humperdinck, the mastermind behind the entire kidnapping plot to force his kingdom in to war. What I love about this performance is how serious Sarandon decided to play him, making his lines land harder. When asked if he wanted to watch Westly get tortured, he sincerely says: “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped”.
Christopher Guest plays Count Rugen, the right-hand man to Humperdinck and the killer of Inigo’s father. Guest brings a monotoned performance, delivering all his lines with the driest humor humanly possible. The best example of this comes from the torture scene, in where he describes how his machine works to Westly.
Wallace Shawn plays Vizzini, in an inconceivable performance way over the top and almost yelling every single line, completely contrasting Guest’s performance. This is my favorite villain of the group, he is hilarious and by far the most memorable of the bunch. His banter between him and Indigo is amazing, allowing Indigo to deliver the amazing line of “You keep using that word. I don’t think you know what it means.”, since Vizzini keeps saying “inconceivable”. But if I’m going to single out a scene from Vizzini it has to be, the battle of the wits between him and Westley.
The supporting players is comprised of Princess Buttercup, the Grandson, the Grandfather, the Albino, Miracle Max and the Impressive Clergyman, all having great scenes that make the stand-outs in the movie. Don’t worry I know the review is getting long so I won’t single out all of them, so I will have to pick only one among them.
Peter Cook plays the Impressive Clergyman and I don’t have to really describe that much, other than his scene is flat out funny, please enjoy.
The Princess Bride overall holds up beautifully to this day and is by far one of the funniest movies ever made. I have watched this movie so much, I honestly lost count and I still laugh every single time I watch it and that’s why I love movies.
The Princess Bride is currently streaming on Netflix and you should watch it.
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