Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Princess Bride Film (and Disc) Review

Though my blogging friend Rachel (from Scientist Gone Wordy) and I have done a small number of what I've termed 'parallel posts' (separate reviews of a specific book and its accompanying film adaptation -- not to be confused with this 'parallel' post) this year, they've been solely from the science-fiction category. That'll change with this one, however. I'll review the 1987 film, The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner. My northern California colleague will set her hand (and mind) to William Goldman's source 1973 fantasy adventure novel of the same name. Coincidentally, I happened to pick up the Blu-ray Disc version of the film just before Rachel suggested it as parallel material. You see... great minds do think alike ;-). Her book review can be found here:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A brief synopsis of the film: the motion picture opens to a school-age kid, the coughing bedridden variety, playing a vintage video game while he's home sick. All of this to the worry of his mother, and to the lament of his loving grandfather, who's shown up to read a chosen tale to his cherished grandson. The book is entitled The Princess Bride, and tells the classic and adventurous love story of Buttercup and her steadfast beau from childhood, Westley. How true love prevails, through some fantastic perils and danger, is the main story-line of the film.

[spoiler warning: some key elements of the film are revealed in this review]

The rest of the film review has been updated and moved to my current blog, located here.


  1. This is a great review of a film that was an "instant" classic. You're right on every single point. I remember that after reading the book (yes, all those years ago!) I didn't want to see a film made of it because I was so sure H'wood would screw it up. Whoa, was I wrong, and I'm happy to say so.

  2. I'm happy you enjoyed it, Naomi. I know you're a big William Goldman fan (as I), and it was certainly an 'instant' classic the day the film opened in '87. I never get tired of watching it (and now I have a new fan of the movie in the family). Thanks so much.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly about the success of the convention of this story in the film. I also think you make such a good point on how many types of audiences the movie can successfully engage and satisfy!

    Ditto on the cast! I think it's perfect (and Billy Crystal didn't bother me as he did Naomi but maybe b/c I saw the movie first so had nothing in my head already)! Actually, I can't imagine this film with any other cast and the hubby and I are always saying, why aren't there more films with Patinkin????

    And ROFLOL re Elwes leaving the ladies in the dust! It's so true! What a great observation. Admittedly, his chin has always bothered me but otherwise... just perfect!

    I think the great script makes the cast look even better but, as you pointed out, the attitude the cast has really ices the cake here. It's obvious they are coming to the material with just the right amount of everything needed for such a tale and it's so enjoyable.

    I also liked the dark parts of the story and it was one of the things that translated very well from book to screen.

    "The Princess Bride is one of those film adaptations that plays with a convention, but ultimately reaffirms it, without too much dismay from the audience."

    This is just so dead-on right and wholly sums up why this movie is so wonderful. And after thinking about this a bit more I realized why the book didn't work for me: it did not reaffirm the convention. It was clear from the book that Goldman knew the convention backwards and forwards but no affirmation to be found. I leave further book comments to my reply over on my blog though...

    Great review, Michael! You hit on so many of the things that make this film so much fun to watch again and again. I'm so glad we did this one and I loved having an excuse to watch the movie yet again.

  4. This film has stood the test of time because it's so great. I don't think I know anyone who has only seen it once. Kids and adults. Well... there is my daughter, but she's already planning on re-watching it soon so I can still say that ;) .

    The Princess Bride was a great selection for this series, Rachel. And you're right about Patinkin. Remember him in Chicago Hope? Kudos for a fine book review, too. Thanks so much, Rachel.

  5. Great writeup.  I always love this movie.  I've been wanting to get my sis to watch it.  I know she'll love it.

  6. Awesome, indepth review of this great film. It's an enduring classic and the fact that we're still talking about it after all these years is proof of its legacy. Just so many great scenes and memorable lines of dialogue. Friends of mine and I used to quote from it endlessly.

    Also, thanks for including the info the myriad of DVD releases. I'd have to check but I believe I have the 20th anniversary edition.

  7. Yep. If they watch it, it is definitely habit-forming  ;) .

    Thanks, Keith.

  8. Very kind of you to say, J.D. And every time I re-watch it, I'm repeating its lines for days. Thanks so much, my friend.

  9. "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."  

    Great review of one mine and my husband's favorite movies!!!!  It's near perfect and will age very well.

  10. True story:  a girlfriend in Ohio went to see Patinkin at some event.  When she approached for his autograph, she said, "Allo, my name is Melinda (last name). I am your biggest fan; prepare to sign."  According to her, he got a kick out of it.  

  11. Thank you, Christine.

  12. I'm sure Patinkin got a kick out of it... I sure did  :-D . Great story. Thanks.