REVIEW REWIND: The Princess Bride (1987)
Continuing my latest Disney+ watch list, we have come to 1987's The Princess Bride. This is one of 20th Century's contributions to the Disney library. This is truly a wonderful tale adapted from a story by William Goldman who also wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All The President's Men.
The Princess Bride starts off in a little boy's (Fred Savage) room. He's sick and his grandfather (Peter Falk) has come to read him a story, much to his chagrin. The story starts out as a love story between a young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) and a farm boy named Wesley (Cary Elwes). One day, Wesley goes off to sea, leaving Buttercup heartbroken. In her despair, she decides to take the hand of Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon). But, before they are wed, she is kidnapped by three ruffians - the strategist Vizzini (Walace Shawn), the swordsman Diego Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and the giant Fezzik (André the Giant).
They are pursued by the man in the mask who turns out to be Wesley in disguise, there to rescue his beloved Buttercup. But, true love is never easy and they are caught by Humperdink and, despite Buttercup's making him promise to do no harm to Wesley, he does harm to Wesley. It's not without Inigo Montoya and Fezzik that Wesley is able to get to Buttercup in time.
On one hand, it seems funny to have Peter Falk and his iconic voice to be reading "The Princess Bride" to Fred Savage, but, at the same time, it seems all the more perfect. Falk's charm disarms Savage to believing that the story isn't a kissing story. This transcends the story from just your normal Disney fairy tale and into something of its own. Something special.
This was a great early entry for Rob Reiner who was making his transition from being "Meathead" in All In The Family to fully legitimate director. All of his trademark signs of direction, including knowing when to start and stop a joke, are here in this film. It is a true classic.
It's amazing to see Cary Elwes and Robin Wright when they were younger. They were quite a good looking couple for sure. Mandy Patinkin is perfect as Inigo Montoya and plays him with such conviction you actually believe he is a Spanish swordsman. And, André the Giant has that heart of gold that you can't help fall in love with.
Other great roles go to Christopher Guest as Count Rugen, the man from which Montoya seeks revenge, Mel Smith as the Albino (his first recitation of "The Pit of Despair" is hilarious) and Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Max and Valerie, the bickering local wizards of the forest.
The Princess Bride is fun fantasy full of sword and sorcery...oh, and maybe a little bit of kissing. Regardless, it is a classic for the ages.