Escapist Friday: The Princess Bride (1987)

3 06 2011

Oh the days when Rob Reiner was making quality movies, how I long for thee. Here he gives us the swashbuckling tale of revenge, romance, true love, betrayal, and a dozen other descriptors  I won’t bother to list. There are so many twists and turns in “The Princess Bride” that it would be unjust of me to describe what happens with a fraction of the luster the film provides. To put it simply it is about Buttercup (Robin Wright), who is set to marry a man she does not love when she becomes kidnapped by a trio of thieves. From there the movie takes off and what we are left with is one of the most re-watchable, quotable, and enjoyable movies ever made.

“You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” 

As far as films go, “The Princess Bride” may be one of the finest examples of escapism, primarily because it never lets the viewer forget it. This isn’t a movie about a fairy tale, but about a grandfather reading his grandson a fairy tale and we are just going along for the ride with them. Films explore so many different genres that this small touch allows the viewer to remind themselves that they are entering a story and produces a dreamy atmosphere. Another big reason why “The Princess Bride” is such an effective fantasy film is the ambiguity. Everything in the movie feels very grounded yet every so often something completely foreign will pop up reminding us where we are; from giant rats and killer eels, to the ridiculous names of places and a small hint of mysticism. “The Princess Bride” is definitely a fantasy film but occasionally seems very realistic at the same time allowing the viewer to really get involved in what is happening.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” 

With any film that gets by on its wit and charm, the actors must all be up for the task which clearly everyone is in “The Princess Bride”. The two standouts of the cast have to be Cary Elwes as Westley and Mandy Patinkin an Inigo Montoya. Elwes seems to channel Errol Flynn to produce the perfect leading man for this adventure story (he would, appropriately, play Robin Hood later on as well) while Patinkin brings the conviction that Inigo Montoya couldn’t be without. To cap it off, Rob Reiner brings in an outstanding group to flesh out the rest of the cast including: Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Peter Cook, Carol Kane, Andre the Giant, Mel Smith, Chris Sarandon, and Peter Falk.

“The Princess Bride” isn’t a perfect film, in fact it is a fairly conventional story in a basic world. What makes it so good is everything else including the script and cast which are both top notch making it one of the most enjoyable movies to watch for people of all ages.

Score 90/100

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