The Princess Bride

 
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Release date: Sept. 25, 1987

Based on: The Princess Bride (1973 novel by William Goldman)

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Starring: Carey Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Billy Crystal

Budget: $16 million

Box office: $30.9 million

In a storybook narrated by a man to his sick grandson, a farmhand named Westley must save his true love Buttercup from Prince Humperdinck. 

 

The Princess Bride is a testament to how good writing can elevate a film just as much as its cast and director.  Goldman is able to bring his original work and adapt it into a screenplay able to hit every element perfectly. The end result is a well paced story full of love, humor, action and memorable characters. The frame surrounding the tale interjects at all the right moments, but never overstays its welcome. In fact, no scene lingers on for too long. Further, every named character has at least one scene where they get the chance to shine and leave a lasting impression on the audience. One example is Inigo Montoya’s duel with The Man in Black where both first demonstrate their abilities as swordsmen. However, no character winds up stealing the whole show for themselves.

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The writing is combined with great acting from a cast who all have incredible chemistry with each other. Whether it’s a group planning on how to figure out how to get past some guards or two people having an argument with each other, it all comes off as if it’s completely natural. The two villains even get a scene depicting them as two good friends who have known each other a long time and enjoy each others’ company. The way it plays out evokes the feeling that these two people actually have a history together. It’s fascinating when a film brings out a desire to know more about every character within it.

Tying all this good writing and acting together is the film’s sense of humor, allowing it to show off its absurdity in every possible way. One notable moment where the humor continues to top itself over and over again happens during a battle of wits. The two characters engaged in this battle throw zingers at each other back and forth, each of them funnier than the last, before the scene’s abrupt end which also contributes to the humor. The entire film is full of these moments, coming together with its romantic side to present audiences with what might just be one of the best romantic comedies ever produced. It’s definitely a film meant for repeat viewings, able to get better and better each time.

Awards

Won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Costumes

Heartland Film Awards

  • Truly Moving Picture Award

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation 

Toronto International Film Festival

  • People's Choice Award

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (Fred Savage)

Nominated

Academy Awards, USA

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "Storybook Love.")

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards

  • Best Actress (Robin Wright)
  • Best Writing

American Comedy Awards, USA

  • Funniest Supporting Male Performer - Motion Picture or TV (Billy Crystal)
  • Funniest Supporting Female Performer - Motion Picture or TV (Carol Kane)

Casting Society of America, USA - Artios Awards

  • Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy

Grammy awards

  • Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Televisoin

USC SCripter Awards

Writers Guild of America, USA Awards

  • Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium