Inigo Montoya: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
A fairy tale is capable of taking many forms. And this 1987 movie proves to be one of the best forms around. It satirizes the tropes of true love and vengeance and proves to be heartwarming, funny, and overall unique.
The story involves a young boy’s grandfather reading his grandson the story of Princess Buttercup who has been chosen to wed Prince Humperdinck of Florian. But she does not love him as she still misses her true love Westley, a farm worker who loved her five years ago and was presumed killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts at sea. The day of her wedding, a trio of bandits kidnap her and she is rescued by the Dread Pirate Roberts who it turns out is Westley. In their quest to be together, the two come across several obstacles, enemies, and allies.
Given that this takes place in a fantasy world with no prior background knowledge it can be rather difficult to fully craft the whole thing in its entirety while also intertwining the love story. This gives a sense of cleverness to the framing device of the grandfather reading it to his grandson. The interactions between them as the story goes on also work well in bridging the generation gap between them.
But of course the main aspect of this story is the fairy tale. The theme of “love conquers all” beautifully envelops the entire movie and the performances of both Cary Elwes and Robin Wright have a perfect combination of earnestness and conviction. But the story also shines in the fact that it crafts many colorful characters such as Inigo Montoya and Fezzik. Mandy Patakin’s performance brings great comedic timing to the character of Inigo Montoya and at the same time gives him a level of poignancy. Andre the Giant was well cast as Fezzik giving such a warmth to the character although it is difficult to understand him at times. Seeing these two go from bad guys to allies to the heroes is also a strong part of the movie and the actors provide some great humor. Through all the humor there is just so much charm and heart the mains have that makes us root for them. Even though other actors like Billy Crystal as the medicine man and Peter Cook as the wedding minister are mere cameos in the movie who manage to make the tiniest of scenes or dialogue unforgettable.
But of course no fairy tale is complete without a villain standing in the way of a happy ending. Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck gives some amazing pomp to the character and even though he’s the main villain his performance takes a back seat to the other villain of this movie, Vizinni. Wallace Shawn manages to make every word this character downright hilarious and this is shown particularly through the battle of wits scene when he tries to guess the poisoned goblet.
The Princess Bride is just one of those movies with so much charm in its story of love that kids can appreciate as they grow up and humor that they can have more appreciation for during adulthood. There is always one scene in this movie that a fan can consider their favorite. These aspects make the movie unparalleled as a fairy tale story. It may not have a magical world or magical spells or anything of the sort but the story, characters, and performances truly put you in a trance that makes this movie everlasting.