Princess Bride, The : Princess Bride 25th Anniversary Edition DVD Review

The Princess Bride 25th Anniversary Edition is released on Blu-ray on 25th March 2013

Director: Rob Reiner
Screenplay: William Goldman
Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Wallace Shawn
Length: 99 minutes

The Princess Bride DVD25 years ago, in 1987, a very special film was released – The Princess Bride.
Written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner and filmed on location in England and Ireland, with a trans-atlantic cast, it’s as close to perfect as you’re ever likely to see.
As a special 25th anniversary edition of the Blu-ray, with new cast and crew interviews and retrospective content, is due to be released in March, I took the opportunity to re-visit this classic on the newly released blu ray.

Buttercup (Robin Wright) is the most beautiful girl in the land. She lives on a small farm in the country of Florin. She and her farm boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), fall in love and he sets off in search of a fortune so that they can be married. However when Buttercup hears that Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts she is heartbroken and falls into a deep depression.

"...Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love, and you cannot track it, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords..." - Buttercup.

The law of the land states that Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), the heir to the throne of Florin, can chose any woman as his bride. He chooses Buttercup. But she does not love him. Before the wedding can take place Buttercup is kidnapped by a group of lovable outlaws – Vizzini (Shawn Wallace), a criminal mastermind, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a master swordsman and Fezzik (Andrι Renι Roussimoff), a gentle giant – who have been hired by Humperdinck to kidnap her to stir up trouble between Florin and the neighbouring country of Guilder.

Is Westley really dead? Can he rescue Buttercup from her kidnappers and stop her marriage to Humperdink? And will Inigo avenge his father’s death at the hands of Count Rugen (Christopher Guest), the six-fingered man?
This film uses the rare, but effective, story-telling device of a story-within-a-story. The fairytale element of the film is framed by a contemporary story of a kindly Grandfather (Peter Falk) telling the story (of The Princess Bride) to his young, sick, Grandson (Fred Savage). It’s a tale full of adventure, fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, monsters and miracles – and the moral that true love is the most important thing in the world.

"...Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while..." - Westley.

The Princess Bride is unusual as it is a film that begins where most other films would end – with a commoner about to become a Princess. Of course as Buttercup doesn’t love Humperdink she spends the rest of film trying to escape him to be with her true love, Westley. And just when other films might try to cloyingly end the story with the pair being happily married or themselves becoming the Prince and Princess, this film ends with them on the run (although it is implied that they escape and live happily ever after).
The film draws upon all the best traditions of fairytales. Westley is the swashbuckling hero who provides the action and adventure. Inigo is the man that had his childhood ruined when his father was ruthlessly murdered and then devotes his life to avenging his father. Buttercup is the beautiful, but not helpless, heroine. Miracle Max provides the magic, important to any fairytale, and Count Rugen and Prince Humperdink fulfil the fairytale requirement of being the villains.

"...My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my Father, prepare to die..." - Inigo.

There are several morality themes running through the film. The hero and heroine show true character by pledging their whole lives to the pursuit of true love, even overcoming death to do it. In order for Westley to save Butercup he must overcome several obstacles and there are three significant battles for him, although not all in a conventional sense. The fencing duel between Westley and Inigo is perhaps one of the finest sword fights ever seen on film. The actors learnt to fence to a professional level purely for the film and watched endless filmed sword fights in order to create something very special. The battle of wits between Westley and Vizzni is clever, beautifully written and brilliantly delivered by the actors. And the battle of strength between Westley and Fezzik. I like the sense of morality shown by both Inigo (allowing Westley to rest before the fencing dual) and Fezzik (alerting Westley to his presence to ensure a fair fight rather than ambushing him), it sets them both up as characters that will become more important later in the story.

"...You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia,' but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!...' " - Vizzni.

William Goldman takes all the elements and weaves them together perfectly to create a beautiful film that although whimsical, fantastical and heart-warming is also balanced by a hint of darkness. It’s filled with actors that produce career-defining performances. It’s a true family treasure that is ageless meaning that children can watch it with their parents and that they can one day watch with their own children.
The direction is unerringly strong and the performances from the entire cast are faultless. Cary Elwes is perfect as the handsome, intelligent, dashing hero. Robin Wright really is the most beautiful and feisty woman in the land. Mandy Patinkin is exceptional as Inigo, really channelling his emotions at the death of his own father to produce a poignant performance.

The casting was also faultless. Cary Elwes was cast because he reminded Rob Reiner of swashbuckling actors Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn and over 500 women were auditioned for the role of Buttercup, including Courtney Cox, Meg Ryan, Sean Young, Uma Thurman and Whoopie Goldberg. Robin Wright won the role and it was her major film debut.
Since the beginning of the fairytale there had been five fairytales that had been rated the most passionate, the most pure – this one left them all behind. And as the film ends you know you're sure you're going to want to watch it again.

"...Grampa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow?..." - Grandson.

Watch The Princess Bride again? As you wish...


• True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon: A Conversation with Rob Reiner, Cary Elwes, and Robin Wright (14mins)
• True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon: Entering the Zeitgeist (14mins)
• The Art of Fencing (7mins)
• Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Legend of the Seven Seas (12mins)
• Miraculous Makeup (11mins)
• Princess Bride: The Untold Tales (9mins)
• Fairytales and Folklore (9mins)
• Love is like a Storybook (17mins)


• Commentary by Director Rob Reiner
• Commentary by Author William Goldman
• As You Wish – Documentary (27 mins)
• 1987 Original Featurette (7mins)
• 1987 Making of Featurette (7mins)
• Cary Elwes On Set Video (4mins)
• Trailers & TV Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• International Trailer
• TV Spots
• Photo Gallery

Author : Kevin Stanley