Flicks With Nicki – The Princess Bride (1987)
It isn’t a kissing story, but the threat is in the title. We have a princess. She’s a bride. It must be a tale of romance. But before the story begins, we meet the Grandfather who promises that we are about to go on an adventure.
“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.”
These are the things that make “The Princess Bride” an enduring favorite, but a dramatic cry rose across the land when it was announced that there would be a remake. Facebook trembled. Twitter shook. A great moan sounded from the Pit of Despair.
“Fezzik! Listen! Do you hear? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when Rugen slaughtered my father. The man in black makes it now.”
Buttercup might need some minor improvements, but we do not need a reboot of “The Prince Bride.”
The story within the story starts with a sick Grandson (Fred Savage) who grudgingly lets his Grandfather (Peter Falk) read to him. It is the same story the Grandfather heard as a boy and later told his own son, the boy’s father. This is what we know about the story: The Grandfather loves this story. He loves the story so much that it is part of his family legacy. We know the boy will eventually love the story, but we won’t know why until the very end.
I’m sure I saw “The Princess Bride” with my sisters when it first came out. The day my oldest sister got married, my parting words to her were “Have fun storming the castle!”
Somehow this movie has become a part of our legacy. Not just for me and my sisters, but your legacy with your friends and family. Here’s why.
It is a love story. It is a story about the love for a grandfather and grandson. It is a story about a son’s love for his father. It is a little bit of a story about a farm boy and his love for a common girl.
It is a story about being faithful when tragedy happens and the world fails you.
It is a story about triumph over pirates and kidnappers and future husbands.
It is a story about revenge and how it might shape a boy name Westley or a swordsman named Inigo.
It is a story about leaders. Would you follow Vizzini? That would be inconceivable. And yet the villains are so strangely appealing. Rugen is ruthless. Humperdinck is stoic. But the King, Humperdinck’s father, is a sweet senile soul.
It is a story about grief and finding refuge in your study of the sword. It is about learning to fight the strongest giant and sharpest wit, even though you started out as a lowly farm boy.
Most of all, it is a story about friendship. Fezzik (Andre the Giant) is kindness embodied. Inigo (Mandy Patinkin) is perseverance. Westley (Carey Elwes) is survival. Death is on the line from the moment Westley departs to earn his fortune. Each character is willing to face death, or dole it out, with grace and civility.
”You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.”
The only improvement to the film would be giving Buttercup more substance. Robin Wright’s more recent acting credits “House of Cards,” “Blade Runner 2049,” and “Wonder Woman” prove that she is no shrinking violet. We forgive her 1987 turn as damsel in distress. In the early moments of the film when she finally recognizes love, we fall in love with her.
If she had clobbered the ROUS’s (rodents of unusual size) to save Westley and stabbed Humperdinck with the letter opener, it could have been a perfect movie.
There are so many funny lines.
“Well, it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead,” said by Miracle Max (Billy Crystal).
There is the heart breaking moment when Inigo has his revenge. It is emotionally raw (but feels so right and true) in the middle of a light and funny movie.
There is the moment when Fezzik brings the horses. It isn’t just that good has won, but goodness too.
What child wouldn’t love this tale? The Grandson realizes that it isn’t just an adventure that the Grandfather gives him. By giving and receiving this story they exchange love. It is love. True love.
I laughed. I got a little teary. I felt very happy from beginning to end. I have always heeded the advice: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” There is a big difference between mostly perfect and all perfect. This movie is mostly perfect. Grade A.