One of the very first movies I ever saw was The Princess Bride. I was very young when I saw it, maybe 5 years old, and could not have told you much about it. But, when I was about 10, I saw it on TV and said “Hey! That’s movie we saw a long time ago! I loved that movie!”
And, I still love The Princess Bride. Don’t you?
The movie turns 30 this week and here are some things you may not know about The Princess Bride
1) It premiered in Toronto at TIFF on September 25, 1987
…and won the People’s Choice award!
Here are actors at TIFF this year talking about their favourite parts of the movie:
2) The movie was based on the book of the same title.
The Princess Bride is a book by William Goldman but, as you can see on the cover of the 1973 1st edition above, the story is attributed to S. Morgenstern and his “Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure” abridged by William Goldman.
If you find that confusing let me try to explain:
The book, like the movie, is a comedy and a story within a story. The premise is that that, when he was sick as a child, Goldman’s father used to read him this classic tale from S. Morgenstern but only read him “the good parts”.
As an adult, Goldman gets his hands on a copy and decides to publish it, but just The Good Parts. Morgenstern’s original book, a political satire about the excess of royalty was originally long-winded and so, Goldman adds asides explaining, for example, that he’s skipping several pages or chapters and gives a summary of the skipped parts just a sentence or two.
This gets him in some trouble with the heirs of S. Morgenstern. If you pick up the 25th or 30th anniversary editions of the books, the introductions are a treat because Goldman never breaks character and Morgenstern is still woven into the story, as though he’s real, even as Goldman talks about shooting the movie and more. (You can read some of that HERE.)
All of this is fiction and it’s hilarious. If you loved the movie, which was scripted by Goldman as well, you should read the book.
3) The Movie was not a huge Box Office Hit
The movie received good reviews but it wasn’t a box office smash. In the US and Canada, the movie grossed a little less than twice it’s $16 million budget.
But, when it was released on VHS, it became what some call a “cult classic”
4) The Chemistry was Real!
Robin Wright, who played Buttercup, wanted another take of the big kissing scene. She tells ABC that she was thinking , “Can they see my heart beating so fast because he’s so cute. Wesley’s so cute.”
The feeling was mutual. Cary Elwes wrote this about Robin Wright, “It was as if I were looking at a young Grace Kelly, she was that beautiful. To be honest, I couldn’t concentrate on much of anything after that first encounter with Robin. She was the perfect Buttercup in my mind’s eye.”
They not only found each other physically attractive, they also made each other laugh a lot!
Elwes was 24 and Wright was 20 years old when they made this movie.
5) Darth Vader and The Princess Bride
The man who choreographed the amazing 3 minute long sword fight between Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Westley and Inigo Montoya) was Bob Anderson, a British Olympic fencer. He was a fantastic fight choreographer and sword coach. Among his many credits, he was the stunt double for Darth Vader for his lightsaber battles in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
6) Improvised Hilarity
Billy Crystal and Carol Kane reportedly improvised most of their lines for the Miracle Max scene.
Mandy Patinkin, who played Inigo Montoya, wrote that the only injury he sustained from filming the movie was bruising a rib from laughing so hard. He had to feed Billy Crystal his cue lines because director Rob Rainer was also laughing so hard he to leave so his laughter wasn’t on the tape!
Happy 30th anniversary, The Princess Bride, still one of the best movies ever. And certainly, one of the most quotable!