Have Fun Storming The Castle – 25 Years Of The Princess Bride

I recently mentioned The Princess Bride in a previous post, but that was before I realized such an important anniversary for the movie was coming up. This week there has been a lot of talk about it, due to the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray and the announcement of a planned reunion of several cast members at this year’s upcoming New York Film Festival.

Inigo Montoya: You seem a decent fellow… I hate to kill you.
Man in Black: You seem a decent fellow… I hate to die.

The movie is so beloved today that it’s easy for forget it was a box-office disappointment during its initial theatrical run. Why that was is as much a mystery to me now as it was then. I saw it for the first time with my mom and one of her then-coworkers. When we left the theater there was no doubt that her friend was entirely unimpressed by the movie. We had loved it (both of us were already fans of the book) and were a bit stunned by her meh reaction.

Vizzini: And YOU: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, in Greenland?

Before the success of the Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter movies, fantasy was a bit of a tough sell. The fact that it was also a comedy may have confused some people. Or maybe because it had “princess” in the title, people expected something Disney-esque. Perhaps the fans of the books had such a strong image of the movie in their heads it somehow failed to capture them on first viewing. (I knew one lady who was absolutely convinced her son, an aspiring actor, should have played Inigo Montoya.)

Vizzini: HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Whatever the reason, it didn’t fly with audiences right away.

Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
Buttercup: I will never doubt again.

As time went on and the movie graduated to video and cable, it eventually evolved into the oft-quoted classic that it is today.

The Grandson: Is this a kissing book?

One of my favorite articles about the movie that appeared this week was An Ode To Princess Buttercup by Emma Gray. It’s easy to overlook the character of Buttercup, who on the surface seems to be the typical “needs-to-be-rescued-every-five-minutes” female character. But as Gray points out, there’s a lot more to Buttercup than meets the eye.

Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?
Westley: Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.

In fact, the movie takes a lot of fairy tale archetypes and tropes and stands them on their heads. Westley is not a prince, or even a secret prince, and he wins Buttercup’s love before he ever has to perform one daring feat. Prince Humperdinck, who would be the hero in most classic fairy tales, is not only a villain, he’s a major douchebag. Fezzik’s giant, Inigo’s revenge-seeking swordsman, Miracle Max’s miracle man, Vizzini’s hired assassin, Count Rogen’s torturer (am I the only one who thinks Giancarlo Esposito may have modeled Gus Fring on Rogen?) were all different spins on typical fantasy/fairy tale characters.

Inigo Montoya: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the things I love the most about the movie is that it’s a story being told to a child. The framing sequences between Fred Savage and Peter Falk remind us of the connections made through storytelling.

The Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow.
Grandpa: As you wish.

What are your favorite quotes from The Princess Bride? Let us know in the comments!

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