A fractured fairy tale. (Yes, you have to read the kissing parts.)

31 days of cult classics | Modern Mrs Darcy

It didn’t have any big stars. It wasn’t a major box office success. But this film quickly gained cult classic status after it was released to home video and has been going strong ever since, for twenty-five years now.

The Princess Bride is a fractured fairy tale that gently mocks the genre even while paying homage to it. The sweet and silly story plays well to both kids and adults. It’s eminently quotable; fans know their favorite lines by heart.

(Have fun storming the castle!)

princess bride

William Goldman adapted his novel of the same name for the big screen himself. (I haven’t read the book yet, though several of you told me you believe the movie is better.)

(“When I was your age, television was called books.”)

Interestingly, The Princess Bride bears more than a passing resemblance to Reiner’s other cult classic, the rockumentary Spinal Tap.


Reiner pushes the boundaries of the fairy tale, but doesn’t break them. The theme here is true love (twue wuv?), and it’s no spoiler to tell you Wesley and Buttercup get their happily ever after. That’s how fairy tales end.

Even zany ones like this.

(They’re kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?)

If I didn’t include your favorite quote above, my apologies. Feel free to leave it in comments.

*****     *****     *****

This is the nineteenth post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.



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  1. Leigh Kramer says:

    LOVE The Princess Bride in both movie and book form. Saw the movie multiple times growing up and we read the book in one of my high school English classes. My theory for why people prefer the movie over the book is that we like seeing fairy tales play out on screen. Yes, you can use your imagination while reading but there’s something about seeing a story come to life that really captures our hearts.

    Also: aaaassss yooooooouuuu wiiiiiiiiiishhhhh!

  2. Brenda says:

    I do not agree that the movie is better. It is great, but the book has more “fractures” if you will. I love his real-life sections of the book. For years I thought it was true.

  3. Jeannie says:

    “Thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?”

    A couple of years ago my daughter and I attended a local youth theatre production that put on a spoof of “The Princess Bride,” complete with original songs. Buttercup was Butterball; Westley was Eastley; etc. It was such a bizarre experience to see a movie like that spoofed!

  4. Avlor says:

    Who doesn’t love the Princess Bride!?

    Man in Black: Oh, there’s something I ought to tell you.
    Inigo Montoya: Tell me.
    Man in Black: I’m not left-handed either.

  5. Tim says:

    The movie’s great (loved it and have watched it more times than I remember) but the book is even better. “Anyone who says differently,” as the Man in Black said, “is selling something.” Or perhaps just mistaken. But still, the book is way better.

    There’s a reason that people should read the book and see the movie both: they each have very different themes while using almost the exact same story to present those themes: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/if-life-was-fair-wed-all-be-doomed/

    Thanks for the chance to talk TPB, Anne!


  6. melyssa says:

    Best movie. Best book.

    The movie did a brilliant job bringing the book to life. The only thing I missed in the movie was Buttercup’s personality: in the book she’s a bit of a “blonde” and it’s hilarious. Let’s just say, Westley didn’t love her for her brain. Oh, and I just remembered Buttercup’s parents in the book – hysterical!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this film’s inclusion in this series! You seriously just made my day, as I have been greatly enjoying thinking about my brothers & best friend and I and our excessive over-quoting of this film “back in the [proverbial] day.”
    “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die…”
    “Marriage [maawage] is what brings us…together…today.”

  8. Jennifer D. says:

    My parents have a video of me, my brother and our cousins (that we rarely saw) sitting together, watching the movie and quoting the entire.thing. In Ireland, we could see the cliffs they used for the a Cliffs of Insanity Scene from our living room window. 🙂

  9. Liza says:

    Think it’ll work?
    It’ll take a miracle.

    The thing with this movie is that more I watch it, the less I like it. I bought it a couple of years ago because it was on sale and a perfect addition to any movie collection, but I haven’t opened the packaging yet. I’ve been thinking that I need to watch it again….maybe it’s been long enough that I’ll enjoy it again.

  10. Tina B says:

    I love Mandy Patinkin and he concludes each of his concerts with his famous line: “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die…” Seeing him in person is the only thing better than watching the movie.

    • Tim says:

      Mandy said that he and Andre developed a close relationship during the filming. Apparently Mandy was the one who got Andre to talk slower and more clearly in order to overcome what Goldman called an “impenetrable French accent.” How did Mandy accomplish it? Goldman’s story goes on to say that it was a sharp slap across the face. Can you imagine anyone slapping Andre the Giant? Mandy did, and after getting his attention he gave him an acting lesson or two. They became inseparable on the set after that.

  11. I LOVE this movie. I’ve never read the book… and reading all these comments about it, now I know I’ll have to.

    I really can’t pick just one favorite line. Or a favorite character. They’re all great. 🙂

  12. Frances says:

    So glad you included this. This was my favorite movie growing up. I know someone who named their kid Westley just because they like the association with”true love”.
    If you love the movie you have to read the book, but this is one of the rare times where I think the movie was better.
    And did anyone see the recent TV episode of How I Meet You”re Mother a few weeks back? They spent the whole show referencing this movie. So it seems to still show up all these years later in popular culture.

  13. Mil says:

    My priest and I just had a conversation the other evening about the Princess Bride. I was telling him I needed to feel in control in a particular situation. He asked me if I had ever seen Princess Bride. The answer, of course, was “indubitably.” He said to imagine I am the princess falling backwards out of a second story window into the hands of a giant, in this case God. Very hard to do for me, but I appreciated the reference. I can honestly say I enjoyed both the book and the movie equally. Each was good in itself.

  14. Betsy says:

    I saw this in the theater when I was in high school and have seen it with my kids several times in my living room.

    Our favorite quote hands down; “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” 🙂

  15. Haley says:

    Really? I liked the book better! Needless to say, I loved the movie, but the book gives a lot more background on Fezzik and Inigo that the movie misses. Also, I love the “editor’s” comments. It was an interesting plot device, and I thought William Goldman really did edit a larger book (until my sister spoiled it for me). The writing is clever and pretty well-done. Plus, they completely changed Buttercup’s character in the movie. I found it amusing what an airhead she is in the book!

  16. Sarah R says:

    He’s still partly alive!

    I loved the book more- because the book had more backstory (Buttercup’s parents are hysterical, as is how she meets the Count, and who can forget the countdown of the most beautiful women in the world??) and also, there’s more action. But the movie is a classic, and I love watching it! My dad does a great impersonation of Wallace Shawn’s “Inconceivable!” that has us in stitches at the dinner table, and whenever the mood gets too serious and someone keeps saying a word over and over, someone will always come back with “You keeps saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means…”

  17. Love this movie. We recently saw it on the big screen at a local theatre that shows classics (and cult classics). “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means!” Also, it blows my mind that the Sicilian is Mr. Hall from Clueless.

  18. MJ says:

    One of my all time favorite movies! I just watched it with my boys for the first time a few weeks ago and I’m please to report they loved it too 🙂

    “Inigo Montoya: I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?
    Man in Black: Do you always begin conversations this way?”

    “Buttercup: You mock my pain.
    Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

    I have a million favorite quotes from this movie but I’ll stop for now.

  19. Amanda Roby says:

    You are all terrorists! Or, at least you are if you show your love of Inigo Montoya on an airplane: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/the-princess-bride-t-shirt-that-scared-qantas-passengers/story-e6frfq80-1226560525868

    When I first read this story I thought it was the most nonsenscial, hilarious story ever. Then I reflected on it, and realized it still is the most nonsensical, hilarious story ever.

    Obviously, I’m a huge Princess Bride fan. I wore out my old cassette recording of it, and nearly came to tears when my husband gifted me the DVD after years of not having it in my home. I’m still thinking of disowning an aunt of mine who was bored by the movie when I shared it with some of my extended family. (She fell asleep!!! When I asked her what she thought she said it wasn’t as good as Failure to Launch, or some other RomCom of the moment that she had just seen. Gah!!)

    Thank you, Anne, for making my day with your love of this movie. We may never agree on Emma, but at least we have The Princess Bride!


  20. 'Becca says:

    I grew up in a smallish town in Oklahoma where only the most mainstream films played on the theaters’ 6 screens. (For example, Star Wars did not come to our town until its re-release the second summer.) My mom happened to buy a book in Tulsa at a store that was giving out free passes to see this new movie The Princess Bride, and we didn’t know anything about it, but since we were going to be in Tulsa that weekend we figured we might as well give it a try. My whole family loved it!!! But I could find only one classmate who had seen it.

    When I started college more than 4 years later, I went on a campus tour run by a group devoted to “promoting safe silliness”. At one point they took the group of 80-some people up one staircase then down the one on the other side of the lobby, just for the amusement of seeing the group passing itself. Someone must have been speaking in rhyme over on the other staircase, because someone said, “No more rhyming now; I mean it!” and on my staircase at least 20 people yelled back, “Anybody want a peanut?” I knew then that I was among my people!! 🙂

  21. Erin says:

    I have such a love/hate relationship with this movie. I love it, but it was the movie that was shown at movie night every week when I was a camp counselor. It gets old at about week three.

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