‘The Princess Bride’ Reaches Thirty-Year Anniversary

Tribune News Service
Buttercup: “The Princess Bride” star Robin Wright and her daughter, Dylan Frances Penn, attend the 69th Emmy Awards together.

Drue Watkins
Staff Writer

The thirty-year anniversary of the romantic fantasy adventure movie, “The Princess Bride,” fell on Sept. 25.

A classic movie full of quotable references, “The Princess Bride” is a staple of fun characters, quirky dialogue and memorable scenes.

Directed by Rob Reiner, the movie stars Cary Elwes (Westley) and Robin Wright (Buttercup) as the two enamored protagonists whose adventure is filled with danger, villains, vibrant companions and true love.

However, the film is not divided into just one storyline; it is two stories that are intertwined through clever use of editing and dialogue.

The backdrop of the movie is set in the late 80’s where a sick boy (Fred Savage) is read a book by his caring grandfather (Peter Falk).

The story that is read happens to be the fantasy land in which Westley and Buttercup live, seamlessly blending together two entirely different worlds.

The two worlds—as different as they are—are bound together by the shared trait exhibited throughout the film: love.

While several people view “The Princess Bride” as a romance, that’s only a sub-genre of the film.

At its core, the movie is a comedy in which the conventions of the fantasy genre are poked, prodded and subverted humorlessly all while maintaining the feeling of a grand adventure.

It is true that the primary motivations of each character pertain to that of passion: The couple bound by true love; the grief-stricken son out to avenge the murder of his father; the paternal endearment of a grandfather as he tends to his sick grandson; and the development of genuine, hard earned friendship between people who may never have been friends in the first place.

The story is told and acted in such a whimsical way that it’s only appropriate to associate the absurd situations with a sense of eccentric, outlandish humor: whether it is the reference and showcase of the Rodents of Unusual Sizes (ROUS’s), or the hilarity of antagonist Prince Humperdinck’s self-assured, foolhardy actions.

With clear comedic editing, the movie is intended to spark some laughs from the audience.

“The Princess Bride” is a well-filmed movie with bright cinematography and well-made film sets filled with impressive practical effects.

The construction of the Fire Swamp, for example, was impeccable; the sights and sounds made the environment come alive as the protagonists fought their way through, surviving bursts of flame, ROUS’s and deadly quicksand.

The variety of locations add to the feel of an epic-sized land, and further the fantasy label that is often attached to the movie.

Locations are distinct and original, with scenes that are seemingly immortalized in each one. Due to the quick pacing, nothing is ever dull. When every scene comes across as enchanting and entertaining, the words “great movie” spring to mind.

The sword fights are expertly choreographed and very entertaining to watch, and the physicality of the actors is to be applauded. The violence is handled in a moderate way, so as to not turn away younger viewers.

It’s most certainly a family-friendly film, especially since the movie is bolstered by the pure motivation of its characters: love.

While the movie is expertly crafted from a camera and writing point-of-view, the one thing that could make or break it is thankfully well-done: the likability and energy of its characters.

Characters are the foundation of any film as they are the single outlet that is required for the audience to both connect to and cheer for (or against).

The main cast of characters are all unique and charismatic with each of them bringing something different to the table. Their personalities reflect greatly off one another and the chemistry is contagious; it creates interesting dynamics and conversations between the characters strengthens the connection between the audience and them. It’s difficult to not grow attached as they undergo bizarre situations.

The romance is also a primary factor in “The Princess Bride,” and it is both fulfilling and fun. As the strings that hold together the story, the sparks between Westley and Buttercup are endearing and strong.

There is no forcing the natural state of their attraction and it really reflects from both actors’ performances.

The soundtrack is cheerful, lively and emotional. Composed by Mark Knopfler, the music in “The Princess Bride” is intended to evoke sensations from the audience in the forms of compassion and motivation—from this, it succeeds.

The action seems more frantic because of it, and the tender scenes of love and friendship seem more intimate because of it.

As a movie classic, “The Princess Bride” hits every check and stands the test of time despite being thirty-years old. Its capability to hold up is a testament to its film-makers, writers, and the actions of its cast.

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