Monday, April 8, 2013

The Princess Bride Book and Movie Review

Rating: 3.5

One of my all time favorite satirical, romantic, adventurous, dramatic, comedic childhood films!

"Hahaha! hahaha! hahahahahahahaha----------"

William Goldman did a great job picking out the good parts of S. Morgenstern's 1000 page story.  He is also a winner of TWO Academy awards for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men.  He has also garnered 3 Lifetime Achievement Awards.  he adapted TPB for the screen and the book reads just as wonderfully.  


Goldman gives us more back history in the beginning with Westley and Buttercup.  We see more of her and her personality.  The girl doesn't care to really make herself presentable most of the time and goes around with ratted hair and smelly clothes.  However, she has such a beauty she still captures hearts of most of the boy sin the village, including her "farm boy" that was taken in as a child by her father.  She doesn't have much to do with him until the Count (6 fingered man) and Countess call on her family. 

The count is checking her out for Prince Humperdink and the Countess is checking out Westley for his handsomeness and physique.  Buttercup watches the Countess watching Westley and that night after going mad trying to figure out why it bugged her she realizes she's in love with Westley!  She tells him the next day and there is a great little speech given by her on page 58 and 59.  Well we all know how Westley feels about Buttercup, but guess what the guy does?  He shuts the door in her face.  The next day, she plays it off as though her little spiel was a joke--and he basically says, in a nutshell, "I've loved you my whole life, even when you were such a turd to me.  I wanted to leave so many times, but I couldn't imagine not seeing you smile and I'm smitten and stupid, but I love you too, but I'm going away today to America so I can make a lot of money and come back and marry you."  It's actually a great dialogue between the two.  

S. Mortgenstern doesn't go into details with his lovey dovey-ness, which I think is great.  Their first kiss goes like this (pg. 65):

"There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C., when Saul and Delilah Korn's 
inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization.  And the precise rating of
kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy,
because although everyone agrees with the formula of affection times purity times
intensity times duration, no one has ever been completely satisfied with how
much weight each element should receive.  But on any system, there are five that
everyone agrees deserve full marks.

Well this one left them all behind."

Talk about having to use your imagination on that one!  hahahahaha!!!!  Love it!

One major difference between the book and film is the Prince's torture chamber.  In the film, it's underground out in the forrest.  In the book it's under the castle and there are five levels and it is known as the Zoo of Death:

Level 1: animals/enemies of speed
Level 2: enemies of strength
Level 3 poisoners
Level 4: enemies of fear
Level 5: left empty  (that's where the human torture takes place)

I love the dialogue in the book because it is nothing of authenticity of the time the story is taking place.  For example, when Prince Humperdink is telling the Count what kind of girl he wants, it is hysterical:

"I'll tell you what I want," he began then.  "I want someone who is so
beautiful that when you see her you say, 'Wow, that Humperdink must be 
some kind of fella to have a wife like that.'" pg. 89

Dialogue is actually written that way in the book! 

Throughout the book, Goldman gives explanations as to why chunks of Mortgenstern's book were left out.  They were simply too long and boring.  Buttercup's princess training lasted 72 pages, 15 pages about why Prince Humperdink can't marry a commoner, and 89 pages of festivities leading up to the wedding (the parties, the food, the clothes, etc...).

Goldman actually had the full book read to him as a child by his father.  When you watch the movie, a grandfather is reading the story to his grandson.  I like that they kept that.  Also, the true ending to the book is more than what we see on the screen, but I'll let you read that on your own.


An all time classic that should never, ever be touched.  Conversations are almost verbatim to the story and as you read you go, "oh yeah, that was in the film!"  Here are some behind the scenes for you to enjoy.  What did you think of the cast?  Depending on if you saw the movie first or read the book first, do these actors live up to their characters?  Would you have liked to have seen someone else cast?  What do you think of both film and book?  Has anyone read the unabridged version?  Also what are your favorite moments in the film?



  1. I will admit that Inigo and the count are my favorite. Mandy Patinkin is genius and this was my first exposure to him. he captured the essence of the book character beautifully. I don't see anyone else able to play that role that well at that time. Maybe Antonio Banderas, but Patinkin is brilliant.

    And Christopher Guest. My favorite mockumentary director and star. I looove how he delivered the Count's lines. Of course it wasn't until much, much later after seeing Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman that I realized Guest was the six fingered man.

    Great satire of the damsel in distress genre.

    I think Rob Reiner did a great job casting and directing. Honestly, I can't imagine a better cast.

  2. First impression of Book Buttercup: not bad. Needs some hygeine tips, but ok. As the book went on, I swear she got stupid. I kept thinking you can't be THAT dumb. Maybe it's just me. Robin Wright didn't portray her that way so that's good. Hmmm...

    Cary Elwes was the perfect blend of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Errol Flynn. He was cocky, but funny and charming. He captured the character very well and made it his own. Too bad his career never really took off.