98 Min. | Adventure – Comedy – Family | October 1987
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rob Reiner
Staring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright
The Princess Bride Review: The Princess Bride is one of those movies that is revered by Gen-X-ers and 80’s babies, along with The Goonies and other children’s films that have a certain adventurousness and whimsy to them. Does it live up to the hype? Yes and no. From a filmic perspective, the narrative is a bit formulaic and cliche, like the storybook tales that this movie takes its inspiration from. On the other hand, there are plenty of moments of pure genius that make it stand out from the rest. Fortunately, the latter outweighs the former and overall it was a perfectly enjoyable viewing experience. The story, although about the titular Princess Bride, is actually framed by a grandfather reading a book to his sick grandson.
This part is essential to making the film work because it gives the audience a way to understand the story and how it works on more than just a surface level. Fred Savage’s character is the audience stand-in and his questions and commentary can represent the questions of all little boys who have been told fantastical stories by their own relatives. The grandfather can represent the director, or any family member who has served a storytelling role, and guides the audience through this familiar, yet not too familiar tale. The story of the Princess Bride itself is reminiscent of many a fairy tale, and like many before it tells how true love overcomes great obstacles. There is a great cast of characters, many serving up some choice and memorable dialogue that has gone down in the pantheon of great quotes.
In terms of quality, Rob Reiner did a great job directing his actors, who all give great performances. Even Robin Wright does an impressive job for her first big-screen role which, aside from Jenny in Forrest Gump, is the role she is best known for playing. The filming aspect was also quite well done, with most of it being done on well-constructed and detailed studio sets. The cinematography, while not particularly memorable or flashy, was competent in workmanlike kind of way. The real weakness here is the script which, while serving up plenty of individual moments worthy of praise, didn’t always flow naturally, and not because of the framing story either. Overall, The Princess Bride is a perfectly enjoyable movie, even if it doesn’t live up to the enormous praise heaped upon it. The Princess Bride does have some flaws, but those are mild in comparison to the great storytelling on display and great dialogue, which enhance its replay value. Highly recommended, especially if you haven’t seen it yet.