US movie (1987). Act III Communications. Pr Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman. Exec pr Norman Lear. Dir Reiner. Spfx Nick Allder. Animatronics Rodger Shaw. Swordmaster Bob Anderson. Screenplay William Goldman. Based on The Princess Bride (1973) by Goldman. Starring Andre the Giant (Fezzik), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max), Cary Elwes (Westley), Peter Falk (the Grandfather), Christopher Guest (Count Rugen), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), Fred Savage (Grandson), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Robin Wright (Buttercup). 98 mins. Colour.
In the Frame Story an ill boy's grandfather reads him The Princess Bride, full of swashbuckling swordplay and derring-do.
Farm lad Westley and sweet virginal Buttercup are in love. He goes off to seek fortune and is soon reported dead at the hands of Dread Pirate Roberts; she becomes engaged to oily Prince Humperdinck. Out riding, she is seized by small but evil Vizzini, swordsman Inigo and giant Fezzik; her murder is to be blamed on the neighbouring land of Guilder, so that Humperdinck may declare war. But Pirate Roberts – in fact, Westley, latest successor to the title – pursues, bests Inigo and Fezzik and tricks Vizzini into killing himself. Plot abounds until the goodies triumph.
There is plenty of Story in TPB – by design. Goldman initially wrote his book as "just the good bits" extracted from a fictional Book, «S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure» – all padding excised. The structure whereby a fantasy tale is embedded in a reading of that tale is strongly reminiscent of The Neverending Story (1984); however, Goldman's book predated Michael Ende's far more complex text by several years. TPB's rejoicing use of cliché to drive its tale may have less lofty purpose than The Neverending Story's, but it is difficult not to regard it as the better fantasy movie. [JG]