Probably my favourite movie about a Pirate (or a Dread Pirate anyway) is Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. I remember seeing it as a child and falling so in love with it that I wanted to leave the cinema and buy another ticket immediately. I was completely sold on the combination of humour and old fashioned adventure and would go on to enjoy the film many times in the cinema and on home video for years to come.
With the release of two sets, the Dread Pirate Edition and the Buttercup Edition, I revisited the film I have seen and enjoyed those oh so many times. I think I can sum it up best by saying that seeing The Princess Bride is like having your favourite story told to you by your favourite storyteller.
The Princess Bride is probably the movie that taught me the importance of the film makers’ love for their story. It’s easy to tell when those making the film truly love what they are doing and when they are doing it for other reasons. The former situation produces some of the best cinema ever while the latter can be anywhere from good to excruciatingly painful.
But The Princess Bride is told with such love and energy. First of all it has the story within a story conceit played well by Peter Falk and a young Fred Savage. It’s basically a story about a Grandfather telling his Grandson a story and we are all in on the old man’s wit and exuberance and obvious love for his Grandchild.
Then there is the story of young Westley and his love of Princess Buttercup. This is a good story in itself but there is the magical way it’s told with all the clever wit and creative energy that Reiner employs with his perfectly cast crew. The Princess Bride has stood the test of time, proven by the remarkable amount of one-liners which can be quoted by the average man on the street. While I personally feel the “My name is Inigo Montoya…” bit is somewhat overplayed, I will laugh everytime I hear “anybody want a peanut?”
Reiner was at the top of his game in the late 80s early 90s and this film kicked off a string of excellent films that I still hold to be among my favourites despite his inability to make a decent film since The American President. This film and the two sets are well worth collecting just in case the urge for good swashbuckling fun overtakes you. Then you can watch it, “as you wish.”