Friday, November 19, 2010

1988 Hugo Dramatic Presentation, 1987 Saturn Fantasy – THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Like Empire, Raiders, and Back to the Future, The Princess Bride is one of those universally beloved ‘80s classics that I find hard to talk about. There’s not much left to say beyond “it’s great!” Everyone I know in my generation can recite any number of the movie’s eminently quotable lines.

The brilliant conceit of the novel, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, is that he’s taken a fictional political satire by S. Morgernstern and edited it into the comic fantasy his father used to read to him by cutting out the dry political sections. The Rob Reiner film manages to replicate this with a framing story wherein a grandfather (Peter Falk) reads the novel to his grandson (Fred Savage). The story itself follows a young couple, Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes), who are separated by the latter’s apparent death. Buttercup becomes engaged to the scheming Prince of Florin, but she’s kidnapped by three rogues (Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patankin, and Andre the Giant, who collectively steal the movie). The kidnappers are pursued in a brilliant sequence by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Westley. From there, lovers are reunited and separated again, alliance shift, and we get a couple of great swordfights and some of the most memorable dialogue in film history.

Yeah, it’s great. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I find it impossible to resist these '80s adventure films.

Grade: A

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