The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 101 mins | Adventure, Comedy-drama, Romance | 25 September 1987

Director:

Rob Reiner

Writer:

William Goldman

Cinematographers:

Adrian Biddle, Ray Andrew

Editor:

Robert Leighton

Production Designer:

Norman Garwood

Production Company:

Act III Communications
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HISTORY

       Writer William Goldman completed his eighth novel, The Princess Bride , in 1973. According to a 29 Aug 1973 Var article, before his work was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the rights from Goldman with the intention of adapting the novel into a film. Plans to begin production on the film were put on hold, leading to Goldman buying back the rights in 1984, as reported by a 19 Apr 1984 HR article. The rights were subsequently sold to Embassy Pictures. As the screenplay was written by Goldman himself, the film closely follows the novel, with a few name changes and omitted details. For example, in the movie, "Westley" is tortured in the “Pit of Despair” by "Count Rugen," who admits to a “deep and abiding interest in pain.” The site of the torture in the novel is an underground hunting arena called the “Zoo of Death.” According to director Rob Reiner, the change was made due to the film's budget. Also true to the novel, “S. Morgenstern” is said to be the author of The Princess Bride . Goldman wrote two novels under the pseudonym Simon Morgenstern, the second being The Silent Gondoliers in 1983.
       The film opens with title cards reading Act III Communications presents The Princess Bride . All of the credits appear at the end of the picture. Each of the eight main actors and five “special appearances” are credited by a shot of the actor along with his or her real and character names. Robin Wright is introduced in the credits and several news items commented on the actress's film debut, ... More Less

       Writer William Goldman completed his eighth novel, The Princess Bride , in 1973. According to a 29 Aug 1973 Var article, before his work was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the rights from Goldman with the intention of adapting the novel into a film. Plans to begin production on the film were put on hold, leading to Goldman buying back the rights in 1984, as reported by a 19 Apr 1984 HR article. The rights were subsequently sold to Embassy Pictures. As the screenplay was written by Goldman himself, the film closely follows the novel, with a few name changes and omitted details. For example, in the movie, "Westley" is tortured in the “Pit of Despair” by "Count Rugen," who admits to a “deep and abiding interest in pain.” The site of the torture in the novel is an underground hunting arena called the “Zoo of Death.” According to director Rob Reiner, the change was made due to the film's budget. Also true to the novel, “S. Morgenstern” is said to be the author of The Princess Bride . Goldman wrote two novels under the pseudonym Simon Morgenstern, the second being The Silent Gondoliers in 1983.
       The film opens with title cards reading Act III Communications presents The Princess Bride . All of the credits appear at the end of the picture. Each of the eight main actors and five “special appearances” are credited by a shot of the actor along with his or her real and character names. Robin Wright is introduced in the credits and several news items commented on the actress's film debut, although Wright had a small role in a 1986 film Hollywood Vice Squad and had also worked in television. She took a leave of absence from her role on NBC's daytime soap opera Santa Barbara to star in The Princess Bride , according to a 29 Aug 1986 Var article.
       As reported by Screen International on 16 Aug 1986, filming for The Princess Bride was scheduled to begin on 18 Aug 1986 at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England. After Lear's Embassy Pictures was sold to the Coca-Cola Company, the project was moved over to his new company, Act III Communications, as its second feature. The first was 1986's Stand By Me , also directed by Reiner. Distribution rights for The Princess Bride were acquired by 20th Century Fox.
       As reported in a 1 Nov 1986 Screen International article, filming at Shepperton Studios lasted until Dec 1986 with five weeks of shooting on location in the county of Derbyshire. According to Reiner, the film includes only one shot, featuring Peter Falk, that was filmed in a Los Angeles studio. The film was originally scheduled to open during the summer of 1987, however editing was not expected to be done until late July, conflicting with original release date of 31 Jul. The film was rescheduled to open in New York and Los Angeles on 25 Sep before going wide on 9 Oct 1987.
       The Princess Bride was well received by critics in general. While NYT's review called it a fairy tale, various reviews remarked on the cross-genre nature of the film. HR 's 15 Sep 1987 review said it would be a challenge for 20th Century Fox's marketing department. Points of universal praise included Goldman's writing and performances by supporting actors like Christopher Guest and Andre the Giant. However, while NYT found the leading couple “properly picturesque” and HR applauded Reiner's confidence and finesse implied by the lack of “gratuitous special effects,” Var called the leads “comatose” and the film's look dull. As reported by Var in a 29 Jul 1987 article, the film's world premiere was at Toronto's Festival of Festivals, now called the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People's Choice award for that year. The film is included in the American Film Institute's “100 Years...100 Passions” listing the greatest love stories on film. It ranks at number eighty-eight. The film's song “Storybook Love,” written by Willy DeVille , was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song.


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and notes were written by Fitrah Hamid, a student at Georgia Institute of Technology, with Vinicius Navarro as academic advisor.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 1987
p. 3, 77.
Los Angeles Times
25 Sep 1987
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Sep 1987
p. 10.
Screen International
16 Aug 1986.
---
Screen International
1 Nov 1986.
---
Variety
29 Aug 1973.
---
Variety
29 Aug 1986.
---
Variety
15 Apr 1987.
---
Variety
29 Jul 1987.
---
Variety
15 Sep 1987
pp. 3, 19.
Variety
16 Sep 1987
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Buttercup Films Limited Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
U. K. prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
Unit mgr (Derbyshire)
3d asst dir
Crowd coordinator
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Unit stills man
Focus
Lighting gaffer
Best boy elec
Elec
Elec
2nd unit - Ireland
Dir of photog
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam op
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam asst
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam asst
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam asst
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam asst
2nd unit - Ireland
Cam asst
Model Photography Unit
Models Photographed by
Model Photography Unit
Cam op
Model Photography Unit
Focus
Model Photography Unit
Loader
Camera Equipment Supplied by
Lighting Equipment Supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
Draftsperson
Draftsperson
Draftsperson
Storyboard artist
Additional matte painter
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Construction mgr
Prop master
Standby prop man
Standby prop man
Standby prop man
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Music Recorded at
Rec eng
Music performed by
Music performed by
SOUND
Mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Spec sd eff
ADR supv
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
Re-rerording by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Matte paintings by
Matte supv
Matte supv
Matte artist
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Supv hairdresser
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Billy Crystal's and Carol Kane's make-up created b
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of Prod
Scr supv
Prod acct
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coordinator
Prod buyer
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Post-prod accountant
Swordmaster
R.O.U.S. performer
R.O.U.S. performer
Animatronic supv
Mechanical des
Pattern maker
Mould making supv
Generator op
Asst to the producers
U.K. prod secretary
U.S.A. prod secretary
Personal asst to Mr. Reiner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
First aid
U.S. casting asst
Cliff climbing eff
Model Photography Unit
Grip
Loc projectionist
Loc projectionist
Loc projectionist
Contact Lenses Supplied by
Titles and Opticals by
Special Thanks to
Special Thanks to
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Princess Bride by William Goldman (New York, 1973).
SONGS
"Storybook Love," written and sung by Willy De Ville
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Music by Albert von Tilzer, Words by Jack Norworth, Published by Broadway Music Corporation—Francis, Day & Hunter, Ltd.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 September 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 September 1987
Copyright Claimant:
The Princess Bride, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
12 January 1988
Copyright Number:
PA359167
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Color by DeLuxe
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
101
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28736
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A man visits his sick grandson with a book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. After the boy begrudgingly agrees to the bedtime story, the grandfather begins reading. First introduced in the book is Buttercup, a girl who lives on a farm in Florin. She loves to boss around the farmhand, Westley, who answers every order with, “As you wish.” They fall in love. At hearing this, the boy worries that this is going to be a “kissing book.” Westley has no money to support Buttercup, so he leaves to seek his fortune. Buttercup is heartbroken to hear that Westley has been captured and murdered by the Dread Pirates. Five years later, Prince Humperdinck of Florin announces his engagement to Buttercup. They are to marry in a month. However, Buttercup is kidnapped by three men, Vizzini, the giant Fezzik and Inigo Montoya. Vizzini, the leader of the group, plans to kill Buttercup and frame Florin's enemy, the country of Guilder, for her murder in hopes of starting a war. The kidnappers set sail, but spot another boat following them. Reaching land, Vizzini and Fezzik go ahead with Buttercup while Montoya is left to deal with the man from the other boat, who is dressed in black and wears a mask. Montoya asks if the Man in Black has six fingers on his right hand. He does not. The kidnapper explains that a six-fingered man killed his father, and he has trained for twenty years to become skilled enough to defeat him. Should he ever find the six-fingered man, he plans to say “Hello. My name is ... +


A man visits his sick grandson with a book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. After the boy begrudgingly agrees to the bedtime story, the grandfather begins reading. First introduced in the book is Buttercup, a girl who lives on a farm in Florin. She loves to boss around the farmhand, Westley, who answers every order with, “As you wish.” They fall in love. At hearing this, the boy worries that this is going to be a “kissing book.” Westley has no money to support Buttercup, so he leaves to seek his fortune. Buttercup is heartbroken to hear that Westley has been captured and murdered by the Dread Pirates. Five years later, Prince Humperdinck of Florin announces his engagement to Buttercup. They are to marry in a month. However, Buttercup is kidnapped by three men, Vizzini, the giant Fezzik and Inigo Montoya. Vizzini, the leader of the group, plans to kill Buttercup and frame Florin's enemy, the country of Guilder, for her murder in hopes of starting a war. The kidnappers set sail, but spot another boat following them. Reaching land, Vizzini and Fezzik go ahead with Buttercup while Montoya is left to deal with the man from the other boat, who is dressed in black and wears a mask. Montoya asks if the Man in Black has six fingers on his right hand. He does not. The kidnapper explains that a six-fingered man killed his father, and he has trained for twenty years to become skilled enough to defeat him. Should he ever find the six-fingered man, he plans to say “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” before exacting his revenge. In the ensuing duel the Man in Black knocks Inigo out. Later, the Man in Black runs into Fezzik, who proposes hand-to-hand combat; but in the ensuing struggle Fezzik becomes exhausted and passes out. The Man in Black reaches Vizzini and Buttercup and suggests a battle of wits, which ends in Vizzini's death. Buttercup identifies the Man in Black as the Dread Pirate Roberts who killed her love, Westley. He replies that she should be thankful Westley died before he found out how unfaithful she could be. As Humperdinck and his men close in on them. Buttercup tells the Man in Black he can die for all she cares and pushes him down a steep hill. Rolling down the grassy incline he yells, "As you wish!” and Buttercup realizes the man in Black is actually Westley, and she rolls down the hill after him. Humperdinck thinks the two are headed into the Fire Swamp. Westley asks Buttercup why she did not wait for him, as not even death can stop true love. They kiss. At this point, the boy interrupts the story again, complaining about the second "kissing part." He tells his grandfather to skip ahead to the Fire Swamp. In the Fire Swamp, Westley tells Buttercup that the original Dread Pirate Roberts retired fifteen years ago and his name and ship were passed down through several men before Westley took on the role--but he can now give it up since he has found Buttercup. The pair survives the Fire Swamp only to be met by Humperdinck and his men. Buttercup offers to go peacefully with the prince if he promises to return Westley to his ship unharmed. Humperdinck agrees, but then instructs Count Rugen to instead take Westley to the Pit of Despair. After Buttercup leaves with the prince, Westley notices there are six fingers on Rugen’s right hand. In the Pit of Despair, an albino tells Westley he is to be tortured by “the machine.” It is ten days before the wedding, and Buttercup tells Humperdinck she cannot marry him and would sooner kill herself than live without Westley. Humperdinck offers to find Westley for her but asks that she marry him if Westley does not want her. In the forest with Rugen, Humperdinck reveals that he hired Vizzini to kill Buttercup on their engagement day and now looks forward to killing her on their wedding night! He wants to start a war with Guilder. The count opens a secret door in a tree that leads to the Pit. As the Albino prepares Westley for torture, Rugen explains “the machine,” his hydro-powered invention, takes years off a person's life. He demonstrates by sucking one year from Westley's life. Humperdinck instructs one of his men to empty the Thieves' Forest on the day of the wedding for fear that killers from Guilder are hiding there. Inigo is drunk inside the Thieves' Forest and refuses to move. Fezzik arrives. He nurses Inigo back to sobriety and tells him about Vizzini's death and Count Rugen, the six-fingered man. Inigo decides he needs the Man in Black to help him reach the count. Buttercup figures out that Humperdinck made no efforts to find Westley, but is confident Westley will come anyway. She calls Humperdinck a coward. Angered by this, Humperdinck goes down to the Pit and turns the machine on, pushing the setting up to 50. Westley screams so loud the whole kingdom can hear it. Inigo and Fezzik head in the direction of the scream. They find Westley, but think he is dead. At this very moment, the boy interrupts his grandfather and demands to know who kills Humperdinck. The grandfather tells him no one does. The boy is upset, but does not want his grandfather to stop reading. Inigo and Fezzik bring Westley to Miracle Max, who concocts a "miracle pill" for the aged Westley. Inigo and Fezzik approach the castle carrying Westley. They administer the pill to him. He immediately gains consciousness, but lacks the strength to move. Inigo explains that Buttercup is to be married in less than half an hour, and Westley formulates a plan. While the wedding takes place inside the castle, Fezzik poses at the gate as the Dread Pirate Roberts, scaring off the guards. Humperdinck rushes the ceremony, urging the bishop to simply pronounce him and Buttercup married. The bishop obeys and Buttercup is escorted to the honeymoon suite. Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley meet Rugen and the castle guards. Inigo chases after the count, and repeats, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," as he and Rugen fence. Finally, Inigo kills the count, while in the honeymoon suite, Buttercup prepares to kill herself. Still unable to move, Westley calls to her from his bed just before she commits the tragic act. Buttercup runs to him, and he explains that she is not married because she did not say 'I do.' Humperdinck enters and challenges Westley to a duel. Westley explains that he plans not to kill Humperdinck, but to thoroughly maim him so that he will live in "freakish misery." Humperdinck thinks it is a bluff, but when Westley slowly stands and points his sword at him, Humperdinck is convinced of Westley's intentions and obeys when told to drop his sword and sit in a chair so Buttercup can tie him up. Inigo arrives and offers to kill Humperdinck, but Westley wants him to live a long, lonely life as a coward. Fezzik calls for Inigo from outside. He has found four white horses in the prince's stables. Before they mount, Westley offers Inigo a job as the next Dread Pirate Roberts. The four ride off. The grandfather stops reading, dismissing the rest of the story as more kissing stuff. The boy says he wants to hear it. Westley and Buttercup's kiss is described as surpassing any other kiss in passion and purity. "The end." The boy asks his grandfather to read the book to him again tomorrow. "As you wish," his grandfather replies. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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