It’s appalling to think I’m missing out on so many classic pieces of cinema. Every few weeks I have this angered panic where I try and watch a load of classic films, and over these past few weeks I did in fact manage to watch more than I had anticipated in this field of classics. Some that I’d never heard of, others that I’d had my eye on for some time. The Princess Bride of course falls into the latter category.
A story of adventure, knights and all the things that Monty Python parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s a story I was invested in from the very beginning. Featuring a slew of 80s stars, The Princess Bride banks heavily on the enjoyable performances and chemistry of the involved cast. It’s a real shame that Cary Elwes isn’t the most interesting lead character, with his portrayal of Westley leaving much to be desired. It’s especially poor considering the quality and key consistency of the supporting cast.
Robin Wright, Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin and my personal favourite, Wallace Shawn, all give tremendous performances. Shawn in particular is a personal favourite of mine, with his dastardly turn in the first act of this movie being some of my favourite work of his. Some really excellent scriptwriting helps along the way, especially with a good chunk of the movie relying on witty one-liners and exceptional word-play between the heroes of our tale.
But by all means does Patinkin steal the show. A tremendously good backstory and some hilarious lines throughout make him one of the most interesting characters around. Patinkin’s performance is incredible too, with the whole shtick of his character allowing for both generalised jokes but also some simplistic yet varied character development.
Rob Reiner was once an extremely prolific director, and his work in The Princess Bride only adds to a consistently enjoyable cinematography. Instead of adaptations like Misery or the tremendous world-building of The Princess Bride, he seems to have slumped into making biopics with Woody Harrelson in starring roles. It’s a strange career path to change to, but it’s never going to outshine his tremendous work throughout much of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Rightly considered a classic 1980s hit, The Princess Bride has a particular value to it, a movie that is both interesting and hilarious. One of the few times where a great script has been fully fleshed out, a nice hit film of the 1980s, and one that every cinema fan must see as soon as they can.