The Princess Bride (1987)

Genres - Adventure, Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Fairy Tales & Legends, Romantic Adventure  |   Release Date - Sep 25, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Both a tribute to and revision of fairy tales past, The Princess Bride manages to combine subtle, acerbic humor with a classic understanding of what makes the elements of fantasy so appealing to children. Director Rob Reiner took a chance on William Goldman's novel of the same name; though the central plot is unarguably Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup's (Robin Wright) journey to happily-ever-after, a variety of subplots and personal quests make for the daunting prospect of producing a film that very well might have too much going on. A surprisingly gentle performance from late wrestling icon Andre the Giant, along with an excellent supporting team including Billy Crystal, Wallace Shawn, and Mandy Patinkin, however, not only make the intermingling of plots seem perfectly natural, but express a sense of camraderie so realistic that one hardly notices the subject at hand is as likely to be the pitfalls of life in the revenge business as it is the tedious process of bringing one back from the dead. Patinkin in particular is compelling as Inigo, a Spanish swordsman on an obsessive quest to avenge his father's murder, while Wright plays the title role of with all of the angst, priss, and unbending faith in true love expected from a princess. Elwes' Westley, however, is far cry from the traditional knight in shining armor--clothed in all back and well-versed in the pirating industry, Wesley is a verifiable fairy-tale bad-boy--and like the film itself, somehow, it just works.