51. The Princess Bride
I’m told that if you didn’t grow up with Princess Bride you don’t love it, but I didn’t seen Princess Bride until I was about 16 years old and I immediately adored it. What’s always bugged me about this movie was that most people (specifically guys) immediately write it off based on nothing more than the title. Admittedly the title sounds like a romance set in the dark ages (which it is) or an animated fantasy film (and it is fantasy) but what the title doesn’t tell you is that it’s hilarious and packed with lots of action.
I remember the first time I saw the movie. It was a Saturday afternoon. I went to a bible study with my close friends Reese, Ken and Andrew. After bible study we’d either go to the mall or hang out at Reese’s house. This particular Saturday Reese had to work so Ken and I went to Andrew’s house and played a game of risk. To pass the time we threw on Princess Bride and I quickly lost the game, part of that would be because I’m awful at Risk but more so it was because I was so pulled into this strange movie.
The film is based on the best-selling novel by William Goldman. I have read the book and I can honestly say that while the movie isn’t a ‘better’ adaptation than the book, it is definitely on equal level of the book and one of the better novel to film adaptations. This had a lot to do with Goldman writing the screenplay as well. Because of this all of Goldman’s weird side characters have remain in the film while a lesser adaptation would have removed them early on in the script writing process.
The movie is a simple concept. An old man reads a book to his sick grandson. As he reads the story we see it acted out. The book is a romantic action and fantasy filled with pirates, giants, torture, sword fights and true love. The sick boy (Fred Savage) represents the audience (again specifically male). Goldman is well aware what the child represents and even has him totally uninterested in hearing the story based solely on the name of it. However he becomes more involved as the film goes on, reacting at dramatic moments and making the story stop whenever it gets too girly.
The star of this film is Goldman’s bizarre and witty dialogue. Characters speak completely outside of the time period and every character has a contradictive nature to their look. The giant is a poet, the evil wise-guy is super short and the pirate is smooth talking and friendly.
We live in a time period where people discuss remakes and reboots constantly. While I get annoyed when a movie I love is remade, I very rarely get aggressively angry. If a studio were to announce plans to remake this cult classic, there would be an immediate uprising. If you have managed to avoid it this long, make it a point to fix that grave mistake in your cinematic diet.