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The Princess Bride (1987)

"Inconceivably Delightful Fairy Tale Comedy"

What You Need To Know:

[In a story told by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his grandson (Fred Savage), a young girl, Buttercup (Robin Wright), falls in love with a farm boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), and they pledge their undying love for each other; yet, when Wesley goes missing for a number of years, the princess bride is pressured to marry another. Can the Bride reunite with her Beloved in this story of abiding true love, hope, adventure, and of course, inconceivable hilarity?

From the truly heroic hero, Westley (Elwes) and beautiful Princess Bride (Wright) to the brilliantly portrayed, grammar questioning, revenge seeking swordsman Inigo Montoya (Patinkin) and his devilishly dark nemesis, Count Rugen (Christopher Guest); from Reiner’s masterful direction and Goldman’s sagacious screenplay to the cast’s pitch-perfect, inspired acting and the excellent sets and cinematography; from the biblically redemptive themes that mark the story of the Princess Bride and her true love as they together discover the depth of that love to the howlingly hilarious tone throughout;

the whole is brought off with the practiced cinematic storytelling hand of one who knows just what to say and portray and how to best do so. The overall worldview of the film is strongly biblical moral with strong Christ imagery with a few odd Romantic love elements thrown in. In a postmodern world where “happily ever afters” are in short supply and the anti-hero is the norm, THE PRINCESS BRIDE embodies an older, more biblical type of story. The film remains a very powerful, engaging, and watchable one for teens and adults. Movieguide® advises caution for younger children due to some action violence, two instances of foul language, and some suggestive elements.]

Content:

(BBB, CCC, RoRo, L, VV, S, M)

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
The overall worldview of the film is strongly biblical moral with strong Christ imagery and a few odd Romantic love elements thrown in.

Foul Language:
One Jesus profanity and one use of sob.

Violence:
The Shrieking Eels and Rodents of Unusual Size are likely to scare children; swordplay between two men yields no wounds but a punch and a knock on the head; a man wrestles with a giant and chokes him out; a man is poisoned; a man fights a Rodent of Unusual Size and is wounded before slaying it with his sword (some blood on face and arm); a man undergoes torture on “the machine” (obvious pain with much yelling but no blood or gore); a man stabs and kills four guards with his sword; a man throws a knife at another and hits him in the stomach (blood all over his clothes); a man stabs a man multiple times before running another man throw with his sword (blood on clothes and bloody cuts on face).

Sex:
A man and woman kiss passionately in two prolonged scenes. An irreverent and suggestive statement is made about a woman’s breasts.

Nudity:
None.

Alcohol Use:
One character gets pretty obviously drunk.

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
A man takes a miracle pill which revives him (no substance abuse is implied).

Miscellaneous Immorality:
A woman contemplates and talks about committing suicide; a man plots to deceive an entire kingdom; a man prays to his dead father.

More Detail:

THE PRINCESS BRIDE is one of the best known, most quoted, and beloved films of the 20th century and has become a landmark in how the union of ancient, classical, medieval, modern, and postmodern fantasy can be effectively achieved. In a story told by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his grandson (Fred Savage), a young lady named Buttercup (Robin Wright) and a farm boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), pledge their undying love for each other; yet, when Westley goes missing and is assumed dead for a number of years, the princess bride is pressured to become betrothed to another. Can the Bride reunite with her Beloved in this story of abiding true love, hope, adventure, and of course, inconceivable hilarity?

The film is exemplary, being the inspiration for so many imitator films after it; yet, while often imitated, it has rarely been equaled in its conception and execution. Perhaps this is why it has become one of the most quoted and quotable films of all time. Almost everything works here; from the truly heroic hero, Westley (Elwes) to Reiner’s masterful direction, Goldman’s sagacious screenplay, and the biblically redemptive themes that mark the story of the Princess Bride and her true love as the characters discover the depth of that love to the howlingly hilarious tone throughout. The overall worldview of the film is strongly biblical moral with strong Christ imagery and a few odd Romantic love elements thrown in. In a postmodern world where “happily ever afters” are in short supply and the anti-hero is the norm, THE PRINCESS BRIDE embodies an older, more biblical type of story. What J. R. R. Tolkien noted as the essential hallmark of all real Fairy Stories – “the Happy Ending” (J. R. R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories”, p. 66) – is the heart of the film. It is a “Consolation” (J. R. R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories”, p. 66) indeed that because of Christ’s love, from which all true love takes its essential form, the Story that the Christian finds himself in is a Divine Comedy (see Dante’s masterwork), not a human tragedy. Though the film is a work of the current postmodern age, it is clearly built from the stuff of earlier, more biblical storytelling traditions. The Hero’s pursuit of his Bride despite her seeming waywardness and saving her from many dangers is a clearly Christological theme throughout. The devotedness of the Bride to her Beloved and the ways in which she learns to fully love him in return is equally biblical. Westley’s words that, “Death cannot stop true love,” are true in the biblical sense that Christ could not be held by Death (Acts 2:24) and thus the Christ figure of the film cannot be as well. Westley’s “resurrection” (despite its being played for laughs in some ways) is a part of the film that points directly to the true Happy Ending of Christ’s Fairy Story in which the Hero rises again to live ever after with his Bride. Though there is nothing too overt, a few stray lines about dreaming of “large women” and a suggestive reference to a woman’s breasts bring in an element of the Romantic view of love which is often unbiblical. Yet, the film remains a very powerful, engaging, and watchable one for teens and adults. Movieguide® advises caution for younger children due to some action violence, two instances of foul language, and some suggestive elements.