As You Wish: Little-Known Facts About The Princess Bride on Its 25th Anniversary


It’s The Princess Bride’s 25th anniversary! But before you break out your favorite fire swamp and brute squad quotes, let’s take a moment to properly appreciate what is easily one of the greatest fantasy films of all time (and also one of the funniest). Then you can quote it. Or act out the entire Westley-Inigo duel. Or fight someone To The Pain. In fact, let’s just instate a yearly tradition where we all get together and recreate the whole movie on September 25. We’ll call it Project Dread Pirate Roberts.

The genesis of this gem was simple enough: Rob Reiner’s father Carl handed him a book by William Goldman called The Princess Bride. (Charmingly, the title of the novel came when Goldman asked his two daughters what sort of story they would prefer, and the first asked for a tale about a bride, while the other wanted one about a princess.) Eventually, Reiner started making movies of his own, and after successfully helming classics like This Is Spinal Tap and Stand By Me, that book got dusted off and brought to the table. Then it was just a matter of assembling the right team of people.

And it’s the people that really make The Princess Bride so special. Here are a few fun stories about what happened on and off set, all of them contributing to what makes this movie stand out a quarter of a century later….

Cary Elwes was chosen for the role of Westley because he reminded Reiner of the swashbuckling heroes of early cinema, specifically Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. Which is ironic yet unsurprising when you consider that all three actors played Robin Hood at some point. At one point during filming, he told Christopher Guest (Count Rugen) to actually hit him on the head with his sword hilt to get a take – Guest listened to him, and filming came to a halt for the rest of the day while they took Elwes to the hospital. He and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya) did perform the entirety of their duel (minus the somersaults). They were taught by swordmaster legend Bob Anderson.

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