By Victoria H
Although it was released before I was born, The Princess Bride is a film I can easily quote (“Inconceivable!”). And I am sure that this is the case for many people. The Princess Bride may have never received an Oscar, but this film has found its way into the fabric of our popular culture even decades later. This is surprising considering its poor start.
The Princess Bride is a different movie, simultaneously a parody, comedy, adventure and romance film. So it is no wonder that the studio had trouble marketing the film, and ended marketing it to no one. The film ended up being a flop. But luckily much like the protagonist in the film, The Princess Bride was only mostly dead not all dead which is a big difference. When the film was released on home video its popularity and influence began to grow.
Part of its continued appeal is its positioning as a bedtime story. The film opens on a grandfather weaving this tale to his skeptical grandson. Rather than framing itself as a fairy tale parody, The Princess Bride is able to balance its silliness with genuine heartfelt emotion. While it teases the notion of fairy tales, the film never mocks them. This fine balance allows it to be simultaneously funny and endearing. The Princess Bride is a fairytale with a twist.
It is this myriad of levels that keep The Princess Bride interesting. It is a story about love, yet also a satirical adventure. Yet this film is more than its narrative, you come to care about each of the characters despite their absurdities. Each of the characters could easily have been a bland stereotype, yet The Princess Bride doesn’t settle for this. As a twist on a fairytale itself, The Princess Bride provides twists to its characters too. Take the strong giant Fezzik, he easily could have filled the stereotype of the strong but dumb character. Instead he is the strong one whose rhyming cannot be undone. It is these twists that keep the characters interesting and engaging. Even the characters not a direct part of the story, the grandfather reading to his grandson, become characters you’re invested in. Not all films can enchant like this.
This is all what makes The Princess Bride special. While it may not be the best film ever made, you cannot help but fall victim to The Princess Bride’s charms. This film appeals to the child in all of us, yet does not demean or talk down to us. Rather it takes the magic of our childhood fairy-tales and makes it relevant to our adult-selves. And like all good fairy-tales, The Princess Bride is timeless.