“Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant star in this oddball fairy tale ...”
Ok, you have to admit, there’s just something weird about that sentence. I started to open with it then stopped short, thinking, gee, that kind of says it all. Doesn’t it?
Okay, I’ll answer: yes. It’s an oddball pairing, in an oddball fairy tale, one that has certainly earned its “classic” status.
Rob Reiner’s offbeat 1987 comedy (the ‘80s were his best years: Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally are all classics!) is a humorous, (mostly) family friendly fable, and the cast is stellar: it includes Billy Crystal, Robin Wright Penn, Christopher Guest, Peter Falk and Wallace Shawn. In another director’s hands, The Princess Bride could easily have become too soft, too sweet, too predictable. But in Reiner’s capable paws, we get clever kids’ fare (bad guys, sword fights, pirates, a pretty princess and a brave prince, fairy tale critters), carefully spiced with Reiner’s own brand of adult, caustic humor.
A great combo, no?
Come on, plenty of you out there who don’t even have kids have seen it. Some claim it’s a great date movie, too.
So if you need a little grown-up cinema fix, but it’s family night, this is a classic you can count on for all age groups.
(Er, almost all age groups; caveat about the PG rating: there are scenes like the prince threatening to cut off a man’s feet, hands, eyes, etc., with his fancy swordplay; it’s a rather graphic bit of scriptwriting. There is also a scene or two involving a “torture machine,” a semi-bloody attack by a giant rodent, sword stabbings, and a comment on the princess’s “perfect breasts.” So keep that in mind for your own kids. It might be best for ages nine or ten and up.)