William Goldman is a bit of a crank. To be sure, he’s earned the right to be a crank, having worked as a screenwriter for 35-some-odd years in a town that is famous for not giving a crap about screenwriters, and winning a pair of Oscars—for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men—along the way. But he’s a passionate crank, so it’s not that big a surprise that he wrote the novel, and the subsequent screenplay for, The Princess Bride.
A film, ostensibly for children, about the true love shared by handsome farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) and the fair Buttercup (Robin Wright), The Princess Bride does the unimaginable: It manages to be all things to all people (at least, all people who like good movies). It’s a romance, an adventure, a comedy, a drama, a morality play, and a film about sports.
Rob Reiner’s film was never much of a box office hit, but it won its audience on video, so it’s only appropriate that it gets the best treatment in this special edition DVD, which comes armed with a pair of commentaries—an insightful-funny track by Reiner, and an insightful-cranky one by Goldman—a video diary shot by Elwes, and a wonderful retrospective doc with new interviews with Reiner, Goldman, Elwes, Wright (now, of course, Wright Penn), Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, and Fred Savage.
The Princess Bride is a fun, sad, scary, witty fairy tale featuring the greatest performance ever given by a professional wrestler, the late Andre the Giant. The only unfortunate part, for me, is that I can never again see it for the first time. A