In a 2013 interview, Mandy Patinkin confessed that his favorite line in The Princess Bride is not the immortal words of his character, Inigo Montoya: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you keeled my father, prepare to die.” Rather, Patinkin’s favorite quote comes from the end of the story, when the heroes are escaping the castle, and Inigo prepares to jump from the window to ride off on one of four magnificent white horses. He pauses and says to Wesley: “I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.”
To Patinkin, this is what it is all about. “The purpose of revenge is completely worthless and pointless and the purpose of existence is to embrace our fellow human being … and turn our darkness into light.”
In today’s world of cynicism, political strife, and discord, Patinkin’s words were never truer. I own multiple copies of The Princess Bride and have seen it, beginning to end, at least 30 times, and yet, if I happen upon it while channel surfing, I immediately stop and luxuriate in the perfection of this movie. It is a classic. A movie that knows what it is. Perfectly cast, beautifully filmed, heartwarming, irreverent, hilarious, and imminently quotable, The Princess Bride is like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold day.
The beauty of this film is that it is familiar and fresh all at the same time. The story lines are ones we know: a grandfather spending time with his grandson; a son avenging his father; miracles; and, of course, true love. But the movie is intertwined with such joy, humor and unexpected quips, that it surprises and never gets old. No matter our age, gender, background, or mood, The Princess Bride is always the perfect fit.
I first saw The Princess Bride the year it was released (1987). Just a year out of college, it charmed me and made me laugh. Years later, I introduced it to my soon-to-be-husband who immediately fell under its spell. When our children came along, it became a family night favorite and, as they have grown, the jokes have become funnier, the subtle humor more appreciated and the lines more quotable. On more than one occasion I quoted Miracle Max as they headed out of the house “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”
When released, The Princess Bride was not a blockbuster hit. It wasn’t until release on VCR that it truly hit its stride and became popular. It is now universal. Test this yourself. Ask people you know what their favorite line is from The Princess Bride. You will be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t have a quote or who hasn’t seen the film. In a 2012 interview in New York Magazine, Patinkin said that his most famous line from gets quoted back to him by at least two or three strangers every day of his life. Patinkin told the interviewer that he loves hearing the line and he also loves the general fact that he got to be in “The Wizard Of Oz of our generation.” What an apt description. Like The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride is a celebration of storytelling! So let’s celebrate its 30th anniversary at the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s PIX Flix on Monday, November 13, 2017 – 6:30 pm.
What’s MY favorite quote? Meet me at the Theatre on the 13th, and I’ll let you know!
This exciting film did not come without its dangers, however. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, reacted to the makeup and had to be replaced. The aluminum powder makeup coated his lungs, causing him to be hospitalized and the makeup team to switch to an aluminum paste over a layer of clown white. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch Of The West, suffered second degree burns when the grease in her makeup caught fire during a Munchkinland scene. They had to fully remove the makeup before treating her burns. After six weeks in the hospital, she returned to finish filming.