On September 25th, 1987, The Princess Bride hit theaters and although it was not a box office smash upon arrival, it has become one of the most beloved cult movies in history and now the cast and crew are looking back at 30 years of the romantic fantasy adventure-comedy. Rob Reiner directed the movie off of William Goldman's adaptation from his 1973 novel, The Princess Bride, and the movie has gone on to become a cultural touchstone for generations to pass down. The stars of the movie continue to have quotes recited to them on an almost daily basis and the movie may or may not have saved someone's life.
Rob Reiner recently shared a story about the cult favorite movie saving a woman's life. Reiner recounted a story where a woman came up to him at a restaurant and shared that she had been trapped in an avalanche while skiing along with a group of other skiers. The director said that the woman knew The Princess Bride by heart and recited the movie to entertain everybody while they nearly froze to death. That's the kind of movie that The Princess Bride has become. It's practically its own cultural language.
According to Variety, after making 1984's Spinal Tap, Reiner decided that he wanted to make The Princess Bride next. As it turns out, Reiner's enthusiasm was not shared by the studio at all. He explains.
"It was an impossible sell. The funny thing about it was that before I made Stand by Me - I had made Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing - I had a meeting with this executive at Paramount. She said, 'We love your films. What do you want to do next? I said, 'Well, you don't want to do what I want to do.' She said, 'No, that's not true. I want to do what you want to do. I said, 'No, no. You want me to do what you want to do.' She said, 'No, no. I want to do what you want to do. What is it?' I said The Princess Bride. She said, 'Well, anything but that.'"
As it turns out, Reiner wasn't the first one to discover William Goldman's novel and that the movie had been attempted to have been made at least once, but the project folded. Reiner was a man on a mission and ended up getting financial backing from All in the Family's producer, Norman Lear.
Fred Savage was only 10-years old when he was cast as the sick boy whose grandfather read him The Princess Bride. Savage recalls that he's pretty sure that his parts were the last to be filmed and that the rest of the movie had already been completed. Robin Wright who portrayed Buttercup admits that she was "petrified" before filming started, but said that everything changed when she arrived in England to film and discovered that everybody was a big "warm family." The cast sang songs together and shared meals. Wright said that the experience was amazing and that they all spent a lot of time laughing.
Chris Sarandon, who played Prince Humperdinck, talked about Andre the Giant (Fezzik} being the heart of the set and the movie. Sarandon also noted that his daughters were very excited about him working with a "giant." Andre was a world-famous professional wrestler in the 1980s and he was 7'4" and weighed 519 pounds. Wright also recalled just how warm and giving Andre was. She had this to say.
"He was so caretaking, that's what I remember. We're in the middle of the forest and we'd be standing next to each other in our costumes and it's freaking cold and wet. He put his hands on my head literally to keep me warm from shivering. His hands covered my whole head. The heat from his hand was like an electric blanket. He was just very sweet and thoughtful. He would always hand me his coat if my coat wasn't nearby. Really sweet."
Apparently, Cary Elwes (Westley) and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya) took their sword fighting very seriously and they trained with Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson who both worked on Star Wars. The duo were the top in their industry as Elwes recalls. To prepare for their roles, Elwes and Patinkin tried to watch "every sword fight ever filmed," according to Elwes. In a random turn of events, Elwes, Sarandon, and Wright claim that The Princess Bride is very popular in the Mormon community, which they believe is because of the "good values in it."
Billy Crystal was only on the set for 3 days, but he echoes the sentiment that the cast and crew were all a family. Crystal had this to say.
"Great experiences that are really about what movies, the magic of making a movie is about. Here you are working with a Bill Goldman script, a brilliant group of actors, and a bold director who would take this kind of movie on to make a simple, beautiful, funny story like this."
The Princess Bride is a cult classic that is much bigger now than it ever was 30 years ago. It's become a movie that families watch with each other as a part of tradition and a movie that just about everybody can recite many, if not all of the dialogue from. For fans that never got the chance to see the movie in the theaters, Fathom Events is holding screenings around the world on October 15th and 17th.