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The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure Hardcover – November 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Illustrated edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544173767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544173767
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

WILLIAM GOLDMAN has been writing books and movies for more than forty years. He has won two Academy Awards (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men), and three Lifetime Achievement Awards in screenwriting.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction to the
30th Anniversary Edition
by
WILLIAM GOLDMAN
 
Until a couple of weeks ago, this introduction would have been real short: “Why are you buying this book?” is what I would have said. Or more accurately, this edition of this book?
   Buy the 25th anniversary version, I would have told you. It’s got a long intro by yours truly where I explain a lot about the Morgenstern estate and the horrible legal problems I’ve had with them. That version is still out there and what you are interested in is the same thing that I am interested in—namely, at last, getting Buttercup’s Baby published.
   I would also have gone on to tell you that there is nothing to report on that front. Same old same old. Well, that was then, as they say.
   Something new has very much happened.
 
Let me tell you how I first heard of the existence of the Morgenstern Museum.
   Back we go to 1986, Sheffield, England, and we are shooting the movie of The Princess Bride. It was such a happy time for me, at last Morgenstern coming to life on film. I had written the screenplay for it first over a decade before—but it had never been “picked up,” as they say Out There, till then.
   I ordinarily do not not not like being on movie sets. I once wrote that the best day of your life is your first day on a set and the worst days are all the ones that follow. They are tedious and horrible for several reasons: (1) they are tedious and horrible (but you won’t believe that, I know), and (2) if you are the writer, essentially, your work is done.
   I make the actors nervous, but more than that, and if I have written this before, skip this part, I have an amazing ability to screw up shots. I hide on the sets out of the way when the camera rolls, but I cannot tell you how often the director, just as he is about to start, sees where I am and asks me to please move, because I am standing in the exact spot where the shot will end.
   A few days before the day I am about to tell you about, we were shooting the Fire Swamp. And there is a moment in the movie where Cary Elwes (Westley) starts to lead Robin Wright (Buttercup) through it.
   Now I know what is going to happen—there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire. Why am I so smart? Because Morgenstern wrote it, I adapted it for the novel, and used it in every draft of the screenplay, of which, believe me, there were many.
   OK, I am standing there on the set of the Fire Swamp and Rob Reiner goes “action, Cary” and here they come into view, those two wonderful actors, and I am watching from a corner of the set, and he leads her forward, one step, another step—
   —at which point there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire.
   At which point (so humiliating) I start to shout, “Her dress is on fire, her dress is on fire,” totally destroying the shot.
   Rob yells “Cut,” turns to me and in a voice I can still hear, he says with all the patience he can muster, “Bill, it’s supposed to catch on fire.”
   I think I came up with something real smart like “I knew that, sorry” and hid.
   OK, now you can start reading again.
   The next night we were shooting outside, the attack on the castle, and it was cold. Bitter, British cold. The whole crew is bundled up, but the wind cut in on us anyway. I remember it was as cold as any time I ever had on a movie set. Everyone was freezing.
   Except Andre.
   I have no way to explain this, but Andre never got cold. Maybe it’s a giant thing, I never asked him. But he was sitting there that night in the tights he wore and all he had on top was a very thin towel across his shoulders. (Of course, it never made it all the way across his shoulders, being a normal sized towel.) And as we talked, and I mean this now, dozens of people would walk up to him, say hello, and then ask if they could get him a coat or a blanket or anything else to keep him warm and he would say always, “No, Boss, thank you Boss, I’m fine” and go back to talking to me.
   I just loved being around him. I am starting my fifth decade of movie madness and he was by far the most popular figure on any film set I ever knew. A bunch of us—Billy Crystal I think was one—used to spitball about doing a TV series for Andre, so he could cut down the three hundred plus days a year of travel wrestling required. I think it was going to be called something like Here Comes Andre and it was going to be about a wrestler who decided he’d had enough and got a job as a baby-sitter.
   Kids went nuts over him. Whenever I’d walk into the Fire Swamp set, there he’d be, one kid on his head, a couple on each shoulder, one in each hand. They were the children of people who worked on the movie and they would all sit there in silence, watching the shoot.
   “Beeeel?” It is now that freezing night and I could tell from his tone, we were entering into difficult terrain. He took a long pause before continuing. “Ow doo yoo theenk, so far eees my Feh-zeeeek?”
   I told him the truth, which was that I had written the part for him. Back in ’41 when my father first read the Morgenstern to me, I naturally had no idea movies were written. They were just these things I loved going to at the Alcyon. Later, when I got in the business and adapted this for the Silver Screen, I had no idea who should play Fezzik if the movie ever actually happened. Then one night on the tube there Andre was wrestling. He was young then, I don’t think much over twenty-five.
   Helen (my wife then, the world - famous shrink) and I arewatching the tube in bed. Or rather, I am watching the tube,Helen is translating one of her books into French. I screamed—“Helen, my God, look, Fezzik.”
   She knew what I was talking about, knew how important a movie of the Morgenstern was to me, understood how many times it had come close, how upset I was that it never seemingly would happen. She had tried on occasion to get me to deal with the reality, which was that the movie might not get made. I think she started to make that pitch again, then saw the look in my eyes as I watched Andre slaughter a bunch of bad guys.
   “He’ll be great,” she said, trying very hard to assure me.
 
And here I was, a decade - plus later, chatting with this amazing Frenchman, who I will envision now and forever with little kids climbing all over him. “Your Fezzik is wonderful,” I said. And it was. Yes, his French accent was a trifle thick, but once you got used to it, no problem.
   “I ’ave work vairy ’aard to be so. Thees is much more deeper par’ than Beeg - fooooot.” (One of his only other non–wrestling roles was when he had played Bigfoot years before on I think a Six Million Dollar Man.) “I doo vair’ much resear. For my char.”
   I realized right off that “char” was Andre for “character.” “What research, exactly?” I figured he was going to tell me he’d read the French edition several times.
   “Eye clime thee cleefs.”
   “The Cliffs of Insanity?” I was stunned. You cannot imagine how steep they are.
   “Oh, oui, many times, up an down, up an down.”
   “But Andre, what if you had fallen?”
   “Eye was vair scair thee firss time, but then eye know thees: Feh - zeeek would nevair sleep.”
   Suddenly it was like I was engaged in conversation with Lee Strasberg.
   “An’ I fight zee groops too. Fezzik fight zee groops, Eye fight zee groups. Wuz goooood.”
   And then he said the crucial thing—“’ave you veezeet the Museum? Miee besss re-sair was zairrr.”
   I said I didn’t know which museum he was talking about.
   For the next little while, Andre told me. . . .
   But did I go? Did not. Never went to Florin, never thought much about it. No, not true, I did think about it but I didn’t visit for one reason: I was afraid the place would disappoint me.
   My first trip was when Stephen King more or less sent me there when I was researching the first chapter of Buttercup’s Baby. (For an explanation, take a look at the intro to the 25th Anniversary edition, you’ll understand a lot more when you’ve read that—it’s included here, on page xxix—along with the actual chapter of Buttercup’s Baby, which you’ll find at the end of the reprinting of The Princess Bride.
   That first trip, I spent several days both in Florin City and the surrounding countryside, ran around like mad, saw an amazing amount of stuff—but the Museum was closed for renovations during my stay.
   Figured I’d catch it the next time. Whenever that might turn out to be.
   It turned out to be a lot sooner than I thought.

Customer Reviews

I think The Princess Bride movie is ridiculous.
Ruby
The illustrations are beautiful and really add to the story.
Carmen F. Correia
After watching the movie I decided to get the book.
Marie E. Ryznar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Dau on December 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this classy edition with illustrations that intentionally avoid tying in with the movie. There is so much more humor in the book than they could pack into the movie. However, be aware that the fuller treatment of the book does put a bit of a different take on the characters and if you love the way they're depicted in the movie, you may be put out at times by the book. It would be best to say the the book and the movie are two different experiences of the same story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. B. Alder on March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my favorite book in all the world. I've bought this book probably a half dozen times for my self and mostly friends since reading it in college. This is a beautifully designed edition out with some great artwork to enhance the story. The book is a little heavier than other versions so this one will be better for your home library than in a backpack but even so I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By shannon S. windham on December 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Princess Bride is a charming and funny fable filled with love and adventure. It's the kind of book that will keep you up all night not wanting to put the book down. This fairy tale dances through adventure and shows us what fighting for love is like. It’s not only a love story but also a book with excitement and suspense which is why it’s a must read.

William Goldman writes The Princess Bride as an abbreviated novel. The original book was written by S. Morgenstern, but Goldman rewrites it and cuts out all the boring parts and left only the fun and adventuring parts of the book which makes every page interesting and exciting. No one wants to read a book when there are continuous boring chapters that make it hard to want to continue reading. The Princess Bride is not boring but filled with lots of excitement, love and adventure. It starts off with Buttercup, who is one of the world’s twenty most beautiful women; she lives on a farm with her parents, her horse, which she enjoys riding, and Westley, their farm boy. Westley always responds to Buttercups request to "as you wish” and he is secretly in love with Buttercup. Throughout time Buttercup realizes that she is deeply in love with Westley and confesses her love to him. Shortly after, he tells Buttercup he is leaving America to seek his fortune. As they say there goodbye they share the most beautiful kiss. Buttercup’s heart is broken because Westley is leaving. Later, Buttercup agrees to marry a Prince by the name of Prince Humperdinck. Before their marriage Buttercup is kidnapped by some bad guys and taken away on a boat. The story goes on with suspense, fighting, fencing, pain, sadness, a giant, a man in black, and a surprise and unexpected turn… all things that make a great novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marie E. Ryznar on February 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After watching the movie I decided to get the book. It was so enjoyable. Recommend it for everyone's library. Enjoy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RuthSophia on May 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely LOVED reading this book....

Goldman claims took out the "dry" and "boring stuff" that Morgenstern had in his book. Which basically means all the satire on Florin is gone (the stuff that the Florin history buffs love). Of course, now I want to go hunt up his enormous book and read it for myself (even though this "unabridged" book doesn't exist ... I know, I tried finding it!), even though apparently Morgenstern wasn't concerned about the material that makes up the hilarious "good parts" version. The book is just as quotable as the movie. ...It really is a must read.

Goldman's "abridgement" style is wonderful. He tells you what he is cutting out and why, and then tells the story in Morgenstern's actual words. Well, that's what he wants you to think ... I think it's just part of Goldman's style to say he edited a book to allow for some of the "lapses" - but that doesn't change the fact that I think this is a great book! And the lapses fit the style of the book very well - creative writing in fine form.

Read the book...Enjoy life. Unlike Westley you probably only have one to live.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raul R. Estela on July 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite movie! I had never read the book and decided to pick up this copy. I find myself chuckling to myself as I read the book. My wife has claimed dibs on reading it next. While the movie is fantastic, the book nicely fills in some details not included in the movie.You can't go wrong with anything related to The Princess Bride.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruno mars lover on February 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down! It was that good. The movie follows the storyline, but it doesn't put in all the sarcasm and thought provoking questions. At first I thought it was going to be written like any medical book, but then I was amazed. William Goldman made the story fairly funny. The fact that Morgenstern never existed just tickled me pink. The original book never existed. It's truly a marvel in modern writing. BUY THIS BOOK!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The main story is genius, but I thought the back story with Morganstein (spelling?) as the pretended original author was quite tedious. My husband and son, however, love that part,
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