The Princess Bride
20th Anniversary Edition
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From celebrated director Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally) and Oscar-winning* screenwriter William Goldman (Chaplin) comes "an enchanting fantasy" (Time) filled with adventure, romance and plenty of "good-hearted fun" (Roger Ebert)! Featuring a spectacular cast that includes Robin Wright (Forrest Gump), Cary Elwes (Liar, Liar), Mandy Patinkin (Dick Tracy) and Billy Crystal (City Slickers), this wonderful fairy tale about a Princess named Buttercup and her beloved is "a real dream of a movie" (People)!
*1969: Original Screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
1976: Adapted Screenplay, All the President's Men
Screenwriter William Goldman's novel The Princess Bride earned its own loyal audience on the strength of its narrative voice and its gently satirical, hyperbolic spin on swashbuckled adventure that seemed almost purely literary. For all its derring-do and vivid over-the-top characters, the book's joy was dictated as much by the deadpan tone of its narrator and a winking acknowledgement of the clichés being sent up. Miraculously, director Rob Reiner and Goldman himself managed to visualize this romantic fable while keeping that external voice largely intact: using a storytelling framework, avuncular Grandpa (Peter Falk) gradually seduces his skeptical grandson (Fred Savage) into the absurd, irresistible melodrama of the title story. And what a story: a lowly stable boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), pledges his love to the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright), only to be abducted and reportedly killed by pirates while Buttercup is betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdinck. Even as Buttercup herself is kidnapped by a giant, a scheming criminal mastermind, and a master Spanish swordsman, a mysterious masked pirate (could it be Westley?) follows in pursuit. As they sail toward the Cliffs of Insanity... The wild and woolly arcs of the story, the sudden twists of fate, and, above all, the cartoon-scaled characters all work because of Goldman's very funny script, Reiner's confident direction, and a terrific cast. Elwes and Wright, both sporting their best English accents, juggle romantic fervor and physical slapstick effortlessly, while supporting roles boast Mandy Patinkin (the swordsman Inigo Montoya), Wallace Shawn (the incredulous schemer Vizzini), and Christopher Guest (evil Count Rugen) with brief but funny cameos from Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and Peter Cook. --Sam Sutherland
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Stills from The Princess Bride (Click for larger image)
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Top customer reviews
A search of the internet shows several reviews that describe the differences between the DVD versions. Basically the "Dread Pirate Roberts" edition and the "20th Anniversery" edition have different special features not in the other edition.
As of this writing, there are three versions of the Blu-ray - the Blu-ray only edition, and the Blu-ray + DVD edition in either a Blu-Ray or the old style DVD case.
What makes it confusing is that Amazon and other sellers of this Blu-Ray only edition list this movie as a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, implying that it might be a different movie cut, while the other two Blu-ray editions are listed as 1.85:1 aspect ratio. No doubt this, together with the fact that the Blu-Ray + DVD edition has almost the same price, has hampered sales of this Blu-Ray only edition.
Well, I went ahead and got the Blu-Ray only edition, mainly because I thought that there might be a chance that the 1.33:1 ratio was because some older movies were filmed on 35mm film which has a natural 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and then were cropped top and bottom to a 1.85:1 ratio to give them a widescreen look. On the other hand, the very first DVD edition released for Princess Bride notoriously had a horrible pan-and-scan cropped to fullscreen 1.33:1 aspect ratio that showed less of the movie than the widescreen version, which is not what you want to see in a Blu-ray. I was hoping for the other possibility that the listed 1.33:1 for this Blu-ray edition meant that cropping had been removed from the widescreen version to show MORE of the movie as it was originally filmed.
However, on playing this Blu-ray, it was immediately obvious that this Blu-Ray only edition is the same 1.85:1 aspect ratio as the other Blu-Ray editions. So all those listed descriptions of this Blu-Ray as a 1.33:1 aspect ratio are just flat out wrong.
What are the other goodies on this Blu-Ray? The Special Features include:
Audio Commentary by Rob Reiner
Audio Commentary by William Goldman
The Art of Fencing
As You Wish, The Story of The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes, Video Diary
The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas
Fairy Tales and Folklore
Love is Like a Storybook
Original Theatrical Trailer
Princess Bride: The Untold Tales
So, this Blu-Ray contains essentially all the special features of the "Dread Pirate Roberts" edition and the "20th Anniversary Edition" except for the DVD games and the booklet. The special features are in their original DVD or lower quality video resolution, although it seems that some of the excerpts from the movie itself have been re-edited to use the higher Blu-Ray resolution.
The Blu-Ray quality is excellent, except for being a bit grainy in some parts - tweaking the sharpness or edge enhancement helps, if you have this feature on your Blu-Ray player.
Finally, a few words about the movie - it is an absolutely wonderful classic - a warm, romantic, and humorous mythology, one of those perfect family movies that could be shown every year just like "A Christmas Story". It was known to be the late Andre the Giant's happiest experience in life, playing the role of Fezzik; he regularly watched the movie afterwards.
It belongs on the list of my favorite films of all time.
I daresay the book has even more humor and more wit than the film adaptation. William Goldman's story telling is pure genius, writing from a satirical 1st person perspective of how he created an abridged version of an old non-fictional book from a fictional country written by a fictional author. As you read through the "abridged version" you will frequently stumble across familiar lines you've come to love from the film ("INCONCEIVABLE!") but with slight variations in certain parts (ex. a more detailed story of how Wesley and Buttercup fall in love on the farm), and often times even more brilliant substance added to classic scenes you already love (Prince Humperdink's Zoo of Death).
You also gain a better understanding of the film and why certain scenes play out the way that they do, such as why Inigo drunkenly yells out to Vizzini that he's going "back to the beginning" and the backstories to both Inigo and Fezzik beginning from childhood.
After reading the book you'll have a newfound appreciation for the movie which you'll see is a fantastic adaptation, and you'll have a fantastic time wrapped around Goldman's hilarious finger as he guides you through a truly wonderful story that feels exactly like the timeless classic we've enjoyed watching for years.
If you've never seen the movies, you'll like the book. If you've seen the movie a million times like I have, you'll LOVE the book. It's truly a must have for every Princess Bride fan. You won't be disappointed.
Seriously, this has to be one of the greatest 'lines movies' ever, by which I mean you will be quoting (indeed, spouting) lines from this movie for the rest of your life, once you watch it. Finally, you will understand why your friends say things like:
- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
- Have fun storing the castle.
- Rest well and dream of large women.
- Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line
...and, of course, the classic:
- Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!
Seriously, if you are reading this review trying to decide whether or not to watch this movie, see it... JUST SEE IT!