7 reasons why we will always love The Princess Bride and Cary Elwes


With Cary Elwes being cast to play a villain in Stranger Things, let’s reflect on his heroic role of Westley and the fabulous film that is The Princess Bride.

While The Princess Bride received modest box office success when it was released back in 1987, this enduring classic has developed a cult status over the past 30 years. Adapted from William Goldman’s novel of the same name, The Princess Bride was directed by Rob Reiner and features a stellar cast including Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Sheen, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant and Billy Crystal. Individually, they are all fantastic. Together, they are unbelievable, or should we say “inconceivable.”

If you are a fan, then enjoy this jaunt down memory lane. If you are not yet versed in the enchanting land of Florin and its folks, then here are a few reasons why you should watch The Princess Bride.

It’s a ray of fantasy sunshine

In a movie era where fantasy films sought to be edgy, dark and artsy, such as Legend, Willow and Labyrinth, The Princess Bride veered in the opposite direction. Rather than be dictated to by dominant trends, The Princess Bride is an escape in a fairytale land that does not take itself too seriously.

The movie has no qualms playing on exaggerating stereotypes and twisting things around. While a typical fantasy film may feature creatures like unicorns, the beasts of The Princess Bride are truly ridiculous. The waters of Florin are infested with carnivorous shrieking eels, and The Fire Swamp is inhabited by the ferocious R.O.U.S. (rodents of unusual size). The film is a pastiche of fairytale tropes that successfully entwines and amplifies multiple genres. It is the most romance-y of romances, a swashbuckling adventure, a hysterical comedy and a tale of mystery and revenge.

Westley and Buttercup are the perfect fairytale couple

Westley (Cary Elwes) and Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) play the fairytale couple to perfection. Every time Westley says “As you wish” to Princess Buttercup, it is a declaration of his true love. They are both stunningly gorgeous, stunningly righteous and stunningly in love.

Apparently, the actors were a little smitten with each other, which works to explain the on-screen chemistry. As Elwes confirmed in his book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, he was quite taken with Wright. “I could not quite concentrate on much of anything after that first encounter with Robin,” he says in the book.

Wright was equally distracted working alongside Elwes, admitting in 2014, “I was convinced we were going to be married, which was a revelation when I told him recently.”

The best cinematic sword fight in history

The duel between The Man in Black, aka Westley, and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), is recognized as one of the greatest sword fights in cinematic history. Not reliant on CGI trickery or expert stand-ins, this well-choreographed fight is the result of two actors who trained hard in the art of fencing for the film. They wield their swords using both their left and right hands with dexterity while complimenting each other on their technique. It is packaged with suspenseful music and the sun setting over the ruins at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity.

The audience is part of the film

The narrative style of The Princess Bride knocks at the imaginary 4th wall of cinema. The story is told by a grandpa (Peter Falk) who is reading a bedtime story to his grandson (Fred Savage). Grandpa is also reading the story to us. While the characters don’t directly talk to the audience, there are a few moments where it seems as if they know we are there. When Montoya and Fezzik (Andre the Giant) are talking on the boat, they pause mid sentence to find a word to rhyme with the previous sentence. It is as if they pausing for us to join in as well. Part of the legacy of The Princess Bride is the audience’s engagement with the film. No matter how many times it is re-watched, it has all the nostalgia of a reunion with a dear, old friend.

The witty dialogue and Westley’s sassy comebacks

The Princess Bride is crammed so full with witty banter and dialogue, it is tricky to pick out the best interactions and lines. Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) and his workshopping of poisoned chalice choices in the battle of wits is remarkable. Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) has some strange views, such as how true love is the greatest thing in the world… except for a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Yet, it is Cary Elwes’ Westley who is the king of comebacks. While classic action heroes of the ’80s are known for a few well-timed exclamations per film, Westley continually throws back snappy retorts amid usual conversations. This just adds to his utter coolness.

Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black (aka Westley): Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Buttercup the Princess Bride: We’ll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.

Fezzik is an emblem of gentility and sportsmanship

While Princess Buttercup is gleaming with chastity, the most pure character is Fezzik, played by the late Andre the Giant (nee André René Roussimoff). Andre’s performance is a far cry from his over-the-top top action played out in the ring as a World Wrestling Federation star. All characters in The Princess Bride are caricatures, including Fezzik as a poetic gentle giant. Yet, Andre the Giant’s portrayal makes Fezzik feel honest and fair, even if he has been ordered to dispatch of Westley.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Montoya and this phrase are pop culture icons. This Spanish swordsman is an endearing mercenary obsessed with hunting down the six-fingered man who killed his father. When he finally confronts the six-fingered man, Count Tyrone Rugen (Christopher Guest), Montoya says his epic line repeatedly during their sword fight. Each time, Montoya says it faster and louder.  Yet, he also realizes his whole life has been about this kill. What purpose will his life have once revenge is exacted?

This classic scene is paid homage to by George RR Martin — with just a tad more blood and gore — in the Game of Thrones episode “The Mountain and the Viper.” Oberon Martell (Pedro Pascal) is consumed by revenge and repeatedly talks mid-duel about the violent atrocities committed against his family by Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Alas, things don’t end up so flash for Martell.

Related Story: 6 classic and creepy Winona Ryder films Stranger Things fans should watch

We’re already hyped to see stars of the ’80s in Stranger Things‘ third season, especially now that they have added Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride to the list.

Elwes is set to play a sleezy politician. How will he do? Even when he pretended to be Dread Pirates at the start of The Princess Bride, there was no removing the twinkle of heroism in his eye.