Princess Bride (1987) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I'm not sure what happened to Rob Reiner in the 90's and beyond, but the ol' meathead was really on top of the word in the late 80's. In one five year span, he directed:

  1. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
  2. Princess Bride, The (1987)
  3. Stand by Me (1986)
  4. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Each of those movies is in (or on the cusp of being in) IMDB's Top 250 of all time. Spinal Tap is the undisputed best mockumentary of all time. Princess Bride is one of the two or three best fairy tales, perhaps the best non-musical one. When Harry met Sally is one of the top romantic comedies.

I guess one of the things that Reiner lost since then was his gift for picking collaborators. Nora Ephron was part of the genius of Harry/Sally, basically creating the Sally character. Multiple Oscar nominee William Goldman was the driving force behind Princess Bride, having written both the screenplay and the novel upon which it is based. Comic geniuses Chris Guest and Harry Shearer were the spirit of Spinal Tap.


none (the movie can and should be watched by children of all ages)
I hope Reiner finds some new co-conspirators or whatever he needs to recover whatever it is that he once had, because I sure like his best movies. I'd put both Spinal Tap and Princess Bride on my own top 100, and I'd put both Princess Bride and Harry/Sally on my short list of most romantic movies.

What can ya say about Princess Bride? A damsel in distress, an evil prince and his henchmen, a piracy franchise, flashing swords, honor, humor, true love, Inspector Columbo, and Andre the Giant. What more does a story need? It is one of the few movies which operates on all levels so that it can be appreciated by kids who love fairy tales, kids who hate fairy tales, people who love swashbuckling adventures, and people who hate swashbuckling adventures. It can be appreciated by girls, and by those boys who hate girly movies. It is a movie that can be watched with your small kids, even if you hate most movies that small kids like. And your wife will like it as well!

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Commentary by director Rob Reiner

  • Commentary by author William Goldman

  • Brand-new "As You Wish" documentary featuring all-new interviews with Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin and more

  • Exclusive footage shot by Cary Elwes during the making of the movie

  • 2 original featurettes

Could anyone not like it? Inconceivable! Actually, although it is one of those rare films with a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, there are some negative comments at IMDb, so I guess there are some people who don't like it.

In my mind, the best thing about it is the enemy-turned-friend relationship of The Spaniard and The Dread Roberts the Pirate. Their fight is about honor, courtesy, skill, panache, courage, and the love of the game.

I firmly believe that if you watch this movie with your kids, they will continue to watch it again and again throughout their lives. And it will teach them some worthwhile values, to boot.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Apollo 86/100, BBC 4/5, 4.5/5

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 8.2/100 (Top 100 of all time), Apollo users a similar 82/100
  • with their dollars ... it did OK, but was not a great success. It grossed $31 million, cost $16 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is an A. Score it lower? Inconceivable.

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