AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Summary View of Movie
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Princess Bride
Director: Rob Reiner (Dir)
Release Date:   25 Sep 1987
Duration (in mins):  101
Print this page
Display Movie Detail


Cast: Cary Elwes  (Westley)
  Mandy Patinkin  (Inigo Montoya)
  Chris Sarandon  (Prince Humperdinck)
 

Summary: A man visits his sick grandson with a book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. After the boy begrudgingly agrees to the bedtime story, the grandfather begins reading. First introduced in the book is Buttercup, a girl who lives on a farm in Florin. She loves to boss around the farmhand, Westley, who answers every order with, “As you wish.” They fall in love. At hearing this, the boy worries that this is going to be a “kissing book.” Westley has no money to support Buttercup, so he leaves to seek his fortune. Buttercup is heartbroken to hear that Westley has been captured and murdered by the Dread Pirates. Five years later, Prince Humperdinck of Florin announces his engagement to Buttercup. They are to marry in a month. However, Buttercup is kidnapped by three men, Vizzini, the giant Fezzik and Inigo Montoya. Vizzini, the leader of the group, plans to kill Buttercup and frame Florin's enemy, the country of Guilder, for her murder in hopes of starting a war. The kidnappers set sail, but spot another boat following them. Reaching land, Vizzini and Fezzik go ahead with Buttercup while Montoya is left to deal with the man from the other boat, who is dressed in black and wears a mask. Montoya asks if the Man in Black has six fingers on his right hand. He does not. The kidnapper explains that a six-fingered man killed his father, and he has trained for twenty years to become skilled enough to defeat him. Should he ever find the six-fingered man, he plans to say “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” before exacting his revenge. In the ensuing duel the Man in Black knocks Inigo out. Later, the Man in Black runs into Fezzik, who proposes hand-to-hand combat; but in the ensuing struggle Fezzik becomes exhausted and passes out. The Man in Black reaches Vizzini and Buttercup and suggests a battle of wits, which ends in Vizzini's death. Buttercup identifies the Man in Black as the Dread Pirate Roberts who killed her love, Westley. He replies that she should be thankful Westley died before he found out how unfaithful she could be. As Humperdinck and his men close in on them. Buttercup tells the Man in Black he can die for all she cares and pushes him down a steep hill. Rolling down the grassy incline he yells, "As you wish!” and Buttercup realizes the man in Black is actually Westley, and she rolls down the hill after him. Humperdinck thinks the two are headed into the Fire Swamp. Westley asks Buttercup why she did not wait for him, as not even death can stop true love. They kiss. At this point, the boy interrupts the story again, complaining about the second "kissing part." He tells his grandfather to skip ahead to the Fire Swamp. In the Fire Swamp, Westley tells Buttercup that the original Dread Pirate Roberts retired fifteen years ago and his name and ship were passed down through several men before Westley took on the role--but he can now give it up since he has found Buttercup. The pair survives the Fire Swamp only to be met by Humperdinck and his men. Buttercup offers to go peacefully with the prince if he promises to return Westley to his ship unharmed. Humperdinck agrees, but then instructs Count Rugen to instead take Westley to the Pit of Despair. After Buttercup leaves with the prince, Westley notices there are six fingers on Rugen’s right hand. In the Pit of Despair, an albino tells Westley he is to be tortured by “the machine.” It is ten days before the wedding, and Buttercup tells Humperdinck she cannot marry him and would sooner kill herself than live without Westley. Humperdinck offers to find Westley for her but asks that she marry him if Westley does not want her. In the forest with Rugen, Humperdinck reveals that he hired Vizzini to kill Buttercup on their engagement day and now looks forward to killing her on their wedding night! He wants to start a war with Guilder. The count opens a secret door in a tree that leads to the Pit. As the Albino prepares Westley for torture, Rugen explains “the machine,” his hydro-powered invention, takes years off a person's life. He demonstrates by sucking one year from Westley's life. Humperdinck instructs one of his men to empty the Thieves' Forest on the day of the wedding for fear that killers from Guilder are hiding there. Inigo is drunk inside the Thieves' Forest and refuses to move. Fezzik arrives. He nurses Inigo back to sobriety and tells him about Vizzini's death and Count Rugen, the six-fingered man. Inigo decides he needs the Man in Black to help him reach the count. Buttercup figures out that Humperdinck made no efforts to find Westley, but is confident Westley will come anyway. She calls Humperdinck a coward. Angered by this, Humperdinck goes down to the Pit and turns the machine on, pushing the setting up to 50. Westley screams so loud the whole kingdom can hear it. Inigo and Fezzik head in the direction of the scream. They find Westley, but think he is dead. At this very moment, the boy interrupts his grandfather and demands to know who kills Humperdinck. The grandfather tells him no one does. The boy is upset, but does not want his grandfather to stop reading. Inigo and Fezzik bring Westley to Miracle Max, who concocts a "miracle pill" for the aged Westley. Inigo and Fezzik approach the castle carrying Westley. They administer the pill to him. He immediately gains consciousness, but lacks the strength to move. Inigo explains that Buttercup is to be married in less than half an hour, and Westley formulates a plan. While the wedding takes place inside the castle, Fezzik poses at the gate as the Dread Pirate Roberts, scaring off the guards. Humperdinck rushes the ceremony, urging the bishop to simply pronounce him and Buttercup married. The bishop obeys and Buttercup is escorted to the honeymoon suite. Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley meet Rugen and the castle guards. Inigo chases after the count, and repeats, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," as he and Rugen fence. Finally, Inigo kills the count, while in the honeymoon suite, Buttercup prepares to kill herself. Still unable to move, Westley calls to her from his bed just before she commits the tragic act. Buttercup runs to him, and he explains that she is not married because she did not say 'I do.' Humperdinck enters and challenges Westley to a duel. Westley explains that he plans not to kill Humperdinck, but to thoroughly maim him so that he will live in "freakish misery." Humperdinck thinks it is a bluff, but when Westley slowly stands and points his sword at him, Humperdinck is convinced of Westley's intentions and obeys when told to drop his sword and sit in a chair so Buttercup can tie him up. Inigo arrives and offers to kill Humperdinck, but Westley wants him to live a long, lonely life as a coward. Fezzik calls for Inigo from outside. He has found four white horses in the prince's stables. Before they mount, Westley offers Inigo a job as the next Dread Pirate Roberts. The four ride off. The grandfather stops reading, dismissing the rest of the story as more kissing stuff. The boy says he wants to hear it. Westley and Buttercup's kiss is described as surpassing any other kiss in passion and purity. "The end." The boy asks his grandfather to read the book to him again tomorrow. "As you wish," his grandfather replies. 

Distribution Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Production Company: Act III Communications
Director: Rob Reiner (Dir)
  David Barron (U. K. prod mgr)
  Ken Baker (Asst dir)
  Peter Bennett (Asst dir)
  Loretta Ordewer (Unit mgr (Derbyshire))
  Paul Taylor (3d asst dir)
  Beverly Keogh (Crowd coordinator)
Producer: Andrew Scheinman (Prod)
  Rob Reiner (Prod)
  Norman Lear (Exec prod)
  Jeffrey Scott (Assoc prod)
  Steve Nicolaides (Assoc prod)
Writer: William Goldman (Scr)

Subject Major: bedtime stories
  Adventures
  Pirates
  Romance
  Royalty
 
Subject Minor: Duels
  Giants
  Grandfathers
  Grandsons
  Hired killers
  Kidnapping
  Marriage--Forced
  Revenge
  Torture

Display Movie Detail
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.