When The Princess Bride was first released in theaters over 30 years ago in 1987, virtually no-one would ever have been able to predict the cultural significance this beloved film would come to have. Despite being incredibly well-received by film critics when it was released, The Princess Bride was far from a commercial success during its theatrical run. But in the years of home release that followed, the film took on a real cult status, catapulting it into the history books as one of the most beloved adventure comedy films of all time.
Starring the likes of Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Chris Sarandon, Carol Kane, Billy Crystal, and Peter Falk, the film dances nimbly between the genres of fantasy, adventure, comedy, and romance. It still holds up on every successive rewatch, and there are so many jokes packed in the film it almost begs to be rewatched. Along with the rapidfire jokes, the film is one of the most frequently quoted to this day. Here, we take a look at some of the most memorable quotes The Princess Bride gave us.
10 "Let me explain. ... No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
Mandy Patinkin's Inigo Montoya is often a man of very few words. But sometimes, there's just too many words. As a member of Vizzini's criminal team, Inigo acts as the brains to Fezzik's brawn, and together, the duo are virtually unstoppable. Inigo can get ahead of himself, though, and lose all concept of what's important and what isn't.
When Inigo and Fezzik eventually switch over to the good guys' side and find themselves responsible for resurrecting the mostly dead Westley, things get messy. Inigo takes it upon himself to try and explain what's going on to the barely conscious Dread Pirate Roberts. It's not exactly an easy thing to explain, however, as Inigo himself realizes that he cannot exactly explain it - he'll just have to sum it up. As if those are two different things.
9 "I'm on the Brute Squad." "You ARE the Brute Squad!"
Fezzik's impressive stature is immediately apparent to anyone who meets him. His immense size - earning him monikers such as a "hippopotamic land mass," courtesy of Vizzini - is also his most valuable trait, in addition to his kind heart. When Inigo and Fezzik are trying to convince Billy Crystal's Miracle Max to help them resurrect Westley, the medicine man Miracle Max tries to threaten them that he'll call the Brute Squad if they don't leave him alone.
This, of course, leads to quite a hilarious moment when Fezzik reveals that he is, in fact, part of this exclusive group known as the Brute Squad. What could the comparatively miniature Miracle Max possibly say to that, other than quipping that Fezzik isn't merely part of the Brute Squad - he's the entire Brute Squad all on his own.
8 "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"
The Princess Bride is full of over the top villains for the record books, ranging from The Albino to Prince Humperdinck to Count Rugen. But perhaps the most hilarious of them all is Wallace Shawn's pint-sized Vizzini. A Sicilian crime lord, Vizzini is the first real foe that Princess Buttercup and Westley (as the Dread Pirate Roberts) are forced to contend with. After being taken captive, Princess Buttercup is forced to bear witness to the duel of words and wine between Vizzini and the Dread Pirate.
When Vizzini thinks that Westley has made a fateful error, he quickly launches into a truly bizarre villain speech, ranting and raving about the classic blunders of combat and negotiations - leading to the great remark, "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"
7 "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Vizzini may think he's one of the smartest men in the world, and based on his presumable crime history, that may be true to an extent. But his partners in crime, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik, are often willing to call him out whenever he's making a fool of himself - which is, apparently, quite often.
One of Vizzini's most awkward, and hilarious, quirks is his need to proclaim "Inconceivable!" at almost all surprising turns of events. It happens multiple times in the film's first act, before Inigo takes it upon himself to intervene - speaking on behalf of himself, and all of the film's viewers, too. When he observes that Vizzini probably doesn't really know what inconceivable actually means, he produces one of the film's most hilarious quotes of them all.
6 "Have fun storming the castle!"
Billy Crystal's Miracle Max and Carol Kane's Valerie aren't in The Princess Bride for very long, but their impact on the film is undeniable. As Westley's unlikely saviors (following his torture at Prince Humperdinck's request), Max and his wife engage in back and forth banter among themselves, and with both Inigo and Fezzik. They provide the necessary cure for Westley's ails, all free of charge, since Miracle Max has a lifelong grudge against Humperdinck.
When the unlikely trio head off to save the day, they're bidden farewell by Max and Valerie, enthusiastically waving them off and wishing that they "have fun storming the castle!" While they may not have much faith in their success - Max himself notes that "it would take a miracle" for them to win - the adorable, laugh-out-loud moment is just as hilarious as ever.
5 "This one left them all behind."
It's pretty typical for fairytales to end with a saccharine moment, coupled with the observation that "they all lived happily ever after." The Princess Bride does get a pretty cute ending, but it does so without having to rely on those tried and true tropes. Instead, the film ends with a truly romantic moment, a grand gesture, and a quote as heartwarming as it is breathtaking.
Westley and Buttercup spend the entire film trying to get their happy ending, enduring countless hardships and threats along the way. So when the young lovers finally embrace one another in the end, it's only fitting that their kiss - one of the most passionate and pure of them all - should leave every other kiss far behind.
4 "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while."
Westley and Buttercup have one of the most genuinely touching and gripping stories of young love in all of film history. After their shared adolescence together, when Westley was merely a farm boy in love with the unattainable Buttercup, they spent so much time apart that they never thought they would be able to see each other again. This, of course, was due in large part to Buttercup's belief that Westley had been killed.
When it's revealed to a totally disbelieving Buttercup that Westley has not died (but has in fact assumed the identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts), she is utterly beside herself in overjoyed disbelief. Westley himself puts this fairytale concept best when he tells her, "death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while."
As we've already discussed, Wallace Shawn's Vizzini is one of the most outlandish characters in the entire film. Larger than life and with a personality nearly twice his size, Vizzini is one of the most self-assured characters in the film, never afraid of speaking his mind - even if he's far too blunt while doing so.
One of the most definitive examples of his blunt commentary is, of course, the single-word quote that serves as his essential catchphrase. Whenever things don't go Vizzini's way, or there's a turn of events he didn't expect, he's given to exclaiming, "Inconceivable!" It's not entirely clear what exactly Vizzini means by that, other than "I can't believe this is happening," but it makes for countless moments of hilarity during otherwise tense times.
2 "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Vizzini isn't the only character with a catchphrase. But Inigo Montoya's catchphrase isn't just that - it's also essentially the driving force of his character's arc. Though he makes his living working for the highest bidder (serving as a sellsword of sorts for Vizzini before turning to help the good guys), Inigo's entire life has been driven by his quest for revenge for the murder of his father.
Throughout the film, he interrogates almost everyone he meets as to whether they are the elusive six-fingered man he's been searching for. When he finally meets that man, the villainous Count Rugen, Inigo gets to bring his catchphrase full circle, with immense emotional rewards, as he finally gets to kill the man who took his father from him.
1 "As you wish."
There are millions of different ways to say "I love you." Plenty of theory has been written about the different kinds of love languages people have. But in the world of The Princess Bride, "I love you" is expressed quite simply, and with another three word phrase that packs quite the emotional punch: "as you wish."
Westley utters those very words to Buttercup on multiple occasions, expressing his true feelings for her before he really knows how to do so - and before she really knows what they mean, even. Over the course of the film, their feelings for one another become all the more clear, and "as you wish" takes on a whole new meaning. But it's the film's very final moments, when Fred Savage's Grandson asks Peter Falk's Grandfather to return the next day to read the story to him again, that the real meaning of "as you wish" comes full circle and makes viewers everywhere cry.