There are few movies more memorable, more quotable, and more loved than The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner’s bizarre fairytale remains one of the high-water marks of '80s cinema—or, really, cinema in general—and the pop cultural fascination will most likely continue to live on for as long as there are children and young-at-heart adults.
Though it wasn’t the runaway success you might imagine given its continued acclaim, The Princess Bride was one of the first major films to find and grow its audience thanks to the home video market. For thirty years now, kids and adults alike have fallen under the spell of the swashbuckling comedy-romance that launched Cary Elwes (Sugar Mountain) and Robin Wright (House of Cards) into stardom, reveling at the absurd wit of the dialogue, the lovable characters, and timeless story. As perfect a film as it might be, that doesn’t mean it can’t be cut to size.
As part of Screen Junkies’ Fan Appreciation Month, The Princess Bride was given the Honest Trailers treatment. Displaying the kind of love that the film deserves, Honest Trailers creates a careful deconstruction that reminds you of everything you ever loved about The Princess Bride, while still managing to work in some of their trademarked sardonic quips.
It almost feels a little strange letting yourself willingly be cynical about a movie as well-loved as The Princess Bride, but there are plenty of missteps that can be pointed out for comedic effect without lessening the overall weight of the film. Westley and Buttercup’s relationship, for example, doesn’t seemed to be based on any logic and when you apply real-world expectations to it, it becomes kind of hilarious, as Honest Trailers points out, that their romance is based on little more than the fact that he does chores for her.
Then there’s the narrative framework, which involves a sick child, played by Fred Savage (Casual), being read the story by his grandfather, Peter Falk (Columbo). Meant to invoke the feeling kids have when being read to, it’s hilarious to realize that Savage’s character would’ve heard the voices of all our favorite, iconic characters in Falk’s voice, which is demonstrated here to great effect.
Really though, unlike some Honest Trailers, which rightfully rip apart bad and faulty films, watching this feels like watching a loving roast of a Hollywood legend. Some of the cuts might seem pretty harsh, but they’re delivered in a way that that’s more honoring than hating. If anything, it’s a wonderful reminder of how great the film is and how well it’s held up over the last thirty years.
As pointed out in the video, The Princess Bride is, “the best sappy, swashbuckling medieval love story ever made.” That’s a fact that will most likely remain true for generations to come. With the 30th anniversary of its release being celebrated this year, Honest Trailers honors the film as only they’re capable of doing.
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