Friday, October 10, 2008

The Princess Bride

I see that The Princess Bride is on AMC tonight. That gives me an excuse to write about it. This movie was a modest hit when it came out 21 years ago. According to IMDB, it cost $16 million and made nearly $31 million. At some point in the 2 decades after its release it became a cult classic.

I should mention that I have a Dread Pirate Roberts T-Shirt(I am Dread Pirate Roberts #73249—Ask about franchise opportunities in your area).

  • A few examples of the movie as a cult classic (not counting the special 20th anniversary release they did last year).
  • We had a staff sleep-over on the Columbus Santa Maria in May. It was mainly volunteers in their late teens. A TV was set up for movies as part of it. The two movies shown were Princess Bride and Batman Begins. The teens knew a lot of lines from Princess Bride.
  • Last week we were camping as part of a historic reenactment. Some parents asked their young daughter if she knew what our bellows was for. She remembered Miracle Max using one (and was surprised that I knew about the movie).
  • In the 2nd season of the TV show Eureka!, an Australian character lifted a line from the movie, "He just made a classic mistake. Never go up against an Australian when death is on the line."

Part of the movie's appeal is its timelessness. The only part that looks dated is the video game that Fred Savage is playing in the opening sequence and that lasts less than a minute.

A bigger appeal is that it is one of the few movies that works for multiple ages. The plot is simple enough for a young child but there is quite a bit of depth to it, especially the dialog. There are all sortf of actual historic references (most of them anachonistic). During the duel, they drop the names of real fencing masters. The names of the rival countries (Florin and Guilder) are old currency. The rule about never get into a land war in Asia is a real warning.

Then there is the historic setting. Most of the movie was filmed at Haddon Hall, my favorite English Country House. Parts of it are nearly 1,000 years old including the chapel where they did the wedding. The boat that they used was so accurate that it even had medieval-style teardrop-shaped deadeyes (and I expect that few people reading this will even know what I am talking about which kind of proves my point).

1 comment:

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