I love everything about William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. I love the book, first published in 1973 by Harcourt Brace, with its romance, humor, and snark. It manages to be self-aware and meta — that guy never broke character — while still being entirely earnest and somehow avoiding the sap (how is that possible?). The characters are richly drawn, with full backstories and true-seeming emotions, and the story-within-a-story works perfectly with the fairy-tale elements.
In 1987, Goldman (already a prominent screenwriter) adapted his book for a movie version directed by Rob Reiner. The Princess Bride movie turns 25 this year — complete with cast reunion *sigh* and *swoon.* As much as I love that book, this is the rare case in which I think the movie version slightly surpasses the printed one. The love story, the LOL humor (so many quotable lines!), the warmth (especially between cute little Fred Savage and his “Columbo-who?” grandpa)…not to mention Cary Elwes’s twinkly eyes, Robin Wright’s flowing locks (and, as Westley notes, her “perfect breasts”), Mandy Patinkin’s fiery, heartbreaking rage, Christopher Guest’s menacing sneers, Chris Sarandon’s foppishness, Wallace Shawn’s nebbishiness, Andre the Giant’s gigantic heart, etc., etc., etc. “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” — The Princess Bride movie has it all. (I must admit I had to look that quote up; in my prime, I could have recited it.)
What think you, Princess Bride fans? Book or movie? Making the choice is almost inconceivable!