Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Princess Bride (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Princess Bride (1987)

In Rob Reiner's romantic fantasy comedy based on screenwriter William Goldman's novel - a sly parody of the subgenre of fantasy-adventure films:

  • the intercut scenes of a Grandfather (Peter Falk) reading to his sick and bedridden 10 year old Grandson (Fred Savage) about the story (from the S. Morgenstern novel The Princess Bride) of a poor farm boy Westley (played by Cary Elwes), who was in love with fair-haired blonde Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn); as in most fairy tales, there would be a happy ending - he would leave and then return as the black-garbed Dread Pirate Roberts, an heroic noble knight, to eventually reunite with and save his beautiful, Princess-lover Buttercup from forced marriage to the Prince
  • the Grandfather's preface to the story: it had all kinds of elements: "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles"
  • the introduction of the two fairytale characters, Buttercup who enjoyed ordering around farmboy Westley (she never called him by name), who always responded to her: "As you wish"; while Westley left to seek his fortune, he was presumed murdered by pirates; Buttercup mourned ("I will never love again"), and then she was chosen to be the fiancee of evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), the Crown Prince of Florin
(Robin Wright Penn)
Farm boy Westley
(Cary Elwes)
Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon)
  • the scene of Buttercup's kidnapping before her marriage by a trio: brilliant Sicilian kidnapper Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) (who continally exclaimed: "Inconceivable!"), his caricatured henchman - drunken Spanish master swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and giant strongman Fezzik (André the Giant); they took her away on a boat, but soon found themselves pursued by a mysterious masked Man in Black, Dread Pirate Roberts (Westley in disguise)
  • the storyteller's regaling about the swashbuckling, chatty cliff-top sword duel (on the Cliffs of Insanity) between the black-garbed pirate and Inigo; during the duel, Inigo cleverly switched his sword from his left hand to his better right hand: ("I am not left-handed") and the Man in Black's reply: "I'm not left-handed either..."; eventually the Man in Black bested Inigo (but let him live), and proceeded to pursue the other kidnappers who held abducted Buttercup
  • the wine-poisoning "battle-of-wits" death scene in which self-described 'genius' Vizzini was given a choice between drinking from two wine goblets by black-masked Dread Pirate Roberts -- one of which contained an odorless but deadly iocaine powder - in a contest to decide the fate of kidnapped Princess Bride/Buttercup; although Vizzini cleverly switched the goblets, thinking he could fool the Dread Pirate/Westley when his back was turned, it was in vain, however, since the black-garbed man dosed both drinks (he was immune to the killer powder); while Vizzini laughed about his cleverness and explained: "You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!" - he fell over dead in the middle of a boisterous laugh
The "Battle of Wits" Against Vizzini
  • after Buttercup revealed to the Dread Pirate Roberts that she loved poor farm boy Westley, he turned his back on her and she pushed him down a steep hill as he shouted out his familiar: "As - you - wish" - and she knew that he was her beloved Westley ("Oh, my sweet Westley, what have I done?"); she tossed herself off the top of the hill and tumbled to his side, when he removed his mask and vowed his everlasting love: "I told you I would always come for you. Why didn't you wait for me?...Death cannot stop true love. What it can do is delay it for awhile"; she replied: "I will never doubt again" - and they kissed after his answer: "There will never be a need"
  • the Grandson's annoyance with the 'kissing' segment of the story: "Aw, no. No, please...They're kissing again. Do we have to hear the kissing part?" - and the Grandfather assured the boy: "Someday, you may not mind so much"
  • Westley and Buttercup's flight into the dreaded 'Fire Swamp' (with flame spouts, quicksand, and R.O.U.S.'s - Rodents of Unusual Size); as they navigated through the swamp, Westley explained that the Dread Pirate Roberts had taken him on as his apprentice before bestowing upon him his own name and ship; he then fought and killed an attacking Rodent
  • Buttercup and Westley were soon captured by Prince Humperdinck and his men in pursuit; the evil six-fingered Count Tyrone Rugen (Christopher Guest) took charge of Westley (to torture him in the Pit of Despair with the Machine), while Buttercup was whisked away after surrendering in exchange for saving the 'pirate' sailor's life
  • thought to be dead after severe torture in the Pit of Despair, Inigo and Fezzik brought Westley's body to the home of an irrascible, Jewish couple: exiled, cynical magician 'Miracle Max' (Billy Crystal), Prince Humperdinck's disgruntled former employee, and his withered, screeching wife Valerie (Carol Kane); Max claimed that Westley was "only mostly dead!" and Inigo explained why he had to be revived: "This is Buttercup's True Love. If you heal him, he will stop Humperdinck's wedding"; Max provided a cure (a "miracle pill" coated with chocolate) and Westley was soon to be resurrected; with Valerie next to him, Miracle Max's parting words to them were: "Have fun storming the castle!"
  • to prevent Buttercup's impending wedding to Prince Humperdinck, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik approached the castle where she was held captive and forced to marry in a rushed ceremony; Inigo finally found his opportunity to seek revenge against Count Rugen (20 years earlier, Rugen had killed his swordsmith father Diego); he chased after Rugen and confronted him in the banquet hall, even though he had been stabbed with Rugen's dagger in the stomach - repeatedly calling out his threat to gain strength: ("Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die"); as he held his sword-point at the Count's throat and slashed both of his cheeks, he demanded: "Offer me money!... Power, too! Promise me that!...Offer me everything I ask for!"; when Rugen was subdued and replied: "All that I have and more. Please...Anything you want!", Inigo growled as he made a final thrust to fatally stab Rugen in the stomach, completing his life-long desired vengeance: "I want my father back, you son-of-a-bitch!"
The Fatal Duel Between Inigo Montoya and Count Rugen
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!"
  • at the same time, still-weakened Westley was resting on the bed in the castle's honeymoon suite, where Buttercup had come (after her forced marriage with the Prince) to suicidally thrust a dagger into her chest; he surprised her with the words: "There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours"; she rushed over to the bed and profusely kissed him - Westley explained that she was not legally married during the rushed ceremony because she had not said the words: "I do" - and she admitted "We sort of skipped that part"
Buttercup's Suicidal Dagger
"There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours"
"Westley! Oh, Westley darling!"
  • when the Prince interrupted and entered the chamber, a partially-paralyzed Westley challenged him with a memorable and brave "To the Pain!" speech while helpless on the bed; it was his daring and bluffing response to the nefarious Prince Humperdinck's "To the death!" challenge with his sword drawn: "I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog-faced buffoon....'To the pain' means the first thing you lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.... The next thing you lose will be your left eye followed by your right....Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out: 'Dear God! What is that thing?!' will echo in your perfect ears. That is what 'to the pain' means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever"; as Westley rose uneasily, he vowed: "I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. Then again, perhaps I have the strength after all. DROP... YOUR... SWORD!" - and the Prince swiftly surrendered
Westley's "To the Pain" Speech Toward Prince Humperdinck
"You warthog-faced buffoon"
"Perhaps I have the strength (to stand) after all"
  • the fairytale ending - a successful rescue - Inigo, Fezzik, Westley, and Buttercup rode off on white horses; the film ended with a romantic kiss between Westley and Buttercup, described by the Grandfather - this time without objection by the Grandson: ("They rode to freedom. And as dawn arose, Westley and Buttercup knew they were safe. A wave of love swept over them. And as they reached for each other...Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left 'em all behind -- THE END")
  • the Grandson's bedtime request to have the story read again the next day ("Maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow") - and the Grandfather's reply: "As you wish"

Grandfather (Peter Falk) and Grandson (Fred Savage)

Buttercup's Kidnapping by a Trio

Dread Pirate Roberts

Cliff-top Sword Duel: Inigo Montoya vs. Dread Pirate Roberts

Westley: "Death cannot stop true love"

Grandson: "Do we have to hear the kissing part?"

The Fire Swamp

Westley Stabbing Giant Rodent

Westley Captured by Six-Fingered Count Rugen

Westley's Painful Torture on Count Rugen's Machine in the Pit of Despair

'Miracle Max'

Max With Wife Valerie Saying Goodbye: "Have fun storming the castle!"

The Rushed Marriage Ceremony of the Prince and Princess

Fairytale Ending: Kiss

Grandfather: "As you wish!"


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