Characters: The Princess Bride

In The Story

Westley/ The Dread Pirate Roberts

Cary Elwes

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: To iocaine powder.
  • Back from the Dead: Thanks to the Miracle Pill.
  • Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: Inverted and Played for Laughs as it takes a while for Miracle Max's cure to fully take effect on Westley, and Inigo and Fezzik have to carry him around while Storming the Castle as bits him are "waking up" one at a time.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: "Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End." Made ironic when the kid insists on skipping or editing all the kissy stuff at first but starts enjoying it by the end (film only).
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: During his duel with Inigo Montoya, the Man in Black throws his sword. It spins end over end and impales itself in the ground point first.
  • British Accents: Cary Elwes uses his native Ah Pea accent in the role.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Damn you, Rugen.
  • Cool Mask: As the Man in Black.
    Fezzik: Why are you wearing a mask? Were you burned by acid or something like that?
    Man in Black: No, it's just that they are terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: He anticipates Vizzini taking either glass by poisoning them both.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Before he reveals to Buttercup that he is indeed Westley, he occasionally snarks at her. Later he starts snarking at Humperdinck. Also, the whole conversation while he's climbing the Cliffs of Insanity.
    Inigo: Hello there! Slow going?
    Westley: Look, I don't mean to be rude, but this is not as easy as it looks, so I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't distract me.
    Inigo: Right, right. Sorry.
    Westley: Thank you.
    *beat*
    Inigo: I do not suppose you could-a speed things up?
    Westley: Look, if you're in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.
    Inigo: I could do that. I have got some more rope up here. But I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around up here to kill you.
    Westley: That does put a damper on our relationship.
    Inigo: But... I promise I will not kill you until you reach the top.
    Westley: That's very comforting. But I'm afraid you'll just have to wait.
    Inigo: I hate waiting. Could I give you my word as a Spaniard?
    Westley: No good. I've known too many Spaniards.
    Inigo: Is there no way you trust me?
    Westley: Nothing comes to mind.
  • Death Is Cheap: He dies from the torture device. Mad Max helps him shrug it off.
  • Farmboy: Starts out as one.
  • Guile Hero
  • Good Is Not Nice: Thanks to his perceived abandonment by Buttercup. Even after he finds out he was wrong, he's on the bitter and snarky side.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He is almost made of gold, he's so good.
  • The Hero
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Well, more like "I am not left-handed either." After Inigo starts fighting with his dominant hand, Westley does the same.
  • Lady and Knight: Or Lady and Pirate, whatever.
  • Living Legend: As the Dread Pirate Roberts, at least.
  • Master Swordsman: Can fight Montoya to a standstill.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • Only Mostly Dead: The Trope Namer!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Westley <-> Dread Pirate Roberts. It's amazing Buttercup takes so long to realize it. It also qualifies as Clark Kenting, although the book depicts him wearing a more complete disguise. Also, Buttercup had no reason to expect Westley to be alive, so she wasn't looking for him.
  • Passing the Torch: In the film, Westley asks Inigo if he's ever considered piracy, implying that he will pass on the title of Dread Pirate Roberts to be with Buttercup.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Mostly due to the reputation of the Dread Pirate Roberts, when merchants realize he is approaching, they give up immediately, sparing Westley from the fight. Although a popular fanon joke is that prior to reuniting with Buttercup, he spent several years pillaging and spreading terror.
  • Pretty Boy: Oh yes. Cary Elwes is decidedly hot as Westley, especially compared to his later roles in Liar Liar and Twister, where he plays goofy/jerkass characters respectively.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Drop. Your. Sword."
  • Resurrection Sickness: Westley is very weak after taking the Miracle Pill.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: His relationship with the previous Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • The Scream: While in Count Rugen's death machine. Inigo and Fezzik find him because of it.
  • Secret Test: The Man in Black doesn't reveal his true identity to Buttercup after he rescues her in hopes of finding out whether she still loves him.
  • Something Only They Would Say: "As you wish," meaning "I love you." Former Trope Namer.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Westley/Wesley.
  • To the Pain: Trope Namer
    Westley: "To the pain means that 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."
  • Unable To Support A Wife: Why Westley went to seek his fortune.
  • Wham Line: "As you wish" while falling down the hillside.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: The famous Inigo/Westley duel, but with compliments and discussion of swordfighting tactics instead of insults. (In most DVD editions, that chapter is titled "The Chatty Duelists.")

Buttercup

Robin Wright

  • Arranged Marriage: To Prince Humperdinck.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: "Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End." Made ironic when the kid insists on skipping or editing all the kissy stuff at first but starts enjoying it by the end.
  • Catapult Nightmare: In the movie.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: After being untied.
  • Damsel in Distress: She's especially useless in the fight with the ROUS. C'mon, swing that branch, don't just jab with it like a pool cue! Or pick up Westley's sword, or something.
  • Dreaming The Truth: The Ancient Booer.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Buttercup gets promoted to princess, because she was born a commoner but Humperdinck wants to marry her. The book explains how she had to attend royalty school for three years, and was given the title of Princess of Hammersmith (which was part of the Florinese property but nobody ever paid attention to it) because the Prince couldn't marry a commoner.
  • Everything's Even Worse With Sharks: In the book, Buttercup tries to swim away from Vizzini, so he excites the sharks. In the movie, it was changed to the shrieking eels.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Naturally.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: In the book, the reason she realizes her love for Westley is because the Countess Rugen has the visible hots for him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
  • Ice Queen/Defrosting Ice Queen: She flip-flops between these two throughout the book: In the beginning she was an Ice Queen, then defrosts after she realizes her love for Westley. She freezes up again after Westley's reported demise, then defrosts after realizing that he's still alive.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Regarding the movie: Princess Buttercup, while pretty, is far from the "most beautiful woman in the world". Then again, there are casting difficulties involved in finding a woman who could pass for the most beautiful woman in the world; not to mention the budget difficulties of paying her, and the possibility - indeed, the likelihood - that the most beautiful woman in the world can't act.
  • Job Title: Her precise function in the story, at least as far as Humperdinck is concerned, is to be a princess and a bride. And a murder victim.
  • Neutral Female: Buttercup is hilariously useless, at least until the end (of the book) when she manages to drive off the Brute squad by using her (false) authority as the Queen.
  • Pressure Point: Fezzik uses a Vulcan Nerve Pinch on Buttercup. In the book Vizzini does it.
  • The Power of Love
    Buttercup: "You can't hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds. And you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords. And when I say you are a coward, that is only because you are the slimiest weakling ever to crawl the earth."
  • Quicksand Sucks: Ends up in one during her trek through the swamp. It doesn't last long.
  • Rags to Royalty: From a farm girl to almost marrying the count of the land.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Her beauty is enough to get her promoted to future queen, except the Prince threatens to kill her if she refuses. And he's planning to kill her anyway. In fact, if she were slightly less beautiful, the whole conflict wouldn't have happened.
    • Slightly averted in the book, where he originally had every intention of going through with the marriage, until he came up with the plot to frame Guilder. He specifically says to Count Rugen that he wants a wife who is so insanely beautiful that the whole world will be jealous, which is why Rugen shows him Buttercup in the first place.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Both of Buttercup's parents (who are not in the movie) are hilariously ugly. Lampshaded when it's said they don't know how they managed to produce such a beautiful child.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: The book even explains how she became the world's most beautiful woman.

Inigo Montoya

Mandy Patinkin

  • The Alcoholic: After being bested by Westley, but he gets better. He was also one before Vizzini found him, having gotten depressed due to lack of worthy opponents and his inability to find Count Rugen.
  • Best Served Cold: His revenge against the six-fingered Count Rugen for killing his father.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Dashing Hispanic: So dashing, he's the trope picture.
  • Determinator: During the duel with Count Rugen, he's stabbed multiple times, including in his arm muscles. After a Heroic Second Wind, not only does he not slow down, he fights even better than before.
  • Dueling Scar: Inigo Montoya has two scars down his cheeks, which is understandable, given his career as a swordfighter. They are later revealed to be a humiliation inflicted upon him at the age of eleven after the first time he tried to avenge his father's murder by Count Rugen.
  • Excuse Me Coming Through:
    Inigo: Excuse me...excuse me... Fezzik, please?
    Fezzik: EVERYBODY MOVE!
    Crowd: *clears a path*
    Inigo: Thank you.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Wesley defeats him, he initially thinks he is going to be killed and becomes very calm - his only request being a quick death. Luckily for him, Wesley is even more good and honorable than he is and rebuffs the very idea of doing so.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has classic good scars in the parallel slashes Rugen gave him to the face.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Though he was never much of a heel to begin with. He turns from a Punch Clock Villain to a full-fledged hero after Vizzini is out of the picture.
  • Heroic Second Wind: He's not going down that easily, Rugen.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fezzik.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Trope Namer. Pulls this against The Man in Black. Backfires when it turns out the man in black isn't left-handed either.
  • I Gave My Word: Played straight with Westley on the Cliffs of Insanity. He initially swears that he will get Westley up to the top alive on his honor as a Spaniard. Westley says that's no good ("I've known too many Spaniards.") He then swears on his father's soul, and Westley believes him.
  • The Lancer: To Vizzini at first, then to Westley.
  • Master Swordsman: Only Westley can equal him in swordsmanship.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: He's ordered by Vizzini to kill the man in black. Inigo tries to do this by... throwing his opponent a rope to scale the cliff, let him catch his breath, and even have a friendly chat before they fight.
  • One-Man Army: Humperdink's four elite guards didn't have a chance the second he appeared.
  • Parental Abandonment: His father, Domingo Montoya, was a skilled swordmaker. One day Count Rugen comes to their nice, Arcadian village demanding a sword for a six-fingered man, offering to pay handsomely for it. Domingo accepts and for a year is either exceedingly happy or horribly depressed over his progress on the sword. When it is finally complete and Rugen comes to claim it, but attempting to pay only a fraction of the previously promised price. Domingo refuses to sell his finest work, crafted over the period of an entire year, for such a large discount and Rugen kills him for his defiance.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Inigo Montoya has a scar on each cheek given to him by the man who killed his father which serves to strengthen his drive for revenge.
  • Precision F-Strike: More of a B-strike, but he delivers one he kills Rugen.
    Inigo: I want my father back, you son of a bitch!
  • Punch Clock Villain: He says it in the film — "I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills."
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: He's really quite an honorable man, though as he puts it, "there's not a lot of money in revenge."
  • The Slow Walk: During his final match with Rugen. Justified as he is seriously injured at the time.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Inigo" is the English variant of the Spanish name "Íńigo," so some fans end up using the latter.
  • Spexico
  • Villainous Breakdown: A minor example - during his duel with Wesley, after they both stop holding back Inigo noticeably starts losing control of the duel. The more Wesley outperforms him the less reserved and more desperate Inigo becomes, until he's frantically slashing inanely in a mad bid to hit him. On the other hand, he calms down immediately once Wesley disarms him.
  • Wall Slump: During his final match with Rugen, after he's repeatedly injured.
  • Worthy Opponent: Westley. The feeling ends up mutual.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: The famous Inigo/Westley duel, but with compliments and discussion of swordfighting tactics instead of insults. (In most DVD editions, that chapter is titled "The Chatty Duelists.")
  • You Keep Using That Word: Trope Namer

Fezzik

André the Giant

  • The Big Guy/The Brute
    Fezzik: "It's not my fault I'm the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise."
  • Crippling Over Specialization: He's use to fighting multiple people at once, so he loses fast to a single, skilled fighter. He himself lampshades it.
  • Gentle Giant: To his friends, anyway. As strong as he is, he'd prefer not to fight at all.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Fezzik was never much of a heel, but after Westley spares him, Fezzik goes the extra mile to help Westley.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Inigo.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Like Inigo, he's only really working for Vizzini for money. He even decides to not go for the easy kill on Westley, since it's "not very sportsmanlike."
  • Parental Abandonment: His backstory is never explained in the movie but his parents died of a desert plague while they were in Mongolia.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: His arms never get tired.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Like Inigo, he works for Vizzini and that's the only reason he's a bad guy. The book explains that he takes the job because it means he won't be alone anymore.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Fezzik is very fond of doing this.
    Vizzini: No more rhymes, now, I mean it!
    Fezzik: Does anybody want a peanut?
  • Smarter Than You Look: Fezzik doesn't show it much, but he is able to annoy Vizzini with expert wordplay in his rhymes and is very resourceful. He provides the cloak needed to disguise himself as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Plus he explains Conservation of Ninjutsu to the Man in Black during their fight.
  • Scarecrow Solution: "The Dread Pirate Roberts" rig that Fezzik wears.
  • Worthy Opponent: Westley.

Vizzini

Wallace Shawn

  • Catch Phrase: Inconceivable!
  • Evil Genius: So he keeps claiming, though his plans are never very complicated, and they all go wrong.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: To Fezzik.
    Vizzini: "You were not hired for your brains!"
  • I Know You Know I Know: While trying to figure out which goblet contains the poison.
    Vizzini:...so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me! But you would have counted on my thinking that, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you!...
  • Jerkass: He doesn't think much of Inigo or Fezzik.
  • Look Behind You: Pulls this on the Man in Black in order to switch the goblets.
  • The Napoleon: He's noticeably shorter than both of his hired hitmen.
  • No Indoor Voice: Just about every line out of his mouth is shouting as loudly as possible. Considering he's trying to be stealthy and sneak away with a kidnapped maiden, it's clear how much thought he's put into this.
  • Out-Gambitted: Former Trope Namer. He thinks switching glasses when the Man in Black's back is turned somehow makes him smarter than the opposition. Not only does this end up killing him anyways, he never had a chance, since both glasses were poisoned.
  • Plato Is a Moron:
    Vizzini: Let me put it this way—have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?
    Man in Black: Yes?
    Vizzini: Morons.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Not that it does him any good.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Let's face it, he's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. He's given a bit more respect in the book, though, as Westley fully acknowledges how dangerous he is.
  • Smug Snake: All he has is his brain and his loud mouth. He at least puts the latter to good use.

Prince Humperdinck

Chris Sarandon

  • Genre Savvy: He assumes Westley is bluffing when he finds him laying on the bed. Humperdinck is right, but still gets freaked out enough when Westley manages to stand that he runs.
  • Great White Hunter: More prevalent in the book than the movie, but even in the movie, Buttercup notes that "he can track a falcon on a cloudy day." He also deduces the nature and outcome of the duel between Wesley and Inigo by examining their footprints.
  • Jerkass: In the book, he's described that at his best, he's little worse than a man and that at his worst, he's little better than a beast.
  • Karma Houdini: As the Grandfather points out halfway through the film, Humperdinck lives. Subverted, as he has to live with the realization that deep down, he is a Dirty Coward and will always be one. To Humperdinck, a man obsessed with hunting and war, this is a fate worse than death.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: In the book, we first see him wrestling with an ape.
  • Prince Charmless: He hasn't the slighteset bit of tact or subtlety to him, even to the woman he wants.
  • Properly Paranoid: "I believe everything to be a trap. It's the reason I'm still alive."
  • Romantic False Lead: Everyone except Count Rugen genuinely believes that he's in love with his bride-to-be.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: He manages to deduce some wine had iocane powder in it, despite it being odorless and tasteless. How he found out is anyone's guess.
  • Succession Crisis: In the book, the whole thing gets started when Prince Humperdinck learns that his father is dying and he has to marry to produce an heir. FALSE.
  • Villainous Friendship: Type I with Count Rugen.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Subverted. His stepmother is actually quite nice, it's just that he grew up reading fairytales with wicked stepmothers and as such refers to her as "Evil Stepmother" ("E.S" for short), a term of endearment between them.

Count Rugen

Christopher Guest

  • Combat Pragmatist: He starts to assume a dueling pose when Inigo confronts him—then he runs away and ambushes him with a knife-throw once Inigo finds him. (It doesn't do him any good, in the end.)
  • Creepy Monotone: His default way of speaking. Except in his duel with Inigo, especially once he starts losing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Towards the completely oblivious Humperdinck.
  • The Dragon: To Humperdinck.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is a sadist that actually likes to document the reactions his victims have when they are being tortured by the machine, but even he was horrified when Humperdink turned the machine up to 50 when it was Westley's turn.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has evil scars. Inigo eventually repays him for the good scars, too.
  • Mad Scientist: He has a torture device set up, purely "for science."
  • Stop Saying That!: To Inigo after the latter repeats his Catch Phrase one too many times.
  • Not So Stoic: "NOT TO FIFTY!!"
  • Villainous Breakdown: As Inigo refuses to die, and slowly gains the upper hand on Rugen in their duel, Rugen first becomes shaken, then demands that Inigo "Stop saying that!"
  • Villainous Friendship: Type I with Prince Humperdinck.

Miracle Max and his wife Valerie

Billy Crystal and Carol Kane

  • Alchemy Is Magic
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Described by Billy Crystal (Max) as a pair of "Jewish trolls".
    And so here the point is, if Max and Valerie sound Jewish, why shouldn’t they? You think a guy named Simon Morgenstern was Irish Catholic? Funny thing — Morgenstern’s folks were named Max and Valerie and his father was a doctor.
  • Berserk Button: Mentioning Prince Humperdinck's name will drive Max up the wall. Not that his wife cares.
  • Cool Old Guy: Max.
  • Cool Old Lady: Valerie.
  • Happily Married: Not so obvious in the movie, but the book implies as much—for example, explaining that when Max calls Valerie "witch" it's in fact a term of endearment and part of their whole act.
    Valerie: I'm not a witch! I'm your wife!
  • Henpecked Husband: Max.
    Valerie: LIAR! LIAR! LIIAAAAR!

The Albino

Mel Smith

The Impressive Clergyman

Peter Cook

Outside The Story

The Kid

Fred Savage

  • He's Just Hiding: Invoked.
    The Boy: "Wait, what did Fezzik mean, 'He's dead?' I mean he didn't mean dead. Westley's only faking, right?"
  • Ill Boy: His grandfather comes to read him the story because he's been extremely sick. Not at death's door or anything, but still very sick.
  • No Name Given
    • Though if the book's anything to go by, his name is William Goldman.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After his grandfather tells him that Buttercup doesn't get eaten by eels, he vehemently denies he was nervous about it, instead stating he was 'concerned'.

The Grandfather

Peter Falk