Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?A 1987 movie directed by Rob Reiner, adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 book of the same name, The Princess Bride is about the trials of true love in the Renaissance European nation of Florin. The story stars Buttercup (Robin Wright), a simple yet incredibly beautiful farmgirl, and Westley (Cary Elwes), the farmhand she enjoys ordering around. Although they realize that they share the incredibly rare thing called "true love", fate conspires to keep them apart, as Westley is lost at sea.Five years later, Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), who rules Florin in place of his elderly and doddering father, decides to celebrate the kingdom's 500th anniversary by marrying Buttercup, who is still the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. Buttercup, knowing that the Prince is well within his rights and believing she can never love again anyway, reluctantly agrees.In a plot against the throne, Buttercup is kidnapped by the criminal trio of Vizzini (the mastermind), Fezzik (the giant), and Inigo Montoya (the world's greatest fencer, traveling to avenge his father), played by Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, and Mandy Patinkin, respectively—but their steps are hampered by a mysterious man in black who seems determined to stop them at all costs. The subsequent adventures are madcap, iconic, and brilliant.The movie uses a Framing Device of a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading the story to his sick grandson (Fred Savage) with the boy complaining about the story at various points. ("They're kissing again.")
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
Grandson: [sighs] It doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh thank you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
Grandson: [sighs] It doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh thank you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.
The Princess Bride contains examples of:
- Acquired Poison Immunity: The Man in Black has been building up an immunity to iocane powder for several years.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the book, Prince Humperdinck is a hulking bruiser who kills apes with his bare hands. In the film, he's described as an outstanding tracker, but his physical abilities are never mentioned, and he has a normal build.
- Adaptation Species Change: In the book, Buttercup gets attacked by sharks while trying to escape from Vizzini. Here, they're shrieking eels.
- Advantage Ball: Goes with Flynning as always—Inigo and the Man in Black trade the ball back and forth during their duel; most notably, they each grab it when declaring their handedness. Westley's To the Pain speech and its results serve to swipe the ball from Humperdinck and return it to the good guys.
- Affectionate Parody: Pulls off the tricky balancing act between joyful appreciation and subtle (and not so subtle) parody.
- Altar Diplomacy: Prince Humperdinck chooses beautiful peasant Buttercup to be his wife, knowing she will capture the hearts of the populace; he will get a popularity boost and she will get the stable life of royalty at least, until he has her killed and has framed a rival kingdom for it.
- Anachronism Stew: The story seems to be set in the late Renaissance, and yet there is talk of the penal colony Australia; Australia was only discovered in 1606, and only used as a penal colony from 1780 onward. However, considering the framing device, it could be deliberate.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Buttercup is initially willing to marry Humperdinck because after Westley's death she has nothing else to live for. After Westley is revealed to be alive, she agrees to go through with the wedding only to keep him alive and free—not that Humperdinck has any intention of honoring his word.
- And Starring: And Introducing Robin Wright as The Princess Bride.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Prince Humperdinck is an amoral warmonger, and his right-hand-man Count Rugen a sadistic torturer; the King, however, is merely senile.
- Artistic Licence Pharmacology: The Dread Pirate Roberts has this in his immunity to iocane powder. The closest you can get in reality is arsenic, and according the information covered in this Because Science video, the best you could do is build up a tolerance, not really an immunity.
- As You Know:
- Vizzini: "Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you."
- Humperdinck: "...when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever."
- Rugen: "As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old."
- Subverted by Inigo: "Let me explain. [beat] No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
- The Bad Guy Wins: He doesn't, but the grandson automatically assumes this trope when his grandfather tells him Humperdinck will survive the end of the story.
- Bald of Evil: Vizzini, arrogant criminal "mastermind," has a shiny dome that nicely accents his smug facial expressions.
- Batman Gambit: "To the Pain!" Wesley is in no condition to fight and is counting on Humperdinck's cowardice, by chiding him with horrible tales of disfigurement.
- Battle of Wits: Played straight (and for laughs) in one of the most classic moments of the movie: the one between Vizzini, the Man in Black, two cups of wine and a vial of iocane powder. Except the Man in Black has rigged the game in his favor by poisoning both glasses, as he has spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Played with; the only reason that the Dread Pirate Roberts initially spared Westley's life was because Westley said "Please". That got his attention enough for Westley to sway him with a description of his and Buttercup's love.
- Beard of Evil: Count Rugen, whose sadistic study of pain surpasses the other villains in sheer evilness, sports a natty salt-and-pepper mustache and goatee combo.
- Berserk Button: How ill Miracle Max thinks of Prince Humperdinck firing him is clear given how he reacts when his wife Valerie brings it up when calling him a liar. This is ultimately how Inigo is able to convince him to help out for what little money Inigo has, by promising him that if he brings Westley back to life, he'll stop Humperdinck's wedding and Humperdinck will suffer "humiliations galore."
- Best Served Cold: Inigo's quest for vengeance against six-fingered man Count Rugen. He has taken twenty years to be sure he gets it right by mastering fencing before he tracks Rugen down.
- Big Bad: Prince Humperdinck is the de facto ruler of Florin and the final obstacle for our heroes, though he is taken out not in a climactic duel, but by his own cowardice and Westley's To the Pain speech—and left alive as a final humiliation.
- The Big Damn Kiss: Played for ironic Character Development, since throughout the movie the kid has protested and insisted on skipping or editing all the kissy stuff, only to protest when Grandpa complies for the final kiss.Grandpa: 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.
- The Big Guy: Fezzik stands head-and-shoulders over the rest of the cast and is strong enough to lift himself and three other people hand-over-hand up a rope while Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity.Fezzik: It's not my fault I'm the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise.
- Big Guy Rodeo: The Man in Black defeats Fezzik by leaping upon his back and administering a Choke Hold, while Fezzik tries to shake him off by repeatedly slamming him against a boulder—and they both carry on a friendly conversation about Fezzik's techniques.
- 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 of him are "waking up" one at a time.
- 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.
- Blatant Lies:
- Westley says "Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist" to Buttercup in the Fire Swamp, as he's looking over her shoulder at two of the creatures. Shortly thereafter, one of them attacks him.
- Also Miracle Max after mostly dead Westley says that true love is his reason for living.Max: But that's not what he said! He distinctly said, "to blave." And as we all know, "to blave" means "to bluff." So you were probably playing cards, and he cheated—
Valerie: Liar! Liar! Liaaar!
- Count Rugen gets in on it too, but Westley calls him out immediately. Not that it changes anything.Rugen: Come, sir. We must get you to your ship.
Westley: We are men of action. Lies do not become us.
Rugen: [smiles] Well spoken, sir.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- The Dread Pirate Roberts' nightly farewell to his valet: "Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning."
- The line that epitomizes Humperdinck and Rugen's Villainous Friendship: "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped!"
- Break the Cutie: Happens to Buttercup. Having your One True Love killed (mostly) and being forced into an arranged marriage will do that to ya.
- Brick Joke: A subtle one. The Man in Black explains iocane powder to Vizzini, noting that it is odorless, tasteless, and dissolves instantly in water. Later on, Buttercup tries to intimidate the Man in Black by sharing Humperdinck's (rather exaggerated) hunting abilities. A few scenes after that, along comes Prince Humperdinck and party, who find the small tube that the Man in Black had kept the powder in, and by smelling an odorless tube, Prince Humperdinck instantly discerns it's iocane.
- The Brute: Subverted. Fezzik is really quite a nice guy.Miracle Max: Beat it, or I'll call the Brute Squad!
Fezzik: I'm on the Brute Squad.
Miracle Max: [double take] You are the Brute Squad.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
- The Dread Pirate Roberts supposedly kills anyone who fights back (it's an Informed Attribute). When Buttercup realizes the Man in Black is the Dread Pirate Roberts, she accuses him of having killed her Westley, and he calmly replies, "It's possible. I kill a lot of people." (Ultimately averted, however, as it turns out the Man in Black knows exactly who she is and was just testing her reaction.)
- Inigo also seems to be prepared for this outcome, as the iconic line he has prepared for when he finally finds the Six-Fingered Man involves explaining who he is and how the Six-Fingered Man wronged him. This turns out to be subverted however, as Count Rugen, after impaling Inigo with a dagger, recognizes him as "the Spanish brat [he] taught a lesson to" all those years ago.
- Buy Them Off: Inigo offers to spare Rugen in exchange for money and power. Rugen leaps at the opportunity, but Inigo only made the offer to toy with him, because there's only one thing he wanted, and Rugen took it from him.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Humperdinck after his first plan to have his fiancée assassinated and Guilder framed for the crime realizes that he can't kill Buttercup before the wedding because there would be no alibi for him with her safe at the castle with the guard doubled to protect her, and thus the people would revolt on realizing what had happened. This is also why he talks Buttercup out of killing herself before the wedding. He instead plans to kill her on their wedding night, when everyone's guard is down.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: The Man in Black and Fezzik have a friendly discussion while fighting to the death. Fezzik keeps talking right up to the second he passes out. The Man in Black and Inigo talk throughout their fight as well, but that's more the witty repartée you expect from a fencing duel.Inigo: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
The Man in Black: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.
- Catapult Nightmare: Buttercup dreams about her wedding ten days before it is to occur. She wakes in terror after the "Old Booer" accosts her.
- Catch-Phrase: Several, all of which have helped the film's status as a Cult Classic and entered the public mind in and of themselves.
- Inigo has been practicing the perfect phrase to use when he finally meets the Six-Fingered Man and exacts his revenge. During their duel, he turns it into a Survival Mantra as part of his Heroic Second Wind. "Hello!. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
- As a farmboy, Westley says nothing but "As You Wish" to Buttercup. Eventually, she is astonished to discover that when he says, "as you wish," what he means is, "I love you."
- Vizzini's favorite word is "Inconceivable!" He uses it with growing alarm in response to several increasingly conceivable outcomes that threaten to foil his plans. Inigo eventually calls him out on it.Inigo: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
- Buttercup repeatedly insists that "My Westley will always come for me!"
- The Chase: A significant portion of the film consists of the Man in Black pursuing Vizzini's gang and their captive, and Prince Humperdinck with his soldiers pursuing both.
- Chekhov's Skill: Sort of. Miracle Max mishears Westley's statement, "true love", as "to blave", and as we all know, to blave means to bluff... which is exactly what Westley does during the climax, summoning just enough strength to bluff Prince Humperdinck into submission, at a time when he's still recovering from an extremely intense exposure to a deadly torture device.
- Choke Holds: The Man in Black knocks out Fezzik with a blood choke. It takes several minutes and they have a rather cordial conversation all the while.
- Clark Kenting: The Dread Pirate Roberts is Westley, with a mustache and a black mask over his eyes and hair. It's amazing Buttercup takes so long to realize it, but in the years since his supposed death Wesley has changed his mannerisms so completely from the shy farmboy Buttercup knew that it's almost plausible—not to mention that Buttercup thought he was dead.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The cliffs in question are Vizzini's first method of discouraging pursuit, but the Man in Black proves to be a superb climber.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Which, unfortunately, leads to Westley's death. Don't worry! He gets better!
- Collapsed Mid-Speech: Vizzini says to the Man in Black, "Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line! Ha-hahahhaha!" then the poison takes effect, causing him to freeze mid-laugh, grin frozen on his face, then topple sideways.
- Comically Missing the Point: As a result of the king's senility.[Buttercup kisses the king on the cheek]
The King: What was that for?
Buttercup: Because you've always been so kind to me, and I won't be seeing you again, since I'm killing myself once we reach the honeymoon suite.
The King: Won't that be nice? [calling up to the queen] She kissed me! Heeheehee!
- Confession Deferred: Inigo trying to convince Miracle Max to work cheap:Inigo: This is noble, sir. His wife is... crippled. His children are on the brink of starvation.
Miracle Max: Are you a rotten liar.
Inigo: I need him to help avenge my father, murdered these twenty years.
Miracle Max: Your first story was better.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Lampshaded and justified in-universe by Fezzik whilst going toe-to-toe with the Man in Black.Fezzik: Well, I haven't fought just one person for so long... You see, you use different moves when you're fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to worry about one.
- Cool Mask: The Man in Black. It's just terribly comfortable!
- Cool Sword: Inigo's sword is a special one made by his father commissioned for Count Rugen, with a grip specifically designed for a six-fingered hand; the Man in Black admits he's "never seen its equal." As Inigo explains, when Rugen wouldn't pay his father the promised amount, he refused to give him the sword, and Rugen murdered him.
- Creepy Monotone: Count Rugen, in terrifying contrast to the World of Ham around him.
- Crazy-Prepared: Sure was lucky The Man in Black was carrying that iocane powder with him. However, it's not too outlandish, given his line of work as a pirate, to be carrying around a deadly toxin. And to build up an immunity to it.
- Cruel Mercy: The To the Pain sequence sees Westley threatening to leave Humperdinck alive, albeit maimed, so that all who see him would cry out in horror. He ends up leaving him completely unscathed, believing that being cowardly enough to fall for Westley's bluff and losing Buttercup because of it is punishment enough.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Buttercup after being untied.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- During the Storming the Castle sequence, four palace guards charge our heroes. Inigo kills them in five seconds flat without ever taking his eyes off Count Rugen.
- The later duel against Rugen also counts as soon as Inigo gets his Heroic Second Wind. Not only is Inigo's defense invulnerable, he mirrors his own injuries on his opponent's body to maximize Rugen's terror and humiliation.
- Damsel in Distress: Buttercup on two occasions at the beginning and end of the film. The same person is responsible both times.
- Damsel out of Distress: Subverted; Buttercup, upon seeing another ship following Vizzini's boat, jumps into the water, in the hopes of going to the other ship and seeking sanctuary. A few carnivorous eels get in the way, and when Fezzik pulls her back aboard, Vizzini ties her hands so that she can't repeat the attempt.
- Dashing Hispanic: Inigo Montoya is a noble, honorable swordsman who's only working for Vizzini to pay the bills. He also allows the Man in Black a few moments to catch his breath before dueling him. In the end, Inigo pulls a Heel–Face Turn (though he didn't have far to turn in the first place), and unites with Wesley to help rescue Buttercup.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Buttercup goes from one to the other and back again throughout the story. She starts out cold, then defrosts when she realizes she's in love with Westley, then freezes up again after he's murdered by pirates, then defrosts again when she learns he wasn't murdered after all.
- Derailed for Details: Inverted by the kid in the Framing Device, who occasionally asks to skip romance scenes or get on with it.
- Determinator: Inigo in his fight with Count Rugen. Stabbed repeatedly and still keeps coming. He will avenge his father's death.
- Die Laughing: Vizzini drinks poisoned wine and then laughs maniacally, thinking he'd outsmarted Westley. He literally keels over mid-laugh.
- Dirty Coward:
- Count Rugen pleads with Inigo not to kill him. After running away from a fight with him.
- Humperdinck himself, so much that Wesley decides letting him live the rest of his life as a coward is enough of a punishment.
- The captain of the guard:Inigo: Give us the gate key.
Captain: I have no gate key.
Inigo: Fezzik, tear his arms off.
Captain: Oh, you mean this gate key! [hands them the key]
- Distant Reaction Shot: During Westley's scream, they cut to several places throughout the kingdom, including Buttercup's room, then to Inigo and Fezzik, where Inigo immediately recognizes the cry of ultimate suffering.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Fezzik, at times. "I didn't mean to jog him that hard..."
- The Dreaded: The Dread Pirate Roberts. His reputation for taking no prisoners means that everyone immediately surrenders without a fight.note
- Dreaming the Truth: Buttercup and the Ancient Booer, who points out how easily she's given up on True Love. Buttercup wakes with new determination.
- The Dragon: Count Rugen to Prince Humperdinck. Inigo takes him on so that Westley can reach Buttercup in time to save her from Humperdinck (and herself).
- Driven to Suicide: Buttercup after her wedding to Humperdinck, during which he reveals to her he's had Westley murdered, and Westley doesn't show up in time to interrupt the wedding. Good thing Westley was only mostly dead and happened to be in the honeymoon suite waiting for her.
- 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. He returns the favor before killing Rugen.
- Dumb Blonde: Buttercup doesn't come across as dumb so much as sheltered and naïve, which makes sense, given she's almost instantly transported from a tiny farm into royalty. (She's the one to notice the impending ambush as Roberts confronts Humperdinck, for example.) She also lampshades it with some Self-Deprecation while she's nailing Humperdinck with a pretty fair "The Reason You Suck" Speech.Buttercup: Yes, I am a silly girl.
- Electric Torture: Count Rugen's Machine is vacuum torture, actually, but the trappings apply.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The Impressive Clergyman. Fezzik also has a minor bit of this, but his is actor-induced.Impressive Clergyman: Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us togethah today.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Count Rugen is a smarmy bastard, yes, but on the other hand... "NOT TO FIFTY!!" However, his protest might be because he wants to draw out the torture (he is writing a book and needs the input), and doesn't want his prisoner killed outright.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Buttercup actually gets promoted to princess, because she was born a commoner but Humperdinck wants to marry her.
- Evil Albino: Count Rugen's henchman, although he's played mostly as a Punch-Clock Villain—especially after his stereotypically evil rasp turns out just to be a frog in his throat.
- Evil Gloating: Rugen halts Inigo's chase by throwing a knife into his stomach... and if he'd taken the opportunity to keep running, he might have gotten away. Instead he stops to gloat, and Inigo gets a Heroic Second Wind.
- The Evil Prince: Humperdinck is already ruling his kingdom de facto due to his father's senility, and can't wait to start a war of conquest with neighboring Guilder. He has no qualms about marrying and murdering his most beautiful subject to bring that about, either.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Parodied with the Albino. He starts off speaking with an extreme rasp. Then he coughs to clear his throat, and continues speaking in the actor's normal voice with a slight Cockney accent.Westley: Where am I?
Albino: [raspy voice] The Pit of Despair. Don't even— [coughs; normal voice] Don't even think about trying to escape.
- Exact Words: Westley's challenge in the Battle Of Wits is "Where is the poison?", not "Which glass is poisoned?"
- Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Having a giant as a pal helps when you need to get through a crowded marketplace quickly.Inigo: Excuse me... Excuse me... Fezzik, please?
Fezzik: EVERYBODY MOVE!
[crowd clears a path]
Inigo: Thank you.
- Exploited Immunity: Vizzini and the Man in Black are playing Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo; the Man in Black puts poison in both glasses, having spent years developing a tolerance to the poison being used.
- Extra Digits: Count Rugen has six fingers on his right hand. This is the only clue Inigo has to his identity; fortunately, it's a very distinctive feature.
- Face Death with Dignity: After being disarmed at the end of the duel Inigo quietly falls to his knees in in front of the Man in Black and stoically requests to be killed quickly. Fortunately for Inigo the Man in Black holds artists in as high a regard as stained-glass windows.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Buttercup wears one for her would-be wedding to Humperdinck.
- Fakeout Opening:
- The film begins with the boy playing a video game.
- Also used within the fairy tale itself. It starts off as an over-the-top love story, until the grandson stops his grandfather and accuses him of tricking him into hearing a "kissing book". The humor of the movie doesn't start until afterwards.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Conversed. Westley proposes he and Humperdinck fight "to the pain," which involves Humperdinck losing his feet, hands, nose, and eyes while leaving his ears perfect so he could hear the screams of anguish at his mutilated body.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen seem to be genuine friends. Their exchange in the forest establishes, for the first time, that Humperdinck is genuinely evil, but is also full of little moments of relatability for both of them, like Rugen struggling to find the secret door to the Pit of Despair ("It's impossible to find...") and encouraging Humperdinck to get some rest.
- Notice how Humperdinck tells Buttercup, with all the sad puppy eyes he can muster, that he hopes she will at least consider him less bad than suicide, as if he really feels hurt that she considers marriage to him to be a Fate Worse Than Death.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Parodied. Scarily Competent Tracker Humperdinck correctly identifies the colorless, tasteless, and odorless poison iocane after sniffing the vial it was in.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Westley becomes this with Inigo and Fezzik.
- Flynning: The duel on the Cliffs of Insanity is an homage. The screenplay explicitly says that the characters are Flynning, as they have nothing personal driving their duel and are trying to have fun with someone who can fight as well as they can.
- Foregone Conclusion: The grandfather tells his grandson the ending of the story midway through the movie, although specific details have been left out. Namely, "No one kills Humperdinck. He goes on to live a long life" after Inigo and Fezzik find Westley's body.
- For Science!: Rugen's attitude towards his pain-inflicting Machine.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Interruptions in between and the occasional Rodents of Unusual Size.
- Framing Device: The film is framed as a book being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson. The grandfather's elisions and commentary mirror the editorializing done by "editor" William Goldman in the original book.
- Freudian Trio:
- Fezzik is the Id, Inigo is the Ego, and Westley is the Superego.
- In the original trio Vizzini was the Superego—a very bad one.
- Gentle Giant: Fezzik.
- Get It Over With: Inigo to the Man in Black, who refuses to kill such an opponent.Inigo: Kill me quickly.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the Brute Squad greets Inigo, who replies in the King's Spanish:Brute: Ho there!
Inigo: I will not budge. Keep your joder.
- Giant Mook: Fezzik is this before his Heel–Face Turn.
- Give Me a Sign: While holding the sword his late father made, Inigo asks his father's spirit to guide his sword and lead him to Westley. Then he closes his eyes while holding the sword out in front of him, and ultimately sticks it into a tree. Feeling let down and probably foolish, Inigo slumps down onto the tree. And then it opens up...
- The Good King: Unfortunately one so doddery that The Evil Prince is reigning for him.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Inigo has Good Scars running across his cheeks, given to him by the man who killed his father, as if he didn't have enough reason for revenge without reminders on his own face.
- Grumpy Old Man: Miracle Max.Inigo: Are you the Miracle Max who worked for the king all those years?
Max: The king's stinking son fired me. Thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We're closed! [slams window]
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Both Buttercup and Westley, almost too much sweetness and virtue for one film.
- Happily Ever After: Buttercup gets rescued, she and Westley have The Big Damn Kiss, Inigo might make a good new Dread Pirate Roberts, and they all ride off into the dawn. Grandpa might read the story again tomorrow.
- He's Just Hiding: Discussed In-Universe.Grandson: Wait, what did Fezzik mean, "He's dead?" I mean, he didn't mean dead; Westley's only faking, right?
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Fezzik and Inigo have shades of this. They are established to be friends in their first scene (and neither of them is friends with Vizzini, which is established instantly, as well). They express concern over one another being in danger multiple times. When they reunite, Fezzik nurses Inigo back to health... or rather, sobriety. Even the movie's soundtrack seems to think they are a couple - listen to the music when Fezzik finds the drunk Inigo. For a second, the music used sounds like it belongs in a "lovers reunited" scene.
- He Will Come for Me:
- A variation while Buttercup is held prisoner by the Man in Black.Buttercup: No matter where you take me, there's no greater hunter than Prince Humperdinck. He could track a falcon on a cloudy day. He can find you.
Man in Black: You think your dearest love will save you?
Buttercup: I never said he was my dearest love. And yes, he will save me. That I know.
- While Buttercup is waiting for Westley to come take her away.Buttercup: Any word from Westley?
Humperdinck: Too soon, my angel. Patience.
Buttercup: He will come for me.
- Shortly before the wedding:Buttercup: You never sent those ships. Don't bother lying. [beat] It doesn't matter; Westley will come for me anyway.
- A final variation, at the wedding.[sounds of fighting in the distance]
Buttercup: Here comes my Westley now.
Humperdinck: Your Westley is dead. I killed him myself.
Buttercup: Then why is there fear behind your eyes?
- A variation while Buttercup is held prisoner by the Man in Black.
- Heel–Face Turn: Inigo and Fezzik, technically. They were never more than Punch-Clock Villains in the first place, and after their boss dies, Inigo continues pursuing his revenge in the best way he knows how, and Fezzik helps him because they're friends. This leads them to ally with the heroes, without a change in their own motivations.
- Hell Is That Noise: Westley's scream at being put through The Machine.
- Henpecked Husband: Miracle Max, at least at first.Valerie: Liar! Liar! LIIIAAAAAR!
- Heroic Safe Mode: Inigo during his final duel with Count Rugen. He shrugs off a thrown knife to the gut after only a minute or so.
- Home Sweet Home: Westley wants to settle down with Buttercup, after solving that whole Unable to Support a Wife problem. Becoming the Dread Pirate Roberts for a few years earns him a fortune easily.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Both Inigo and the Man in Black demonstrate this during their encounter at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity. The Man in Black accepts Inigo's assistance to reach the top, knowing that Inigo intends to kill him and could easily let him fall, after Inigo swears on his dead father's soul that the Man will reach the top alive. Inigo then lets him rest and hands over his sword for the Man in Black to admire; the Man in Black even gives him a You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! look as he's examining it. If either of them had been less honorable than the other, the other would have been in serious trouble.
- Fezzik also demonstrates this in his fight with the Man in Black. Rather than throw a rock at the Man in Black from his hidden position, Fezzik intentionally misses the shot, announces himself to the Man in Black, and insists they fight hand-to-hand.The Man in Black: You mean you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try to kill each other like civilized people?
- Hollywood Torches: The Pit of Despair, where Count Rugen tortures Westley, is brightly lit with torches on the walls that ought not to illuminate the middle of the chamber.
- Hope Spot: Westley and Buttercup are reunited and have just survived the Fire Swamp. Things are really looking up! Then Humperdinck shows up...
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Inigo deliberately handicaps himself during his duel with the Man in Black, because he's used to fighting people who are no challenge. When he realises that the Man in Black is beating him, he reveals his true abilities, and is soon winning—until the Man in Black reveals that he's also been holding back.
- I Don't Pay You to Think: Vizzini hired Inigo for his swordsmanship skills, and Fezzik for his size and strength. He'd much prefer it if neither of them spoke at all, but they're both smarter than he thinks they are.Fezzik: I just don't think it's right, killing an innocent girl.
Vizzini: Am I going mad, or did the word "think" escape your lips?! You were not hired for your brains, you hippopotamic land mass!
Inigo: I agree with Fezzik.
Vizzini: Oh, the sot has spoken! What happens to her is not truly your concern! I will kill her! And remember this, NEVER FORGET THIS! When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn't buy brandy! [turning to Fezzik] And YOU: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were?! Unemployed, in Greenland?
- Ignoring by Singing: Miracle Max's response when his wife provokes his Berserk Button by reminding him of his treatment by Prince Humperdinck.
- The Igor: The Albino, servant to the scientifically evil Rugen. He even speaks with the typical raspy "Igor voice"... for one line, then he clears his throat and speaks in a normal deeper voice.
- I Gave My Word: Played straight by Inigo as Westley is trying to climb the Cliffs of Insanity. Twisted around when Prince Humperdinck promises not to hurt Westley if Buttercup goes quietly (planning to let Count Rugen do it), but ultimately subverted when Humperdinck mostly kills Westley himself.
- I Know You Know I Know: Subverted during the Battle of Wits. Vizzini makes increasingly complicated reasonings to deduce which goblet is poisoned ("...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!"), but, as the Man in Black points out, he is just stalling for time and trying to break the Man in Black's poker face. When Vizzini gets called out on that, he gives up and goes for a second strategy: he distracts the Man in Black and swaps the cup instead, reasoning that if the Man looks confident drinking his cup, he should be too. The irony is that Vizzini's reasoning might be flawed, but his conclusion, that he can't trust either of the two glasses, is quite accurate. He just can't seem to get the final piece of the puzzle.
- Incendiary Exponent: Fezzik, shrouded in a cloak, gets lit on fire to intimidate the guards during the storming of the castle.
- Indecisive Medium: The film is about reading a book.
- Informed Attractiveness: Much is made of Buttercup's beauty.
- Insane Troll Logic: Some of Vizzini's analysis about which cup the Man in Black is more likely to have poisoned seems like this, although it's subverted in that he isn't really using this logic, he's just blabbing while observing the Man in Black for a telling reaction.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Westley notices several Rodents of Unusual Size sneaking up on him and Buttercup but denies their existence because he doesn't want her to panic. Almost immediately after he says that, a giant rat-monster attacks them.
- Inter-Class Romance:
- Buttercup, a commoner, and Prince Humperdinck, prince, to the extent that it counts as a romance. He has her ennobled as a princess before he marries her.
- Buttercup is more middle-class than Westley, who is after all her family's farm boy. She initially considers him to be beneath her notice and all he says to her is "as you wish," before she realizes they're in love.
- Ironic Echo:
- "I swear it will be done" (Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen).
- A visual example, once again with Count Rugen: Every wound he takes during his duel with Inigo is somewhere that he previously inflicted. For those keeping score, that's both cheeks, right arm, left shoulder, and the stab to the belly.
- It Seemed Trivial: Inigo failing to mention to Westley that they have access to a wheelbarrow.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Prince Humperdinck claims he would let Buttercup marry Westley if she wants to and send out four ships to locate him. Unsurprisingly, he's lying.
- Jerk Ass: Humperdinck is a nasty piece of work, even for a storybook villain. He's arrogant, petty and cruel; he is only marrying Buttercup as a way to foster outrage in Florin when she's murdered, thus securing popular support for a war with Guilder; and not only is he planning to murder Buttercup with his bare hands on their wedding night, he actually confesses that he's looking forward to that! He lies to Buttercup constantly. He sets up a phony kidnapping for him to foil and make himself a hero. Finally, he turns Westley over to Rugen for his abominable torture experiments, and then temporarily kills Westley in an unimaginably agonizing way—simply because he discovered how deeply Buttercup loves Westley.
- Just a Stupid Accent: The novel establishes that English is not the native language of Florin. But since Florin is a Fictional Country (with a fictional language), there is no accent to imitate. Thus, most of the Florinese characters (played mostly by American actors) speak with British Accents. Frenchman André the Giant and American Wallace Shawn go into Not Even Bothering with the Accent territory with their characters, Fezzik and Vizzini, who are supposed to be Turkish and Sicilian respectively. However, the actors retain their native accents, and Vizzini's claim to be Sicilian is treated more like a joke than anything else. Miracle Max and his wife appear to be Yiddish speakers (but there's no reason why they couldn't be.) Only Mandy Patinkin bothers to try to speak with his character's native Spanish accent, albeit not terribly well.
- Kansas City Shuffle: The Battle of Wits. There is poison in a chalice, and Vizzini is working to puzzle out which chalice is in. After a long while, he figures it must be in the goblet closest to him, so he pulls a Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo, and once not distracted, they both drink. But he was wrong. Both goblets were poisoned, and the Man in Black had Acquired Poison Immunity. Amusingly enough, he did stumble across the answer a couple of times, but passed over it because he was so sure the poison was only in one goblet.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Buttercup tells Humperdinck that Westley will come for her, he looks straight at the camera and smirks in response.
- Legacy Character: The "Dread Pirate Roberts" is actually a title that has been held by a number of individuals. Westley reveals that he is the fourth person to use the mantle in order to uphold the legend, after the real Roberts, a guy named Cummerbund, and another man named Ryan. Fezzik even briefly takes up the identity to scare a few guards when Storming the Castle, which also involves him being set on fire. At the end of the movie, Inigo wonders what to do now that he got his revenge, and Westley suggests passing the name to him.
- Leitmotif: Skillfully done with Fezzik's plodding slide trombone theme, "The Friends' Song." You can't help but smile when you hear it, especially in this scene:Inigo: [drunk out of his mind] I. Am waiting. For. Vizzini.
[cue leitmotif as huge hands pick Inigo up]
Fezzik: You surely are a meanie.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen:
- Inigo and the Man in Black have a most cordial conversation both before and during their fight.
- Fezzik could kill the Man in Black by surprise, but insists on fighting hand-to-hand, "as God intended."Man in Black: You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people?
- Life Isn't Fair:
- In response to the grandson's protest at a certain plot development, the grandfather simply says, "So who says life is fair? Where is that written?"
- A similar sentiment from the Man in Black: "Life is pain, highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something."
- Lip-Lock Sun-Block: The first kiss between Westley and Buttercup has the two blocking the sunset, which is quickly interrupted by the grandson:Grandson: Is this a kissing book?
- Liquid Assets: Count Rugen's torture device, the Machine, treats Life Energy as water.
- Living Legend: The Dread Pirate Roberts. Everyone knows he takes no prisoners, which is how he's so successful at convincing people to give up their valuables without a fight.
- Look Behind You:
- Vizzini does this in the "Battle of Wits" scene so he can swap goblets without the Man in Black knowing he'd done so.
- The ROUS attack in the Fire Swamp.
- Marry for Love: Buttercup wanted to, but she thought Westley was dead.
- Masquerading As the Unseen: The Dread Pirate Roberts is identified mainly by his black clothing and his Zorro mask. As a result, few know that the identity has been passed from person to person through the years. At the end, Fezzik dresses up and claims to be the "Dwead Piwate Woberts" to scare the castle guards.
- Master Swordsman: Westley and Inigo both qualify. Inigo has studied the sword for twenty years straight to acquire the skills necessary to avenge his father. Westley has only had a few years of practice under his belt, but has even more natural talent.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Inigo and Fezzik are looking for Westley, their only lead is incapacitated and they're running out of time. In desperation Inigo invokes his father's spirit and attempts to use his sword as a dousing rod. When he runs into a tree, he slumps over in despair, but it just so happens the knot that the sword prodded was the hidden switch that opens the secret passageway leading to whom they're looking for. It may be dumb luck, but the tree is covered in knots and Count Rugen, who uses the passage on a regular basis, had some trouble in finding it.
- Meaningful Echo: The grandfather's last line to his grandson is "As you wish," previously established as Westley's way of saying "I love you."
- Meaningful Name: Florin and Guilder, the names of the two warring countries, are both names of historic denominations of coins of Europe, thus they are clearly wealthy kingdoms.
- Mexican Standoff: Between Vizzini and the Man in Black, leading up to the Battle of Wits. The standoff is in part theoretical—the Man in Black has no weapon trained on Vizzini, but the latter knows he'd never stand up to the Man physically, so his knife is at Buttercup's throat, effectively holding the Man in Black at bay.
- Mickey Mousing: Used throughout the movie to varying degree and effect, but the most noteworthy instance has to be Inigo Montoya's fight against Count Rugen, in which a musical sting accompanies every stab that draws blood.
- Miles Gloriosus: Humperdinck obviously fancies himself a mighty warrior, but he is rather cowardly—so much so that he surrenders to a man who could barely stand up, simply because he rattled him.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Inigo and Fezzik. "I just don't think it's right, killing an innocent girl." And Fezzik complaining that his way of getting rid of the Man in Black (throwing a rock at his head) is not very sportsmanlike.
- Mistress and Servant Boy: Buttercup and Westley are originally this type of couple.
- Mobstacle Course: Inigo hears Westley's screaming. But he has a hard time getting through the crowd of peasants until Fezzik shouts "Everybody MOVE!"
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Playfully averted with all the successors to the Roberts legacy, who are given deliberately nonthreatening names.Westley: ...he said, "My real name is Ryan. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either—his name was Cummerbund."
- The Napoleon: Vizzini hires the strongest giant and most deadly swordsman he can find, but feels no fear in constantly browbeating and threatening them.
- Neutral Female: Buttercup spends 90% of Westley's fight with the ROUS standing there watching, even though his sword is lying right next to her.
- Never Say That Again:
- Miracle Max is so sore over being fired by Humperdinck that he forbids the name in his house. His wife uses it to needle him.Valerie: Humperdinck! Humperdinck! Humperdiiiinck!
Max: La, la, la, I'm not listening!
- Also, Count Rugen, in response to the repetition of Inigo's greeting that accompanies his Heroic Second Wind: "Stop saying that!"
- Miracle Max is so sore over being fired by Humperdinck that he forbids the name in his house. His wife uses it to needle him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- The Man in Black testing Buttercup's faithfulness to Westley, instead of telling him who he is, ends up with both of them rolling down a hill and having to navigate the Fire Swamp to get to his ship. This gives Humperdinck enough time to catch up to them, and forces Buttercup to bargain for Westley's life.
- Buttercup giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Humperdinck enrages the latter enough to kill Westley with the machine.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Humperdinck turning up the power on the machine, causing Westley to cry out in agony, alerts Inigo and Fezzik to Westley's location.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Westley says the Fire Swamp is more charming than fearsome. Not that he's going to build a summer home there.
- No Name Given: The boy and his grandfather are never named, not even in the ending credits. Also true of The Impressive Clergyman and The Albino.
- Noisy Nature: Shrieking eels.
- No Time to Explain: "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
- Not What I Signed On For: Inigo and Fezzik agreed to help Vizzini abduct a girl. Revealing that he's going to kill her shakes them up.
- Now What?: Inigo wonders what he will do after he defeated the six-fingered man. Westley suggests he take up the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts, since he just wants to live in peace with Buttercup now.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Buttercup when a shrieking eel advances on her.
- Buttercup when she realizes that the Man in Black is Westley and she just pushed him down a hill.
- Westley gets this multiple times in the Fire Swamp: on seeing Buttercup's dress catch on fire, quicksand swallowing her, an ROUS appearing just out of her line of vision, and finally encountering Humperdinck's army.
- Yellin the castle gate guard when he gets a good look at Fezzik.
- Ominous Adversarial Amusement:Inigo: I admit it: you are better than I am!
Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
Inigo: Because I know something you don't know.
- One True Love: The plot revolves around this trope.
- Only a Flesh Wound: In his final battle with Count Rugen, Inigo twice deflects sword thrusts into his shoulder and yet seems to show no visible effect from it. Not to mention, of course, the gaping dagger wound to the stomach (though he's having to hold it shut the whole time). He's even using all injured limbs normally without even wincing in pain after he kills Rugen, jumping out windows and riding horses without missing a beat.
- Only Mostly Dead: After Humperdinck kills Westley, his friends take him to Miracle Max, who diagnoses him as "only mostly dead" and thus a candidate for revival. For the record, there's a big difference between 'mostly dead' and 'all dead', and that is the fact with 'all dead', there's only one thing you can do: go through his clothes and look for loose change.
- Out-Gambitted: Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line! Hahahahahaha! Unless you are immune to a poison you are using.
- Overly Long Scream: Westley, when Humperdinck charges into the Pit of Despair and cranks Rugen's life-sucking machine to its maximum setting.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: It took "As You Wish" to realize it?! Then again, she hasn't seen him in years, and has no reason to even think he's alive.
- Parody Sue: Buttercup and Westley. The former of the Purity Sue type, and the latter a Marty Tzu with a dash of God-Mode Sue seeing as he is able to both outfence Inigo and outwrestle Fezzik.
- Passing the Torch: Westley suggests that Inigo take his place as the Dread Pirate Roberts.
- Person with the Clothing: The Man in Black.
- Pet Rat: The Brute Squad hired by Prince Humperdinck whose job is to clear out the Thieves' Quarter. Not to mention Vizzini and his crew.
- 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.
- Pirate: The Dread Pirate Roberts, to be precise. Not that we see him do much pirating.
- Platonic Declaration of Love: A roundabout example occurs in the Frame Story of the movie with the grandfather and grandson. Early in the story, Buttercup realizes that Westley's habitual answer "as you wish" means he loves her. As we return to the grandfather and grandson at the end, the grandson asks the grandfather to come back and reread the book to him tomorrow. The grandfather answers, "As you wish."
- Plot Hole: When Count Rugen first uses the machine on Westley, he moves the switch to "1", and we see a block of wood raise about an inch, and water trickle under it. If the block had been raised up all the way, the water would continue to trickle at the same rate, so setting it to 50, as the prince does later, would be no different. Though maybe the flow of water just turns the machine on and off and the "throttle" is controlled by some other unseen mechanism.
- Plot-Powered Stamina: Fezzik's arms never get tired, not even when hauling three people up the Cliffs of Insanity.
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Part of Vizzini's Batman Gambit that revolves around the aforementioned I Know You Know I Know.
- The Power of Love: A major theme—Westley is driven by romantic love, and Inigo by filial love (...and by The Power of Hate).
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Interesting case since the author himself adapted it to a screenplay. Many lines from cut characters are transplanted onto other characters. The stack of frame stories and unreliable narrations in the book, all focused on the reader-writer relationship, is slimmed down to one simple frame story, removing most of the postmodernism and satire.
- Precision F-Strike:
- A single instance of "You son of a bitch" is the closest the film gets to an obscenity.
- The grandson shouts, "Jesus, Grandpa!" in exasperation, showing that he's fully invested in the story by now.
- Prepositional Phrase Equals Coolness: The Cliffs of Insanity, the Man in Black, the Rodents of Unusual Size, and the Pit of Despair, just to name a few.
- Pressure Point: Fezzik clasps her carotid artery for a moment to knock out Buttercup.
- Pretext for War: The plot behind Buttercup's kidnapping. Humperdinck wants to frame the kingdom of Guilder for it so he can conquer them.
- Prevent the War: Vizzini thinks the Man in Black is trying to stop the prince's plot to start a war, but in reality he just wants to save Buttercup.
- Prince Charmless: Humperdinck is the main villain and a real asshole.
- Properly Paranoid: Discussed.Humperdinck: You always think everything will be a trap... which is why I am still alive.
- Punch-Clock Villain:
- Inigo and Fezzik are only on the bad guys' side because they're working for Vizzini. It's no big surprise they go over to the hero's side.Inigo: I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There's not a lot of money in revenge.
- The Albino seems to be one of these, too. The actor's performance mostly suggests he's just doing his job, even if it is a pretty evil job.
- Inigo and Fezzik are only on the bad guys' side because they're working for Vizzini. It's no big surprise they go over to the hero's side.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The Man in Black versus Fezzik. Fezzik gives him a bright smile and tries to encourage him.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- "Drop. Your. Sword."
- "I. Am waiting. For. Vizzini."
- Quicksand Sucks: In the Fire Swamp, lightning sand quickly sucks Buttercup in without warning.
- Rambling Old Man Monologue:Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. [beat] Except for a nice MLT: mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato's ripe. They're so perky, I love them.
- Rags to Royalty: Buttercup, as a landholding farmer, may not wear rags, but she's a commoner whom Humperdinck ennobles so that he can marry her.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Given the grandfather is trying to convince the grandson that the story he's reading to him is actually worth hearing (by comparison to, say, videogames like he was playing before, or TV).Grandfather: When I was your age, television was called books.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Vizzini threatens Fezzik with this.Vizzini: Do you want me to send you back to where you were?! Unemployed? In Greenland?
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Buttercup to Humperdinck after she realizes he never sent his four fastest ships to look for Westley.
- Recruited from the Gutter: Vizzini recruited both Inigo and Fezzik this way, as he reminds them when they question his orders:Vizzini: [to Inigo] When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn't buy brandy! [to Fezzik] And you: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were?! Unemployed, in Greenland?
- Red Right Hand: Count Rugen's right hand has six fingers. It's Inigo's only real clue to his identity.
- Reminiscing About Your Victims: The Man in Black recalls meeting and then killing Westley with Buttercup. It's also a subversion, since the Man in Black is Westley.
- Resurrection Sickness: After returning from being mostly dead, Westley spends the rest of the film as essentially an invalid.
- Revenge: Inigo Montoya has dedicated his life to taking vengeance on the six-fingered man who killed his father.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Fezzik.Inigo: That Vizzini, he can fuss.
Fezzik: Fuss, fuss... I think he like to scream at us.
Inigo: Probably he means no harm.
Fezzik: He's really very short on charm.
Inigo: You have a great gift for rhyme.
Fezzik: Yes, yes, some of the time.
Vizzini: Enough of that!
[The boat sets sail]
Inigo: Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
Fezzik: If there are, we all be dead.
Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it!
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?
[Vizzini screams in frustration]
- Ridiculously Difficult Route: The Fire Swamp. Blasts of fire, lightning sand and Rodents of Unusual Size. Though Westley and Buttercup seem to survive fairly easily, all things considered.Buttercup: We'll never survive!
Westley: Nonsense! You're only saying that because nobody ever has.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Inigo hears a scream, which he identifies as the sound of "ultimate suffering", and concludes that it must be the Man in Black: "His true love is marrying another tonight, so who else has the cause for ultimate suffering?" He's right about it being the Man in Black, but he's actually being tortured by the Machine, which completely undermines Inigo's reasoning; it might just as well have been anybody else who'd happened to get on Humperdinck's bad side.
- Roar Before Beating: Vizzini explicitly says that the Shrieking Eels "always grow louder when they're about to feed on human flesh".
- Robotic Torture Device: The Machine, a water suction pump. Made all the more horrifying with the eleven-fingered man politely asking for Westley to describe the sensation for science.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The Rodents of Unusual Size (about the size of a large dog) are one of the hazards of the Fire Swamp.
- Rule of Funny: Inigo has to count on his fingers to figure out he would be left with 20 men after Fezzik says he can handle 10 of the 30 guarding the gate. It's best not to think about that later when Inigo later instantly counts 60 men now guarding the gate.
- Sailor's Ponytail: The Dread Pirate Roberts sports a ponytail.
- Sarcastic Confession: When Humperdinck's response to Westley's To the Pain speech is to call his bluff, he replies, "It's possible, pig, I might be bluffing. It's conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand." (Subverted, though, as he then reveals that he's regained enough strength to stand up. Just enough.)
- Separate Scene Storytelling: As the grandfather reads to the child, the action shifts to the story.
- Scare Chord: Immediately after the line, "Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist," one of said ROUSs jumps Westley, and the music reacts appropriately.
- Scarecrow Solution: The entire "Dread Pirate Roberts" rig that Fezzik wears for the castle storming, which even gets set on fire for further dramatic effect.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Prince Humperdinck is pointed out to be so, and demonstrates it. His skill is even more notable later after the revelation that the kidnapping had not gone as he planned it to go, so even he is being surprised by what he is discovering—but he still tracks them.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Westley's relationship with the previous Dread Pirate Roberts. Despite continual claims that he'll probably be killed the next morning, he serves as a valet until they become friends.
- The Scream: Westley's torture. Poor bastard.Inigo: You hear that? That is the sound of ultimate suffering.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Inigo has finally gained the upper hand against Rugen, he asks for a bribe, but only because he wants to toy with the bastard.Inigo: Offer me money.
Inigo: Power, too, promise me that.
Rugen: All that I have and more. Please...
Inigo: Offer me everything I ask for.
Rugen: Anything you want...
Inigo: [runs Rugen through] I want my father back, you son of a bitch!
- Secret Test: When Westley rescues Buttercup, his One True Love, from her kidnappers, he doesn't reveal his true identity, in the hope of finding out whether she still loves him or not. She ends up pushing him down a cliff when he questions her faithfulness to the man that "Roberts" murdered.
- Self-Poisoning Gambit: After Vizzini switches the cups, he carefully watches the Man in Black's reaction to his choice. When The Man in Black shows no hesitation to drink, Vizzini concludes that the Man in Black thought he was getting the "safe" cup, which Vizzini now has due to his earlier switch. Vizzini happily downs his wine, unaware that he had been fooled and was falling victim to this trope instead.
- Shown Their Work: The names dropped during the Chatty Duel:
- "Bonetti's defense" refers to 16th century fencing master Rocco Bonetti.
- "Capo Ferro" refers to 16th-17th century fencing master Ridolfo Capo Ferro, author of Gran Simulacro dell' Arte e dell' uso della Scherma.
- "Thibault" refers to 17th century fencing master Girard Thibault, author of Academie de l'Espee.
- "Agrippa" refers to 16th century fencing master Camillo Agrippa, author of Trattato di Scienza d'Arme.
- Sincerity Mode: When Count Rugen invites Prince Humperdinck to his initial demonstration of his new torture device, Humperdinck respectfully declines on the grounds that he's got a lot of dirty work of his own.Humperdinck Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work. But I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it—I'm swamped.
Count Rugen: Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: What Buttercup tells the Dread Pirate Roberts (actually Westley): she "died" the day that she heard her true love was gone, and he has no right to accuse her of being unfaithful when as far as she knows that Roberts murdered Westley. And to accentuate the point, she pushes Roberts down a hill.
- Slippery as an Eel: When she tries to escape from Vizzini, Buttercup is attacked by shrieking eels.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Vizzini thinks he's far more intelligent than he really is.Vizzini: Ever hear of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? ...Morons.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Buttercup. Her beauty's enough to get her promoted to future queen, except the Prince threatens to kill her if she refuses. He's planning to kill her anyway. In fact, if she were slightly less beautiful, the whole conflict wouldn't have happened.
- Something Only They Would Say: Roberts saying "As you wish", reveals himself to be Westley.
- So What Do We Do Now?: Inigo gets his revenge, but he spent all his adult life in pursuit of it. What should he do? Fortunately Westley passes on the mantle of The Dread Pirate Roberts to him.
- Sparing the Aces: The Man in Black declines to kill his Worthy Opponent Inigo Montoya because Inigo is an extremely gifted swordsman who has made swordfighting his life's study in order to be able to one day get revenge on the man who killed his father. In addition, Inigo had plenty of chances to easily kill the Man in Black, but chose not to, out of a sense of honor.
- Stay in the Kitchen: The Man in Black's attitude towards Buttercup seems to be this, seemingly setting him up as a Politically Incorrect Villain, at least to modern audiences. However, when it's revealed he is actually her true love, Westley, who loves her deeply, one could conjecture the cavalier chauvinism was just Westley venting his anger at her for giving up on him.
- Stop Saying That!: Count Rugen, verbatim, to Inigo Montoya.
- Storming the Castle: Inigo and Fezzik invade Humperdinck's castle with only Westley, who's suffering Resurrection Sickness and can barely move himself, to help. Miracle Max and Valerie don't think much of their chances.Valerie: Think it'll work?
Max: It'll take a miracle.
- Stunned Silence: Buttercup to Westley after he praises the Fire Swamp.
- Swamps Are Evil: The three primary dangers of the Fire Swamp are random spouts of fire (easily avoided by identifying a popping noise right before one erupts), the lightning sand (though once you've fallen into that one, it's easy to look out for), and the Rodents of Unusual Size.
- Swashbuckler: Not a completely pure example of the genre, but containing many, many of its elements.
- Sword Fight: The "Chatty Duel" (as the DVD chapter title names it) between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black. One of the best sword fights on film.
- Sword Pointing: Westley does it to Prince Humperdinck at the climax to make him surrender.Westley: Drop. Your. Sword.
- Take a Third Option: Vizzini attempts this during the battle of wits. Unfortunately for him, so does the Man in Black, and rather more successfully.
- Tap on the Head: The Man in Black to Inigo (swordhilt) and Fezzik (stranglehold), Count Rugen to Westley (swordhilt), and Fezzik to the albino (fist) and the shrieking eel (fist).
- Tempting Fate: "Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist."
- Terrible Trio: Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik are initially this, before it becomes apparent that Inigo and Fezzik are actually good—and Vizzini meets with some iocane powder.
- That Liar Lies: Max gets this reaction after trying his "to blave" comment.Valerie: Liar! Liar! LIIIAAAAAR!
- Theme Naming: Florin and Guilder are different names for the same medieval European coin. Currencies with those names are still in use today.
- To the Pain: When Westley confronts Humperdinck, he challenges him to a duel and describes in detail what he's going to do to him when he wins. It's s a bluff; he can barely stand, much less carry it out.
- Tom the Dark Lord: Westley's explanation to Buttercup while they are traveling through the Fire Swamp as to why he had to take on the Dread Pirate Roberts moniker:Westley: Well, Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his cabin and told me his secret: "I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts," he said. "My name is Ryan. I inherited this ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts, either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia." Then he explained the name was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would surrender to the 'Dread Pirate Westley'.
- Try and Follow:
- Vizzini thinks that Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity is enough to deter persuit, since only Fezzik is strong enough to haul himself (and the other three) all the way to the top. But the Man in Black gives chase anyway.
- Westley and Buttercup successfully lose Humperdinck's men by entering the Fire Swamp, which by reputation no one can survive traversing. However, Humperdinck merely uses his horses' superior speed to go around and beat them to the other side.
- True Companions: Fezzik and Inigo. They rhyme together, encourage each other to be careful, and work as a team. Fezzik rescues a drunken Inigo from the Brute Squad, sobers him up, and helps him come up with a new plan to obtain his revenge.
- Two-Faced Aside: When Buttercup asks Humperdinck to promise he'll return Westley to his ship:Humperdinck: I swear it will be done. [aside to Count Rugen] Once we're out of sight, take him back to Florin and throw him in the Pit of Despair.
Count Rugen: I swear it will be done.
- Unable to Support a Wife: Why Westley, a poor farmboy, left Buttercup to seek his fortune.
- Unconscious Objector: Inigo's arm seems to block Count Rugen's coup de grace independently. At that moment, "conscious" wouldn't fairly describe Inigo, who seems ready to Go Into the Light.
- Undead Author: The Dread Pirate Roberts takes no prisoners. (In the original novel, it's explained that this doesn't mean he kills everybody: he kills anybody who resists, but anybody who hands over their valuables without resistance gets to go free—and spread the word, so that the next set of victims are less likely to resist.)
- Unreliable Voiceover: The grandfather narrates, "Fezzik took great care in reviving Inigo," as Fezzik dunks Inigo's head into alternating basins of hot and cold water. Several times.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: All of one person other than the main characters seems to notice the eerie, overlapping scream that's loud enough to be heard all over Florin. And he just turns his head slightly before walking on, all of the other peasants blithely ignoring it. Of course, Inigo has to tell Fezzik to stop and listen before the giant acknowledges it, so it might simply not be as loud to the characters as it is to the viewers.
- Up to 11: The Machine has settings on a scale from one to fifty. Level One will drain one year of your lifespan away. Rugen says that he "might one day go as high as Five," but is not sure what that would do. After Buttercup gives Humperdinck her "The Reason You Suck" Speech, he takes it out on Westley by turning the Machine all the way up to Fifty.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Once Inigo Montoya has killed his father's killer, Inigo's life is rather empty, although it's not really a lack of satisfaction but rather, "That's everything on the to-do list. Now what?"
- Video Credits: At the end.
- 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: Humperdinck trusts the Count completely, the Count worries for the Prince's health, and they seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company.
- Villain Respect: Count Rugen seems to genuinely admire Westley for his fortitude and prowess, as well as his direct manner. Unfortunately, this is the main reason Westley becomes a prime test subject for the Machine.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Prince Humperdinck seems to enjoy the support, or at least the apathy, of most of his subjects. The need to maintain his good publicity is why he plans to kill such a popular figure as Princess Buttercup in the first place—framing Guilder for the crime will give him the pretext he needs to go to war with the support of the populace.
- Wall Slump: Inigo has a famous one after Rugen stabs him—several times.
- Wham Line:
- "As you wish!" as Roberts/Westley tumbles down the hillside.
- Humperdinck is presented as a Jerk Ass for claiming Buttercup as a trophy wife and later imprisoning Westley to get him out of the way. However, he seems sincerely concerned that Guilder kidnapped her and plans to kill her—then he reveals that he was behind Buttercup's abduction all along, as a pretext for a war with Guilder.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Westley tries to call out Buttercup for not marrying her promised love, even though as far as she knows Westley is dead and she got An Offer You Can't Refuse from the prince of the land. Eventually subverted as Buttercup delivers a Shut Up, Kirk! and reveals that she "died that day"—the day she got news of Westley's death.
- Interestingly enough, Buttercup's conscience does this to her, when she surrenders to Humperdinck to save Westley's life. She starts having figures in her nightmares berating her.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: The gloriously bad and over-the-top "Spanish" accent Mandy Patinkin affects as Inigo is a big part of the film's charm.
- Who Are You?: Inigo seems rather confused that he's never even heard of this swordsman who's more than a match for him.Inigo: Who are you?
The Man in Black: No one of consequence.
Inigo: I must know.
The Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.
Inigo: [shrugs] Okay.
- Worthy Opponent: Inigo and Westley compliment each other's fighting style during their duel. Afterwards, Westley tells Inigo that "I hold you in the highest possible respect." When they meet again they become fast friends.
- Xanatos Gambit: The Man in Black wins the battle of wits against against Vizzini before it even starts. Both of the chalices that Vizzini has to choose from are poisoned with iocane powder, and the Man in Black has built up an immunity to it so he can drink from either. Even if Vizzini figures out what's going on, he has no way of beating the Man in a straight fight.
- You Killed My Father: Count Rugen killed Inigo's father, so at the climax of the movie while Westley is dealing with Humperdinck Inigo has his own showdown with Rugen.
- You Fight Like a Cow: The famous Inigo/Westley duel, but with compliments instead of insults. (In most DVD editions, that chapter is titled "The Chatty Duelists".)
- Your Soul Is Mine: Invoked as one of Fezzik's threats when impersonating the Dread Pirate Roberts.Fezzik: I am the Dread Pirate Roberts! I am here, but soon you will not be here! There will be no survivor! The Dread Pirate Roberts takes no survivor! [bursts into flame] All your worst nightmares are about to come true! The Dread Pirate Roberts is here! FOR YOU SOOOUUUL!
- You Were Trying Too Hard:
- Inigo tries to call upon the spirit of his dead father to help him find the Pit of Despair. He stumbles across the entrance once he stops trying to receive help from beyond the grave.
- Vizzini is so busy playing I Know You Know I Know with the Man in Black that he completely ignores the notion that both glasses could be poisoned, especially as one of his guesses—that his opponent is immune—happens to be correct.Vizzini: You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could have put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you...
Grandson: Grandpa... do you think you can read it for me again tomorrow?
Grandfather: As you wish.
Grandfather: As you wish.