Trivia / The Princess Bride

  • Actor-Shared Background: Christopher Guest, who plays Count Rugen, is a real-life nobleman of British ancestry.
  • Adaptational Context Change: The novel's frame story is narrated by an adult looking back nostalgically at his childhood (as represented by the times his father used to read him The Princess Bride), and he gets in a few cynical zingers about what he's learned from growing up. The movie has a more hopeful frame story, about a child being read The Princess Bride for the first time, but some of the cynical zingers are retained and given to characters within the story: Westley says "Life is pain... anyone who tells you differently is selling something" when he's angry at Buttercup for (he thinks) abandoning him, and Miracle Max, who's become very cynical after his mistreatment by Humperdinck, gets the line about True Love being the greatest thing in the world except a good sandwich.
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions: #88
  • Corpsing: The Miracle Max scene. Billy Crystal being given free rein had the cast and crew in stitches the whole time the scene was being shot.
    • Cary Elwes had it particularly bad, as he was supposed to be Only Mostly Dead throughout the scene while Crystal was cutting up left and right, and he couldn't contain himself. The crew finally gave up, and much of the time you see Westley on the table, it's actually a dummy wearing the Dread Pirate Roberts costume.
    • Mandy Patinkin, for all his swashbuckling scenes as Inigo, suffered only one injury on the set: he bruised his ribs from trying to contain his laughter from Billy Crystal's antics.
    • Rob Reiner had to direct from afar. He was having so much trouble containing himself, his laughter was ruining take after take.
  • Dented Iron: André the Giant was this, due to both his acromegaly and a lifetime of professional wrestling. Before the filming, he had major surgery performed on his lower back to try to alleviate the pain from decades of damage. He was therefore unable to lift Robin Wright in the scene where he carried her, and she was supported by cables that were hidden under her clothing. During his fight scene with Cary Elwes, pay close attention to the scene where Westley is hanging on to his back. Elwes is actually standing and walking on a ramp, his arms are only very loosely draped over André's shoulders, and he is being very careful to not put any of his weight onto André.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin went through intense sword training in preparation for their on-screen duel, working until they could perform both halves of the sequence perfectly. They practiced right up until the very last minute, with Elwes having to do part of his training with a broken toenote , and performed almost the entire sequence themselves, only being doubled (by the same stuntman, to boot) for the brief gymnastics routine.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • While shooting The Princess Bride, André the Giant was having trouble with his lines. To get him to focus, Mandy Patinkin gave him a slap. Needless to say, the entire cast and crew had a joint Oh, Crap! moment but it seemed Mandy knew what he was doing. André actually thanked him and was able to focus and get his lines right on the next take.
    • An unintentional example occurs when Count Rugen knocks Westley out with the butt of his sword; Christopher Guest accidentally hit Cary Elwes hard enough to actually knock him out.
    • Rugen looking flummoxed and fearful during his duel with Inigo stems partially from acting, but also from Mandy Patinkin having accidentally stabbed Christopher Guest in the leg with a sword during rehearsal, and not wanting to get injured again. He promptly started taking fencing classes on his own and did away with most of his choreographed moves, instead just flailing his sword with defensive strikes instead.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) is not Spanish, but Jewish-American.
    • Although never stated in the movie, in the book Fezzik is Turkish. André the Giant, who plays him, is actually French.
    • Nope, Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) is not Sicilian. Inconceivable, isn't it? Obviously, "Never go in against a Jewish-American posing as a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!" would be too much to say.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Billy Crystal was basically told by Rob Reiner to do whatever during the "mostly dead" scene.
  • Image Source:
  • Life Imitates Art:
    • With both sides regarding the work, in this case. As described under Girl-Show Ghetto, some of the later DVD covers play up the action and violence of the film, which mirrors the grandfather's pitch of the story to his grandson.
    • Count Rugen, anyone? Not too many fictional aristocrats-by-birth are played by aristocrats-by-birth.
  • List of Films You Should See By the Age of 14: #32
  • Method Acting:
    • In 1972, Mandy Patinkin lost his father to cancer (and long after the film ended, he was diagnosed with and successfully treated for the same kind). He channeled his grief into Inigo Montoya, who had also lost his father to a great evil.
      Mandy: And in my mind, I feel that when I "killed" that six-fingered man, I killed the cancer that killed my father. For a moment he was alive. And my fairy tale came true.
    • Also provided Enforced Method Acting for Christopher Guest as Count Rugen. Guest had come onto the film under the assumption that that he'd only need to learn the sword fighting routines as needed, but Mandy Patinkin got so deep into character while shooting the climax that he actually stabbed Guest in the leg. For many of the shots, the fear on Count Rugen's face is Guest's genuine fear that Patinkin would, once again, get carried away and hurt him again. Guest also went and took fencing lessons on his own just in case he'd have to actually defend himself against Patinkin.
  • Quote Source: This film provides the page quote for:
  • Referenced by...: The Millenial King has a little border town on the divide between Florin and Guilder become a huge empire. Miracle Max is still out of work, and prince Humperdinck is still a douche. The King gets better, though.
  • Screwed by the Network: The film was produced independently by Norman Lear before Fox stepped in to help distribute it late in the game. Unfortunately, the marketing people didn't know what to make of the movie and it was released into theaters with zero promotion.
    Rob Reiner: They had faith but they didn't know how to market it. We had no trailer, no TV spots, no one sheet!
  • Self-Adaptation: William Goldman had experience writing for film, and so rewrote The Princess Bride himself, removing many of the (admittedly unfilmable) metatextual elements of his own accord and shifting the focus towards the fairy-tale parody angle, retaining the editor's notes about the story being read to him as a child as a different Framing Device.
  • Throw It In!: In his memoir As You Wish, Cary Elwes revealed that when Humperdink's men are taking him to the Pit of Despair, Christopher Guest wasn't actually hitting him with the butt of his sword, and because Cary couldn't feel an impact, he kept blowing the timing and needing more takes. Finally, he told Guest to just "tap" him on the head once...and the next thing he knew, he's at the local hospital being stitched up. His getting knocked out is the take used in the film.
  • Trope Namers: The Princess Bride is the Trope Namer (or Former Namer) for:
  • Vindicated by Cable: As mentioned on Screwed by the Network, the film bombed largely due to poor marketing, but strong performance on VHS (later DVD) and cable helped cement it in popular culture. This phenomenon was detailed in Cary Elwes' As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Christopher Reeve was considered for Westley.
    • William Goldman originally wanted Carrie Fisher for Buttercup. Uma Thurman was deemed too exotic looking for the part. Courteney Cox, Meg Ryan and Whoopi Goldberg also auditioned for the part.
    • Liam Neeson was brought in to audition for Fezzik, only for Rob Reiner to take one look at him and decide he wasn't tall enough.
    • When Goldman was first trying to get the movie made in the 1970s, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play Fezzik, and he was strongly being considered because Goldman could never get his first choice, André the Giant, to read for the role. By the time the movie was made about twelve years later, Schwarzenegger was such a big star they could not afford him.
    • Danny DeVito was the producers' first choice for Vizzini. This was unfortunate for Wallace Shawn, who found out before shooting started that they'd wanted DeVito and then spent the entire shoot worrying that they weren't happy with his performance and were about to fire him and replace him with DeVito. To this day, he thinks DeVito would have been better than him in the role.
    • John Cleese cites the Impressive Clergyman as one of three roles he was offered and regrets not taking.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/ThePrincessBride