February 28, 2006
The Princess Bride (1987)
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling

Andre the Giant as Fezzik, right, with Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), Vizzini (Wallace Shawn)

Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright-Penn, Peter Falk, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkon, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant
Written by: William Goldman
Directed by: Rob Reiner

One has to be very careful using the word 'perfect' in a film review. Not everything can live up to the standards that Curt Hennig set in his glory days. However, I'll suggest that The Princess Bride is as close to being a perfect film as one could ever hope for.

There's something undeniably sweet about the framework of a story that involves a grandfather reading an adventure story to his sick grandson, because we've all had those moments where we wish to be taken away from the humdrum of everyday life with a tale of swords, pirates, giants, and (yecch) kissing. It's one of the film's best running jokes that the grandson (Fred Savage - The Wonder Years) begs his grandfather (Peter Falk - ...All The Marbles) to skip the part where the guy locks lips with the girl and get to more fighting. By the end of the story, though, after sticking with the hero through double-crosses, near-death and actual death experiences, and the unending succession of sword fights, neither the grandson nor the viewer is about to deny the rights of the hero and heroine to embrace and (yecch) kiss.

The cast list above is a testament to the material that such a high-caliber list of actors (and many more notables are left off the lengthy list) would wish to take part in this unique adventure/romance/fantasy. The actor of foremost concern in this review, of course, is Andre Roussimoff. In the role of Fezzik, Andre was required to do much more than simply play the big man and leave the acting to the more experienced. Fezzik plays as important a part as any in unfolding the plot, and Andre had received high praise over the years for the gentleness and subtlety to be found in his performance. William Goldman called him "the most popular figure on any movie set I've ever been on."

Roger Ebert, giving it a rating of 3.5/4 stars, recognizes The Princess Bride as "a film that somehow manages to exist on two levels at once: While younger viewers will sit spellbound at the thrilling events on the screen, adults, I think, will be laughing a lot. "

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    Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and can be emailed at hillhouse_slam@hotmail.ca -- SLAM! Wrestling.


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