Review: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
By William Goldman

My favorite movie has always been The Princess Bride. I have seen itThe Princess Bride so many times, I can’t even count, and I could probably recite the movie word for word. Little to say, for a long time I had misgivings about picking up the book. I was terribly frightened that the book would ruin the movie for me. Happily, I could not be more wrong! Anybody who has seen the movie, but has yet to read the book, go to the bookstore or library right now! Anybody who has read the book, but not seen the movie, go to the video store, or rent it. For those who have never seen nor read this story, I hope you’ve enjoyed your cave, but it’s time to come out.

The Princess Bride is a so-called “good parts” abridgement of S. Morgenstern’s original story. It provides an excellent combination of humor, adventure, fantasy, and romance, along with satirical introduction and interludes by Goldman. In the story, Buttercup starts off as a farmer’s daughter, but after her true love, Westley, goes off to sea and his ship falls victim to the Dread Pirate Roberts, she becomes engaged to Prince Humperdink. Meanwhile, their country of Florin is on the brink of war with the neighboring Guilder. The story is rife with love, revenge, pirates, magic, giants, political intrigue, kidnappings, sword duels, torture, and much more!

Watching the movie, I fell in love with the characters. After reading the book, I fell in love even more. The book takes the liberty of delving into back-story that the movie doesn’t have much time to address. William Goldman is the author of both the novel and the screen play, and he did a fantastic job adapting the book to the silver screen. There are, of course, some minor changes, but nothing that changes the effect of the story. There always have to be some changes to make a screenplay fit time and budget constraints.

The only negative reviews I have ever read on this book have revolved around the author’s commentary throughout the book and the assumption that it is truthful. It is important to understand that the entire introduction and commentary by Goldman is pure satire. It is as much a part of the story in the novel as the grandfather reading The Princess Bride book to his sick grandson is part of the story in the movie. Neither would be quite the same without.

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