I love this movie!
Princess Bride…..This seems to be a favorite of many people. It certainly is mine. It’s where I became a big fan of Mandy Patinkin. And of course Cary Elwes as Westley and Robin Wright as Buttercup, have cemented their places in history with these iconic roles.
With a “world divided” this is a movie most fans agree, is the “perfect” movie. It took awhile for it to become the beloved film it is now. Even Cary Elwes wrote a book about the making of it. The film’s enduring legacy tells much about those involved then and children today who are growing up with the tale of Westley and Princess Buttercup.
Credit to Director Rob Reiner who brought all the elements together, including having the author William Goldman adapt his novel for the screen. Hollywood and Broadway have listened and will not reproduce the nearly perfect production. Movie fans shut down the talks, for now. Maybe someday, but for now the original rules and is timeless. No doubt any new attempt would be filled with digital effects rather than the focus on the story.
Read on to see why I included this in the “hope and strong women” reasons I blog. Buttercup fits the mold.
The Princess Bride is a damn near perfect movie and contains one of the greatest sword fights of all time, some of the best onscreen chemistry of any love story, and a stellar blend of comedy, action, and romance that is hard to find anywhere else. But… let’s talk about Buttercup. The world’s most beautiful woman. But also, so much more. Although she is the titular character (even though most of the action centers on stopping the marriage that would make her an actual Princess Bride—more on that in a bit), she’s often overlooked in discussions about the movie; she rarely gets the recognition she deserves for being a well-crafted female character in a male-dominated story.
Consider: here’s a woman who has no training at all when it comes to weapons, fighting, or self-defense. On the other hand, every chance she has to be defiant, stand her ground, and get in a good insult, she takes. She’s not intimidated by Vizzini, or the Dread Pirate Roberts, or even the prince who could have her murdered as soon as marry her.
Buttercup is all the more interesting for not being perfect in every way—she’s written as a vulnerable, isolated woman who is rarely in control of the events around her, and she still manages to strive for freedom, speak truth to power, and display defiance wherever she can.
The Princess Bride could be seen as a story that’s really about all the men and action around the title character, rather than Buttercup herself. After all, “Princess” and “Bride” are both titles and identities that are being forced upon her—it’s how Humperdinck and other outsiders might see her role, but it doesn’t describe who she is. When you really pay attention, it’s clear that the movie recognizes exactly who Buttercup is: She constantly scrounges whatever agency is available in a world that is all about men and what they want (and where she loves the one man who truly cares about her wishes, of course). She makes mistakes, but she’s certainly no helpless damsel who flops around helplessly when she’s able to actively participate in her rescue. She sometimes acts in ignorance but never in cowardice. Buttercup is the true hero of her story, changing more than any other character as she is challenged and tested and learns to have faith in herself, in Westley, and in the bond of love between them. In the end, as neither a princess nor a bride, she gets the fulfillment of living on her own terms, by her own choices. As she wishes.