In the vein of classic family films that I could recommend to literally anyone, 'The Princess Bride' is a title that sits somewhere near the top. We get a good story with likable characters. It has the ability to open our eyes up to the fact that a good family movie does not need to be "made hip", or rely on toilet humor for cheap laughs. It's proof that simplicity is often so much better, and over the years, it has become a title that I hold close to my heart, balancing so much just right. Primarily a lighthearted comedy, it brings some great comedy, fun adventure, and even a bit of romance, in the end, becoming the epitome of a feel-good family classic.
Our story takes shape in the form of a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading it to his grandson (Fred Savage) while he's home, sick in bed. The grandson is unsure about liking the story, especially due to its romantic spin. "No kissing!" But eventually he finds himself reluctantly intrigued by the story, giving us a movie with a few cut scenes that show us how into the book the kid becomes, and showing us that sappy love stories can actually be pretty damn good.
The story, itself, focuses on Buttercup (Robin Wright), who has been chosen to wed the crooked Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). She does not, however, love him back, and pines for Westley (Cary Elwes), the farm boy who worked on the farm she was raised on, who had a secret way of telling her he was in love with her. One day, Westley went to sea, only to be killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Buttercup has been heartbroken ever since.
Soon, Buttercup finds herself kidnapped by a collective consisting of the clever Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the brawny Fezzik (Andre the Giant), and the sword-wielding expert out for revenge, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). These kidnappers are pursued by the Dread Pirate Roberts, himself. Humperdink and his men, lead by Count Tyrone Rugen (Christopher Guest), are after everyone, and the whole set-up is ripe for adventure and big reveals (but I think most people know what the big and obvious reveal is at this point).
This is another one of those films that was popular once, faded away, and then became popular again, seemingly developing a cult following. But let me tell you, this is a great one to catch with its audience in theaters if you ever get the opportunity. You get to watch with an audience who looks back on this film so fondly, and I have quickly become one of them. I remember watching it a couple of times as a kid, but didn't think too much of it. Now I watch it, and it's honestly just a great time. You don't sit there and question the reality of anything, because its a storybook unfolding, and the results are often pretty funny. Beyond that, you love the relationship between the grandfather and grandson (and yes, they are unnamed), and if I'm honest, it makes me remember my grandparants in a loving way, so it manages to tug on the heartstrings a bit too. But perhaps that's personal.
So, this might sound odd, but the next time you find yourself down and out with a nasty cold or a rough flu, this comes as the highest of recommendations to sit and watch. You can relate to the grandson, sick in bed. Plus, it'll put a smile on your face for an hour and a half. Give it a watch before you take that afternoon nap. This one is a beautifully light comedy that still holds up, and I definitely find myself within this collective of people who hold this one close to them, because it is, definitely, a "comfort food" movie.