The Princess Bride is a novel by William Goldman. The premise of the book is that it is not Goldman's original work, but an abridgement of an older version by "S. Morgenstern", which was originally a satire of the excesses of European royalty. Goldman, however, remembered the book from being told it by his grandfather as an exciting adventure tale, without the complex political overtones. His work is a recreation of the abridgement of his grandfather. In fact, the book is entirely Goldman's original work, and Morgenstern and his "original version" never existed. Neither does Goldman's family as described in the book. He has two daughters, not a son, and his wife is not a psychologist. The countries Florin and Guilder do not exist and never have.

The book was made into a movie in 1987, directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Goldman. The incidental music was composed by Mark Knopfler. In the movie, the story is presented as a fairy tale being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), thus echoing the book's narrative style. The film stars Robin Wright (who is now Robin Wright-Penn), Cary Elwes and André the Giant, and has lesser rôles for Billy Crystal and Peter Cook.


This plot summary is about the movie only.

The heroine of The Princess Bride is the beautiful Buttercup (played by Robin Wright in the movie), who falls in love with her lowly stable boy Westley (Cary Elwes). Westley leaves to make his fortune, promising to return, but his ship is attacked at sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for taking no prisoners. Fearing him dead, Buttercup eventually agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon).

Buttercup is kidnapped by a bizarre trio of outlaws, the stunted genius Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the expert swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and the enormous and enormously strong Fezzik (the late André the Giant), who have been hired to murder her and frame Guilder for it in order to start a war. A masked man follows them across the sea, and must face Inigo Montoya, whom he defeats in fencing but does not kill. Vizzini, realizing that he is still being followed, leaves Fezzik behind to kill the masked man. He, too is defeated but not killed. Finally, he catches up with Vizzini, who is holding Buttercup hostage, but agrees to a "battle of the wits" with him.

Vizzini is killed, and the masked man is discovered to be Westley, who in fact had become Pirate Roberts after the previous one retired. After surviving the three horrors of the Fire Swamp, the two are captured by Prince Humperdinck and the menacing Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Buttercup is returned to the palace to await her wedding - which, now that Westley is back, she threatens to commit suicide rather than face - and Westley is taken by Count Rugen to be tortured in the Pit of Despair, where he is tended to by an albino (Mel Smith).

Inigo Montoya and Fezzik meet up again, and decide to go on a quest to avenge Montoya's father's death and prevent the marriage of Buttercup and Humperdinck. They must go to Miracle Max, a washed up wizard who was fired by Prince Humperdinck, and his wife Valerie, who are played in the movie by Billy Crystal and Carol Kane in order to revive (resurrect?) Westly after he was tortured to "mostly dead" in the Pit of Despair. Westly comes up with a plan to invade the castle, which succeeds, putting the three of them inside. They are split up, Montoya meets and defeats his father's killer, and Westly bluffs his way out of a swordfight with Prince Humperdink, despite not having the strength to stand. In classic fairy tale style, the party rides off into the sunset on convieniently-provided white horses.

The book has several more scenes than the movie, and a less optimistic ending.

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