Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"As you wish..."

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of "The Princess Bride". Written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner, it has become a classic film, remaining as lovable and current as the day it opened a quarter of a century ago.
As You Wish: Little-Known Facts About The Princess Bride on Its 25th Anniversary
But this is a hard film to appreciate properly in words. It is eminently quotable, but that doesn't explain why it's funny. It has all the action a fantasy film could ask for, but how that action manages to ride so easily alongside wit and whimsy is a thesis all its own. It's heartwarming without pandering to us, which is rare enough in a fairytale, but barely touches why we root for Buttercup and Westley to the very end.

Grandpa: [voiceover] Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Westley around.
Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] "As you wish" was all he ever said to her.
Buttercup: Farm boy, fill these with water - please.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.
Buttercup: Farm boy... fetch me that pitcher.
[It's right over her head, so he has to stand next to her]
Westley: As you wish.
[Cut to them kissing]
The Grandson: [interrupting] Hold it, hold it. What is this? Are you trying to trick me? Where's the sports?
The Grandson: Is this a kissing book?
Grandpa: Wait, just wait.
The Grandson: Well, when does it get good?
Grandpa: Keep your shirt on, and let me read.


  1. A quarter of a century. Incon.... Well you know the rest of it.

  2. I remember being in an elevator at the University of Washington summer of '88 with a number of other folks taking a music class where we had just watched "Sunday in the Park with George", with Mandy Patinkin. We scared a few other students I think when the door opened just as we were all finishing chanting, in unison, at an increasing volume "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

    1. HAHA! I would certainly be looking to duck if I heard "Prepare to die!" coming from the opening door of an elevator.

  3. My wife and I just watched it this weekend. I didn't even realize this is an anniversary, cool. There has always been one line that presses my sentimental button. When Grandpa answers his grandson's last request with an "As you wish." and a loving gleam in his eye.

    I think it's magic is rooted in the themes and the treatment of those themes. Any sentimentalist will be caught by the 'true love' love story just as many non-sentamentalists would be turned off by it. Then they treat it in such an off hand manner in so many instances, it catches that anti-sentamentalist and holds them too. It does the same thing in most of the scenes about a number of topics, catching both sides in the level of seriousness and whimsy with which it treats the topic, from kissing, to fencing, to politics.

    If you think about it, the Prince picked a girl of his kingdom to pretend to love so he can murder her to start a war. How could that surround a comedy? Yet even he is human. "Try ruling the world sometime."

    1. I think you nailed it, Tuerqas. The way it effortlessly embraces the tenderness of emotions like devotion, loyalty, honor, sacrifice, steadfastness while light-heartedly poking fun at the nasty little failures of ego that we all are prone to is inspired.

      I just love this movie. It never gets old. Well, it's 25 years now...but it's still as fresh as a daisy...or should I say, Buttercup? HAHAHAHAHA!

    2. YES! Yes you should!
      "You mean, you drop your rock and I drop my sword, and we try to kill each other like civilized people? Somehow, I think the odds are slightly in your favor."