The Princess Bride
(20th Cent. Fox, 1987)
Released 27 years ago today, if Rob Reiner had never made another movie in his life, this one alone would qualify him to be placed among the ranks of great film directors. A modest success at the box office, cable and video subsequently revealed it to be a perennial favorite in the ranks of The Wizard Of Oz, and a cult classic for the ages. Veteran screenwriter William Goldman's original novel is a marvelous story, and Reiner's film version of it is as close to perfect as it's possible for a movie to get. The casting choices are far greater than the sum of the parts, with most of the actors creating roles that will be associated with them long after they're gone. Mark Knopfler's score is exactly the music needed. It's also one of the most eminently quotable flicks since any of the Monty Python movies from a decade earlier, and has entered the cultural lexicon of generations of film audiences. If you're ever looking to tell a fairytale on film, or need a standard to judge all the others by, pay close attention to this one.
And when it comes out later this fall, grab a copy of Cary Elwes' retrospective As You Wish, which promises to be a spectacular behind-the-scene look at the making of the movie, featuring interviews with everyone still alive who worked on this screen masterpiece.