'The Princess Bride': The cast and director share the story behind the beloved fantasy


Image Credit: Everett Collection

Wove. Twue wove. That’s what fans of The Princess Bride clearly feel for director Rob Reiner’s 1987 cult comic fairy tale. If you woved our cast reunion photo and you ate up the tidbits from our oral history in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly (on stands now), and yet, inconceivably, you still want more… well, as you wish. Here is an expanded version of our in-depth oral history on the making of The Princess Bride.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, writer of The Princess Bride novel (published in 1973) and screenplay: I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, “I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?” One of them said “a princess” and the other one said “a bride.” I said, “That’ll be the title.”

ROB REINER, director: I read the book when I was in my 20s, because I was a huge William Goldman fan. Then, after I had made a couple of pictures, Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing, I started thinking of The Princess Bride. I very naively thought I could make a movie, then I discovered that Francois Truffaut had tried and Norman Jewison had tried and Robert Redford had been involved — one after the other. No [studio] wanted to make a movie of The Princess Bride; nobody was interested in it. We kept tearing the budget down, I had to try to sell foreign rights and video rights, I had to cut my salary, I had to cut the cast’s salaries. It was crazy. I think we had, like, $16 million dollars, which even at the time wasn’t very much. In the script it said “the army of Florin” — I had seven people in the army of Florin.

GOLDMAN: We had terrible trouble finding a Buttercup because she had to be so beautiful. We had all kinds of pretty girls come in but they weren’t this staggering thing. And I remember, I was in New York and Rob called me and said, “I think I’ve found her.”

ROBIN WRIGHT, Princess Buttercup: I think I was literally the 500th ingenue to read for Rob, and I think he was so exhausted at that point from looking at all the girls he was like, Ugh, God, just hire her. I had done one movie before that — I can’t even remember the name of it — where I played a teenage runaway who became a hooker and heroin addict. Talk about the antithesis of The Princess Bride!

NEXT: “Everybody fell a little bit in love with Robin on the shoot.”


Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • Templar

    Praise and accolades galore to Goldman and Reiner. In my top 5 of all time. I never heard of anyone who doesn’t love it.

    • Nathan

      You have now.

      • luck223

        My best friend has just announced her wedding with a great man who is a cele+brity!
        They met-via { millionaireluv.с`σ_м }
        It is nice club for rich men or pretty girls mate.
        You do not need to be wealthy or famous, but you can meet your true love, it’s worthy a try.

      • Michelle

        Then why are you here?

  • Javadude54

    A truly unique and wonderful movie. I never get tired of watching it.

  • Andrea Bianchi

    It was the first movie I bought in iTunes, showed it to my husband (an allien who had never heard of it), and my 8 year old twins. It is the first movie in our travel library, and the first for sick stay under the covers w/mom movies. I LOVED IT from the firs moment I saw it. Thank you all, for giving it to us!

  • Rebecca Mitchell

    My all-time favorite movie!! Watch it to lift my spirits, watch it to celebrate good times. My kids all love it. Best movie EVER!!

  • April

    My most favorite movie ever. Makes me happy just thinking about it. Thanks to everyone who had a part in it.

    Have fun stormin’ the castle!!!!

  • Steve

    Saw this headline and wanted to read the article, but on the couch, with my wife. There doesn’t seem to be any ‘print’ link that would allow me to view the full article, without needing to load a new page every three paragraphs or so.

    So, I’m not reading it, and blowing off EW.com.

    You guys ought to remedy that aspect of your site.

    • kate

      Yes you’re right how awful is it for a magazine thats actually offering to let you read one of it’s articles for free online, not provide printing facilities, shame on EW

    • @Steve

      Yes, the agony of having to rip your hands away from that bucket of chicken in order to click the mouse must be devastating.

    • @ Steve

      You have the time to write an unbelievably stupid post, but not the time to click your left mouse button 7 times?!? I guess it’s hard to get good help these days. I think I speak on behalf of ew.com that they’re not going to miss you as a “reader”.

  • georgialei

    My whole family loved the book of Princess Bride. When we heard that they were making a movie of it, we all thought there was no way it could do the book justice. Well, we were wrong. Yes, there are still things from the book that I wish were in the movie, but it’s pretty perfect as it is. Many thanks to everyone involved!

    • MLL

      All time favorite book. Read it when I was a teen no-less. The movie is great, but the book provides so much more back story, and the enjoyment lasts longer. Fell in love with William Goldman’s writing from then on.

  • Judy Holley

    What a great article and a great movie! All the actors were perfectly cast and learned to be expert swordsmen and equestrians. It makes me laugh every time. I watch it over and over. I hope they never remake it, it’s perfect the way it is. Great job to all who were involved!

  • Joan Oldale-LaPoint

    I saw the Princess Bride when it came out at the theaters while in college. I laughed so hard and so often the people in front of us moved. When I got home on summer vacation i INSISTED my entire family go and see it as a second run theater. It has been one of our most beloved movies ever since. My youngest brother had me read a collection of lines from it during his wedding.

  • Sue1

    For years I would say, “Have fun storming the castle” to my kids when they’d take off for one thing or another, in fact I still do. One of my family’s favorite movies, and one of those I can watch over and over…and over again.

  • tom

    One of my top 5 movies of all time. If I meet someone and they either don’t like it or haven’t seen it I am immediately wary of them. Who doesn’t like The Princess Bride. I even bought the book but the movie is much better.

    • Strepsi

      Haha true. If they do not like
      The Princess Bride
      A Christmas Story
      The Wizard of Oz
      they have a heart of stone.

      • Michelle

        I like A Christmas Story…TNT just killed it for me.

  • Buttercup

    We were hanging out watching the PB on cable one afternoon, years ago, when a friend stopped by to introduce us to his new, “smart” girlfriend. When we told them what we were watching, Mrs. Einstein sat down on the couch to “explain” something essential to understanding the movie.

    “Now, this movie doesn’t take place in modern England; it’s set during the times of ‘Willow.”

    Can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to add THAT line to the voiceovers!

    • What?

      It doesn’t take place in England at all. “The timeS of Willow? PluraI? guess I’m not “Smart” because I don’t understand your post at all.

    • Strepsi

      @ What?
      The woman thought she was so mush more intelligent and literate that she had to explain The Princess Bride to the other people watching it.

      But her “explanation” was that the movie was set “during the time of Willow” — which is a Ron Howard fantasy movie, i.e. not a time in history.

      So they all laughed at The Princess Bride, and then they all laughed at their friend’s stupid girlfriend.

      And they all lived happily ever after.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    As I once read “There are only two kinds of people on this earth: Those who have seen and loved The Princess Bride and those who have not seen it and do not love it yet. No others exist”

  • tracy bluth

    Awww, reading about Andre the Giant just makes me so sad. Their memories of him are so sweet.
    Definitely one of my favorite films ever, no question!!

  • Paris Jade

    Cary Elwes should have joined the A-list years ago and should have only been doing movies that got a theatrical release. Unfortunately, he has remained a straight to DVD king but he is an underrated actor. So, I hope that he does more mainstream movies, tries to reach his full potential as an actor and tries to win an Oscar.

    • Jeebus Cripes

      If you are a bot/program, then I’m just banging my head against a wall, but seriously, GET A LIFE! You post the same effing thing in every effing article.

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