15 Things You Might Not Know About The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride was an amazing movie that was about a young love that was torn apart and this guy spends years of his life to find her again.  However, it is much more than a love story, it is also extremely funny and full of surprises.  It has since become a cult classic and when it made its 25th anniversary in which the main character, Westley, in 2012, wrote a behind the scenes book about the experience. He even went so far as to interview all of the cast members to contribute what they remembered about this beloved film.  Unfortunately, one member of this cast died in 1993 (Andre the Giant). The book is called, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (great title)!  Here are some of the things that it revealed about this fantastic movie:

1. This Story Was Written For The Author’s Daughters.

The book, The Princess Bride was written in 1973 by William Goldman and later penned the screenplay.  He told Entertainment Weekly, “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.'”

2. The Director And The Main Character Already Knew This Story And Loved It Before The Film Came To Life.

Elwes’ (Westley’s) stepfather gave him his first copy of this famed book in 1975 when the actor was just 13 and the director, Rob Reiner, first read the book in his 20s. After reading it, he wanted to make it into a movie even though many others have tried to do this but failed.

3. This Movie Seemed Impossible To Make.  Others Have Failed.

Robert Redford, Norman Jewison, John Boorman and Francois Truffaut all tried to make this film and failed. Eventually, the writer, Goldman bought back the rights to the book and the director, Reiner, was offered to make it after such successes as Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing.

4. Mandy Patinkin Felt Personally Connected To The Character, Inigo Montoya.

He said he fell in love with the part when he first read the script saying, “That character just spoke to me profoundly. I had lost my own father—he died at 53 years old from pancreatic cancer in 1972. I didn’t think about it consciously, but I think that there was a part of me that thought, If I get that man in black, my father will come back. I talked to my dad all the time during filming, and it was very healing for me.”

5. Andre The Giant Could Drink A LOT!

Apparently three bottles of cognac and 12 bottles of wine merely made this giant man tipsy. During dinner with the cast, Andre ordered four appetizers, five entrees and drink a 40oz pitcher of beer filled with mixed liquor as well.  He called the mixture, “The American”.

6. Andre Had An Odd Way Of Memorizing His Lines.

When Reiner and Goldman met Andre, Reiner recalls, “I brought him up to the hotel room to audition him. He read this three-page scene, and I couldn’t understand one word he said,” Reiner recalls. “I go, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? He’s perfect physically for the part, but I can’t understand him!’ So I recorded his entire part on tape, exactly how I wanted him to do it, and he studied the tape. He got pretty good!”

7. Goldman Was Nervous On The Set.

Out of all of the stuff he has written and worked on, this one was his favorite one of all which made him nervous because he wanted it to turn out well. While on the set, he said, “I don’t like being on set. If you’re a screenwriter, it’s boring”—but on the first day, he proved to be a slight nuisance. The first couple takes were plagued by a barely-audible chanting, which turned out to be Goldman praying things would go well. And when Wright as Buttercup’s dress caught on fire—even though Goldman himself had written that into the script—he panicked, yelling, “Oh my god! Her dress is on fire!”

8. Wallace Shawn Was Always On Edge.

This guy played Vizzini the Sicilian has a degree from Harvard in history and he studied philosophy as well as economics at Oxford.  But he was extremely nervous during the filming because he learned that Reiner has originally wanted Danny DeVito for the part which made Shawn insecure.  He thought he was going to get fired over each bad take, saying,  “Danny is inimitable. Each scene we did, I pictured how he would have done it and I knew I could never possibly have done it the way he could have done it.”

9. The Duel Between Westley And Indigo Was Researched And Reheard Immensely.

Goldman spent an enormous amount of time researching 17th-century sword fighting manuals to create the perfect dual. As a result, it is completely accurate. “I knew that my job was to become the world’s greatest sword fighter,” Patinkin recalls in the book. He also says, “I trained for about two months in New York and then we went to London and Cary and I trained every day that we weren’t shooting for four months. There were no stunt men involved in any of the sword fights, except for one flip in the air.”

10. Diving Head First Into The Quicksand Was Elwes’ Idea.

This stunt was accomplished by having a trap door underneath a layer of sand where the actors were to fall into a foam padding below. At first, Westly was to jump in feet first after Buttercup but Elwes didn’t think that this was particularly heroic. So, he ended up diving in head first!

11. Miracle Max Was Truly Hilarious!

Billy Crystal brought two photos for his makeup artist, a picture of his grandmother and Casey Stengel. The book explains, “For three days straight and 10 hours a day, Billy improvised 13th-century-period jokes, never saying the same thing or the same line twice.”  Unfortunately, many of the jokes were removed because they were not family friendly. Only the cast and crew are aware of his humorous takes that never made it to the film.

12. Crystal And Carol Kaye, The Wife, Invented Their Entire Backstory.

Kane tells it all in the book, “”Billy came over to my apartment in Los Angeles and we took the book and underlined things and made up a little more backstory for ourselves. We added our own twists and turns and stuff that would amuse us because there’s supposed to be a long history—who knows how many hundreds of years Max and Valerie have been together?”

13. Elwes Had A Broken Toe During Many Of The Scenes.

After only six weeks of production, he broke his toe while riding in an All Terrain Vehicle in which his foot got stuck between two mechanisms in the ATV and broke his big toe. He tried to hide the injury but it was quickly noticed by the director. He was allowed to limp around the scenes, undetected.

14. On Injury On-Screen Was NOT Fake!

When Westley recognized Count Rugan as the six-fingered man, the Count was to knock him unconscious with the butt of his sword.  Rugen initially failed to make it look convincing and was prompted to just hit him a little harder and when he did, Elwes was knocked out for real. So, when the movie shows him passing out, that was real!

15. One Of The Last Scenes Never Made The Cut.

In an alternate ending, Fred Savage goes to the window after his grandfather leaves after reading him the book and sees Fezzik, Inigo, Westley and Buttercup all on their white horses.