The Criterion Collection recently gave The Princess Bride an upgrade to 4K Ultra HD so audiences should prepare to watch the classic film.
What is there to say about this classic comedy that hasn’t already been said? Last year marked the 35th anniversary of its release. Inconceivable? You tell me. In any event, the disc is stacked with a number of bonus features. A number of them were already available on the Blu-ray that Criterion released back in 2018. Fans will probably double dip and bring this version home because it is being presented in 4K Ultra HD. The film is available–at the moment–to watch on Disney+ but without the Criterion bonus content.
A grandfather (Peter Falk), who also serves as the narrator, reads a novel to his grandson (Fred Savage). At first, the grandson dismisses the book but then the grandfather continues. He grows to enjoy the story of Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) to where he wants his grandfather to read it again the next day. Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) wants to marry Buttercup but she is not in love with him. That’s the gist of the film in a nutshell but it’s safe to say that William Goldman found a clever way to update the swashbuckling genre for the late 1980s. Wesley or Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) could go toe to toe with any one of Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling characters.
Some thoughts: Mandy Patinkin would probably not be cast as Inigo Montoya today should filmmakers go for authentic representation. They would either find a different role for him or change Inigo’s nationality. This certainly does not take away from his performance. It just shows the evolution in casting when one considers representation.
The very quotable film did not do well upon its initial theatrical release. It has since grown a cult following following its initial home video release. This clearly shows the power of home video–at least prior to losing movies in the algorithm. Anyway, the film has also received a number of honors through the years by the WGA, AFI, etc. While it’s one of the top love stories per AFI, the film falls short of inclusion in the top 100 comedies.
Interestingly, it took a number of years and filmmakers to bring Goldman’s 1973 novel to the big screen. Ultimately, Rob Reiner went to Norman Lear and 20th Century Fox and the rest is history.
The Princess Bride weaves several genres together and remains a classic film to this day.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
- Audio commentary featuring director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, producer Andrew Scheinman, and actors Billy Crystal and Peter Falk
- Edited audiobook reading of Goldman’s novel The Princess Bride by Reiner
- Program about Goldman’s screenplay
- Program about Goldman’s tapestry based on his novel
- Interviews with Reiner, Goldman, and actors Crystal, Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Fred Savage, and Robin Wright
- Interview with art director Richard Holland
- Programs about makeup, fencing, and fairy tales
- On-set video diary filmed and narrated by Elwes
- Five behind-the-scenes videos with commentaries by Reiner, Scheinman, and Crystal
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: An essay by author Sloane Crosley and Goldman’s introduction to his Princess Bride script from his collection Four Screenplays, in a lavishly illustrated, clothbound book
DIRECTOR: Rob Reiner
SCREENWRITER: William Goldman
CAST: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Fred Savage, introducing Robin Wright; Special Appearances by Peter Falk, Carol Kane, and Billy Crystal