Movie Trivia: The Princess Bride

Our movie trivia posts have been so popular, we decided to make them a regular feature. When I talked to our fearless leader about this, he said it sounded like a great idea and nominated The Princess Bride for our first post. Please - like I needed an excuse to watch The Princess Bride. It's great on so many levels. Enjoy!

  • Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin were determined to learn to fence so they could film the scene where they square off at the Cliffs of Insanity. And in fact, they did, both left-handed and right-handed. The only bits performed by stunt doubles were the somersaults. The fencing training came in handy for Elwes particularly, because he ended up with roles in movies where he could use those skills - Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Glory.
  • Even though Andre the Giant was obviously a huge guy, he couldn't actually carry Robin Wright or Cary Elwes because he had just had back surgery. In the scene where Fezzik and Westley are wrestling around and Westley is on Fezzik's back, Cary Elwes is actually walking up ramps that are positioned just out of the shot. As a side note, Andre said he loved his filming experience because no one looked at him like he was a freak - he was just one of guys when he was on the set.

  • Rob Reiner desperately wanted Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits to help write and record the soundtrack for the movie. Knopfler agreed on the condition that Reiner somehow work a specific item into the movie: the hat he wore in This is Spinal Tap. My first thought was, "That would be so obvious in this movie." But no - Reiner managed to place the hat inconspicuously in the grandson's bedroom. Knopfler later saw this and said he had only been kidding. If you're looking for it, it can clearly be seen at about 1:09:26 hanging on the lamp in the background between Fred Savage and Peter Falk.
  • The ROUSes were played by midgets. The actor who played the giant rat that Westley battles was actually pulled over for speeding and arrested (why he was arrested for speeding is never clarified) the day the scene was scheduled to be shot, so the scene was delayed until Rob Reiner and co. could go bail him out of jail.

  • Chris Sarandon, who plays Prince Humperdinck, is also the voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. This makes me a little giddy.

  • Christopher Guest says that when he was sword fighting with Mandy Patinkin, he started making sword noises with his mouth like a little kid would do when play-fighting because he was so excited to be in a sword fight. Rob Reiner cut the take and informed him that the noises would, in fact, be added in later, so his weren't necessary.
  • Billy Crystal specified that his character's makeup should look like a cross between Casey Stengel and his grandmother. Rob Reiner had to leave the room every time Billy had a scene, because he would laugh so hard he would ruin the take otherwise. Mandy Patinkin says, "God's honest truth," that despite all of his risky fencing scenes, the only injury he sustained during the whole movie was bruising a rib from holding in his laughter during Billy Crystal's scenes.

  • Rob Reiner's dad, Carl, was friends with Bill Goldman, which is why Reiner was familiar with Goldman's work. Carl gave the book to Rob to read, and later in life, Rob asked Bill if he could make the movie. After viewing This is Spinal Tap and laughing until he "shrieked," Goldman agreed.

  • In real-life, Humperdinck's castle was built by William the Conquerer in 1086 for his illegitimate son. Reiner's production team built some extra pieces for the movie to make the castle look like it was currently in use and not abandoned and crumbling.

  • Rob Reiner once ran into John Gotti at a restaurant. One of his henchmen, who was outside waiting on Gotti as Reiner was leaving, looked Rob in the eye and growled, "You killed my father, prepare to die." Reiner said he about "went" in his pants right there, but then the thug said, "Princess Bride, I love that movie!"
  • Rob Reiner was the voice of the ROUSes. His noises were distorted and mixed and whatnot, but they were his noises.

  • When the six-fingered man hits Westley on the head with the butt of his sword after he and Prince Humperdinck take Buttercup back, Cary Elwes told Chris Guest to go ahead and hit him for real, so the scene would look realistic. Guest obliged, and production was held up because Elwes spent the rest of the day in the hospital.

  • The scene where Inigo Montoya is letting his sword guide him in the forest was incredibly frustrating to shoot. The wooded area being used for the medieval forest was actually right next to Heathrow airport, so the sound of planes coming in was constantly interrupting the shoot.

  • If Mandy Patinkin's performance when he kills the six-fingered man seems particularly inspired, it's because he had lost his father to cancer several years earlier. He equated the two and used his anger about his own father's death to deliver such emotionally-charged lines during that scene. He later said it was a little like therapy for him.
  • Anyway, that's it for The Princess Bride. If you have a movie you'd like to see covered, leave it in the comments, or head to the forums and see what others have suggested.

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    We watched this film last night and I am convinced I saw Paul McCartney and George Harrison in the crowd scenes where Fezzick is pretending to be the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Buttercup is being forced to marry Humperdink. My friend wasn't sure, so I am now searching all trivia sites for someone to assure me I am not seeing things. Any help would be appreciated:-)

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    One of my Fav's too. Guy I am seeing now, told me, "As you wish" after we had been seeing each other a short time & I was "captured" by his statement. He is to sweet sometimes. Things like that are what keep me putting up with his flaws. [Mind you, I have some too.]
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    Very cool trivia.

    Just one thing, though: the term "midget" is considered quite offensive to many. You should go with 'little people' out of respect.
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