2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “The Princess Bride,” and actor Cary Elwes who plays Westley in the movie is giving fans a completely new way to experience and celebrate the film.
In 2014 Elwes released his book “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride,” sharing insights about the making of the movie, some of the challenges along the way, and the tight “family” connection that still exists among the cast. Now, three decades since its release, Elwes has been touring at select venues around the country to screen the movie and then share some of the behind-the-scenes stories and have a Q&A with the audience.
Touring as “The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes,” one recent sold-out screening took place at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD. The commentary and audience questions were moderated by Washington Post Editor Zachary Pincus-Roth and revealed why so many love this film.
1. A Family and Community Movie With a Meaning
As Elwes described it, the movie is all about that tender moment of a young boy trying to understand a plot – while wanting nothing to do with “a kissing book.” Elwes highlighted that there are so few movies that a family can watch together, but “The Princess Bride” is for everyone.
2. So Many Good One-Liners
During the screening of the film, there were numerous moments where the audience chimed in, reciting the script along with the actors. So many smiling faces in the room join in for favorites like:
- “Hello my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
- “Bye bye, boys. Have fun storming the castle.”
- “Anybody want a peanut?” (Elwes’ favorite)
A 36-year old in the audience asked Carey to accept at least partial responsibility for his getting detention in middle school for saying the one-liners from the movie and making the whole class laugh. The audience member stood in the top balcony while Elwes said, “I accept full responsibility.”
3. Proof that it Can Take Years to Get Projects Going and Success Can’t be Measured Right Away
Elwes explained that the project had many starts and stops and there were funding struggles until director Rob Reiner came along and it finally came to be. However, what they could not predict was that the blockbuster “Fatal Attraction” would be released at the same time and spoiled the opening. “The Princess Bride” really became a hit with a cult following much later. Elwes noted, “After 10 years of the movie being mostly dead, it came to life.” There is an undeniable connection that people have with this movie – even thirty years after its release.
4. True love
Perhaps it was the audience questions or Carey’s comments about how many times he has been asked to officiate weddings, but the underlying tone of love in this movie was bound to come up. “Take this film to your hearts and be good to each other,” said Elwes.
5. Laughter, Community, and Happy Endings
With so much turmoil in the world, it just feels good to be together to have a happy, collective experience like this.
There’s no doubt that this film has a life of its own – and one that will, no doubt, find new ways to be experienced and celebrated for a very long time.
Here is a little clip of a commentary Elwes did a couple of years ago.
About the Author
Helga Luest currently works for a government contractor and manages a number of federal projects related to behavioral health, trauma, and violence prevention. In 2016 she was appointed to the Maryland Governor’s Family Violence Council and she also serves on the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Advisory Group. Helga also serves on the board of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice - a national nonprofit advancing the transformation of trauma informed practices throughout the United States. In 2010 she was awarded the Congressional Unsung Hero Award for her effective advocacy work on violence prevention and response. In her free time, Helga facilitates two social media groups called Trauma Informed where advocates, survivors, researchers, and other contribute content and commentary on issues related to trauma, prevention, and resilience - on Facebook & LinkedIn