Archives

Before The Princess Bride became a classic 'fairy tale for adults'

Director Rob Reiner told CBC's Midday about the sincere feelings behind the 1987 movie and the 'great time' everyone had on set.

'What runs through the core of The Princess Bride is true love,' said filmmaker Rob Reiner

Filmmaker Rob Reiner, left, poses with actor Cary Elwes following a hand and footprint ceremony for Reiner and his father Carl at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in 2017. Reiner directed Elwes in the 1987 film The Princess Bride. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/The Associated Press)

When director Rob Reiner was making his 1987 feature film The Princess Bride, he couldn't know it would come to be regarded as a classic.

Thirty-two years later, fans of the film reacted with disbelief and outrage at the news that anyone would suggest a remake.

The movie, based on the 1973 book of the same name by William Goldman, was produced by Hollywood legend Norman Lear.

It was in a September 2019 Variety magazine profile of Lear that an executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment mentioned that anonymous people wanted to "redo" the film.

'A fairy-tale notion'

Director Rob Reiner describes his work making the1987 film The Princess Bride. 2:52

Back when the film had just made its debut at Toronto's Festival of Festivals, Reiner and Lear talked about their long friendship and the movie with the CBC's Valerie Pringle.

"It's a fairy tale, but it's not really just a fairy tale," Reiner said. "It's a fairy tale for adults. There's a satirical edge to it."

But the film's emotional story, touching on themes of the triumph of love, goodness and honesty, came from a sincere place.

"I believe in those things," said Reiner. "I don't actively set out to make a film that says those things, but I do believe it." 

"What runs through the core of the story of The Princess Bride is true love, which is a fairy-tale notion, but I believe that at the core of any good relationship ... is true love."

Fun on the set

Reiner said working with such actors as Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal had been "a great time." 

He elaborated, revealing that Crystal, who invented his lines "very often," made his "mostly dead" colleague Cary Elwes break character.

"Cary, the hero ... could hardly control himself," Reiner recalled. "We had to cut the camera a number of times because he started laughing.

'It was fun to do."