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Think you know The Princess Bride? Try these little known facts…

March 24th, 2013 by Marc Comments

With the release of The Princess Bride 25th Anniversay Blu-ray tomorrow, we thought you might like this cool collection of trivia about this timeless classic…

Did you know?

The birth of the novel on which the film is based can be partially credited to author William Goldman’s daughters: when he asked them what they would want in a story, one replied “A princess!” and the other, “A bride!”

When William Goldman was first trying to get the movie made in the 1970s, an unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play Fezzik. He was strongly considered because Goldman was unable to cast his first choice, André the Giant, but when it was ready to go into production, Schwarzenegger had become a huge star and was too expensive to hire. André was cast and the two big men had gone on to become friends.

Author of the original book, William Goldman, was on set during one of the flame burst scenes in the forest when Robin Wright’s dress caught fire and was so into the scene that he shouted, “Her dress is on fire!” ruining the take.

Cary Elwes was cast because he reminded Rob Reiner of swashbuckling actors Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn, both of whom had played Robin Hood. Elwes went on to spoof their performances in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Director Rob Reiner had auditioned over 500 women for the role of Buttercup, including Courtney Cox, Meg Ryan, Sean Young, Uma Thurman and Whoopie Goldberg. He ended up hiring Robin Wright Penn in her major film debut.

According to Mandy Patinkin the role of Inigo Montoya is his personal favourite over the course of his entire career.

Mandy Patinkin has said that his famous line “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” gets quoted back to him by at least two or three strangers every day of his life.

The film proved to be a cathartic experience for Mandy Patinkin, who revealed that acting out Inigo’s quest to avenge his father’s murder brought back memories of losing his own father to cancer in 1972. He said that when filming the scene when Inigo kills The Six-Fingered Man, he felt as though he had just “killed” the cancer that killed his father.

Rob Reiner once ran into notorious mobster John Gotti at a restaurant. To his surprise, as Reiner was leaving one of Gotti’s henchmen looked him in the eye and said “You killed my father. Prepare to Die” before going on to say that he loved the movie.

Rob Reiner left the set during Billy Crystal’s scenes because he would laugh so hard that he would be overcome with nausea. Furthermore, Mandy Patinkin claims that the only injury he sustained during filming was a bruised rib due to stifling his laughter during these scenes.

Max and Valerie, played by Billy Crystal and Carol Kane respectively, are named after author William Goldman’s parents, Max and Valerie.

Despite his character Fezzik’s near-superhuman strength, André the Giant had recently undergone back surgery which prevented him from lifting anything heavy. Robin Wright had to be attached to wires in the scene where Princess Buttercup jumps from the castle window into Fezzik’s arms because he couldn’t support her himself.

André the Giant had trouble walking up a hill on which they shot a scene, so he rented a small four-wheeler to help him. Having a go behind the wheel, Cary Elwes went over a rock, which got caught between his foot and the pedal, breaking his toe. The shoot could not be delayed, so in the film you can see him limping away when he’s running into the swamp.

When the weather was particularly cold, André the Giant would place his giant hand over Robin Wright’s head, covering it entirely and keeping her warm.

As André the Giant could not read, he had all of his lines recorded so that he could memorise them.

When filming the scene in which Count Rugen hits Westley over the head with the hilt of his sword, Cary Elwes told Christopher Guest to hit him for real. Guest hit him so hard that the production was shut-down for a day while Elwes went to the hospital.

Most of the movie was filmed on location in the UK. The castle used for the film was Haddon Hall, a fortified country house built by William the Conquerer in 1086 for his illegitimate son. The tapestries in the interiors are original, dating to the late medieval and renaissance periods.

A diminutive actor who portrayed one of the giant rats was arrested for speeding during production. He had to be bailed out of jail by the filmmakers so that his scene could be filmed.

Mel Smith has never watched his performance as The Albino due to the painful experience involved in filming the role. He was required to wear coloured contact lenses and, unknown to Smith and the costume department, he was allergic to the lens solution. Smith has been reluctant to relive the painful memory.

Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin performed all of their own sword-fighting after many hours of training. According to Rob Reiner, the only stunt performed by Patinkin’s stunt double was one flip during the ‘Chatty Duelists’ scene.

Although both Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin learned to fence expertly with their left and right hands, the scene in which they switch hands was actually shot on two mirrored sets so the image could be flipped, creating the illusion that they were equally dexterous with each hand.

During the fight between Count Rugen and Inigo, Christopher Guest got so into the scene that he started making sword noises with his mouth like a child play-fighting. Rob Reiner stopped the take and told him that this wouldn’t be necessary.

The Dread Pirate Roberts costume was modelled after that of Zorro only leaving out the cape as it was felt it was unnecessary.

The real “Dread Pirate Roberts”, who operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century, is considered by many to have been the most successful pirate of all time.

The hat that Rob Reiner wore in This Is Spinal Tap can be seen in The Grandson’s bedroom; a request from the film’s composer Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

In early 2013, a man on a flight from Sydney to Australia was asked to remove a t-shirt which displayed Inigo Montoya’s famous line, since the other passengers (clearly not fans of the film) found the words “prepare to die” to be intimidating.

Count Rugen’s death in the original novel was more graphic. After telling the “son of a bitch” he wants his father back, Inigo proceeds to cut Rugen’s heart out, describing what he’s doing to Rugen, claiming that the count had figuratively done the same to him when he murdered his father years before (Inigo even tells Fezzik earlier on, “That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when Rugen slaughtered my father. The Man in Black makes it now.”) However, before Inigo finishes cutting out the Count’s heart, Rugen dies of fright.

After the last day of shooting some of the cast stayed around for up to five hours while every person, every grown-up and their family came by, waited in line like children at Disney Land to stand with André The Giant and have their photograph taken. He had his photograph taken with every single person that asked.

The Princess Bride 25th Anniversary Edition is released on Blu-ray on 25th March 2013


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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….

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