Why College Students Should Watch The Princess Bride

Most of us have seen the famous 1987 film, The Princess Bride, adapted from William Goldman’s book and produced by Rob Reiner. If you haven’t, you should drop everything, grab a bag of popcorn, and enjoy! If you have seen the iconic movie, you know that there are a lot of witty and emotional quotes that stay with you long after the final credits. I have seen this movie more times than I can count; my parents watched it with me for the first time when I was ten years old. Even then, I was captivated; I loved the romance, the adventure, and the comedy. As the years went on and I re-watched the film, I got more and more out of it. When I am feeling lonely or sad, this is the movie I watch; it has gotten me through many difficult times. The more you watch The Princess Bride, the more you fall in love with the characters; I am always inspired by their dedication and their love for one another. The more my family and I watched this movie, the more it became a part of our family’s culture; we even recite our favorite quotes. Remember the following quotes; let them guide you as they have guided me. Find your own “Princess Bride”– your own movie that helps you stay happy and keep college in perspective.

“As You Wish”

This is possibly the most romantic quote of the film. Westley says this to Buttercup at the beginning of the movie, when they are living on a farm. It doesn’t take long for Buttercup to realize that, when Westley says “as you wish,” he really means “I love you.” As in real life, sometimes we do not say what we truly mean; our actions are what show that we care. Whenever I hear Westley say “as you wish,” I remember how important my actions are; I remember that I must show those that matter to me how much I care. Like Westley, many people have trouble explaining their feelings; this doesn’t mean that they don’t care. Some of my best friends have trouble saying “I love you.” This doesn’t upset me because they show me that they care. Best friends are the ones who are there to support you through hard times, and there to celebrate with you when you are happy. Love does not require words; love is shown through selflessness.

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At the end of the film, the grandson asks his grandpa to come read The Princess Bride to him again tomorrow. The grandpa replies, “as you wish.” This ending always makes me cry. Though the grandson originally puts on an act and tries to isolate himself, by the end of the story, his relationship with his grandpa has changed completely. It seems as though the two have never said “I love you” to one another; this doesn’t matter. By caring enough to come read to his grandson while he is sick, the grandpa expresses his love. The grandson is at first resistant, but he eventually comes to appreciate his grandpa. Though he isn’t originally thrilled at reading a book, it seems as though he understands what the book represents; his grandfather’s love.

“Life is Pain, Highness. Anyone Who Says Differently is Selling Something”

Westley says this to Buttercup when he is disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Though he is playing with her, there is truth in this statement. When people sugar-coat life, they are usually in denial, or trying to manipulate someone. It is not helpful to pretend that life isn’t painful; this will only distance you from your problems and create unrealistic expectations. Life is full of pain; it is the pain of Buttercup and Westley’s separation that ultimately leads to happiness. Their happiness would not be possible if they had not been willing to make sacrifices. Westley works for the Dread Pirate Roberts, fights off a giant, and even survives torture in order to be with the one he loves. Buttercup stands up against Prince Humperdink and remains hopeful, even when everything seems to be lost.  

This is a quote that my parents often recite. They usually say it as a joke, in order to “mock my pain,” as Buttercup claims that Westley is doing. Though this can make me mad, I know they do it out of love; it is their way of saying that what I am going through is manageable. They have faith in me. My parents know that, sometimes, you need to make light of your struggles. Humor can be the best solution to pain; it can help you put your pain in perspective.

It is my dad who tends to recite this quote genuinely. I have inherited my father’s pessimism. Sometimes, it does feel as though life is not enjoyable. When I am trapped in a never-ending cycle of exams and papers, it is hard to gain any perspective; pain can seem perpetual. The Princess Bride has helped me escape the tight grasp of pessimism. Though Westley says that life is pain, there is hope in the way he looks at Buttercup. As much as life is painful for the couple in their years apart, life is pure joy when they are together; their love is so strong, it overpowers all pain. I truly believe this is possible; the love I have for my family exceeds any pain I have ever endured.

“Have Fun Storming the Castle!”

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After Westley is brought back to life, Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie, say this to Fezzik and Vizzini as they leave. On the surface, this is a humorous quote;  Max and Valerie somehow bring Westley back to life after declaring that he is only “mostly dead.” It is true love that is keeping him alive, although Miracle Max says that he is saying “to bluff,” and comments that they “were probably playing cards and he cheated.” At this moment, Valerie runs in shouting “liar!”  The couple bicker and Valerie tries to convince Max to help, because “true love lies expiring.” Saving Westley seems to resolve the issues between the old couple, at least temporarily. Though many viewers see this scene as simply for comedic relief, I found it touching to see the couple come together. Miracle Max and Valerie show that love is not perfect; all couples are dysfunctional. Even though The Princess Bride is in the guise of a fairy tale, it subverts all expectations. Few characters are simply “good” or “evil;” we learn about the hidden motivations behind every character. Not even Buttercup is perfect; though she does stand up for herself and remain loyal, she tends to be passive and hopeless. Max and Valerie seem to be the most dysfunctional, crazy characters, they truly have what Buttercup and Westley are looking for: a life together. As couples grow with one another, they pick up unusual or humorous mannerism. Max and Valerie may seem humorous to an outsider, yet their relationship has stood the test of time.

This is my mother and father’s favorite quote. Any time my sister and I leave home, they stand by the car arm in arm and wave goodbye, shouting, “have fun storming the castle!” This has become a family tradition. Not only does it show how much my parents love my sister and I, but also how much they love each other. Like Max and Valerie, my parents’ relationship has stood the test of time. As they grow older, they become more alike; I cannot picture them without one another. They may bicker and fight sometimes, but they are always there for one another. Whenever I leave home, this quote reminds me of the loving family I have, and the love I deserve to find. My parents– and The Princess Bride– remind me that, although life is not perfect, it is definitely filled with love.

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Emma Rose Callen

About Emma Rose Callen

I am an English and Creative Writing major about to enter my senior year at Colorado College. I have always been in love with words; I spent my childhood writing in the woods behind my house in New York. It is through writing that I have learned how to interpret and appreciate both myself and others.

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