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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Princess Bride can be found here.
While home sick in bed, a young boy's (Fred Savage) grandfather (Peter Falk) reads him a story called The Princess Bride. It's about the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright) and how she is kidnapped by nasty Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) and saved by her childhood stableboy Westley (Cary Elwes), now known as the Dread Pirate Roberts, along with his helpers -- swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and the friendly giant Fezzik (André the Giant). Together, they must brave such hazards as Fire Swamps, Shrieking Eels, and Rodents of Unusual Size.
The Princess Bride is a 1973 novel written by American novelist, William Goldman. In the movie, the book is presented as if it were a work by an author named S. Morgenstern.
Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) was hired by Prince Humperdinck to kill Buttercup in order to start a war between the kingdoms of Florin and Guilder. The novel (but not the film) provides an elaborate backstory in which Humperdinck is engaged to marry a Guilderian princess to end strife between Florin and Guilder, but when the princess is revealed to be secretly bald, he furiously cancels the engagement and orders his advisors to find the most beautiful Florinese woman possible as his new bride, one who will be extremely popular with the common people, making her assassination an ideal pretext for war.
The six-fingered man who killed Inigo Montoya's father turned out to be Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Prepare to die!
Westley (who was only mostly dead), Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik storm the wedding to save Buttercup, who hadn't yet said "I do," so she isn't yet married to Prince Humperdinck. Montoya fights the man with six fingers and kills him. Westley offers Montoya the chance to be the new Dread Pirate Roberts. The four ride off into the horizon. In the final scene, Grandfather closes the book and his grandson asks him to come tomorrow and read him the story again. Grandfather replies: As you wish.
There is no film sequel. For years a sequel to the book, named Buttercup's Baby, was rumored to be in the works. Some editions of the book even contained an address to which readers could write for information. Those who wrote in received a short sample chapter from the rumored book. However, this sample chapter was all that existed. In a 2007 interview, Goldman hinted that he may write the full book, but as of yet it hasn't come to light.
William Goldman wrote both the book and the screenplay for the film. The major changes from the book are condensations for length purposes. The book contains more background on the characters, particularly histories of Inigo Montoya and Fezzik before they join Vizzini. It also contains a much lengthier segment when Fezzik and Inigo break into Count Rugen's torture chamber. In addition, it contains a sequence where Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) makes the two go on a series of quests to obtain the ingredients for the resurrection pill. The framing device of the Grandfather reading the story to his Grandson is also less prominent in the book. The book, which claims to be Goldman's edited version of the S. Morgenstern original, includes a significant amount of commentary, similar to a DVD commentary track, from Goldman. This commentary details, among other things, Goldman's relationship with the book, which he claims was read to him as a child and which he read to his own fictitious son. One, somewhat significant change in Inigo's motivation is that in the film Inigo's father refuses to sell the Six Fingered Man the sword because the Six Fingered Man offers too low a sum. In the book he refuses to sell because the Six Fingered Man insults the quality of the sword. Buttercup's motivation is very different in the book. She agrees to be Humperdinck's bride because it's better to be rich and alive than penniless and dead. She returns to Humperdinck after the Fire Swamp because she would rather live than die. ("I can live without love" are her exact words.) In the movie she is a much more sympathetic and intelligent character; in the book she is described as rather simple and self-serving.
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