It wasn’t a major hit at the box office. It didn’t spawn any sequels or TV spin-offs. It didn’t have any huge stars — unless you count the seven-foot-plus wrestler André the Giant. And yet, surprisingly — you might even say inconceivably — since its release in 1987, director Rob Reiner’s wryly comic fairy tale The Princess Bride, a fable about true love featuring swashbuckling adventure, a six-fingered villain, and Rodents of Unusual Size, has gone on to become one of the most beloved films in recent Hollywood history. Millions of fans can quote their favorite lines by heart: “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” “Have fun storming the castle.” “Mawage, that bwessed awangement… ”
For EW’s annual Reunions issue, the stars of The Princess Bride — Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Chris Sarandon, and Wallace Shawn — gathered together for the first time in nearly 25 years for a reunion photo shoot (see our behind-the-scenes video below and the reunited cast photo here). They also shared their memories of the making of The Princess Bride for an in-depth oral history. Here are a few highlights (for the entire oral history and to see our Princess Bride photos — as well as pictures from our Fatal Attraction and Aliens reunions and more — check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands today):
Billy Crystal, Miracle Max: We ad libbed a lot of stuff: “Have fun storming the castle.” “Don’t go swimming for an hour — a good hour.” There was a lot of really funny stuff that never made it into the movie: “Don’t bother me, sonny. I had a bad day — I found my nephew with a sheep.” “True love is the greatest thing in the world — except for a good BM.” I remember the only trouble with the scene was Cary trying not to laugh while he was laying on the slab, because he’s supposed to be mostly dead but slightly alive.
Christopher Guest, Count Rugen: I don’t know if you know this about [André the Giant], but he was very large. I couldn’t wait every morning to shake his hand because that feeling was like a guy with five catcher’s mitts. Your hand would just disappear into his.
Robin Wright, Princess Buttercup: Cary was gorgeous! He was the blond Zorro. We hit it off right away. We had the same sense of humor. I was the baby and the novice around all the veterans. Inside I was trembling, of course: “Can I pull this off?”
Wallace Shawn, Vizzini: I was not the first person they wanted [for the part]. Unfortunately, my agent at that time believed that it would be helpful for me to know who they actually wanted, so he told me — it was Danny DeVito. Looking back on it, it didn’t help. Danny is inimitable. Each scene we did, I pictured how he would have done it and I knew I could never possibly have done it the way he could have done it. It made it challenging. I’ve mentioned it to Danny since. I said, “You know, of everything that I have ever done since birth, the thing that is most well-known is a part I had because you were unavailable.” He might have laughed nervously when I said that.
Rob Reiner, director: The studio never knew how to market it. We literally never had a trailer. They tried to sell it like a zany comedy. I remember having this conversation with Barry Diller, who was the head of Fox at the time. I was screaming at him. I said, “Barry, I don’t want to have a Wizard of Oz!” Because when The Wizard of Oz came out, it was a disaster — nobody liked it and it didn’t do well. I’ll never forget what he said to me. He said, “Rob, don’t let anybody ever hear you say that. You’d be so happy to have a Wizard of Oz!” He was right, of course.
Cary Elwes, Westley: The movie has an incredible life from generation to generation. People have told me they’ve named their kids Westley and Buttercup, that they were married dressed as Westley and Buttercup. I met a girl just a few weeks ago who has “As You Wish” tattooed on her neck.