Once upon a time — Sept. 25, 1987, to be exact — a charming little fairy tale about a damsel in distress named Buttercup and a smitten farm boy named Westley opened in 16th place at the box office, well behind films like The Principal and Stakeout. Twenty-five years later, no one talks about either of those other two. But everyone looks back on The Princess Bride (1987, 1 hr., 38 mins., PG) with not just affection but something close to rabid cult passion. And Rob Reiner’s hilarious send-up of bedtime stories is the very definition of a cult classic. While most of the EXTRAS on the new 25th Anniversary Blu-ray are holdovers from previous ”special editions,” the lone new featurette has the cast and director, still befuddled by the film’s longevity, unspooling tales of odd encounters with fans. They’re priceless. Cary Elwes describes a surprising White House brush with President Clinton, who informed the actor that he’d watched The Princess Bride 200 times with Chelsea. Reiner tells the story of a woman who was trapped in an avalanche and kept her fellow skiers alive by acting out the movie. Mandy Patinkin, who played the swashbuckling Spaniard Inigo Montoya, refers to the film as a ”grown-up fairy tale that went viral.” Viewing the movie again, in spotless high-def, I’m reminded why. It has everything that kids — and kids at heart — could want: eel-infested waters, rhyming giants, a battle of wits over a chalice of poisoned wine (featuring the inimitable Wallace Shawn), and, of course, a romance for the ages. A quarter of a century later, we can all imagine a world without Stakeout. But one without The Princess Bride? Inconceivable! A-

The Princess Bride

  • Movie
  • 98 minutes
  • Rob Reiner