The Princess Bride. Directed by Rob Reiner. 98 minutes. Act III Communications/Buttercup Films Ltd., The Princess Bride Ltd. 1987, $39.95 (DVD). ASIN: B00PGTNA52
A boy is sick in bed when his grandfather comes to visit. Rather than being given free reign to play video games, the kid is made to listen to his grandpa tell a story, one that his grandfather had told to the boy’s dad when he was sick growing up. The story? It’s about a girl named Buttercup, Westley (her former farm boy), a king, a giant, a sword master bent on revenge, and a conniving kidnapper. Death, miracles, swordfights, and drama ensue. Will true love win the day? (And will this book be better than a regular sports book, even though it has kissing in it?)
I watched most of this movie when I was in high school, and I have read the book, but I had not seen the film all the way through. Common Sense Media lists this as a “Laugh Out Loud” “Essential Movie” for tweens (ages 8+). Despite references to breasts, jokes that might go over kids’ heads but adults will notice, bloody wounds, and violence, I would have to agree. The slapstick and pratfalls are hilarious, the drama is real, and the tension sustains itself over the course of the movie. As each issue appears to be wrapped up, a new twist sets the story off on another dramatic course. Interruptions from the boy hearing the story heighten some drama, as his reactions (i.e., nervousness when the shrieking eels close in on Buttercup) reflect what we viewers feel.
Tween reviewers echo that the film can be scary. One Common Sense Media kid reviewer (10 years old) wrote a review titled “Way too scary” in which they talk about the violence in the movie and the fact that “This movie gave me nightmares for a while after I saw it” (2015). The same reviewer said it was a good movie, but they advise parents to know their kids’ “scary” thresholds before turning on the movie. Other reviewers posted about enjoying the adventure, the romance, and the humor.
Programming Idea: This would be a great movie activity for older students. The library could potentially hold a Princess Bride club reading. The movie viewing would be the final activity for the club’s focus on the book, followed by a discussion of what the film kept and what the film cut from the book. The book involves many more story elements (as often happens when books are made into movies), and it would be fun to talk about the ways that the “interruption” style is used in each medium. (Idea from myself).
Common Sense Media. (n. d.). All teen and kid member reviews for The Princess Bride. Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-princess-bride/user-reviews/child
Common Sense Media. (n. d.). Essential Movies: Laugh Out Loud. Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/guide/essentialmovies/s/age%207-12/laugh%20out%20louds?page=1
Common Sense Media Editors. (n. d.). The Princess Bride (Review of the movie The Princess Bride). Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-princess-bride
Kid, 10 years old. (2015, May 16). Way too scary. Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-princess-bride/user- reviews/child