When asked what his favorite thing about making this film was, André the Giant replied, without skipping a beat, "Nobody looks at me." He felt treated as an equal, without people staring at him because of his grand height.
During the filming of some scenes, the weather became markedly cold for Robin Wright. André the Giant helped her by placing one of his hands over her head; his hands were so large that one would entirely cover the top of her head, keeping her warm.
When Count Rugen hits Westley over the head, Cary Elwes told Christopher Guest to go ahead and hit him for real. Guest hit him hard enough to shut down production for a day while Elwes went to the hospital.
Mandy Patinkin has said that the role of Inigo Montoya is his personal favorite over the course of his entire career.
Robin Wright and Cary Elwes were smitten with each other during filming, naturally helping their chemistry in the movie. Elwes said that he "couldn't concentrate on much of anything after that first encounter with Robin."
In a 2012 interview in New York Magazine, Mandy Patinkin said that his most famous line from The Princess Bride (1987) ("Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.") gets quoted back to him by at least two or three strangers every day of his life. Patinkin told the interviewer that he loves hearing the line and he also loves the general fact that he got to be in the movie, stating, "I'm frankly thrilled about it. I can't believe that I got to be in The Wizard of Oz, you know what I mean?"
Mandy Patinkin claims that the only injury he sustained during the entire filming of this movie was a bruised rib due to stifling his laughter in his scenes with Billy Crystal. His attempt at holding back his laughter is obvious from his facial expression during his line, "This is noble sir."
According to author William Goldman, when he was first trying to get the movie made in the 1970s, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play Fezzik, and he was strongly being considered because Goldman could never get his first choice, André the Giant, to read for the role. By the time the movie was made about twelve years later, Schwarzenegger was such a big star they could not afford him. Andre was cast after all, and the two big men had gone on to become friends.
Director Rob Reiner left the set during Billy Crystal's scenes because he would laugh so hard that he would feel nauseated.
Writer William Goldman was on set during one of the flame burst scenes in the forest when Robin Wright's dress caught fire. Although Goldman knew this was intentional, he was so caught up in the moment that he shouted, "Her dress is on fire!", thus ruining the take.
Cary Elwes (Westley) and Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup) were so reluctant to end their time with the film that during their final shared scene (the horseback kiss), one or other of them would keep requesting another take for all sorts of made up reasons.
Despite his character Fezzik's almost-superhuman strength, André the Giant's back problems at the time prevented him from actually lifting anything heavy. Robin Wright had to be attached to wires in the scene where Buttercup jumps from the castle window into Fezzik's arms because he couldn't support her himself.
In order to create the Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin trained for months with Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson, who between them had been in the Olympics; worked on Bond, Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Star Wars films; and coached Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster. Every spare moment on set was spent practicing. Eventually, when they showed Rob Reiner the swordfight for the movie, he was underwhelmed and requested that it be at least three minutes long rather than the current one minute. They added steps to the set, watched more swashbuckling movies for inspiration, re-choreographed the scene, and ended up with a three minute and 10 second fight which took the better part of a week to film from all angles.
Rob Reiner and Andrew Scheinman recorded all of André the Giant's scenes on tape, with Rob doing Andre's lines. During rehearsals Andre would walk around with headphones with that tape playing all the time. It worked great, and they didn't even have to loop his lines.
Most of the movie was filmed on location in England. The castle used for the film was Haddon Hall, a fortified country house (not a castle as such) that dates to before 1087 (when it was listed in the Domesday Book). The tapestries in Haddon Hall interiors are original, dating to the late medieval and renaissance periods.
There really was a "Dread Pirate Roberts" (Bartholomew Roberts, also known as Black Bart) who operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. He is reckoned by many to have been the most successful pirate of all time.
The giant rodents were created with diminutive actors inside rat suits. On the day Westley was supposed to wrestle the main actor, Danny Blackner, he was nowhere to be found. Finally, Blackner arrived on set with a long story about being pulled over for speeding the night prior on his way home from the bar, and subsequently being put in jail for a few hours for drinking (after the police officer didn't believe his story about having to work as an actor/stuntman playing a rat).
Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin performed all of their own sword-fighting after many hours of training. According to Rob Reiner, the only stunt performed by Patinkin's stunt double was one flip during the "Chatty Duelists" scene.
André the Giant called almost everybody on set (be they director, producers, co-stars or crew) "boss", a technique he employed to defer to people he liked and go some way towards counteracting the way he would tower over them.
Cary Elwes was cast because of what Rob Reiner called his Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn quality. Fairbanks and Flynn both played Robin Hood (Fairbanks in Robin Hood (1922) and Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)). Elwes would later spoof their performances in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993).
Rob Reiner first read the book "The Princess Bride" back when he was starring in All in the Family (1971). His dad, Carl Reiner, was friendly with William Goldman, and thought Rob would like the book.
There were no "shrieking eels" in the original novel. Instead, once Buttercup jumps overboard to escape her captors, Vizzini warns her of sharks in the water, and fills a cup with his own blood and throws it in the water to attract them.
Mel Smith (The Albino) has confessed to never having watched his performance in this film due to the painful experience involved in filming the role. His character required him to wear coloured contact lenses and, unknown to Smith and the costume department at the time, he was actually allergic to the lens solution used. This meant that Smith was in constant pain and discomfort throughout filming; hence, he is reluctant to relive the memory.
Andre the Giant needed an ATV to get him to shooting locations, and he was always trying to get Cary Elwes to drive it. Elwes eventually relented, but on his first time driving it, he hit a patch of rocks as he was shifting gears, which caused his foot to slip from the clutch and eventually become wedged between the pedal and a rock. His left big toe was bent straight down and was broken, which he tried to conceal from director Rob Reiner. Eventually he had to confess, and they worked shooting around his swollen toe and limp. You can notice it in the scene right before Buttercup pushes him down the hill; he sits down with his leg extended, because he wasn't able to put weight on the foot. In the next scene when he and Buttercup head into the Fire Swamp, he has a strange hop in his step.
Billy Crystal used his Saturday Night Live (1975) makeup artist, Peter Montagna, to create Miracle Max. Billy brought him photos of his grandmother and Casey Stengel to help develop the look, and also brought in an uncle who had similar bone structure.
Liam Neeson revealed on The Graham Norton Show (2007) that he auditioned for Fezzik. Director Rob Reiner scoffed when he heard that Neeson's height was "only six foot four."
The names that Inigo and Westley refer to in the "chatty duel" sequence are all actual fencing terms named after their 14th and 15th century proponents. Bonetti's defense refers to refraining from attacking on uneven terrain, Capo (sic) Ferra refers to a linear attack, the best for uneven terrain, Thibault refers to angular defenses /attacks and Agrippa refers to natural short sword movements which cancel out angular defenses and attacks.
Max and Valerie, played by Billy Crystal and Carol Kane respectively, were named after author William Goldman's parents, Max and Valerie.
The fights were choreographed by the legendary Bob Anderson (who also choreographed Star Wars). Anderson was taught to fence by the great Akos Moldovanyi, the last man in Europe to preside a sabre duel.
The 'Dread Pirate Roberts' costume was modeled after that of infamous vigilante Zorro, only leaving out the cape as it was felt it was unnecessary and the hat as it does not suit the character.
The title on the 20th anniversary edition DVD cover is an ambigram (it can be read right side up or upside down).
Uma Thurman auditioned for the role of Buttercup. She was deemed too exotic looking for the part.
Before filming, Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) had come to understand that he was second choice for the part after Danny DeVito (although there is some confusion about whether DeVito was ever seriously pursued). He became convinced that he was wrong for the role and in danger of being fired at any moment. He was extremely nervous throughout filming and co-star Cary Elwes (Westley) noted that he was visibly sweating during the 'battle of wits' scene. He said to Rob Reiner that he didn't feel he'd get the part because he isn't Sicilian; Rob assured him that his voice was exactly the same as Vizzini's in the book.
Mark Knopfler agreed to write the music for this movie on the condition that Rob Reiner put the hat that Reiner wore in This Is Spinal Tap (1984) in the movie. The hat appears in The Grandson's bedroom.
Vizzini's advice on not getting involved in a land war in Asia is derived from principles stated by Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery (Viscount Alamein) in a speech in the House of Lords on 30 May 1962: "Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war is: 'Do not march on Moscow.' ... Rule 2 is: 'Do not go fighting with your land armies in China.'"
The two rival kingdoms in the movie are Florin and Guilder. These are the names of two former Dutch currencies, the Florijn and Gulden.
Inspired by, and written directly for his two daughters, writer William Goldman already had a special affection for his story. However, it spent many years in "development hell" during which it gained a reputation for being un-filmable, with at least two studio heads losing their jobs (for unrelated reasons) mere days after stating they wished to make the film. By this stage Goldman was so disillusioned and protective of his book that he took the almost unheard of step of buying back the rights to his own story when it came available after a studio 'desk clearing' (putting up every optioned story for sale so as to start again with a clean slate).
It is implied that the character of Count Rugen was an adult when Inigo Montoya was a child. Christopher Guest, who plays Rugen, is actually only four years older than Mandy Patinkin, who plays Inigo.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was offered the role of Fezzik and was extremely interested in taking the role but was unable because shooting conflicted with his NBA schedule.
Vizzini tells the Man In Black, "Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line." 'Vizzini' is the name of a small town in Sicily.
William Goldman came up with the title of the novel based on what his daughters requested in terms of ideas for his next novel, one suggested he write his next book about a princess while the other suggested a book about a bride. He then coined the title "The Princess Bride" for the novel.
The R.O.U.S have been referenced in multiple video games, including Borderlands 2, Fallout New Vegas and World of Warcraft: Legion.
The video baseball game the Grandson is playing during the first scene is "Hardball" produced by Accolade, Inc., in 1985. It was widely available in the mid-1980s for the Commodore 64 computer system. It was a one or two-player game. The sound was not from the actual game, but later added.
The grandson makes some sort of comment about every kissing scene except one, when Buttercup finds Westley lying on her bed, and she jumps on top of him and kisses him.
When Inigo says, "I'm not budging, keep your 'ho there'," to the brute from the Brute Squad, he is actually insulting the man with a cross-language pun. "Joder," (pronounced similarly to "ho there") is a Spanish obscenity.
At the time of filming the movie, Robin Wright was a regular on the soap opera Santa Barbara (1984). In exchange for allowing her time off to film the movie, they required her to extend her contract by a year.
This was Willoughby Gray's final film before his death on February 13, 1993 at the age of 76.
While never stated in the movie, according to the screenplay the grandson and grandfather live in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois. This explains the Walter Payton Chicago Bears #34 jersey worn by the grandson, the Chicago Cubs pennant and William Perry poster on the wall and the Chicago White Sox cap hanging in the room.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Rob Reiner considered a lot of different actors to play Fezzik before André the Giant finally got the part. One of the actors considered to play the part was Richard Kiel.
On the DVD Scene Menu, the Pit of Despair scene is referred to as 'The Pit of Desire'.
Florin and Guilder are made up kingdoms but they reference a single historical coin called both florin and guilder. This is a subtle joke implying that the two kingdoms are interchangeable. Also it implies that the film is set after the year 1252 when the coin was introduced.
Although the film is of course set in a fantasy world, the mention of criminals being sent to Australia means that the year is set after 1788.
In the Criminal Minds (2005) episode "Criminal Minds: Nelson's Sparrow (2015)", the younger version of Jason Gideon, the character originally played by Mandy Patinkin, is played by Fred Savage's younger brother Ben Savage.
Buttercup says that her lover's eyes are like the "sea after a storm", which is a reference to a painting of the same name by Irish painter Francis Darby in 1824. This could be a hint that the film is set after 1824.
Miracle Max asserts that love is the greatest thing in the world apart from a "nice MLT - mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe." In the book on which the movie was based Miracle Max states that cough drops are the only thing better than love.
Although Christopher Guest plays a Count in this film (Count Rugen) in real life he is actually a Baron; 5th Baron Haden-Guest of Saling in Essex, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
François Truffaut, Robert Redford, Norman Jewison and Richard Lester had all made abortive attempts at filming "The Princess Bride ".
The French New Wave director François Truffaut was interested in directing the film.
For you Canadian fans... as Peter Falk reads to Fred Savage he is drinking from a Hudson's Bay of Canada mug.
As there is a reference to criminals in Australia, this story would have to take place sometime after Captain Cook's "discovery" of the continent in 1770, followed by the first arrival of British convicts in 1778.
In his performance in this film, Wallace Shawn is known for a phrase that he uses during the Battle of Wits scene with Cary Elwes "Inconceivable". He used this word (six years earlier) during his conversation with Andre Gregory, about half way through the film "My Dinner with Andre" (1981).
The comic book on the grandson's shelf is Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes issue 320.