The Princess Bride title image
Director
Cast
, , , , , , , , ,
Rated
PG
Runtime
98 min.
Release Date
09/25/1987
The Princess Bride poster

On the original poster for The Princess Bride, columns frame two near-silhouetted figures: a grandfather in a rocking chair, reading a story to his grandson. Orange-yellow light illuminates them from the distance, where your eyes can follow a vast mountain range to a castle atop a peak. In the foreground, the grandson’s toys appear scattered on steps that descend, growing dark enough so the white tagline stands out: “It’s as real as the feelings you feel.” Most involved with the 1987 production believed this promotional artwork failed to adequately sell the film’s irresistible blend of swashbuckling, swooning romance, and deft genre satire. Although the film performed moderately well in its initial theatrical run, it wasn’t a runaway hit. That would come later. So what was this poster selling? A movie about a lovable old fart reading to a sickly kid? Where were the titular Princess Buttercup, the Dread Pirate Roberts, the giant Fezzik, the Spaniard swordsman, and the Rodents of Unusual Size? Where was the romance-for-the-ages between Westley and Buttercup? Audiences didn’t know, unless they had already read the 1973 book, credited to S. Morgenstern for inventing a “Classic Tale of True Love & High Adventure” and abridged by William Goldman. If the poster failed to sell The Princess Bride by Hollywood’s standards, readers of the book probably looked at the poster and smiled knowingly, realizing how perfectly it evokes the text.


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