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The Inconceivable Book: The Making of “The Princess Bride”

The book As You Wish tells the story of the filming of The Princess Bride. Written by Cary Elwes, who portrayed the iconic character Wesley, it describes the production of the movie and its effect on the movie industry from then on.

Throughout, Elwes describes mistakes, mishaps, and injuries, and how the show must go on; no book explains this better than As You Wish. Each chapter has a different fascinating story from some time during the filming of the movie. Each with some new problem that the cast and crew must get through, often resulting in hilarity. If the princess nearly catches on fire or a member of the crew makes a crucial error, the book reports how they fix these mistakes.

Although the making of a movie may seem like arduous work, this book shows that if you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. Each actor provides a new take on the making of the film. Elwes recalls his interactions with the variety of actors, each performing some wacky and entertaining role in the film.

The Inconceivable Book

The Princess Bride is a favorite film for many. Learning how it was made can give insight into how great movies are produced. This can be an important step into understanding that a good film has to be made by a cast who truly enjoys being there and is sincerely invested in it.

Although many may consider this book only for movie fanatics or die-hard fans of The Princess Bride, I would definitely suggest it to anyone who wishes to get a look into the making of a great film and get a glimpse inside the head of an actor who became famous for a role in one of the most beloved comedies of all time.

Finn Lahey is an eighth grader in New Hampshire.


PARENT REVIEW

By Jessica Lahey

When my children were young, I could not wait for them to grow old enough to appreciate the movie The Princess Bride, the tale of a Farm Boy-turned-Dread Pirate Roberts who must rescue his true love, Buttercup, from the clutches of the evil Prince Humperdink.

I wanted them to laugh when I said, “Inconceivable!” and “He’s only mostly dead,” and “Have fun storming the castle!” When they were finally ready, and it was time for the long-awaited family movie night, I worried they would not love the film as much as I do.

I am happy to report that this was not the case.

As You Wish

The Princess Bride, released in 1987, has been our family’s go-to movie for years. So when the book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of the Princess Bride, was released, I knew my kids would love it. I purchased it in audio form because it’s read by nearly the entire cast. Co-author Cary Elwes and actors Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, and Robin Wright—as well as director Rob Reiner and producer Norman Lear—all have their own stories to tell about how the film was made.

My favorite part of the book concerns a scene atop the Cliffs of Insanity, an epic, acrobatic sword fight between Farm Boy Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts (“As you wish”) and Inigo Montoya (“You killed my father, prepare to die”). On film, the fight is beautiful to behold; the characters parry, flip, leap, and feint in a display of brilliant swordsmanship honed through years of training.

As the actors Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin recount in As You Wish, however, neither one knew how to hold a sword, let alone fight with one. Both recount the grueling training they undertook over six months—before and during filming—to get ready to film that one scene.

If your family loves The Princess Bride as much as ours, As You Wish makes a great drive-time listen. Besides, when your kid says, “Could you turn the book back on?” you will have the opportunity to reply, “As you wish.”


Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mother of two teens.