Okay, so part of the reason we love Princess Bride is the characters, and the actors who brought them out on the screen. But there's another reason I love this movie: The Words.
The writing in this movie is simply outstanding. It's perfect in tone and word choice. And the characters' voices are so unique to them. How often have you read a book or seen a movie and felt as though you couldn't really distinguish one character from another? The writing in Princess Bride delivers on every front. Which is why so many of us can quote so much of this movie! When I worked at Multnomah Books, which is now part of Random House publishers, we book editors used to love to get together and quote PB. Didn't matter what we were doing--meetings, brainstorms, sharing a meal. At some point in a gathering you could count on a PB line popping out. Of course, we had to respond in kind. It was a blast!
As a writer, I can't help but be delighted when the words in a story are so perfectly chosen. And every time I watch this movie or read the book, I'm inspired to higher excellence in my own writing. Many novelists write to meet a daily word count, which is a good plan. But there is a drawback. Sometimes we slip into the habit of writing for the sake of words, rather than words for the sake of writing. We need to be purposeful about the words we put on the page. You can tell the difference between authors who are purposeful and those who aren't. The words of the puposeful come alive, sing off the page, resonate deep within long after the book is read. Words such as:
"In the deceitful calm of the days preceding disaster, while Rhoades still glittered like a white jewel in the Aegean, Tessa of Delos planned to open her wrists. The death of her body was longoverdue. Her soul had died ten years ago." Shadow of Colossus, T.L. Higley
"The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea."
The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
"It's Nathan's fault that I became God. It is, as I would learn, hell to be God. Nathan, to begin with, is as close to a genius as anyone I ever expect to know. If this story has any moral at all, it is that you should stay away from geniuses." The God Game, Andrew Greeley
"The first time I saw the Sin Eater was the night Granny Forbes was carried to her grave. I was very young, and Granny my dearest companion, and I was greatly troubled in my mind. "Dunna look at the Sin Eater, Cadi," I'd been warned by my pa, "and no be askin' why." Being so grievously forewarned, I tried to obey. Mama said I was acurst with curiosity. Papa said it was pure, cussed nosiness. Only Granny, with her tender spot for me, had understood." The Last Sin Eater, Francine Rivers
These books, and the wonderful Princess Bride, move me to long for excellence in my writing. Because that kind of writing sticks with the reader. For a long time.
So, I have my favorite lines from the movie, but I want to see what lines you recall. Come on, many of you are writers. I KNOW you remember lines from this movie. So share.
As Vizzini was so fond of saying....