For the past few years, Hollywood has steadily been working its way through the pop culture of the 80s, remaking classic movie after classic movie. But the one movie, to me and what seems to be many others, that should never be touched is The Princess Bride. Because really, without that cast, without that blend of whimsy, adventure, humor, and romance, how could you even begin? It's impossible to improve upon perfection.
And it really was all about that cast, one of those rare times that a big ensemble movie is so perfectly cast that a synergistic magic happens and the whole becomes much more than the sum of its parts. Such is the wonder and longevity of The Princess Bride, still beloved 27 years later. But what has become of that cast?
Cary Elwes - Westley
Westley was my first, last, and forever childhood crush. He was the epitome of the brave, dashing, handsome young hero, one of those iconic characters that people immediately know. As an actor, Cary Elwes went on to play another daring rogue in Robin Hood in the equally classic Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Since then, he's gone on to do quite a bit of voice work, and has had recurring roles in TV series like Psych and The X-Files, but his most notable recent role has been (the possibly doomed?) Dr. Lawrence Gordon in the Saw horror franchise.
Robin Wright - Princess Buttercup
Robin Wright made her big debut as Princess Buttercup, the simple-but-sweet love of Westley's life whose beauty and kindness enchanted the world. Ten years later, Wright would go on to play the doomed Jenny in Forrest Gump. But savvy audiences now rave about her delicious turn as the scheming, ruthless Lady MacBeth-like Claire Underwood in [House of Cards](series:726551).
Mandy Patinkin - Inigo Montoya
Every child of the '80s knows the line, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Everyone who ever watched The Princess Bride immediately got on board with swordsman Inigo's quest to avenge his father's death, mostly because actor Mandy Patinkin drew from his own father's passing to fill those scenes with such feeling. Since then, he's gone on to do both stage, film, and television, and 2014 was a good year for Patinkin: He played dad, Gabe, in [Wish I Was Here](movie:908954) and is currently known for his role as Saul Berenson on [Homeland](series:201880).
Wallace Shawn - Vezzini
Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Oh, Vezzini, your faith in your own superiority to—well, everything, was your downfall. Appropriate that other than his hair being a little more snow-white, legendary character actor Wallace Shawn looks like he hasn't aged much since then. His iconic voice has landed him a number of voice roles, such as Rex in the Toy Story franchise, sci-fi fans will remember him as Zek in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and millennials know him as Cyrus Rose from [Gossip Girl](series:200842).
Chris Sarandon - Prince Humperdinck
Fun fact: Chris Sarandon, who portrayed the cowardly, corrupt Prince Humperdinck, later went on to portray another staple character of childhood movies when he voiced Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Sarandon, in the meantime, has only aged like a fine wine. His distinguished looks and voice have landed him comparable roles, mostly doctors - lots of doctors: on The Practice, Chicago Hope, Felicity, and ER, among others. Second fun fact: He's also portrayed Abraham Lincoln twice.
Christopher Guest - Count Rugen/The Six-Fingered Man
Comedy legend Christopher Guest followed up his star-making turn as Nigel Tufnel in This Is Spinal Tap three years later by playing one of the greatest movie villains in Count Tyrone Rugen - but you might know him, as Inigo Montoya did, as the Six-Fingered Man who killed Inigo's father. Since then, Guest has continued to be a force for comedy and humor, first joining the cast of Saturday Night Live, then going on to both star in and direct numerous indie comedies.
Billy Crystal - Miracle Max
Oy vey! The continually kvetching Miracle Max was played perfectly by the incomparable Billy Crystal, who improvised the vast majority of his lines for the movie, causing the necessity to shoot multiple takes due to director Rob Reiner's laughter being picked up on camera. His distinctive voice has lent itself to many a voice role, including Mike from Monsters, Inc. But fans can soon see Crystal in upcoming comedy series titles—what else?—[The Comedians](series:1084196). It looks a bit as if the Botox monster has gotten to Crystal in his advancing years...but he's been such an incredible influence in comedy for so many years that I think we can forgive him.
Carol Kane - Valerie
Carol Kane was equally hilarious as Max's haranguing yenta of a wife, Valerie, who plagued Max by chasing him around their hut chanting the name of Humperdinck, his nemesis. Her chemistry with Crystal provided one of the most memorable scenes of the entire movie, and Kane has continued her long and varied career through movies and TV shows, most recently appearing as Gertrude Kapelput in [Gotham](series:1127075).
Fred Savage - The Grandson
The story-within-a-story framework of The Princess Bride worked so well, partly due to the great dynamic between the late Peter Falk and Fred Savage, who played the transformation from impatient grandson humoring his grandfather's boring story into an enthralled, captivated audience perfectly. For years, Savage continued to dominate the pop culture of our childhood as Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years. The still baby-faced actor has kept busy throughout his career, balancing numerous long-term roles in TV with voice acting, most recently as team leader Noah in Generator Rex.
Special Mention: The late Andre the Giant (Fezzik) and Peter Falk (The Grandfather)
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the late Andre the Giant as gentle brute, Fezzik, and late Peter Falk as The Grandfather/Narrator. Andre gave a legendary performance in the role, even though, due to his size, he suffered from constant health issues, including crippling back pain so intense that he could barely stand upright to shoot certain scenes. Falk, meanwhile, already a screen legend at the time, infused his performance as The Grandfather with a twinkle in his eye and a warmth that made him feel that he was the grandfather to us all. While Andre the Giant died in 1993 at the young age of 46 due to the aforementioned health complications, and Falk in 2011 at the ripe old age of 83, both men were exceptional in their roles for the sheer fact that no one else could have filled them so completely or so well.
BONUS: Check out this photoshoot of the cast all back together for the 25th anniversary:
Amazing, right down to the fact they included portraits of Andre the Giant and Falk in tribute.