There is nothing quite like watching Inigo Montoya enter rooms, introduce himself, then promptly invite his mortal foe to prepare for death. Barely 98 minutes in length, The Princess Bride (1987) is the definition of a cult classic. It set the bar for all subsequent family fairytale features and spawned a generation of people sporting t-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as ‘INCONCEIVABLE!’ and, of course, ‘Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’ Want to find out what became of the film’s cast? As you wish…
Cary Elwes (Westley/Man in Black/Dread Pirate Roberts)
‘Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.’ Spoken like a true Englishman. Though not an instant commercial hit, The Princess Bride did act as the springboard for Elwes’ career, who went on to feature in a string of successful comedies such as Hot Shots! (1991), and took the lead role in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Following a dry spell, the game-changing horror of Saw (2004) slid along his desk and his name was back in the ring. More recently, Elwes has enjoyed a recurring role in TV’s Psych and is involved in at least 6 to 7 projects a year. He’s clearly selling the right stuff.
Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)
Through The Princess Bride, Mandy Patinkin secured his place in the annals of film history with his portrayal of Inigo Montoya. In the following decade, Patinkin turned towards Broadway spending nearly a decade walking the planks with the occasional film role in Dick Tracy (1990) and Alien Nation (1988). The multi-talented actor has spent the last decade raising the game of television through a recurring role in Criminal Minds, and as Saul Berenson in Homeland. Inigo Montoya will have the last laugh.
Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup)
Before landing the role of the Princess Bride, Robin Wright had collected three Daytime Emmy nominations for her work on the soap opera Santa Barbara. Life is like a box of chocolates and Wright seemed destined for the bright lights and big bucks, but had to wait until the early ’90s before her next break came along, courtesy of Forrest Gump (1994). Even after this, her career failed to shoot through the stars like it deserved to with her then-husband Sean Penn taking the majority of the plaudits. So far, however, this decade belongs to Ms. Wright. Powerful in Ari Folman’s The Congress (2013), effervescent in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and searingly stunning in Netflix’s House of Cards (2013- ). For the latter, she was the first actor to win a major acting award for a web-only series.
Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink)
Despite an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for 1975’s Dog Day Afternoon, Chris Sarandon’s defining role remains that of Prince Humperdink. That being said, he is the voice of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas so we could call it a tie. Although his C.V. lacks leading roles, the actor more than compensates through cameo appearances in nearly every major American TV show of the past two decades: ER, Law & Order, Charmed, The Good Wife, Psych, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Wild Thornberrys.
Wallace Shawn (Vizzini)
Who doesn’t love Wallace Shawn? Who hasn’t quoted along out loud with Vizzini? Wallace Shawn has one of the most recognizable voices, ranking midway between Gilbert Gottfried and Morgan Freeman, with his roles largely circling this unique talent. In particular, he has provided joy to generations of children as the loveable and hapless dinosaur Rex in the Toy Story franchise. However, what you may not know is that the diminutive Wallace Shawn first made his name as a playwright in the 1970s. His most noted works include The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon and Grasses of a Thousand Colours. Okay, that’s not exactly where they are now – but to treat Wallace Shawn as anything less than superbly talented? Inconceivable!
Fred Savage (The Grandson)
Fred Savage represented every child who had every had to put up with a flustering grandparent; luckily for him his fictional grandfather was the phenomenal Peter Falk. Savage was no one-hit-wonder and, at the age of thirteen, he became the youngest actor ever to receive two Golden Globe nominations and two Emmy nominations – for his role as Kevin Arnold in the TV series The Wonder Years. Much has been made of the empty aftermath of those heady days with his third-highest Google search suggestions being “Fred Savage dead”. Morose to say the least. In recent years, he’s cameoed in Family Guy, Kim Possible and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and even made his directorial debut, in 2007, with Daddy Day Care. However let’s be honest, we don’t want to remember him for that. He’ll always be The Grandson in one of the most timeless films of all time, The Princess Bride.
It’s fair to say that all who were involved in this magical film have had terrific careers. Just think: we’ve not even touched on Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Peter Falk and André the Giant. The latter deserves a piece all to himself – but nothing can really top this on the great man and his even greater drinking habits.