As You Wish

Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Disclaimer - This is Not a Romance Genre Series

By Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

Touchstone - October 2014


As inconceivable as it may be to believe, there are some out there who still haven't watched the movie The Princess Bride. If you are among the handful of people in that category, I strongly suggest you stop reading this review and immediately rectify that situation.

I should mention first that I did not read As You Wish. Instead, I listened to the audiobook, and what a wonderful experience it was. Not only does the listener enjoy a truly entertaining book, but the experience was enhanced by having The Man in Black himself narrate. Cary is passionate in his narration, but his emotions bleed through, whether it is the admiration he holds for William Goldman and Rob Reiner, the fondness he still holds for Andre, or his sheepishness at becoming injured (which I consider to be one of the funniest chapters in any book ever.)

A beloved book. After reading As You Wish, I now consider the greatest influence that makes The Princess Bride such an equally beloved movie is the fact that so many involved in the making of the movie were devoted fans of the book. William Goldman had written the novel, and the screenplay, but after many failed attempts, it hadn't been made into a film. Thankfully, after several successful films, Rob Reiner was in a position to select The Princess Bride as his next project to direct.

The perfect cast. Can you imagine anyone else as Buttercup? Miracle Max? The Man in Black? So many of the remarkable cast not only provided input for the book, but they also narrated their own sections in the audiobook. Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, and Rob Reiner are just a few who voiced their personal memories and feelings. You hear the love they have for the experience and the movie. As well as the respect and care they hold for each other.

R.O.U.Ss, The Cliffs of Insanity, the greatest sword fight. I never considered all the hard work that went into The Princess Bride. There were a lot of "special effects" needed for the movie, but they didn't have the digital advantage of moviemakers today. It was interesting to learn how it was done. Also, The Man In Black and Inigo Montoya have their duel at the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity, and Inigo has been holding a grudge for that dastardly six-fingered man. As someone who has prepared a greeting for his father's murderer, he absolutely must excel at fencing. The training was intense, and learning about their education was fascinating. The respect both Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) had for their trainers encouraged me to further investigate them, and both trainers had remarkable resumes.

Legacy. I am not alone in saying that I have had the pleasure of watching the movie so many times that I can quote the movie as I watch it. As well as making quotes in everyday life - who hasn't sent someone off with a "Have Fun Storming the Castle!" Although it may be, shall we say it together?, inconceivable to believe, The Princess Bride was not immediately a success. Let alone considered a classic. But that is the beauty of time, and The Princess Bride has definitely stood the test of time. Rising from near obscurity to become a beloved classic that anyone reading this understands.

And they lived happily ever after. The Princess Bride and now As You Wish are happily easily retrievable for me. I have watched The Princess Bride countless times, and listened to As You Wish two times in a row. If you have read this review, I am expecting that you are a fan of The Princess Bride, and I cannot recommend As You Wish highly enough - although I do suggest the audiobook for a more robust experience.

Kathy Andrico -