Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Princess Bride recent book cover The Princess Bride (1973)
S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The 'good parts' version abridged by William Goldman

recent Del Rey Fantasy paperback 283 pages (left)

newer Del Rey fantasy paperback (right)
includes chapter of Buttercup's Baby
398 pages
Princess Bride new book cover

From the back cover of the newer edition:
       The Princess Bride is a timeless tale that pits country against country, good against evil, love against hate.  This incredible journey and artfully rendered love story is peppered with strange beasties monstrous and gentle, memorable surprises both terrible and sublime, and such unforgettable character as...
       Westley, the handsome farm boy who risks death (and much worse) for the woman he loves; Inigo, the Spanish swordsman who lives only to avenge his father's death; Fezzik, the gentlest giant ever to have uprooted a tree with his bare hands; Vizzini, the evil Sicilian, with a mind so keen he's foiled by his own perfect logic; Prince Humperdinck, the eviler ruler of Guilder, who has an equally insatiable thirst for war and the beauteous Buttercup; Count Rugen, the evilest man of all, who thrives on the excruciating pain of others; Miracle Max, the King's ex-Miracle Man, who can raise the dead (kind of); and of course, Buttercup...the princess bride, the most perfect, beautiful woman in the history of the world!

Amy's summary :  William Goldman - The Princess Bride

This book pokes fun at fairy tales and adventure clichés.  It is set in the made-up European land of Florin and nearby Guilder.  The author presents this as the abridged version of a fictional book by S. Morgenstern.

Beautiful commoner Buttercup suddenly realizes she is in love with the farmboy, Westley.  He loves her deeply, but runs off immediately to America to seek his fortune.  When Buttercup hears his ship was captured by the pirate the Dread Pirate Roberts, she deeply mourns his death.  She goes along with marrying the powerful Prince Humperdinck even though she does not love him.  Years later, after Buttercup's and Humperdinck's betrothal is announced, Buttercup is kidnapped by the smart Sicilian Vizzini, the Spanish sword master Inigo Montoya, and the Turkish strongman Fezzik.  The brave Man in Black defeats each of them to rescue Buttercup only to be captured by Humperdink and the sadistic Count Rugen.  As Humperdinck's evil schemes are revealed, Inigo and Fezzik break The Man in Black out of The Zoo of Death, and with the help of Miracle Max, try to stop the wedding.

summary written by

How we each rated this book
Dan 9 Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 7 Barb 7
Aaron 8 Cynthia 7
Lindsey 5 Jackie 5
Kerry 6    

Aaron's Commentary  William Goldman - The Princess Bride

It's hard for me to evaluate this as a written novel, because I had seen the film version several times before reading the novel.  I enjoyed the written version, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it even more had I not already known the best lines and plot twists in advance.  Plus, where the novel deviates from the movie, it suffers in comparison, even though Goldman wrote the screenplay himself.  For example, Buttercup's parting from Westley after emerging from the fireswamp is handled much better in the screen version.

I'm not sure quite what to make of Goldman's introduction and comments.  I think he's trying to make fun of modern intellectuals who have lost the ability to appreciate a good story, but if so his "abridgment" doesn't make his point very effectively.  The way he does succeed in making his point is by telling a wonderfully rousing old-fashioned yarn.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

The Princess Bride was made into a movie in 1987 directed by Rob Reiner. The screenplay was by William Goldman.

Starring in the movie version are Robin Wright (Buttercup), Cary Elwes (Wesley), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck), Christopher Guest (Count Rugen), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Andre the Giant (Fezzik), Peter Falk (the Grandfather), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max), Carol Kane, and Fred Savage (Grandson).
Princess Bride movie DVD

How we each rated the movie
Dan 8 Amy 7 movie 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri - Barb 10
Aaron 10 Cynthia 9
Lindsey 7 Jackie 8
Kerry 8    

William Goldman (1931-    ) is a US screenwriter and novelist.

Of his many works, The Princess Bride (1973) and The Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern (1983) are fantasies.

Goldman is known for his scripts for movies such as Harper,  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,  The Hot Rocks,  The Great Waldo Pepper,  The Stepford Wives,  All the President's Men,  Marathon Man,  A Bridge Too Far,  Magic,  and Mr. Horn.  Marathon Man, one of several of his own novels he adapted, is sf.

His other novels, in various genres, are The Temple of GoldYour Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to BowSoldier in the RainBoys and Girls TogetherNo Way to Treat a LadyThe Thing of It Is...Father's DayMarathon ManMagicTinsel, Control,  and The Color of LightMagic could be considered rationalized fantasy.  Control is supernatural fiction.

He has also written the non-fiction books The Season: A Candid Look at BroadwayThe Making of A Bridge Too FarAdventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting.

Wikipedia - The Princess Bride
Dread Pirate Roberts' Princess Bride Page

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This page was last updated October 16, 2008