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The Princess Bride screenplay

The complete screenplay of The Princess Bride with script notes.

The Script

The Princess Bride Screenplay (PDF).

Script notes

The story is a knowing and inventive reimagining of classic children's tales. The script is very funny, very clever, filled with imagination and action. Our hero is Westley, a young man in love, with a challenging backstory and a perilous quest. Where the film is elevated far above its many imitators, though, is in the characters. Where some attempts to reinvent fairy tales have ended up cynically exploiting the archetypes and failing to deliver any real development (Shrek, for example) in The Princess Bride we are buried in an avalanche of charming, quirky, imaginative characters.

It doesn't hurt that the finished film (Dir. Rob Reiner 1987) is a superb tour de force for the cast and crew with career-best work from Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, but the script definitely gave everyone plenty to grab onto.

Goldman is one of the most famous screenwriters in the business, and for good reason, not only is he the creator of some extraordinary scripts, he's also a bestselling author of books on the screenwriting trade. He's written in every genre and for every possible audience and his writing style allows the characters to shine from the page.

"The worst thing one can say to a child when aiming a camera at him is, "Act naturally". That will shrivel him on the spot. Children are natural actors but you must give them something to act. However many children you are going to film, give each one a separate identity. Tell the little boy to pretend the bicycle is one he has just won in a competition. Tell the little girl she is a princess in disguise. Give them something to work with and think about before the filming begins. Watch how one boy flicks his hair or rubs his nose, how a girl twists her braids and rubs one foot behind her leg. How they eat, how they smile, how they show shyness or jealousy by jumping up and down or pouting in a certain way. Then, when you are ready to film, re-enact their own mannerisms to them and ask them to imitate you. In fact, they will be doing what comes naturally to them."

Carol Reed