From recent theatrical releases, such as Into the Woods, to required reading lists for students, fairy tales are prominent contributors to popular culture and academia. Some parents may contemplate the lessons taught by fairy tales, while others fear the films may be too scary for their youngsters. We are sharing the Best Fairy Tale Movies series with the intention of addressing both of these considerations as well as broadening the fairy tale genre to include animated classics, live action adventures, and modern interpretations. So, delve into these on-screen stories to experience lessons in love, loss, and life and, perhaps, to find your new favorite film.

The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner’s beloved classic, The Princess Bride, encompasses all of the prime fairy tale requisites. From witches and mythical creatures (rodents of unusual size), to magic and true love, The Princess Bride is entertaining and enchanting.

Movie Details:

Released: September 25, 1987

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Fred Savage, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, and many more amazing actors.

Rating: PG

Run time: 98 minutes

Full disclosure: Despite the film’s PG rating, parents should be aware of some of the mature themes strewn throughout the classic, before deciding if their children should view The Princess Bride. Robin Wright’s character, Princess Buttercup threatens to take her life when she believes her beloved is dead, there are murder plots thought up by the evil prince, and there is a brief (not graphic) torture scene where years are being taken from Wesley’s life. There is also a single use of the “B” word, a comment about “perfect breasts,” and a brief scene in which a character is drunk.

Is The Princess Bride educational?

The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable (and one of my favorite) movies of all time. The entire movie deserves to be deliberated and recited again and again. In terms of being educational, the film is what you make of it.

While concocting an elixir intended to bring Wesley back to life, Miracle Max exclaims, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” Our society demands instant gratification, but it is important to impart on our children the truth behind Max’s statement. Things worth doing, are worth doing with care, even when that means it will take longer than we’d like.

Climbing the face of a cliff, Westley says, “Look, I don’t mean to be rude but this is not as easy as it looks, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t distract me.” Even with the sword fights, murder plots, and trickery, The Princess Bride sets several good examples of how to be polite in difficult situations.

Narrowly escaping the bad guys, Buttercup and Westley enter the Fire Swamp when Buttercup expresses her belief that, “We’ll never survive,” but Westley retorts, “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.” Simply put, there is a first time for everything. The world can always use more brave and brilliant people like Westley who are willing to put in the work (and heart) to be the first to accomplish or create something.

Further talking points:

  • From a giant to a man with 11 fingers, The Princess Bride portrays a diverse lineup. These different characters are a great opportunity to talk to your children about celebrating what makes us unique and not judging other people by their differences.
  • Opportunities for discussing different literary devices, such as satire, plot, and paradox (“You’re trying to kidnap what I’ve rightfully stolen.” -Vizzini).
  • Wesley is away from his love for four years, Buttercup is forced to marry a prince whom she loathes, and even our favorite movie grandpa said, “Who says life is fair, where is that written?” The Princess Bride provides loads of opportunities to discuss privilege versus determination and will.

Will my family like The Princess Bride?

This movie has everything and teens and adults are sure to love, quote, and continually re-watch The Princess Bride. If your children can handle the glossed over, mature themes, then this film is great for the whole family. Fans of fairy tales will especially enjoy drawing parallels between The Princess Bride and their favorite classics while appreciating the different spin on conquering evil and pursuing true love.

Whether it’s playing on repeat in your home, or you’ve just watched The Princess Bride for the first time, let us know in the comments below what you think about the film. You can also check out Learning Liftoff‘s other movie reviews and suggest other films you’d like for us to talk about.

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