Movie Crushes: The Princess Bride
You can’t hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords.
It was interesting growing up in Africa where there were only two TV channels, neither of which worked predictably. But my parents stocked up on return trips home by (illegally) videotaping movies and TV shows for my brother and I to watch on those rare days when we wouldn’t be outdoors chasing cows, climbing trees or building mud villages. In fact, our parents preferred that we play outside, so they restricted us to one movie or TV show per week. That day was Monday, and my brother and I looked forward to it every week, even though we had trees, lakes and a million species of animals, birds and insects to explore. Still, we sat down every week, and eagerly savoured our decision. Would we watch Flipper again? Or maybe The Shaggy Dog? How about Cinderella?
What both my brother and I agreed on, time and again, was the movie The Princess Bride, a film that captured our imaginations in bright, inexplainable ways and infused itself into our play time. A tomboyish girl, I pretended I was “Westley,” while my brother chose the name “Peter” (I believe, after the older brother in Chronicles of Narnia). We copied the sword fight scene. We played hide and seek in a make-believe “swamp” (really just a fish pond and a few banana trees). We both imagined ourselves the explorers of a new and wonderful fantasy world, part Narnia, part Princess Bride wonderland.
However, as a pre-teen girl, with the echos of puberty making their way ever closer to me, I saw Westley differently. He became my Prince Charming, and I dreamed of being swept into a romance with a man who would do my bidding with humble, hungry eyes and an obedient “As you wish.” Nothing could make my stirring little heart happier than kissing those lips, hearing that voice and knowing that Westley loved me and not Buttercup. I was crushing on Westley big time, but can you blame me?
Fun (random) fact about Princess Bride: Because the VHS tape on which my parents had recorded our copy of The Princess Bride was already partially filled with video, we never saw the final 10 minutes of the movie! We would always watch the movie until the point where Westley faces off with the Prince Humperdink, but we never knew how the movie ended. It was the ultimate cliffhanger for over ten years, until we moved to Canada and, a few years later, at a friend’s sleepover where we watched the movie under a pile of blankets, I finally witnessed the glorious happy ending and, heart bursting with happy relief after a decade of cliffhangers, cried a little tear.
I still don’t know if my brother has ever seen the full movie, so I think I know what I’m getting him for his birthday this year …