The Princess Bride

This movie may not seem like a “Cinderella” story at first glance, but its themes of romance, royalty, rags to riches, and a damsel in distress make it another adaptation of the well-known story.  This version of “Cinderella” explores what would happen if Cinderella (named Buttercup in this story) were not happy with her “Prince Charming.”  In this story, the prince is not the hero but instead is the villain, forcing Buttercup to marry him even though she is in love with another man.  Buttercup’s true love, Wesley, must rescue her from the prince who is planning to murder Buttercup after they are married.  Despite the untraditional hero, the story contains the traditional dependent female and “happily ever after” once Wesley saves Buttercup from evil and marries her. 

How does the twist of making the prince a villain affect the story? Does it make the heroine any stronger or does it further point out her inability to defend herself as she is shuffled around from one man to another?


About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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2 Responses to The Princess Bride

  1. seanryanrichmond says:

    I’ve never actually thought of this movie as a Cinderella story. I think the fact that the Cinderella Figure is being forced to marry the prince opens the door to a lot of the comedy that is in this movie. Since Wesley is a pirate and referred to as “the man in black” it allows for characters who would normally appear as villains to have their moments as heros. An example of this is the giant ( I forget his name). Usually giants are evil and man-eating, but this time the giant was the clumsy, comic relief of the movie. I think that this story could have been told as a very dark and sad story, but instead the writers decided to go with the more humorous version of the story. I would be interested to see a version of this story that didn’t take the comic route.

    This is a great movie btw

  2. hjordan811 says:

    I have never considered this movie to be a cinderella story and I still don’t. She does go from rags to riches but that seems to be the only commonality. Her mother does not die, she does not have an evil stepfamily, but most importantly she is not oppressed or physically abused. She does go from a farm girl to a princess but that was a natural poverty rather than an imposed hardship. She is never dirty (except for the fire swamp), and never humiliated or made to work as a drudge. The Cinderella themes would apparently be contained entirely in the beginning of the story, the part which is unmentioned, and glossed over by the movie. Buttercup is chosen by the prince because of her beauty and the fact she is a commoner. Perhaps this story is more of a potential sequel to Cinderella, an alternative to happily ever after. Therefore, though the story could be easily modified to become a Cinderella story, in its current form the story is less Cinderella and more damsel in distress. From what I remember of the movie, I believe this is one story which is better left to the realm of generic fairy tale literature.

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