Top 10 Most Memorable Quotes From “The Princess Bride”
The story is fantastical, the characters indelible and the dialogue—well, let’s just say that it’s inconceivable that we could ever forget some of these lines. Its stars have gone on to win Emmys, make movies and award-winning TV series, but none of them have ever forgotten the hilarity and delight of The Princess Bride—and neither have we. It’s hard to whittle down so many great quotes to just 10, but these are the moments that stick with us.
1. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” —Inigo Montoya
Maybe it’s something about the calm intensity of Mandy Patinkin’s delivery. Or how polite he is while making his deadly pronouncement. Or the single-mindedness of his mission. Or how often he repeats it. But his signature utterance—”Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”—repeated numerous times throughout the film gets us every. single. time.
2. “Have fun stormin’ da castle!” —Miracle Max
Billy Crystal has said that he ad-libbed lots of lines as Miracle Max—including this one. It does seem to flow from the scene in an amazingly natural way, which is partly why it’s so damn funny. After he’s given Inigo Montoya and Fezzik a means of reviving Westley from being “mostly dead,” Max sends them off to stop Humperdink and Buttercup’s wedding. Valerie (Carol Kane) and Max play the proud parents as they walk off, waving cheerfully. “Bye-bye, boys!” she calls, and he adds, “Have fun stormin’ da castle!”
3. “Anybody want a peanut?” —Fezzik
After a patter of rhyming between Fezzik and Inigo Montoya—”That Vizzini, he can fuss”/”I think he likes to scream at us” and “Probably he means no harm”/”He’s really very short on charm” to give just a taste of it—Vizzini has finally had enough and says, “No more rhymes now, I mean it.” To which Fezzik replies, “Anybody want a peanut?” The absurdity and ingenuity of the response—we dare you to come up with another rhyme for “peanut”—is just pure comic genius.
4. “He’s been mostly dead all day.” —Fezzik
Having endured torture, rescue, a quack healer and being carried to the castle where his true love is about to marry another, Westley is given a pill that revives him. “Why won’t my arms work?” he asks in paralyzed confusion. “You’ve been mostly dead all day,” explains Fezzik (André the Giant). A perfectly reasonable explanation, really.
5. “Death cannot stop true love.” —Westley
The odds are against our star-crossed lovers—there are near-deaths and near-marriages and all manner of people and events conspiring to keep them apart—and yet they are destined to be together. “I told you I would always come for you,” says Westley. “Why didn’t you wait for me?” “Well, you were dead,” replies Buttercup. “Death cannot stop true love,” he says. “All it can do is delay it for a while.” “I will never doubt again,” she says.” “There will never be a need,” he says, right before they kiss. Sigh…
6. “Life is pain.” —Westley
The mysterious man in black—presumed to be the notoriously vicious Dread Pirate Roberts—accuses Buttercup of having lost faith in her true love and jumping at the chance to become betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon). “You mock my pain,” she spits at him. To which he responds, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” When, in her despair and anger, she shoves him down a hill and tells him to die, he calls out, “As you wish” on the way down, and she realizes her mistake—the man in black is, of course, Westley himself. This bit of hard-boiled wisdom is followed shortly by…
7. “As you wish.” —Westley
Any proper fairy tale involving a princess—much less a bride—must have a good love story (or, as the Grandson asks, “Is this a kissing book?”). It’s an old story indeed that young, beautiful people find true love where they least expect it, close to home. But the blooming romance between Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) is not much like other fairy tales. For one thing, she initially refuses to call him anything but “Farm Boy.” For another, his only reply to her many requests are those three little words,”As you wish.” And somehow, that’s all it takes.
8. “Mawage, that bweed awangement…” —The Impressive Clergyman
At the ill-fated nuptials between a reluctant Buttercup and Prince Humperdink, the Impressive Clergyman (British comedian Peter Cook), donned in full shiny regalia, launches into his rendition of the marriage ceremony. Though a brief scene, it is a truly hilarious bit of language desecration. “Mawage,” he begins. “Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, twue wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” Hearing a scuffle behind him, Humperdink demands, “Skip to the end!” So the Impressive Clergyman says, “Have you the wing?” Too much.
9. “Inconceivable!” —Vizzini
Somehow, diminutive criminal mastermind Vizzini (Wallace Shawn)’s favorite word, “Inconceivable!,” is appropriate in all sorts of situations. Or at least he thinks so. For example: “He didn’t fall? Inconceivable!” says Vizzini after cutting the rope the man in black is using to climb up a cliff. “You keep using that word,” replies Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). “I do not think it means what you think it means.”
10. “When I was your age, television was called books.” —The Grandfather
It’s a time-honored tradition: the “when I was your age” comedy trope. And in this case, it’s part of the mythical storytelling framework. The Grandfather (Peter Falk) comes to look after his sick Grandson (Fred Savage) and brings him a present. “A book?!” says the Grandson indignantly. “That’s right,” says the Grandfather. “When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book.” Especially fitting given that The Princess Bride itself was in fact first a book, by Oscar-winning writer William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men), who also wrote the screenplay.
Catch Cary Elwes during our Christmas Day The Princess Bride marathon, or order his book, As You Wish, now!