Charming Memoir of the Making of the Best Film Ever Made! (Book Review)

As You Wish by Cary Elwes (with Joe Layden) is a memoir depicting the making of the film The Princess Bride - the best movie ever made - and is as delightful as the fairy tale it's about.  The film, based on the book by William Goldman, is a "timeless classic" (to borrow words from Elwes) and one that I shared with my boys (on VHS!) several years ago. Needless to say, I was quite excited about the release of this book.  

Right off the bat, Elwes (who played Westley) is charming and witty.  His honest accounts of the making of this movie are both heartwarming and humorous. Elwes allows us into his personal admissions of  insecurities and nervousness on one page and will have you literally laughing out loud on the next. One of my favorite stories is how Elwes and director Rob Reiner had to leave the set during Billy Crystal's cameo because they couldn't stop laughing - which certainly doesn't come as a surprise.  The others, however, I will not spoil for you.  But, I will say, there are some scenes you will not watch the same way again after reading this book. Not in a bad way, but with more appreciation and tenderness. 

The reader gets an intimate look at the working relationship (and subsequent friendships) this cast and crew shared. The way Elwes speaks of fellow crew and cast members is genuine and warm. He does a brilliant job of capturing the personalities of  Reiner and others through his stories and memories.  He speaks with such affection for all the cast members as he recounts the making of this beloved film.  I particularly treasured his tales of Andre the Giant (Fezzik) - whose heart truly seemed larger than life. 

One of the best features of the book is the recollections provided by several cast members including Robin Wright (Buttercup), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), and Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck) - just to name a few. Their personal accounts of filming The Princess Bride only make the movie MORE endearing to its fans - if that is even possible.  They all speak of each other and their experiences on this set so complimentary. It makes the movie that much more lovable.  

There are many other stories from this book I want to mention, but, as I said earlier, I'm trying desperately not to steal your fun.  I can, however, share that movie buffs will appreciate the fact that Patinkin and Elwes trained for months so they could complete the sword fight (one of the most infamous scenes in the film) without the use of stunt doubles. Who said acting is easy? There wasn't one story told that I did not enjoy and, honestly, I didn't want them to end! This book truly honors all those involved in making this film.  

I recommend As You Wish to those who would enjoy a sneak peak inside the movie industry and one of the longest-standing cult classics of all times.  For fans of The Princess Bride and those interested in getting a close-up and personal look into a beloved film, this is a real treat. What a fabulous tribute! 

This is one book I am excited to have in my permanent collection. 

The Princess Bride: A Note About the Film

A friend of mine recently asked me which film I buy over and over again on different media. My response was a dumbfounded, "Huh?" 

"You know," he explained, "which film do you buy as technology changes?"  I admitted I never repurchased a movie.  BUT, what I didn't share is that I have kept a VCR hidden in the back of my closet for one purpose alone - The Princess Bride.  

This is without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all times. I have seen it hundreds of times, and never, EVER, tire of it.  Like countless other fans, I can recite EVERY line. 

The movie, which was released in 1987, was not an immediate success.  It did not gain the attention it deserved until it was released on VHS and for over 25 years has remained a pop-culture phenomenon. The Princess Bride is a gem for its talented cast, amazing script, and unforgettable movie quotes. Fred Savage (who played the grandson) says, "I think any audience can find something in the film that speaks to them, because it does have its toes in so many styles, genres, and tones. It means something to everyone, no matter what you want from the movie." (As quoted in As You Wish)

And, in case you were wondering, I finally did receive the DVD copy of The Princess Bride for Christmas thanks to my mom! In fact, when she went to purchase it, they were sold out and had to order it. The store clerk inquired, "What's with this movie? This is the seventh copy I've had to order today!" 

So, yes, as you see, it has remained THAT special.  

Read more of my Book Reviews.


  1. Yes, one movie you never get tired of seeing,


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