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The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

3.8 8
by William Goldman, Michael Manomivibul (Illustrator)

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Here William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers finally receives a beautiful illustrated treatment.

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts—The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and


Here William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers finally receives a beautiful illustrated treatment.

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts—The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchman, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she'll meet Vizzini—the criminal philosopher who'll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik—the gentle giant; Inigo—the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen—the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com editor
The Barnes & Noble Review
Originally published in 1972, William Goldman's delightful, so-called "abridgement" of S. Morgenstern's classic swashbuckling tale of true love and epic adventure, The Princess Bride, has reached an enormous audience, thanks greatly to Rob Reiner's wonderful film version featuring Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, and William Goldman's sharp and vivacious screenplay. If you enjoyed the movie -- and I've never met a person who didn't -- you're certain to treasure this 25th-anniversary editon for many years to come. If you haven't yet delved into its enchanting pages, you'll find it utterly delightful, romantic, and entertaining read.

Because I saw "The Princess Bride" (many times now) well before I picked up Goldman's abridgement, I took it on with some reservation: How can anything possibly live up to that sharp and engaging movie? I was bucking for a serious letdown. Well, wasn't I surprised to discover that the film masterfully recreated the novel's brilliance? The sidesplitting humor, the appealing mood, and the romantic atmosphere are not unique to the film; these traits were lifted straight from Goldman's pages. Not only do I now have a deeper respect for Goldman's screenplay, but I have a fuller understanding of the fabulous characters that grace Reiner's film.

Remember Inigo Montoya -- the Spanish master swordsman whose life ambition is to find the evil six-fingered man who killed his father? Who can forget his famous line: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed father, prepare to die"? And Fezzik, the tenderhearted giant who -- although weak-minded -- is powerful in physical strength and loyalty. And of course, Westley and Buttercup who, as symbols of true love and unblemished perfection, must suffer greatly before they can be truly joined. While the movie does an excellent job familiarizing us with their individual stories, Goldman's novel grasps who these characters really are and how each ended up in common struggle. The novel adds a significant dimension to the story that -- believe it or not -- makes each character even more unforgettable.

Goldman's story is without a doubt a timeless classic. The sharp wit, snappy dialogue, and wonderful characters that engrossed us in the film spring to remarkable life in the novel. Experience the high adventure and the true love of The Princess Bride all over again.

--Andrew LeCount

Children's Literature
This 30th Anniversary Edition finds Buttercup and Westley in the same fate-tempting, true love-sparking predicaments that older readers remember from the classic 1973 novel and 1987 blockbuster film. Goldman introduces a brilliant cocktail of characters including the most beautiful woman in the world, the gentle giant, the avenging swordsman, the evil Sicilian, the torture-loving Count, and the King's ex-Miracle Man, to weave an adventure story made complete by its healthy portions of romance, wit, and heroism. The Princess Bride is a timeless fairy tale recreated in a family-oriented form that appeals to people of all ages and reading tastes. 2003 (orig. 1973), Random House Publishing Group, Ages 12 up.
— Stacey King
Los Angeles Times
One of the funniest, most original and deeply moving novels I have read in a long time.

"[Goldman's] swashbuckling fable is nutball funny . . . A 'classic' medieval melodrama that sounds like all the Saturday serials you ever saw feverishly reworked by the Marx Brothers."—Newsweek
"One of the funniest, most original, and deeply moving novels I have read in a long time."—Los Angeles Times

Library Journal
First a 1973 novel by Goldman, then a 1987 film directed and coproduced by Rob Reiner with a screenplay by Goldman, The Princess Bride is a true cult phenomenon; the Facebook fan site boasts 2.3 million fans. Now, to celebrate the book's 40th anniversary, fantasy artist Manomivibul enhances the text with his own mood-inducing visuals. With a 35,000-copy first printing and really buzzing on the blogs.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction to the
30th Anniversary Edition

Until a couple of weeks ago, this introduction would have been real short: “Why are you buying this book?” is what I would have said. Or more accurately, this edition of this book?
   Buy the 25th anniversary version, I would have told you. It’s got a long intro by yours truly where I explain a lot about the Morgenstern estate and the horrible legal problems I’ve had with them. That version is still out there and what you are interested in is the same thing that I am interested in—namely, at last, getting Buttercup’s Baby published.
   I would also have gone on to tell you that there is nothing to report on that front. Same old same old. Well, that was then, as they say.
   Something new has very much happened.
Let me tell you how I first heard of the existence of the Morgenstern Museum.
   Back we go to 1986, Sheffield, England, and we are shooting the movie of The Princess Bride. It was such a happy time for me, at last Morgenstern coming to life on film. I had written the screenplay for it first over a decade before—but it had never been “picked up,” as they say Out There, till then.
   I ordinarily do not not not like being on movie sets. I once wrote that the best day of your life is your first day on a set and the worst days are all the ones that follow. They are tedious and horrible for several reasons: (1) they are tedious and horrible (but you won’t believe that, I know), and (2) if you are the writer, essentially, your work is done.
   I make the actors nervous, but more than that, and if I have written this before, skip this part, I have an amazing ability to screw up shots. I hide on the sets out of the way when the camera rolls, but I cannot tell you how often the director, just as he is about to start, sees where I am and asks me to please move, because I am standing in the exact spot where the shot will end.
   A few days before the day I am about to tell you about, we were shooting the Fire Swamp. And there is a moment in the movie where Cary Elwes (Westley) starts to lead Robin Wright (Buttercup) through it.
   Now I know what is going to happen—there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire. Why am I so smart? Because Morgenstern wrote it, I adapted it for the novel, and used it in every draft of the screenplay, of which, believe me, there were many.
   OK, I am standing there on the set of the Fire Swamp and Rob Reiner goes “action, Cary” and here they come into view, those two wonderful actors, and I am watching from a corner of the set, and he leads her forward, one step, another step—
   —at which point there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire.
   At which point (so humiliating) I start to shout, “Her dress is on fire, her dress is on fire,” totally destroying the shot.
   Rob yells “Cut,” turns to me and in a voice I can still hear, he says with all the patience he can muster, “Bill, it’s supposed to catch on fire.”
   I think I came up with something real smart like “I knew that, sorry” and hid.
   OK, now you can start reading again.
   The next night we were shooting outside, the attack on the castle, and it was cold. Bitter, British cold. The whole crew is bundled up, but the wind cut in on us anyway. I remember it was as cold as any time I ever had on a movie set. Everyone was freezing.
   Except Andre.
   I have no way to explain this, but Andre never got cold. Maybe it’s a giant thing, I never asked him. But he was sitting there that night in the tights he wore and all he had on top was a very thin towel across his shoulders. (Of course, it never made it all the way across his shoulders, being a normal sized towel.) And as we talked, and I mean this now, dozens of people would walk up to him, say hello, and then ask if they could get him a coat or a blanket or anything else to keep him warm and he would say always, “No, Boss, thank you Boss, I’m fine” and go back to talking to me.
   I just loved being around him. I am starting my fifth decade of movie madness and he was by far the most popular figure on any film set I ever knew. A bunch of us—Billy Crystal I think was one—used to spitball about doing a TV series for Andre, so he could cut down the three hundred plus days a year of travel wrestling required. I think it was going to be called something like Here Comes Andre and it was going to be about a wrestler who decided he’d had enough and got a job as a baby-sitter.
   Kids went nuts over him. Whenever I’d walk into the Fire Swamp set, there he’d be, one kid on his head, a couple on each shoulder, one in each hand. They were the children of people who worked on the movie and they would all sit there in silence, watching the shoot.
   “Beeeel?” It is now that freezing night and I could tell from his tone, we were entering into difficult terrain. He took a long pause before continuing. “Ow doo yoo theenk, so far eees my Feh-zeeeek?”
   I told him the truth, which was that I had written the part for him. Back in ’41 when my father first read the Morgenstern to me, I naturally had no idea movies were written. They were just these things I loved going to at the Alcyon. Later, when I got in the business and adapted this for the Silver Screen, I had no idea who should play Fezzik if the movie ever actually happened. Then one night on the tube there Andre was wrestling. He was young then, I don’t think much over twenty-five.
   Helen (my wife then, the world - famous shrink) and I arewatching the tube in bed. Or rather, I am watching the tube,Helen is translating one of her books into French. I screamed—“Helen, my God, look, Fezzik.”
   She knew what I was talking about, knew how important a movie of the Morgenstern was to me, understood how many times it had come close, how upset I was that it never seemingly would happen. She had tried on occasion to get me to deal with the reality, which was that the movie might not get made. I think she started to make that pitch again, then saw the look in my eyes as I watched Andre slaughter a bunch of bad guys.
   “He’ll be great,” she said, trying very hard to assure me.
And here I was, a decade - plus later, chatting with this amazing Frenchman, who I will envision now and forever with little kids climbing all over him. “Your Fezzik is wonderful,” I said. And it was. Yes, his French accent was a trifle thick, but once you got used to it, no problem.
   “I ’ave work vairy ’aard to be so. Thees is much more deeper par’ than Beeg - fooooot.” (One of his only other non–wrestling roles was when he had played Bigfoot years before on I think a Six Million Dollar Man.) “I doo vair’ much resear. For my char.”
   I realized right off that “char” was Andre for “character.” “What research, exactly?” I figured he was going to tell me he’d read the French edition several times.
   “Eye clime thee cleefs.”
   “The Cliffs of Insanity?” I was stunned. You cannot imagine how steep they are.
   “Oh, oui, many times, up an down, up an down.”
   “But Andre, what if you had fallen?”
   “Eye was vair scair thee firss time, but then eye know thees: Feh - zeeek would nevair sleep.”
   Suddenly it was like I was engaged in conversation with Lee Strasberg.
   “An’ I fight zee groops too. Fezzik fight zee groops, Eye fight zee groups. Wuz goooood.”
   And then he said the crucial thing—“’ave you veezeet the Museum? Miee besss re-sair was zairrr.”
   I said I didn’t know which museum he was talking about.
   For the next little while, Andre told me. . . .
   But did I go? Did not. Never went to Florin, never thought much about it. No, not true, I did think about it but I didn’t visit for one reason: I was afraid the place would disappoint me.
   My first trip was when Stephen King more or less sent me there when I was researching the first chapter of Buttercup’s Baby. (For an explanation, take a look at the intro to the 25th Anniversary edition, you’ll understand a lot more when you’ve read that—it’s included here, on page xxix—along with the actual chapter of Buttercup’s Baby, which you’ll find at the end of the reprinting of The Princess Bride.
   That first trip, I spent several days both in Florin City and the surrounding countryside, ran around like mad, saw an amazing amount of stuff—but the Museum was closed for renovations during my stay.
   Figured I’d catch it the next time. Whenever that might turn out to be.
   It turned out to be a lot sooner than I thought.

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Ralph MacDonald
A comic adventure romance which moves all over the world and dances through history...

Meet the Author

WILLIAM GOLDMAN has been writing books and movies for more than forty years. He has won two Academy Awards (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men), and three Lifetime Achievement Awards in screenwriting.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, MICHAEL MANOMIVIBUL currently resides in Oakland, California. He is a graduate of the California College of the Arts, and his work has been featured in Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art and the Folio edition of Moonfleet, among many other publications.


Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
August 12, 1931
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
B.A., Oberlin College, 1952; M.A., Columbia University, 1956

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The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, but skip the intros. I've always loved the movie, and the book doesn't disappoint. Surprisingly, the movie does capture all the major elements of the book (probably due to Goldman's direct work on the movie as well), so there were no surprises, but it does have a lot more content, and was very enjoyable to read. One caveat - the story is framed as though it's an abridgement of S. Morgenstern's original "The Princess Bride" - that's just a gimmick, there was no Morgenstern, or original book. Goldman build whole tales about how his father read this to him as a child, and rants on and on about various things, in two exasperating introductions. I frankly can't understand how the author of such a wonderful tale could be so boring and annoying with his introduction, but there you are. So my advice - just skip the intros. Really, they're several dozen pages, but add absolutely nothing to the tale. Skip them, and go directly to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont like the intros. They take up amost half the book
ThorLowe More than 1 year ago
This book has been written like no other. It's a very entertaining read. I decided to purchase the book after knowing only the movie my whole life. The cover art looks great on my shelf and the illustrations are simple yet done very well, helping to bring the characters to epic moments of the book. If you have seen the movie and even if you haven't this bok is a must read.
myrrhbeth More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie and was thrilled to find the book. However, as the other reviewer mentioned, there is the problem of the introductions, in which the author tells the "story" of his father reading him the book. (The movie is presented in this way as well: the grandfather reads the book to his sick grandson. ) Unfortunately in these introductions there is enough "mature content" that makes me feel it would be inappropriate for my kids to read it. So it will most likely turn out the same for them as for the author: I will read this book to them, and skip certain parts.
WolfSilverheart More than 1 year ago
This has got to be my favorite story of all time. it has every story element to enrich it. appealing to both male and female audiences it contains romance, fantasy, and adventure. the only bad parts of this story are the intros and constant interruptions that talk about how large the story was before it was abridged and revised even though it has been speculated that the person given credit, S. Morganstern, does not and never did exist. though the intros are easily skipped over the constant interruptions put in by william goldman often ruin the sense of edge or plot or even take away from the readers imagination. if i was including these in my innitial recomendation i would have given it 3 stars instead of 5. but the five stars is based on plot and story elements. it is definitely an excellent read for anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oops I meant there inst evem an S Morgamstern
grimeyatlarge More than 1 year ago
You owe it to yourself to read the book. Both the movie and the book are fantastic, but the tone of the book is great. This makes me want to find the original unabridged version and read it. I'm planning my trip to the Florin museum next Summer...