Throughout the new special edition DVD version of “The Princess Bride,” Director Rob Reiner and various cast members compare the film to “The Wizard of Oz.” They claim similarity not simply because the movies mix broad humor with fantastical settings and colorful backdrops, but also because both films bombed at the box office. Though, as repeated television showings and strong word-of-mouth made “Wizard” an American classic, home video and die-hard fans spouting familiar phrases (“I do not think him is what you think him is”) has elevated “Princess” to the upper echelons of American film.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of MGM

The story is of Princess Buttercup”s (Robin Wright Penn) attempt to hold onto her true love (Cary Elwes) and thwart the evil-doings of Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) and his six-fingered side-kick Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). She is aided by swordsman Iningo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and giant Fezzik (Andre the Giant).

The disc”s extras are plentiful, including three documentaries. The first involves the director and cast looking back on filming and musing on how the film was received, anecdotes from the set and grumblings about the studio. The other two were shot and intended for publicity. While they seem repetitive, they are amusingly dated relics. The previews include four TV spots and a trailer that gives away most of the movie.

Reiner and the author of the book/screenwriter, William Goldman, both contribute individual commentary tracks. Both men love to tell stories and are completely taken with the film, so the tracks are more entertaining than they are informative. The extras are capped off by a look at some of Elwes personal home videos from the set. As video cameras were just becoming mainstream (the film was released in 1987) Elwes uses his toy much to the delight of his hambone castmates.

The eminently enjoyable film looks better than ever in wide screen, making the rolling hills of the English countryside into a character unto itself. The crisp Dolby sound enhances the adventure and the romance by stepping up Mark Knopfler”s pitch-perfect score. (The sound also allows you to realize how garbled Andre the Giant actually sounds.) Seeing this film as it was originally intended is a joy for those who have long-since worn out their home video copies.

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