7 Little Known Facts About William Goldman's The Princess Bride

Posted by Hayley on August 13, 2015

Happy birthday, William Goldman! The award-winning American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter turned 84 this week. To help celebrate his narrative genius, we've gathered a few surprising facts about his beloved fantasy classic, The Princess Bride.

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1. Goldman's daughters gave him the title for the book.
Before Goldman began writing The Princess Bride, he told his two young daughters, "I'll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?" One said "a princess" and the other said "a bride."

2. The Princess Bride is as an abridged version of a book that does not exist.
Or at least that's what Goldman would like you to think. He presented his book as an abridged version of the "original" (i.e. fictional) Princess Bride, written by S. Morgenstern (a fictional person). The literary device let Goldman gleefully write only the "good parts" of his own story.

3. Goldman experienced an embarrassing moment of panic on the set of the film adaptation.
Because he wrote the book and the screenplay for The Princess Bride, you might think Goldman would know what to expect on set. You would be very wrong. On the first day of filming, he ruined the first few takes with a barely audible prayer chant. And then, during the scripted scene when Buttercup's dress catches on fire, Goldman panicked and screamed, "Oh my god! Her dress is on fire!"

4. The countries are named after old coins.
The Florin, where Prince Humperdinck reigns, is the name of an Italian gold coin once minted in Florence; and Guilder, the neighboring country Humperdinck was (spoiler alert?) going to murder Buttercup to start a war with, is the name of a Dutch gold coin.

5. If Princess Bride ever got a sequel, it would be called Buttercup's Baby and Stephen King would write it.
Goldman included this juicy tidbit in later editions of The Princess Bride. Unfortunately, King shot it down as a silly joke between friends on his website—but we're not so easily fooled. (Plus, we just really, really want to know what a Princess Bride tale as written by King would look like.)

6. Goldman was able to look back at the book "without humiliation."
"I [don't] like my writing," Goldman said. "I wrote a movie called Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and I wrote a novel called The Princess Bride and those are the only two things I've ever written, not that I'm proud of, but that I can look at without humiliation."

7. You can request a missing scene from The Princess Bride.
…You just won't receive it. Instead, you'll get a delightfully nutty automated response from Goldman, detailing the fictitious legal troubles surrounding the missing scene. (A Florinese lawyer named Kermit Shog is involved—you know you want this in your inbox.) "Request" your own missing scene here!

Have you read The Princess Bride? Watched the movie? Tell us what you think of Goldman's tale in the comments!

Comments Showing 1-47 of 47 (47 new)

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message 1: by Sharla (new)

Sharla If you'd like to "receive" the missing scene you can request it here - http://www.harcourtbooks.com/Princess...

I also love how they incorporated the "Missing Scene" into the movie - brilliant!

message 2: by Vivien (new)

Vivien Submit Request should have been "As You Wish."

message 3: by wayword_witch (new)

wayword_witch Love that movie as a kid and I still love it as an adult.

message 4: by wayword_witch (new)

wayword_witch Love that movie as a kid and I still love it as an adult.

message 5: by Val (new)

Val Hadfield The Princess Bride is my most favorite book of all time so was a reluctant to see the movie. I did eventually wa

My absolute favorite book.

message 6: by ShanDizzy (new)

ShanDizzy I loved the movie so much that I bought the anniversary edition of it! And have watched it many many times. My friends & family often quote whole scenes from it!

message 7: by Candace (new)

Candace Years ago Larry King had cast members on his show. He said, "You know this is the best movie ever made." I agree! I mean, it isn't really, but it is.

message 8: by Fatima (new)

Fatima My name is Inigo Montaya, You killed my father prepare to die. It`s a phrase I can`t forget. The movie is still part of me. I need to read the book.

☆ ĄňŊǡƂėƮĦ ☆ ŞŧŎŋė I've only watched the movie but I definitely want to read the book.

message 10: by ShanDizzy (new)

ShanDizzy Annabeth wrote: "I've only watched the movie but I definitely want to read the book."

I have never read the book but I actually JUST purchased it at thriftbooks.com. I can't wait to receive it.

message 11: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Wantke I'm not a witch I'm your wife. Best line of the movie. getting ready to read the book. Best movie ever!

message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Handler I've read the book, worn out two VHS copies of the movie and now have the DVD of it. What can I say? We have four daughters. The princess bride, grease and dirty dancing were required watching in our house.

message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Cross I remember reading the book after the movie came out, and writing for the "missing scene" and getting the reply letter. Still have that letter too!

message 14: by Kathy (new)

Kathy This is by far my favorite movie. I can watch it over and over again with no problem. And, it has to have the most quoted lines ever. I don't know anyone who has seen it and not liked it. Sure, it's hard to get a guy to watch a movie with the title "Princess Bride". But once they do they are sold :-)

message 15: by Doug (new)

Doug Schmidt I read the book years before the movie came out and vowed to read it to my children. I never did read the book to them but they both know the movie by heart. Even to the point of one brother responding to the other that his new girl friend didn't like it. He told him to dump her.

message 16: by Murphy (new)

Murphy I love this book with a deep passion. I attended the same college as Mr. Goldman and his daughter was in my class so he came to campus to do a Master Class. Gave me an opportunity to tell him my dream cast if it were ever filmed. Not one person was in the movie but I still adore the film! It's a clasic. If you love the film, do yourself a favor and enjoy the masterpiece that is the book!

message 17: by Meggan (new)

Meggan Murphy wrote: "I love this book with a deep passion. I attended the same college as Mr. Goldman and his daughter was in my class so he came to campus to do a Master Class. Gave me an opportunity to tell him my dr..."

So, what was your dream cast? :)

message 18: by Joey (new)

Joey Greco I loved the movie. I watch it every chance I get.
My kids and my grandkids love it as well. I can hardly wait
for my 3 great grandkids to watch it. I just know they will love.

message 19: by Russell (new)

Russell Peach Saw the film as a youngster. Loved it. Then read the book about 10 years ago and LOVED that as well.

message 20: by Murphy (new)

Murphy Meggan wrote: "Murphy wrote: "I love this book with a deep passion. I attended the same college as Mr. Goldman and his daughter was in my class so he came to campus to do a Master Class. Gave me an opportunity to..."

I honestly cannot remember now that that the perfection of the film cast has won me over except I thought that Brian Dennehy should have been Prince Humperdink because he was "built like a barrel" and much older than Buttercup (he fit the physical description in the book much better than Chris Sarandon but I do not begrudge the casting)

message 21: by Liz (new)

Liz I read the book before I saw the film for school. It's one of the best books that I read in middle school, and the film is a classic. I need to reread it sometime.

message 22: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I've watched the movie at least a hundred times and will watch it a hundred more. The book is also a treasure that I need to re-read again.

message 23: by Nic (new)

Nic The Princess Bride holds a special place in my heart. I can't wait to share it with my Grandkids when they are older. Happy Birthday William Goldman

message 24: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Love the movie, never tire of seeing it. Want to read the book after finding out it was required reading in my daughter's advanced English class, lesson: writing devices

message 25: by Diane (new)

Diane Miller Absolutely loved the book. Have several coopies of the dvd including the anniversay special. I thought the casting was just perfect and I hope hey never redo the movie! It just wouldn't be as good!

message 26: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante This is one of those books that I make all good friends read... eventually. Once they really get to know me and my tastes (or think they do - even better!) I spring this little classic on them, skewing their opinion of me dramatically! And then, out of jealousy, I read it yet again.

To me, this is a perfect example of excellent storytelling, and has always occupied a place of honor on my shelf (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively).

message 27: by Heather (new)

Heather I've seen the movie several times, and have read the book. love the princess bride! I've been wanting to watch it again soon. happy birthday, William Goldman! :)

message 28: by Kay (new)

Kay J I've seen the movie, loved loved loved it! But I still haven't read the book.

message 29: by Tom (new)

Tom Vetter The movie is great, but the book is far better. I read the book when it -- and I -- was new. I loved it, wooed my true love with it, and won her hand. I have used "As you wish!" a million times to reply to her requests. I have bought copies just to give away. I bought the special anniversary copy and then gave it to a couple when she was t-boned by a semi-truck so he'd have something worth reading to her in the ICU. Goldman and this book have seeped into my soul. Now I write, too, and if I ever write anything this good, I'll die completely fulfilled.

message 30: by Penny (new)

Penny The book was a masterpiece, the movie disappointed me. It's the difference between Cliff notes and a real source.

message 31: by Selena (new)

Selena I knew most of these, but I did not know about the email form for the "missing scene." I was always tempted to send in a post card to get it, but was never sure if they were still doing that. And I didn't have a post card to send in to them lol

Rowan wrote: "Also really like "No more rhymes and I mean it!"
"Does anybody want a peanut?""

"Have fun storming the castle!"

This line is oft quoted in my household.

message 32: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie I've read the book and seen the movie many times and I love them both.
I still have the old paperback of The Princess Bride that I bought in my teens (ages ago!) and despite several rereads and moves, etc, it's still in remarkably good shape!

message 33: by Helen (new)

Helen I have at least two copies of the book and my letter received years ago. Love it.

message 34: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa J. LOL, requested the "missing scene" because I'm that curious. xD

message 35: by Linda (new)

Linda Liked the book a lot. I loved the movie. It is the only movie adaption, of a book, that I can think of, that was better than the book. The movie is one of my all time favorites. It manages to walk that fine line between humor and corny slap stick. It never crosses that line.

message 36: by Rony (new)

Rony Anthony I first watched the movie in my teens & a second time recently...nearly 2 decades later. Have read & watched countless romance novels & movies between then & now but I still find Westley's simple "As you wish" the most romantic line ever.

message 37: by Donna (new)

Donna Luu Darn, I think I knew every one of these facts.

Mary Lynn Noonan-Toschi A missing scene? Inconceivable!

message 39: by Amy (new)

Amy the book and the movie complement each other so you'll enjoy the book more hearing Andre the Giant's voice in your head "Does anybody have a peanut?!" and you'll enjoy the movie more knowing all the great asides and added jokes directly from Goldman.

message 40: by Catherine (last edited Aug 16, 2015 07:45PM) (new)

Catherine Newell I used to work at a bookstore, and at least once a month somebody would come in and ask for the S. Morganstern unabridged version of 'The Princess Bride' (this was before WorldCat was searchable on everyone's home computer), usually clutching a well-loved mass market copy of the book. Most people took the news that no such book existed pretty well, but some stomped out of the store cursing us and insisting we were lying.

Such is the power of a wonderful book, I guess.

message 41: by S. K. (new)

S. K. Pentecost I love the book's ending more than the movie's. And I really love the movie's, so get ready for some awesome everybody who's thinking about reading it for the first time.

My favorite line: "Get used to disappointment." "Okay."

Always wanted to do a group Halloween costume outing with these characters. At the time I first thought of it, I couldn't decide if I wanted to be Inigo or Westley. Now I can't decide if I want to be Miracle Max or Vizzini.

message 42: by Sharon711 (new)

Sharon711 turner loved this movie and the book

message 43: by Rachael (new)

Rachael This book and the film based on it are not merely part of my life, they now make up a part of my marrow. This book is one of my secular texts that feel scriptural in their importance to me.

message 44: by James (new)

James Packer This may be the only instance where I liked the movie more than the book.

message 45: by Ellen (new)

Ellen I totally fell for the jokes. After seeing the movie and reading the book as a youngster, I searched the library for the "original" and even wrote a letter to the address at the back seeking more info about "Buttercup's Baby." I remember receiving some kind of joke letter back and having my parents decipher it for me. I never understood why they were laughing so hard. I'll have to request the unfinished scene too...

message 46: by Alix (new)

Alix I love this book and the movie. My house is filled with quotes from the film daily, "As you wish", and "Have fun storming the castle" are favorites and spoken almost every day.

message 47: by Anaee (last edited Jun 10, 2021 01:03PM) (new)

Anaee I fell for it all, hook, line, and sinker. I had no idea. He does not even have a son... I feel stupid now. It is mid-2021 and I am fully blown away. I am glad that I got the full effect, though, and I have not even seen the movie... yet. This is really a masterpiece.

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