The Princess Bride has become an enduring classic over the decades since its release, with it being a rare film that is an adventure movie, a fantasy movie, a romance movie (sorry Fred Savage, it is a kissing book), a family movie, and one of the best comedy movies of all time.
When The Princess Bride celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017, the Dread Pirate Roberts himself, better known as Westley, and sometimes known as Cary Elwes reflected on making the movie. He revealed that the team who trained Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya) for their epic swordfight were the same men behind Star Wars‘ lightsaber battles.
Elwes told Entertainment Weekly in 2017; “Well, we worked very hard at it. We had two wonderful swordsmen who were the same fellows who designed all the lightsaber sequences for the first three Star Wars movies. They were Bob Anderson, who was an Olympic fencer for Canada, and Peter Diamond, who was a swordsman and stuntman. And they were incredible. They trained us every day.”
Elwes continued; “We trained for about three weeks in prep, and then every day during the shoot. Literally every day. They would grab myself and Mandy between takes if we had enough time to even do five minutes. We would literally walk off the set a few yards and practice and go right back to shooting. Then after we wrapped each day, we’d have another session for a few hours, depending on how much energy we had. So we worked very hard at it.”
What’s even more impressive about the fight is that Elwes did the action movie sequence with a broken toe; “I stupidly broke my toe. That forced me to really focus more on my handiwork, and I think it actually made me a better left-handed swordsman. I was able to do all those tricks because I was able to focus on it. I couldn’t move my foot much.”
Elwes concluded; “There’s only one moment where it’s not us. [Laughs] And that’s the acrobat we brought in to do the swinging around on the bar. Other than that, it’s all me and Mandy, which is what Rob [Reiner, director] wanted. He said that to us at the beginning of the movie: ‘I don’t want stunt doubles. I want you guys. I want to be able to look from every angle and see that it’s you.'”
Check out our guide to the best adventure movies.