Everything I need to know I learned from The Princess Bride

January 31, 2011 by R.J. Keller


Love requires absolute devotion.

“As you wish.”

But sometimes a little bit of healthy cynicism is a good thing.

“Hold it, hold it. What is this? Are you trying to trick me? Is this a kissing book?”

Patience is a virtue.

“You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”

Be sure to get a detailed job description.

“You never said anything about killing anyone.”

Always keep a holocaust cloak handy.

“Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a holocaust cloak.”

Scientists must be watched closely. Very closely.

“As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that’s all this is except that instead of sucking water, I’m sucking life.”

Keep vaccinations up to date.

“I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.”

Learn to delegate.

“You know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped!”

Sometimes you find a richer reward when unexpected events change your plans.

“When I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever. But it’s going to be so much more moving when I strangle her on our wedding night.

If a psychotic, six-fingered man slaughters your father, commit a very clever, very cool line to memory that you can whip out at a moment’s notice in the event you run into him along your travels. Practice it on every new acquaintance.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

But the most important lesson I learned, even though I knew it before I saw The Princess Bride, was the joy a good book can bring:

“When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I’m gonna read it to you.
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”