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The Princess Bride (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1987
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Genre: Family/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin. Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the giant
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Music by: Mark Knopfler
Written by: William Goldman based on his book
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 17, 2009

"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die"

Film Synopsis:

Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley (Cary Elwes), beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright) finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she's suddenly kidnapped by a motley gang of deviants, what gallant hero comes to her rescue? None other than Westley - alive, well... and as wonderful as ever! But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny? Or, this time, will Buttercup lose Westley forever?

My Take:

By now I would hope that most who are reading this has seen The Princess bride. I can't believe it has been nearly 22 years since its release! This is a beloved film that is based on the book written by William Goldman and published in 1973. It's a modern fairytale that has roots which are based in many classic fables. I love how it sort of takes the traditional fairytale style and puts a satirical spin on it. The aspects of love, adventure, and good versus evil are all represented but there is a clever up to date feel that is rewarding. I get a kick out of the witty banter and clever dialogue. For instance, the scene where Prince Humperdink and Count Rugen are standing at the entrance to the pit of despair. Rugen asks Humperdink if he is coming in and Humperdink says he would love to come and watch him 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. There are wonderful characters both good and bad who are genuinely portrayed by the cast. Cary Elwes has been around for a long time and rarely gets recognition for his work. He usually has smaller roles and ends up as the heavy or foil for the protagonist but this film is different and showcases his talent. Although this is early in his career this is probably my favorite of his films (along with Glory). This was Robin Wright's first feature film and who could ask for a more auspicious beginning? Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya is my favorite character in the story. I can't help but laugh at his exchanges with Fezzik (Andre the giant), his fair approach to dueling with steel and his endless quote (the tagline that begins this review). The cameo appearances were perfectly placed and of course Rob Reiner's direction brought it all together. This is a timeless film that is chock full of great lines and memorable characters that can be enjoyed from one generation to the next. I have watched it with my kids and they love it as much as I do. I can't think of a better compliment.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for mild action violence.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 78

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The Princess Bride comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 38 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.

This film isn't the type that is going to offer high gloss imagery, eye popping colors, and razor sharp definition. I thought that this 1.85:1 framed high definition presentation had a film like quality that seemed to faithfully deliver the film's elements. At times the presence of grain gives it a gritty texture but I never found it objectionable. With the exception of red, colors were vivid, and natural looking. Reds had kind of an orange tinge to them. I honestly couldn't say for sure whether or not it was intentional as it has been a long time since I saw this film theatrically. I don't want to make too much of it because it really wasn't an issue. Complexions varied from rosy to pale with most appearing realistic in depiction. Blacks were a little flat and shadow detail was good but not great. This left the darker scenes lacking it depth. I was happy with the balance between contrast and brightness which breathed life into the colorful, and lush landscapes and period costumes featured in the film. Image detail in close ups was appreciable in all but a handful of instances where definition wavered. Long range and mid level camera views were a mixed bag but at their best never achieved the level of depth and dimension that accompany the better high definition transfers available on Blu-ray. Overall fidelity seemed intact and I have never seen this film looking better on home video.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivered dialogue that was full bodied, well articulated and tonally descriptive. The surround mix maintained a frontal perspective with above average soundstage depth and discernible channel separation. There wasn't any discrete rear channel activity but ambient music extension and exterior sounds such as blowing wind, creaking wood and reverberant echo helped to occasionally broaden the sound field. Bass response didn't shake the room but its presence lent solidity to the music score and low end punch to sound effects. The sequence that takes place once Buttercup and Wesley enter the Fire Swamp makes excellent use of the entire system. Mark Knopfler's music is nicely detailed, dynamically empowered, and well balanced throughout the presentation. I thought that this mix sounded great.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary by Director Rob Reiner

  • Audio commentary by author/screenwriter William Goldman

  • The art of fencing - 7 minute feature

  • As you wish: The story of The Princess Bride - 27 minute featurette

  • Cary Elwes video diary - 4 minutes with running commentary by Cary and Robin Wright

  • The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas - 11 minute faux documentary

  • Fairytales and folklore - 9 minute documentary

  • Love is like a storybook - 16 minute documentary

  • Miraculous makeup - 11 minute featurette

  • (HD) Original theatrical trailer

  • Princess Bride: The untold tales - 9 minute feature

  • Bonus Disc: 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD

Final Thoughts:

I think that I have made my feelings pretty clear regarding this wonderful family film that has become a classic. If you haven't seen it your in for a treat as Fox has done a nice job with it's presentation on Blu-ray Disc. I have never seen it looking or sounding better on home video. The bonus features become a little redundant but still offer plenty of wonderful insights from the book's author, cast and crew. Fox has included the standard definition 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD as a bonus. This seems to be something that is becoming more common and hopefully the trend continues. This disc deserves a place in every collection. Enjoy!


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 43
Ralph....great, as always.

Glad to see this on BD. I can't tell you the number of times my son (now 22) and I have watched this from the time he was a tyke, until today. Each time, we find something else to chuckle about.

So many characters, in addition to the ones you mentioned......Billy Crystal (when he was still humorous), the late Andre the Giant. Carol Kane (post Latka's wife).....all wonderfu.

Thanks for the review of this classic. I'll replace my DVD.
post #3 of 43
Great to have this one on BD at last.
post #4 of 43
agree...despite the video noise it still is a HUGE improvement over the SD DVD
post #5 of 43
Originally Posted by JDLIVE View Post

Great to have this one on BD at last. [IMG]http://www.***************/img/io/iy.gif[/IMG]

Thanks for the great review Ralph.

This is would be a huge add on to anyones BD collection.
post #6 of 43
Thanks, Ralph. I love this film too, as does everyone I've ever shown it too.

The SD DVD of this film was my favorite demo disk before I made the jump to a high-def projector and BD player, since it's a film everyone can enjoy.

Interestingly, with my old Dell 1024x768 DLP projector, I liked the original release DVD better than the 20th anniversary edition, which I thought had a colder color palette.

When I got my 1080p LCD Panasonic PT-AE2000 projector last summer, I found that the 20th anniversary edition looked a lot sharper than the original version (and calibration had made the colors look good as well).

I've wondered for a while why this film had been released in BD and then withdrawn (the withdrawn disk was selling for close to a hundred dollars a few months ago, which should give some idea of how well-loved this film is).

I've drawn a line on BD pricing, usually waiting until a disk drops below $20 to buy it, though I may have to make an exception for this! - Got it - it's great!

PS My daughter graduated to - and adores - the anniversary edition of the book, which includes many scenes that never made it into the film, and the ending is more of a cliff-hanger - those white horses were, after all, the Prince's favorite possessions.
post #7 of 43
Originally Posted by SbWillie View Post

agree...despite the video noise it still is a HUGE improvement over the SD DVD

I just read the review and didn't find anything about video noise what is this video noise you talk about ?
post #8 of 43
As you wish................
post #9 of 43
post #10 of 43
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
post #11 of 43
I just finished watching this and I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy this movie, so I obviously cant choose the drink in front of me.

post #12 of 43
Easily one of the best movies of all time. F the Godfather
post #13 of 43
You gave the video on this an 80 and The Dark Knight a 94.........really? Wow.
post #14 of 43
Originally Posted by SbWillie View Post

video noise

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
post #15 of 43
Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.

And wuv, twu wuv, will fowow you foweva...
post #16 of 43
If I had any complaint--and it's a small one--it's that, on the cover, we're forced to have the Dread Pirate Roberts imagery up top instead of the Wesley & Buttercup pic (the opposite of how it appeared on the SD-DVD, which I thought had the preferable layout). You can't reverse the sleeve, either. Oh, for this to have been one of those releases with double-sided artwork so you could choose which version to make primary, Dread Pirate or Buttercup. Notice something--the Wesley and Buttercup section of the cover actually looks like Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, but then check out the Dread Pirate half--Dread Pirate Roberts kind of looks like Cary Elwes but something is a little off. And Buttercup? I don't know who the hell that's supposed to be but it sure as Shinola ain't Robin Wright...
post #17 of 43
Yep, I'll be picking this one up. 22 years? Wow, I feel old. Another fine review, Ralph.

I'll probably buy this and have a PB and Stardust double feature night. It'd be nice for the latter to be released on Blu for those who don't already have it in HD.
post #18 of 43
Well here's another one I'll have to get, not that I don't have a couple of versions now. Lets hope the Brute squad doesn't show up....
post #19 of 43
I don't get the 79.
post #20 of 43
Originally Posted by Brian-HD View Post

I don't get the 79.

It's the mean of the scores he gave for both audio and video ((80+78)/2 = 79). The movie itself and extras are not factored into the "big" final score.
post #21 of 43
Obviously the 79 was a ruse, or he would have posted the film's true score of 1000000. He means to dissuade us from purchasing the disc so that he may buy them all up and sell them back to us at inflated prices. No matter, such a trifelage is no match for an intellect such as mine.
post #22 of 43
Originally Posted by dmcdayton View Post

He means to dissuade us from purchasing the disc so that he may buy them all up and sell them back to us at inflated prices.

I think you just created an idea for the next Bond villain. We'll call him "Blufinger."
post #23 of 43
Originally Posted by dmcdayton View Post

No matter, such a trifelage is no match for an intellect such as mine.

Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
post #24 of 43
I just typed this left handed.
post #25 of 43
Originally Posted by billybill View Post

I just typed this left handed.

post #26 of 43
What you don't know is that I'm not really left-handed either.
post #27 of 43
Originally Posted by MSmith83 View Post

It's the mean of the scores he gave for both audio and video ((80+78)/2 = 79). The movie itself and extras are not factored into the "big" final score.

You misunderstood. I think that it should have better.
post #28 of 43
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Brian-HD View Post

You misunderstood. I think that it should have better.


Brian, please for free to offer your impressions.

post #29 of 43
Just got my BDP83 hooked up yesterday, thinks I'll be ordering this BD for a test ride. Thanks for posting the reviews and banter, looking forward to seeing it again.
post #30 of 43
I'm not much of a video expert but gotta say I love the quality of video on this blu-ray..I have a low end lcd (Samsung 530) and use a Ps3, but the picture still looks great, even up very close. Great quality for a movie so old.

Love the reviews..use them as a reference point for future purchases..appreciate you taking the time to post the reviews and for others to share opinions.
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