The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 21, 2012

Benji Tunnell: ‘Princess Bride’ will carry on for many more years

By Benji Tunnell
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — This year marks an important milestone in cinematic history. It is the anniversary of the release of one of the greatest, if not most influential, films in the history of movies -- one that was released to little fanfare and a lukewarm reception, yet has had a far reaching cultural impact.

Though few took notice of it upon its initial foray into theaters, “The Princess Bride” is a film that has grown in stature and reputation. It has become one of the most beloved works of all time, perhaps one of the most important pieces of art and entertainment ever to spring forth from the mind of man.

To put this into perspective: The same year that it was released, it was outgrossed by such cinematic masterpieces as “Mannequin,” “Blind Date” and “Dragnet.” Yet, while those others have been forgotten as so much flotsam in the sea of movie history, it is “The Princess Bride” that has become the unsinkable film, converting generation after generation to its charms.

It is one of the most watchable and quotable movies ever made. It has become so ingrained into culture that it has been referenced by everyone from Michael Scott in “The Office” to every minister during marriage rehearsals to your great-aunt Glenda.

It has become a multi-generational cultural touchstone, one that those who have experienced it can’t wait to share with the uninitiated.

“The Princess Bride” marks a high watermark for the careers of most of those involved. To give you an idea:

“The Princess Bride” is that rarest of things: a movie beloved by millions that still feels unique and special, like it belongs to each individual viewer. It is a movie that I found when I was a child, and it is the one that I have gifted to friends more than any other.

It is a film that I have shared with my daughters, and has become the center of our sick-day tradition. The book is a part of our bedtime reading. The girls named our dog Buttercup.

It, more than any other movie, has played the largest role in our lives. And the joy of seeing it for the first time or of reading Goldman’s words after thinking that I knew the entire world of the film has only been surpassed by seeing my daughters experience the same things that once were mine.