If you’ve ever wondered why a film about fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles has such a misleading title, you should know that it came from two little girls.
They were the daughters of Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman. Goldman wrote the book The Princess Bride, which was published in 1973, and the screenplay for the 1987 movie adaptation. (Of course, the person who wrote the original story was esteemed Florinese writer S. Morgenstern…) Goldman was inspired by the fairy tales he made up for his daughters. He told Entertainment Weekly that when they were around four and seven, he asked them what they wanted to hear a story about. One said a princess, the other said a bride, and that’s how he came up with the title.
In his not-entirely non-fiction introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of the book, Goldman explained that he nearly didn’t get the chance to work on the movie adaptation. Fox bought the book rights the year The Princess Bride was published. Goldman wrote a screenplay, but the studio refused to buy it until they were sure the movie was going ahead. Eventually, Fox attached director Richard Lester, but internal politics saw that version fall apart. Goldman realized Fox could hire another writer to adapt his beloved book, so he bought back the rights. It took numerous deals and disappointments before he found a perfect partner in director Rob Reiner.