In honor of the 25-year-reunion of The Princess Bride, I decided to write about some of the things that made the film great. This movie is one of the ultimate cult-classic quotable movies of our time, so it stands to reason that there would be a lot to like about it. Yet beneath the surface, one can find some fascinating Christian themes and tropes that make this movie all the more interesting. So without further ado, here are just a few of the Christian themes of The Princess Bride.
1. Westley’s Unconditional Love
Okay, so Buttercup isn’t the most perfect female character. She does a lot of standing around, lets people walk all over her, and watches slack-jawed and helpless as Westley fights the ROUS. Her only real moment of empowerment is when she confronts Humperdinck for lying to her. But in spite of her weaknesses, Westley loves her. He sees something in her that is worth fighting for and doesn’t let go. Even when he supposedly dies, he comes back for her.
“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile.”
With Easter just past us, this phrase strikes me hard. We were unlovable, but God still loved us. He thinks we’re worth something because He created us and knows us. Jesus died on a cross for our sins, and His disciples thought Him gone forever. Instead, He conquered death and rose again, showing just how powerful His love for us truly is. Westley displays this kind of love, going through sword-fights, wrestling, battles of wits, torture, and (mostly) death to save Buttercup and make her his bride, as Christ did for the church.
2. The Foiling of Evil
In all his hilarity and jerkiness, Prince Humperdinck is actually a mastermind of evil. Throughout the entire film, he has been secretly planning to frame the neighboring country of Guilder for killing his fiancee, Buttercup, on their wedding night, which would plunge Florin into war. So beyond saving Buttercup, our trio of heroes also end up foiling an evil plan to send the country into the turmoil of unnecessary war. Now, our God is a just God, blessing the humble and redeemed and delivering righteous judgment to evildoers, as David commonly makes plain in the Psalms. He exposes people for who they truly are, as Matthew 10:26 says,
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”