How The Cast Of The Princess Bride Should Really Look

The Princess Bride movie has captured the imagination of viewers everywhere since 1987, but many people don't realize the film is based on a novel by screenwriter William Goldman.

Best known for his 1969 book, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," Goldman published "The Princess Bride" in 1973 under the pretense that he was abridging a work from an older writer by the name of S. Morgenstern. Goldman claimed his novel showcased just the "good parts" of Morgenstern's much longer fiction, explaining that he was regurgitating it to match what his father read to him as a kid. However, in actuality, S. Morgenstern does not exist and Goldman simply used him as a device in the novel.

Confused yet? While the history of the novel is a bit odd, the book is still a classic, just like the movie inspired by it. For the most part, the film was faithful to the pages, probably due to the two works being led by the same writer. However, there are some differences in the way characters are portrayed on screen versus on the page. Here's how the characters of The Princess Bride should really look.

Cary Elwes (Westley)

Buttercup provides the primary description of Westley in Goldman's novel when, early on in their budding courtship, she tries to convince herself that she does not love him:

"The farm boy had eyes like the sea before a storm, but who cared about eyes?" she thinks. "And he had pale blond hair, if you liked that sort of thing. And he was broad enough in the shoulders, but not all that much broader than [Count Rugen]. And certainly he was muscular, but anybody would be muscular who slaved all day. And his skin was perfect and tan, but that came again from slaving; in the sun all day, who wouldn't be tan? And he wasn't that much taller than the Count either, although his stomach was flatter, but that was because the farm boy was younger."

The color of the sea before a storm is usually a blue-grey, fitting with actor Cary Elwes' mesmerizing eyes. The actor fits the bill with his tan, muscular build, too, but Elwes' hair is a darker shade of blond than the locks Buttercup mentions. Though Elwes is accurately only about an inch taller than actor Christopher Guest, who plays Count Rugen, both actors share a similar build, which strays from the novel's description.

Movie accuracy: 9/10 — Elwes should be a bit blonder to fit Westley's image in the novel.

Robin Wright (Buttercup)

Robin Wright's Buttercup is described in the novel as being the most beautiful woman in the world, causing her to catch the eye of Count Rugen and Prince Humperdinck, despite the fact that she only has love for Westley. Goldman writes that her hair was "the color of autumn," and was long because it had never been cut. She had skin "the color of wintry cream" that "in certain lights, seemed to provide her with a gentle, continually moving as she moved, glow." The color of autumn probably refers to an auburn or red hue, but Wright's tresses are blonde, and while they are long, they're not "never been cut" long. That said, the actress is unequivocally gorgeous and fits with the rest of the descriptions of the heroine in the novel.

Movie accuracy: 8/10 — If Wright's hair was a little redder and a little longer, she'd be perfect for the role.

Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)

In the book, Inigo Montoya is described as being "blade-thin" and around 6 feet tall. Goldman also writes that he's "straight as a sapling, bright-eyed, taut: even motionless he seemed whippet quick." Inigo has "a giant scar slanting down each cheek," courtesy of Count Rugen. The two dueled when Inigo was a teenager after the Count murdered Inigo's father. Actor Mandy Patinkin's scars are not as noticeable in the film as they are in the novel. Goldman writes that the wounds are very visible, making it clear that Inigo is "no one to trifle with." However, Patinkin is the right height for the part and has the accurate build and quick movements to pull off the role of the legendary fencer.

Movie accuracy: 8/10 — Inigo's most defining features in the novel are his scars, so if made a wee bit more pronounced in the movie, Patinkin would be on point.

Wallace Shawn (Vizzini)

The Sicilian Vizzini does not get much of a description in the novel, although Goldman does note that he is a hunchback, a quality actor Wallace Shawn did not represent in the film. While most of the characters from the novel retain their characterization in the movie, Vizzini veers from the pages. In the book, Goldman writes that when Vizzini gets mad, he gets "very quiet, and his voice sounded like it came from a dead throat." This doesn't fit with Shawn's erratic, over-excited interpretation of the character. Shawn's portrayal is beloved by the movie's fans but inconceivable to readers.

Movie accuracy: 2/10 — Vizzini is supposed to be a quiet, intimidating hunchback, which is definitely not the way Shawn plays him in the film.

Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck)

Chris Sarandon's Prince Humperdinck is likely more attractive than how Goldman imagined the villain of the novel. "Prince Humperdinck was shaped like a barrel," the author writes. "His chest was a great barrel chest, his thighs mighty barrel thighs. He was not tall but he weighed close to 250 pounds, brick hard. He walked like a crab, side to side, and probably if he had wanted to be a ballet dancer, he would have been doomed to a miserable life of endless frustration." Sarandon stands more than 6 feet tall, so the svelte actor doesn't fit with the squat description of his character in the book. While Sarandon did emphasize the prince's evil persona, we maintain he's too good-looking for the part.

Movie accuracy: 3/10 — Sarandon needs to be shorter, squatter, and plainer to fit the novel's prince.

Peter Falk (The Grandfather)

In his introduction to his supposedly-abridged version of "The Princess Bride," Goldman says that it is his father who is reading him the story, not his grandfather, as in the film. Goldman notes that his fictional father, who moved to America from Florin, has a heavy Italian accent and is nearly illiterate in English. He also notes that he is bald. Actor Peter Falk has no accent and a thick head of hair. Not so well done.

Movie accuracy: 4/10 — Falk at least needs to be bald for this to work.

Andre the Giant (Fezzik)

Fezzik is described in the novels as huge, which fits perfectly with wrestler-turned-actor Andre the Giant. However, Andre may have been even bigger than Goldman intended. Goldman writes that Fezzik, in his days as a wrestler before joining Vizzini, was rumored to be over 7 feet tall and, although "he would never step on a scale," people guessed he weighed around 400 pounds. In his days as a wrestler, Andre the Giant was billed at 7 feet 4 inches and 520 pounds, even larger than the novel's big man.

Movie accuracy: 10/10 — There is no such a thing as being too big to play Fezzik.

Randy Savage (The Grandson)

In the book, actor Fred Savage's character is supposed to represent a younger version of the author. Goldman has brown hair and brown eyes, and could probably pass for a grown-up version of the former child star. Well done.

Movie accuracy: 10/10 — This casting is about as good as it gets.

Christopher Guest (Count Rugen)

Actor Christopher Guest accurately bestowed Count Rugen's most notable, and most important, physical characteristic from the book: six fingers. Aside from his extra appendage, Goldman writes that the Count "was a big man, with black hair and black eyes and great shoulders and a black cape and gloves." This all fits well with Guest's sinister portrayal.

Movie accuracy: 10/10 — Guest has all the pieces of the Count's creepy persona down pat.