37 thoughts on “TBT: The Princess Bride (1987)

  1. As both a Parks and Rec and Princess Bride fan, it gives me so much joy to know that Leslie Knope was wearing the actual dress from the movie.

  2. When Princes Bride first came out, I was working—in custom picture framing—with a costume designer/nerd who had a designer/nerd fiancée. All three of us were in awe of the magnificent costumes in the film.

    In fact, they had both worked on costumes for an opera company in which I sang, and we had many discussions about the construction and accuracy of what went on the stage. Unfortunately, most of what we saw/wore was woefully wrong, so our discussions of the film’s costuming—as you might expect—involved a lot of envy and gushing.

  3. I just rewatched this and was blown away by the costumes. For a fantasy film, the costumers did a great job. I was especially impressed by the houppelandes. I mean, who does that? Even the costumes for The Hollow Crown weren’t as good.

    On the other hand, I believe this portrait of Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII of France, as the Virgin Mary shows a princess seam on the front of her gown. It’s faint so you really have to look carefully.



    1. Ugh. The Melun madonna is such a problem with the whole princess seam debate. It is *literally* the only true “princess seam” that shows up pre-19th century anywhere. (Let’s be clear: I do not consider the Greenland gowns to be princess seams and I will fight anyone who says differently to the death pain.) I don’t like using a single outlying instance as “proof” of a construction technique, especially when that one example is in a religious portrait.

      It’s also an ugly-ass painting. Fouquet was tripping on some bad shit.

      1. I don’t know what’s creepier about the painting: the dead-eyed sociopath of a baby Jesus or the fact that Fouquet apparently had never seen an actual human breast.

        1. I often wonder if any of the painters of the past (great and not so great) ever paid attention to what a real breast looked like. I’m constantly bewildered by incredibly beautiful and masterfully executed works with weird-shaped or otherwise unrealistic portrayals of breasts, it can be (sadly) quite jarring and off-putting.

          Anyway, this seam is a tricky one, I’ve mused over it myself. As you say, Sarah, it seems to be the *only* one during this time period. But I wonder if it can be dismissed entirely just because it is, technically, a proper princess seam. The line and location are correct and it’s doing what a princess seam does – fit close to the body. This would seem to suggest that the technique was known and understood. Yet, with it being so singular, especially within the overall oeuvre of Northern Ren painting with it’s intense level of just such details, it seems obvious that it was not part of the repertoire for actual garment construction in that time/place. I have not answer for this, so maybe my comment is pointless, lol.

          1. If you cut a gown to the “Greenland” gown pattern (not the packaged one, which is good, but copy the pieces of the real one), you get a line very much like a princess seam. I was surprised when I saw a reproduction someone had made (before the commercial pattern came out) and it was very princess seam-like. I think this is where the conventional SCA wisdom comes from about princess seams.

            1. I am an SCAer, and I’ve got a bit of an ax to grind on this issue. The Greenland gowns look nothing like princess seams. Yes, they are seamed and flared like a princess seam gown is, but put all the pattern pieces flat and it’s a totally different shape. We modern reenactors tend to make the Greenland gowns way tighter than they were in reality as well, which gives the same effect as a princess seamed gown, but it’s historically inaccurate for that particular extant example.

              I lean more toward the “fitted kirtle” method put forth by Robin Netherton and perfected by Tasha Kelly and Charlotte Johnson of a rectangularly constructed garment that’s been fitted to the torso as closely as possible to achieve the look of a body-hugging flared dress.

          2. I had an Art professor who used to tell us if we wanted to reproduce a Michelangelo female nude, all we had to do was paint a male nude and add a half grapefruit to form each breast.

            1. That’s funny, but so true. I never saw such a bunch of muscular female nudes as the ones Michelangelo painted. They really do look like males with breasts.

  4. I don’t like the back of the red houppelande- there’s no basis for that that I know of, and frankly, once you remove the belt, you can easily slip it on and off. No need for a laced back opening.

    Or am I being too picky?

    1. NO, you’re not being picky. I forgot about that. There is no practical reason for lacings in a houppelande.

      1. For a costume the lacings are actually pretty practical.

        Historically accurate? Nope. But it makes sense if you use modern construction techniques, which was what was done on all of the costumes in this film (princess seams, I’m looking at you).

  5. The blue gown is also my favorite. I literally gasped when I first saw it. As a child. And then I thought, “If I ever get married (doubt it) I want a wedding dress that looks something like one of these dresses!”

    Still waiting on the getting married thing, mostly because I don’t care; and I’ve cheated emotionally on Buttercup’s gown in my future wedding dreams, but… so pretty.

  6. The Princess Bride is a favourite of mine. Besides the story, I did note that Humperdinck and Rugen were in houpplandes. So right for the best dress man in 1440-1470. Buttercup’s gowns were gorgeous.

    And who can forget:
    1) My name is Inigo Montoya.You killed my father. Prepare to die.
    2)…As you …wish…
    3) Mostly dead
    4) Have fun storming the castle
    5) You’d make a great Dread Pirate Roberts

    1. And my favorite, especially since I’m a retired copyeditor: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      I even have the sweatshirt, which I wear as often as possible.

      1. If we are talking favorite quotes, mine will always be “It’s possible, pig. Anything is conceivable, you miserable vomitous mass.”

        No one writes insults like William Goldman.

        1. Mawwaige. Mawwaige is whut bwings us twogevvah twoday. Mawwaige, that bwessed awaingement….that dweam whivvin a dweam.

  7. Don’t feel bad about not recognizing Christopher Guest, I didn’t either. I think it was the 6th finger that threw me off.

    1. I think there’s was such a strong association that Christopher Guest = Nigel Tufnel. It never occurred to me until after “Waiting For Guffman” that he’s a character actor. Of course he’s not stuck in any one “type”!

      Also, Rugen is HOT. Christopher Guest is just a nice looking guy. LOL

    1. Ditto! I skew to the last two decades of the 15th c. but I appreciate a good houppelande. Especially on guys. OH BABY.

      One of these days, I will make Francis a full-length Henry V-style houppe. Whenever I actually get my sewing give-a-fuck back from wherever it fucked off to…

  8. GAHHHHH!!!!! One of my most favouritest movies of all time!! I’ve always loved the costumes in this and watching it as an adult (I was 9/10 when it came out) and historical costume person I’ve always appreciated the pretty high level of historicity of it. The blue dress may be my favourite of Buttercup’s but I my favourite piece of hers is actually the least historical (lol) – the blue silk sleeveless robe she wears over her nightgown. I just love the visuals of her sweeping through the castle corridors in it and would love to do the same, haha!

    Count Rugen and Prince Humperdink’s houppes may be my overall favourite costumes of the movie, they are so well done! And love when Humperdink does his little twirls – whee!

    1. I love the book, but Goldman actually improved on the novel when he wrote the screenplay. I will always take screaming eels over sharks.

  9. I was so so excited to see Amy Poehler in the red riding costume. It’s actually a repro, not the original from the movie, as far as I know. When I posted a pic of this on FB, someone identified the person that made the gown for the show. The commenter said “Lauren Matesic Bregman of Castle Corsetry” made the costume. https://www.facebook.com/costumersguide/photos/a.184352868295517.49920.176197025777768/628804533850346/?type=3&theater

    I was really impressed with their version because they did get the detail of the cartridge pleats and all that.

    Enjoyed the post! Thanks!

  10. My FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME. So nice to know that the costumes are mostly historically accurate.

  11. Thank you so much for this…I am co-hosting a screening of the Princess Bride at my Community College as a board member of the Fashion Club, (the other club is the Martial Arts club) and I get to talk about the costumes and the accuracy of them. I have so much historical crap in my brain, most of it unfiled that I was lost as to where to even start looking. My mind palace is a mess, but, as always, FFs helped me out. You guys rock so hard!!

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