Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Moonstruck Vs. The Princess Bride


What do Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck and Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride have in common?  Not a lot.  They are both romantic movies with comedic elements, but I wouldn’t necessarily call The Princess Bride a romantic comedy.  It’s such a hard movie to classify that it was difficult to find a movie to pair it with so it ended up getting stuck with Moonstruck by default.  It may be a stretch, but you could argue that both movies have fairy-tale qualities about them.  I don’t care if you don’t buy that rationalization, I’m sticking to it!  😉

But before we delve into a pair of whimsical romances, let’s look at the results of yesterday’s manly showdown:


I expected this to be one of our closer matches, but I was wrong. Predator came out to a commanding lead early on.  Robocop fought back, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap.  Ultimately, Predator captured nearly 70% of the votes.  That means Arnold Schwarzenegger will take on Michael Douglas as Predator meets Wall Street in the second round.

Cher is an exceptionally accomplished performer.  She is of course best known as a singer and pop culture icon.  Considering film acting wasn’t her day job, Cher has a pretty impressive resume as an actress.  In 1983, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Silkwood for which she won a Golden Globe.  Two years later, she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Mask.  In 1987, easily the peak of Cher’s career in film, she starred in three movies; Suspect, The Witches of Eastwick and Moonstruck.  With the last one, Cher beat out Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sally Kirkland and Meryl Streep to win Best Actress.

Cher played an Italian-American widow who is engaged to her boyfriend played by Danny Aiello.  Nicolas Cage costars as Aiello’s ne’er do well younger brother with whom Cher ends up having an affair.  The movie was a critical and commercial success.  In addition to Cher’s Best Actress win, Olympia Dukakis took home Best Supporting Actress and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley won Best Original Screenplay.  Moonstruck was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director.

At the box office, Moonstruck topped out in third place.  But it had legs and went on to become the fifth highest-grossing movie of the year behind Good Morning, Vietnam.

The Princess Bride was not as warmly welcomed when it was released in theaters.  Take a look at that poster.  Of all the things to include on the one-sheet the marketing team decided to advertise the movie based on the framing device in which Peter Falk reads a bedtime story to a sick Fred Savage.  In all fairness, The Princess Bride is a difficult movie to describe.  Based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name, the movie subverts genre tropes with a mix of action, romance and comedy.

That unique mix has made the movie an enduring and oft-quoted cult classic.  But at the time of its release, The Princess Bride was not a big hit.  When the movie went into wide release, it landed in third place at the box office behind the Kirk Cameron-Dudley Moore body-switch comedy, Like Father Like Son.  It went on to become the 41st highest grossing movie of the year right behind the Barbara Streisand flop, Nuts.

But time has been kind to Rob Reiner’s fantasy comedy.  Legions of fans have discovered the movie on video over the last 3 decades.  It’s probably among the best-loved movies of the year despite humble beginnings.

So what’s it going to be?  The Oscar winning rom-com or the eccentric fairy tale?


Posted on January 6, 2017, in bracket game, Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. This one is hard.. Moonstruck is a great cinematic love story, one of those that transcends the “chick flick” label. But The Princess Bride is a classic.

    In the end. I went with Inigo and his quest for revenge.


  2. Princess Bride all the way! Words cannot describe how much I love this movie, it immediately turns me back into a little girl again and every time I’ve watched it, I’ll spend the next three days quoting Mandy Patinkin. 😂 It’s just one of the most lovely little films ever made and I really hope it ends up in the finale!


  3. I am with jeffthewildman, this one is very hard. But unlike him, I’m going to go with Moonstruck. It is a movie with a lot of great acting from Cher and Nicolas Cage right down to John Mahoney’s girl chasing college professor. It is a movie that has a lot going on and handles it all very well and I enjoy it whenever I catch it on TV.

    While TPB is a great movie, I do have to admit that there a times when I watch for a scene or two and then keep flipping. It is in a way overexposed on cable.


    • I have very little doubt that The Princess Bride will win arguably because it has been overexposed on cable to the degree that everyone knows it. It’s a good movie to catch bits and pieces of which makes it a natural fit for television. Is Moonstruck a better film? I think one could make that argument. It was certainly more heralded at the time of its release. I suspect a lot of readers haven’t seen it or (like me) haven’t seen it in a long time. It’s interesting to me, thirty years later, to look back to see that a highly successful movie (both critically and commercially) has become less relevant than a movie most people ignored when it was in theaters.


      • jeffthewildman

        That leads to a point that I think is true. While I agree with the consensus that The Princess Bride is a classic, it’s one movie where the parts add up to somewhat less than the sum. A lot of people remember individual scenes and lines and quote and refer to those more than the movie itself.

        I like The Princess Bride a lot as I noted above. But it does have a few moments where I can walk out of the room for a minute or two and not miss anything. With Reiner’s earlier film This Is Spinal Tap, there are no moments of that type. I have to stay with it all the way through.


  4. The Princess Bride is an all-time favorite of mine, and I have to vote for it, even though Moonstruck has a scene where the main characters attend the opera (which gives any movie extra points in my book).


  5. I’m not as enamored with “The Princess Bride” as many other people are, so I went with “Moonstruck”, since it has a nice story and I’m Italian. Wow, Cher in the 1980’s though, she was omnipresent.


  6. Hate that you made these two face off because I love them both


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