Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: The Princess Bride Vs. Raising Arizona


Today in the Movies of 1987 Bracket Game, we will reveal the first of our two finalists and vote on which of two classic comedies will face off against it in the final round.  Today’s match pits Rob Reiner’s off kilter fairy tale against the Coen brother’s screwy kidnapping comedy.

Yesterday’s match was the closest we have had yet in this game.  Who walked away with the win?


With less than 60% of the votes, Predator edged out Lethal Weapon to enter the finals.  Does that qualify as an upset?  I’m not sure.  When I drafted up the brackets, I kept Lethal Weapon and The Princess Bride apart because I figured they were likely finalists.  Predator seemed like a potential spoiler, so I tried to arrange things such that it would meet up with Lethal Weapon in the third round if they both made it that far.  Similarly, I did the same thing with Raising Arizona which I figured had the best chance of stopping The Princess Bride‘s march to the end.

I am moderately surprised to see Lethal Weapon knocked out.  If you are looking at overall franchises, the Lethal Weapon series was far more popular and influential than Predator.  But we’re dealing with individual movies here.  While the Lethal Weapon series is propped up by a lighter and arguably superior sequel, Predator stands alone.

So which of our comedies of 1987 will face Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers in the finals?  I think The Princess Bride is the odds-on favorite.  It’s the more mainstream of the two.  Both of these movies are arguably cult films.  They only played on between 700-800 screens during their respective theatrical releases.  Odds are, most of our readers discovered them on cable or home video.

(One observation I have made from this game is that you can really see how home video was starting to shape the way in which audiences consume movies in the later 80’s.  The big movies that people went out to the theaters to see didn’t fare nearly as well as the movies audiences discovered in their living rooms.)

The question today is, which comedy do you enjoy more?


Posted on January 15, 2017, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’m shocked… I was perfectly convinced that Lethal Weapon would end up in the final! 😐


  2. This was easily the most difficult vote I’ve cast so far in this bracket game. I personally consider these to be the two best movies here. No matter which of them wins I will be voting for it in the final round.

    In the end I went with my gut and chose Raising Arizona. I actually saw it in the movie theater and follow up viewings at home have done nothing to dampen its loony appeal. I had never heard of the Cohen brothers at the time, but when I saw their names in the credits I went out shortly after and found Blood Simple, which declared pretty clearly to me that they were filmmakers who were not going to be pigeonholed easily, but who were capable of approaching a variety of styles and topics (despite the repeated kidnapping going on in their movies).

    The Princess Bride is a wonderful wonderful movie and I’d really enjoy seeing it win, but it falls short for me only by the smallest of margins.


    • I did not know who the Coens were until a few years later. The first Coen brothers movie I remember going to see in the theaters and being aware of who the brothers were was Barton Fink. I didn’t get around to seeing Blood Simple until a couple years ago and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. I can easily see why it was praised upon its release, but after years of waiting to see it, Blood Simple felt a little more simple than I had anticipated.


      • I can understand feeling disappointed after all that wait, but when I saw Blood Simple so quickly after Raising Arizona and with Miller’s Crossing still to come, what struck me was how different the two films were. The way the plot works out was pretty stunning in 1987 too.


        • Yeah, definitely. If I had seen it then, it would have benefited from feeling like a discovery. Seeing Blood Simple now, I liked it. It just wasn’t the revelation it would have been when the Coens were new on the scene. My impression from reviews was that it was one of the brothers’ best movies. As a fan, that set my expectations just a bit high.


  3. I was actually part of the audience that saw The Princess Bride in theaters back in 1987—more than once, in fact. I am pretty sure this was the only movie I saw twice in theaters between Empire Strikes Back and Fellowship of the Ring. So for fond memory’s sake, it gets my vote. Narrowly, mind you.


    • I was in the theatrical audience for The Princess Bride as well. Not so for Raising Arizona. I turned 16 at the end of the year which meant I got my driver’s license in 1988 which afforded me the freedom to go to the movies more often. But in 1987, I was still scrambling for a ride and I had to make the most of my trips to the movie theater because they were infrequent. I was also working as a stockboy at a convenience store my dad owned. At some point in 1988 or 1989, they put in a wall where customers could rent VHS tapes. It was a small collection, but Raising Arizona was one of the offerings. (Dad didn’t have any input into selections. It was a service that rotated tapes in and out of stores.) That’s how I eventually saw RA.


  4. Toughest choice so far. Whoever wins this will be my pick in the final as I liked Predator but I had already voted against it back when it was up against Robocop. I voted for Princess Bride only because it was a little more memorable and unique to me. Maybe mostly that it is a bit more quotable. But that is really splitting hairs and if someone made the same claim in the opposite direction I couldn’t really argue.


  5. My first exposure to the Coens was when I saw Fargo during its theatrical run. Not long after, I was going throuhg the tapes at my local Blockbuster. Came across Raising Arizona. Was reading the description on the back of the box and saw who the writer/directors were. “Same guys who made Fargo” I thought to myself and rented it. Ended up watching it with my mom. She liked it, I loved it. Still my favorite Coen Brothers movie followed by Fargo. A lot of people consider Blood Simple a classic. But I agree with Lebeau.


  6. I voted for “Raising Arizona” (winning so far, but it’s close), and yeah, I was all about the home video in 1987-1988, and even though I was a kid, there wasn’t a convenience store, supermarket, or local video store (no Blockbuster for me until the early 1990’s; wow, what a difference!) I (I’d say “we” but my parent just didn’t rent) wasn’t renting from. It taught me responsibility and to be kind, rewind with everybody.


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