Author William Goldman's Easter Egg in "the Princess Bride"


Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman died yesterday at the age of 87. He was considered one of the greats of 20th Century cinema, winning two Academy Awards, first for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and then later for All the President’s Men.

However, for me, William Goldman will always be the author and screenwriter of the Princess Bride, which along with Beetlejuice and Heathers still ranks as my favorite movies of my awkward high school adolescence.

However, the book, originally written in 1973, is often overlooked by many Bride fans out there. Extremely smart, satirical and (surprisingly) personal, the narrator, “William Goldman”, a successful screenwriter, decides to edit the “original” Florinese classic “the Princess Bride” by the “original” author, S. Morgenstern. Goldman inserts himself throughout the story, explaining his decisions for including certain scenes and not others.

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However, mid-way through the book, Goldman tells the reader that S. Morgenstern never wrote a “reunion scene” between the central characters Westley and Buttercup (a scene that is also curtailed in the movie). Goldman says that he decided to write the scene, but his publisher wouldn’t include it the manuscript. However, he explains, if you write to his publisher, they will send you a copy of the missing scene.

This was no idle boast. Readers that wrote to the publisher received a letter from Goldman. However, it wasn’t the text of the missing scene, but rather the legal problem that had surfaced from the Morgenstern’s estate. Florinese lawyer Mr. Kermit Shog, representing the late author, is not pleased with the adaptation and starts legal proceedings to stop the release of the “reunion scene” and the unpublished follow-up book Buttercup’s Baby. Goldman explains that he’ll make sure to send the missing scene when legal proceedings get cleared up.

Yesterday, presented the full printed letter via Twitter, which you can see below.

NOTE: After 1987, per the LA Times and Now I Know, Goldman wrote that an additional postscript stating that all litigation had been put on hold indefinitely, since Florin was now a supplier to the US in “cadminium”.