Comedy

Inigo Montoya’s Triumphant Speech

“My name is Inigo Montoya.” Image: Pinterest

The Princess Bride (1987) has, arguably, the most laugh-out-loud lines of any Hollywood film of the 1980s.

One example is the scene where two men engage in left-handed swordplay. Suddenly one of them makes an admission:

Man 1: “I know something you do not know.”
Man 2: “What’s that?”
Man 1: “I am not left-handed.” (switches sword to right hand)
Man 2: “There’s something I ought to tell you. I’m not left-handed either.” (also switches sword to right hand)

In this scene, Man 2 is Westley (Cary Elwes), a masked man who’s been stalking Man 1 and his friends.

Man 1 is Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a Spaniard with voluminous hair and an accent as smooth as Crema Catalana. Montoya has memorable lines, such as, “I promise not to kill you until you reach the top”, and “There will be blood tonight!”

But Montoya’s most famous line is his creed. It’s a speech he’s rehearsed for 20 years:

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

It’s a good speech – direct, to the point, unambiguous. No one could say they weren’t warned.

For most of his life, Montoya has been seeking revenge for his father’s death. His father, a renowned swordmaker, was murdered by a rich client who reneged on the payment of a sword.

Montoya has searched for this killer for 20 years. He will not rest until he finds him – a man with six fingers on his right hand.

Montoya and friends kidnap a princess to start a war. Image: Fansided

We hope we’re not giving you the impression Inigo Montoya is a black-hearted killer. Nay, he is a kind and soft-spoken individual.

For example, as he engages in swordplay with Westley, he compliments his opponent’s technique. “You seem a decent fellow,” he says. “I really hate to kill you.”

Although he’s a man of Deep Sadness, he’s a gentleman, one who immediately sees the good in others. He’s not boorish or rude; he’s a man of Honour. Indeed, in a film staffed by self-serving characters, Montoya’s desire for revenge seems almost noble.

Then! Suddenly and unexpectedly, he meets the Six Fingered Man (Christopher Guest) in the hallway of a castle.

But Montoya doesn’t have 20 years’ training for nothing. He is Ready.

It’s showtime! Image: Buzzfeed

It’s a terrific scene. Montoya chases the Six Fingered Man through the castle, until the murderer plunges a knife into Montoya’s stomach. Montoya is stunned, as though he can’t believe he could be felled so quickly.

His enemy delivers another blow, a verbal one, which proves even more crushing. “You’ve been chasing me your whole life, only to fail now,” he sneers. “I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”

Montoya slumps to the ground in anguish. It’s true: For him to be caught flatfooted by a not-unforeseeable action is failure. Just because he fights by gentlemen’s rules doesn’t mean everyone else does.

As his adversary continues to mock him, Montoya pulls the knife from his stomach and, bleeding and sweaty, rises unsteadily to his feet.

This is Not Over.

He moves slowly towards his enemy and delivers the Prepare To Die speech in a raspy voice. This speech, 20 years in the making, has restorative effects when stated repeatedly. Soon Montoya is vigorously shouting The Speech, brandishing his sword like a flag.

Montoya and Fezzik discuss how to save Westley. Image: ThingLink

The Princess Bride is based on the 1973 novel by William Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay. The film wasn’t a box office smash when first released; it became a hit only after it was released on VHS.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Original Song (“Storybook Love”), but it has an even greater honour: legendary cult status.

If you haven’t yet seen The Princess Bride, we implore you to see it ASAP. There are many treats in this delightful film, not the least of which is Inigo Montoya’s triumphant Speech.

Notes
  • For a comprehensive overview of this film, click HERE.
  • For a loving tribute to Westley, click HERE.

This is part of the THE SWASHATHON hosted by Movies Silently.

The Princess Bride: starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright. Directed by Rob Reiner. Written by William Goldman. Act III Communications, 1987, Colour, 98 mins.

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50 thoughts on “Inigo Montoya’s Triumphant Speech

    1. Never mind. Had to read. Brilliant! I must echo your statement that If people haven’t yet seen The Princess Bride, they must ASAP. This is such an unbelievably quotable movie. There are too many…
      “You seem a decent fellow, I hate to kill you.”
      “YOU seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It is a masterpiece. I love this movie. It’s brilliant. The writing, the casting… The bloopers must be priceless! And it gives us a limitless supply of quotage. Quotage? 🤔 “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Westley is admirable, to be sure. Cary Elwes is terrific in the scenes after he’s brought back to life, isn’t he? He’s convincing as a man who’s unable to move his arms, legs, etc. Plus, he has great delivery, like so many classically-trained British actors.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This film has SUCH great characters, but I’d have to say Inigo is my fave (followed by Miracle Max – “I’ve seen worse!”). It’s a simple speech, but Inigo has pared it down to its essence and delivers it with such gusto.

      Thanks for bringing back the Swashathon. This is one of my fave blogathons. 🙂

      Like

  1. A great piece about a wonderful movie. Inigo Montoya is my favorite character in The Princess Bride – and one of the reasons is because he reminds me of Gene Kelly in The Three Musketeers!
    Kisses!
    Le

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never thought if that way before – it’s almost as if he defeats his nemesis more with the speech than with his sword. How fascinating!

    Thanks for the fresh perspective and tribute to Inigo Montoya and his immortal speech. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is one powerful speech, isn’t it? I love that scene where he finally meets his adversary face to face, and uses it as his rallying cry. Mandy Patinkin brings a lot of depth to those four sentences – I think the audience depends on those words as much as the character does! 🙂

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  3. Mandy Patinkin could hae had a whole career playing dashing, Inigo-like heroes, he was so wonderful. I also enjoyed his correcting Wallace Shawn;s “Inconceivable!” “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” It’s a great movie, and a great book, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been meaning to look for the book in the library – thanks for the reminder.

      I totally agree with you: Mandy Patinkin could have spun off the Inigo character, especially since he became the next Dread Pirate Roberts. Plus, there are opportunities in prequels, too, e.g. his life before The Princess Bride. You are really onto something!

      Like

  4. I just watched part of THE PRINCESS BRIDE last week and enjoyed it for the umpteenth time. Many Patinkin and Cary Elwes are both marvelous in it and Mandy’s speech is indeed a classic!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As soon as I saw the title, Inigo’s speech came to mind, as always when I think of the movie! Out of all that goes on, yes, his soft-spoken, sweetness, and sheer determination hovers over everything. Its like Dr. Kimble tryingto find the One-Armed Man! We have to find the man with the six fingers! I adore Mandy Patinkin in his other works, but his role here stands out to me. Oh dear… gotta watch again soon. Getting the giggles thinking of it. Phenomenal entire cast! Thanks for bringing it up 🙂 Great reminder!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your description is perfect, how Inigo’s sweetness and determination hover over everything else in the film. It’s one of the things that give this story heart. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Mandy Patinkin in this role, no?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A most excellent post, Ruth! The Princess Bride has got to be one of the best comedies ever made. Everything about it is impeccable. And who could ask for a better cast! It’s the perfect mawwiage between script and performers. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bahaha! “Mawwiage!” That is awesome!

      I agree with your comment re: one of the best comedies ever made. I remember the first time I saw it (on VHS!), and I couldn’t believe what a treat this movie is. I still think it’s a real treat, even though I’ve seen it SO MANY times.

      Like

  7. “f you haven’t yet seen The Princess Bride, we implore you to see it ASAP.” I second the motion. Or is it third? Someone else seconded it. What a great essay about a great movie. My family quotes it all the time. When 24 was on television and Tony Alemeida was hunting for his wife’s killer, we kept expecting him to say “Hello. My name is Tony Alemeida. You killed my wife. Prepare to die.”

    Liked by 3 people

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