posted on November 15, 2021 by maryhughes

What to Do If You Don’t Fit – Lessons from The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is a beloved classic, labeled “the perfect movie” by ShowBiz CheatSheet and “one of the best movies of all time” by

Yet when movie came out in 1987, it barely made its money back.

Why? Because the marketers didn’t know how to hype it. Is it a romance? Is it an action film? Is it a comedy? In those days, if your work didn’t fit into a neat category, Hollywood didn’t know how to sell it. And unless you know how to sell it, who will know to buy it?

For those of you who haven’t seen the film, The Princess Bride is the story of farm-boy Westley (Cary Elwes) who loves Lady Buttercup (Robin Wright) but who feels he must earn her love. So he runs off to join a pirate crew. While he’s gone, Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) claims Buttercup as his bride. Westley must save her from the likes of Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, and Andre the Giant (and survive being mostly dead) before they can be reunited. Go see it. You’ll love it. Even if you don’t, you’ll have dozens of new quotes to use, lol.

In 1992 the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer attempted the same feat, combining horror and humor. It suffered from the same lack of understanding of how to sell it. A box office take of 16.6 million seems like a lot, but compare that with Batman Returns (162,831,698), Sister Act (139,605,150) and Home Alone 2 (173,585,516) from the same year. By 1997, though, we were ready for a show that combined horror, humor, action, and teenage angst, and Buffy moved to Sunnydale and came into her own.

Today we appreciate a more complex story, regularly adding humor to action films (think MCU or the Expendables) or drama and complex emotional content to kids’ movies (Inside Out). In a way, The Princess Bride paved the way for these outside-of-the-box combinations.

Night’s Bliss is like The Princess Bride in that it’s a multi-genre novel. It combines romance, action, the paranormal, and humor in a way that’s perfectly balanced, exciting to read—and hard to sell, lol. But if you like smart books with great characters, give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Question – have you seen The Princess Bride or another movie, television show, or play that combines two or more genres? What did you think?

Giveaway! Two readers will receive an ebook copy of Night’s Caress, the Ancients book 1 from (if US) or a pair of signed bookmarks (if non-US).

Mary Hughes

Mary Hughes

I write wickedly fun romantic adventures and steamy paranormal romances, stories that crackle with action and love. Challenging, alpha men--and women not afraid of a challenge. Oh, do the sparks fly when he meets THE woman guaranteed to infuriate and inflame him most. In real life I'm an author, a spouse and mother, a flutist, a computer geek, and a binge-TV-watcher of The Flash, Elementary, NCIS, and Wynonna Earp.

13 thoughts on “What to Do If You Don’t Fit – Lessons from The Princess Bride”

  1. Jane Early says:

    I read Christine Feehan books, I adore the TV series Firefly and its follow up movie Serenity (western and space), just to name 2

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Jane! Thank you for your comment! I read Christine Feehan too. I love the moment where the Carpathian male sees his mate for the first time and color floods his vision. So powerful!

      Firefly is one of my favorites! Wash and Zoe fan here 🙂

  2. bn100 says:

    saw The Princess Bride

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Hi bn100! Thanks for your comment! Just curious, what did you think of The Princess Bride? Love it, okay, not your cup of tea…?

  3. Sherry says:

    The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies!

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Sherry! Thank you for your comment! I’m so glad to hear that 🙂 It’s one of mine too, which you probably got from the post lol. I only discovered it later, but someday I hope to see it in a cinema.

  4. Donna Antonio says:

    Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. My children and I have bonded over it. I love a good story and if you mix genres so much the better. Think of the comic relief in MASH or Goodnight Vietnam or love and sports in Jerry McGuire.

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Thank you for your comment, Donna! Oh, I adore movies that bond generations. We have a Friday night YouTube night where the children and we share some of our favorites. The movies you mention are great examples of mixing genres!

  5. GB says:

    I saw The Princess Bride and loved it. The mix of action, romance, fantasy and comedy was what made the movie so fascinating to me. However, I didn’t see it for the first time until years after it originally released.

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Thanks for your comment, GB! I was in the same boat as you, I only saw it years later on video. I’d love to see it in a theater some day. I’m so happy to hear you found it was the mix that made it interesting! Me too, as you’ve probably gathered from the post lol

  6. Elizabeth H. says:

    I love The Princess Bride! I’ve seen it many times. I love the mixing of genres, it just makes the story much more fuller and richer.

    1. Mary Hughes says:

      Elizabeth, thanks for your comment! That’s a great observation, that the genre-mixing makes the story richer. The Princess Bride is so rich in so many ways!

  7. Mary Hughes says:

    The two winners of my giveaway are Sherry and GB — congratulations! Your prize is an ebook copy of Night’s Caress, the Ancients book 1 from (if US) or a pair of signed bookmarks (if non-US). Please email me at to claim your prize! Thank you to everyone who commented!!

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