The Princess Bride was released in 1987 and it's been nearly 33 years since Cary Elwes played the role of Westley, who turned into the dread pirate who sought to prove his beloved Buttercup's love. It became one of the greatest love stories of its time, but throughout the film, there were multiple quotes that arose that make sense for the business world. Whether unintentional, or meant to educate the public, these are words that are worthy of consideration if you are in charge of a company, or in a leadership position. We've put together a list of the top 20 of the best "Princess Bride" quotes that you can apply to business.
1. "As you wish"
When the story began, the bulk of Westley's responses to princess Buttercup was limited to one consistent reply. As she ordered the farm boy to do a myriad of tasks for her, he would reply, "as you wish," then do what the girl had asked. He polished the saddle of the horse that she rode, he filled the containers with water and did all that she requested. He kept it short and sweet, but his words really meant that he loved her and would do all that she asked of him. He didn't need to use a lot of words to complicate the situation, instead, he signaled a willingness to complete each task, then got to work on them. Even when a subordinate disagrees with management, there are times when the best response is "as you wish."
2. "Why loose your venom on me?"
This is a phrase that relates to most of us who deal with colleagues in the business world. There are times when the office climate gets tense, especially when high stakes situations arise. Tempers become short and it is during these periods that we take our frustrations out on one another. Although we might not use the exact phrase, there are moments when we're left wondering why colleagues or managers take their frustrations out on you.
3. “You mean you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword, and we’ll try and kill each other like civilized people?”
In a business environment, civility is almost a requirement, particularly for companies that serve the public and are required to put their best foot forward. When disagreements erupt among coworkers or competition becomes intense, some turn to unscrupulous means to achieve their work-related goals. While a good dose of competitive spirit can be a great thing for productivity, but in business, it's important to try to avoid giving in to our primal instincts and treat one another civilly, at least with our outward appearances.
4. . “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”
This phrase amounts to taking the best offer on the table even if it's not a good one. In the business world, we're sometimes forced to make a choice between one crappy option or another. A good example is when the usual vendor is out of materials and you have a choice of going with one of two others with one charging a high price for quality products and the other charging a lower price for substandard goods. You make a decision and go with the best option at the time.
5. “I’ll explain and I’ll use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon.”
How often do you find yourself explaining the same procedures to a worker who just doesn't seem to get it? That is when this famous quote from "The Princess Bride " applies. Although you shouldn't tell the person that he or she is a warthog faced buffoon, you certainly may be thinking about it in your private thoughts.
6. "Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."
The worlds of Inigo Montoya have a great deal of meaning in the business world, and in multiple aspects. When you've done one thing your entire life, the notion of retiring from that job, or moving to a new career can be a bit unsettling. Changing careers can be a daunting endeavor, but those who retire often realize that they don't know what to do with the rest of their lives. We're creatures of habit and it's tough to just stop doing what you've done most of your life.
7. "Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts"
This was Westley's reply to Inigo Montoya as he talked about no longer dealing in the business of revenge. It seems that when one door closes in business, there are other options available. On top of that, there is usually someone that offers advice on what you should consider doing in your next business venture.
8. "Life is a pain!"
In business, some days are better than others and some work environments are worse than others. It seems that there is always some problem that arises. Everything from a co-worker or manager's bad mood to a glaring mistake you've made that you've got to own up to and try to fix comes up. There are days, even weeks when in business, life truly is a pain, and this is a quote that applies directly to business. Although it's a pain, we have to keep pushing forward and telling ourselves that better times are coming whether they are or not.
9. "We'll never survive!"
When everything seems to go sour in the business world there are moments when owners of the company or the management can't see a way around the problems. There are a lot of businesses that go under. It's not uncommon for owners, partners, business associates, and staff members to see an ominous problem looming and issue the statement "We'll never survive!"
10. "Nonsense, you're only saying that because no one ever has"
This quote is Westley's response to Buttercup when she doubts the likelihood of their survival as a group of Rodents of Unusual Size is getting ready to attack. Westley adopts a more positive attitude toward the situation. Instead of throwing his hands in the air and giving up, he argues that it's true that nobody ever has survived the situation, but he seems to have the confidence to believe that they both will, in fact, survive. He's not really aware of how dire the situation is when he issues the statement, but he has faith in their ability to overcome any obstacle.
11. "Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist"
In business, there are key people who have to see something to believe it. These are the players in an organization who are the least likely to take advisement in decision making. They rely upon the known facts and disregard rumors until they either see or experience the thing firsthand. In Westley's case, he was proven wrong with a Rodent of Unusual Size pounces upon him right after he has made the statement. It goes to show you that what we think does not alter the facts when it comes to business.
12. "I suppose you think you're brave, don't you?" Buttercup: "Only compared to some."
In business, there are those who are ready, able, and willing to take chances for the possibility of a greater outcome for the company. This could be an investment, a new merger or another kind of business deal. Any risk that is made for the greater good of all, that is based on sound reason and hope for the best amounts to bravery in business. Then you have those who take the safer routes to success, building their businesses more slowly, without taking risks. These are the people who are like Buttercup. They take some calculated risks but in general, their bravery is limited as they're not willing to risk as much as some others.
Vizzini uses the word "inconceivable" continuously throughout the story. He uses this word over and over again, even when it's terribly out of context. This is a word that relates to business because there are some ideas that are simply "inconceivable" such as a ludicrous proposition made to executive leadership. The word gets used a lot in business, but there are also people in the office who make a bad habit of using a single word and, just like Vizzini, it reduces their credibility with others. This quote has a lot of applications for business.
14. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means"
Here is yet another quote from "The Princess Bride" that applies to business. There are quite a few professionals out there who default to a word or a phrase that is outdated and has changed in its meaning. There is usually someone who gets tired of hearing the word or phrase misused and points it out to them. It's often in everyone's best interest that this happens.
15. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die"
This phrase sums up the best way to approach a business meeting. It begins with a salutation and an introduction of you are. Next, it's proper to establish your relationship with the person you're doing business with, why you're there, and finally, what that person should expect from the meeting. It's textbook.
16. "Hey Fezzik, you did something right"
In business, it's usually a good idea to point out to a subordinate or colleague if they've done something right. It encourages more of the same behavior and it serves as a type of reward for a job well done. We all appreciate recognition for our contributions and this can be a valuable tool for management.
17. "I won't let it go to my head"
In business, a little humility can go a long way. This quote was made by Fezzik after Inigo Montoya acknowledged that he actually did something right. When we get a big head and believe that we're invincible in business this isn't a good thing. It's better to not let praise or acknowledgment get to your head in the business world.
18. "We are men of action. Lies do not become us"
This is a true statement when it comes to business. It's important to maintain an honest reputation so those that you deal with when in the business world will be able to put their trust in you. Be a person who is known for taking action and be truthful in all your dealings.
19. "Goodnight, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning."
The Dread Pirate Roberts is the persona that Westley took on after being put out to sea. This quote tells us that people in business who earn a reputation for being shady in their dealings will not be trusted. Even those who have not dealt with you directly will know your reputation and will avoid working with you if at all possible.
20. "Don't rush me sonny, you rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles"
When Miracle Max the Wizard made this statement there was a lot of truth in his words. If you try to rush an important project, you're likely to overlook important details. Any mistakes that you make during a rush job are likely to come back and haunt you later. It's best to take your time to do things the right way the first time around. Few things that are done in a hurry turn out as well as if you had taken your time.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson