MCM: Cary Elwes


Cary Elwes stole our hearts as Westley, but he’s had a long career in the period movie business both before and after The Princess Bride. In honor of his birthday on October 26th, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of his historical movies!


Another Country (1984) – Tommy Judd

Set in the early 1930s, Cary Elwes plays the schoolboy love interest of Guy Bennett (Rupert Everett) in a film that was loosely based on the early life of radio producer/intelligence officer/Soviet spy Guy Burgess.

Another Country Year 1984 Director Marek Kanievska Rupert Everett Cary Elwes


The Bride (1985) – Josef

A retelling of the 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein, Cary Elwes has a somewhat minimal appearance as Captain Josef Schoden. So brief, in fact, that the only images I can find of him in this movie online are these two small gifs:

cary_elwes-the-bride1 cary_elwes-the-bride2


Lady Jane (1986) – Guildford Dudley

Cary Elwes is cute, blond, and sporting some impressively bad hair even by 1980s standards as the husband of England’s nine-days-Queen Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter). Still, we hold a special place in our hearts for this film and it’s loosely-factual retelling of the last year of Jane’s life.



Maschenka (1988) – Ganin

Based on Vladimir Nabokov’s semi-autobiographical novel, Ganin has fled to Berlin during the Russian Revolution and ends up encountering his former love, sending him on a reverie of memory of the country he left behind.



The Princess Bride (1988) – Westley

Arguably Cary Elwes’ breakout role as the “poor, but perfect” farm boy-turned-swashbuckling pirate in the adaptation of William Goldman’s classic novel. True confession time: I was about the same age as the kid that Fred Savage plays in the film when it came out and I absolutely resisted seeing it because, and I quote, “it’s a kissing movie.” True story.



Glory (1989) – Maj. Cabot Forbes

Cary Elwes portrayed Union officer Maj. Cabot Forbes, the white second-in-command of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first all-Black regiment formed during the early part of the Civil War. The film garnered Denzel Washington an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, as well as winning both Cinematography and Sound categories.



Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Lord Arthur Holmwood

Poor Arthur Holmwood… It has to suck to be the one to drive a steak through your fiancée’s heart. You can listen to our Bram Stoker’s Dracula podcast for more details on what we thought about the costumes.



Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) – Robin Hood

Mel Brooks’ fabulous send-up of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has Cary Elwes playing the leader of the Merry Men whose only real qualification for the job is his authentic British accent and a campy Errol Flynn impersonation.



The Jungle Book (1994) – Boone

This Disney live-action re-telling of the classic The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling is notable for the fact that Cary Elwes still looks damn fine as the douchey fiancé of Kitty, the film’s heroine.



Shadow of the Vampire (2000) – Fritz Arno Wagner

This fictionalized account of making Nosferatu (1922) attempts to straddle the line between surreal comedy, art house, and drama… It’s a weird film. Enjoyable, but weird. Cary Elwes is Fritz Wagner, a cinematographer brought in to replace the previous cameraman who is dying of a mysterious affliction possibly caused by the star of the film, Max Schreck.



The Cat’s Meow (2001) – Thomas Ince

Cary Elwes looks smashing in this film based on the true story of a mysterious death aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1922.



What’s your favorite Cary Elwes role? Share it with us in the comments!


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

11 Responses

  1. Lyn Robb

    Wesley will always be “the role” for him for me. What about Mathew Broderick who I thought was the pivotal role in Glory?

  2. MoHub

    Westley is number one, but I have to admit that Guildford Dudley is the role that first turned me into an Elwes fangirl.

  3. Maria

    I would have to say that Westley is my favorite with Guildford Dudley in second and Maj. Cabot Forbes in third – I also like him in some of the more contemporary movies he’s done – I just think he’s an easy actor to like and follow

  4. brocadegoddess

    Team Wesley all the way, I fear. But I’ve always felt it unfair that he didn’t become a huge, huge star. He was so, so beautiful and so, so funny!

  5. Amy

    Westley all the way. I am also partial to his part in Shadow of the Vampire, but that was the movie that we saw on the first date my husband and I went on. It is a weird film but I love it and we watch it sometimes for sentimental reasons.


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