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.
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:
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 (1987) – 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!