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Film Friday: Cliffs of Insanity (The Princess Bride)


May 2, 2014 by Amanda

To normal tourists, they are known as the Cliffs of Moher, the most-visited natural attraction in Ireland.

But to Princess Bride fans? To us, they are the Cliffs of Insanity.

Cliffs of Insanity

Screen capture from The Princess Bride

Even though it might seem inconceivable that those imposing cliffs seen in the film are real and not computer-generated, they really do exist! And, yes, you can see them for yourself.

Cliffs of Moher

In The Princess Bride, the Cliffs of Insanity are first seen from afar by Vizzini (the Sicilian) as a sheer rock face. Vizzini, Fezzik (the giant), and Inigo Montoya (the one with the dead father) scale the Cliifs with a captive Princess Buttercup in tow – but the hero Westley is not far behind them. Westley ends up scaling the cliffs by hand after the bad guys cut the rope, and fights both Inigo and Fezzik at the top.

Westley at Cliffs of Insanity

Screen capture from The Princess Bride

Princess Bridge Cliffs of Insanity

Screen capture from The Princess Bride

While you won’t find the ruinous landscape from the film fight sequence atop the real Cliffs of Moher, the cliffs themselves DO look the same. They rise more then 700 feet out of the crashing Atlantic Ocean, and definitely look like something straight out of a fairy tale.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

From the top, you can get close to the edge and imagine someone actually trying to climb up them.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland



The Cliffs of Moher are located on the western shore of Ireland in County Clare, but can be easily reached from just about anywhere in the country (I, for example, took a day trip from Dublin). There is a visitor’s center to explore, as well as quite a few walking tracks that stretch from one end of the Cliffs to the other. There’s even a round stone tower to climb if you feel the urge to unleash your inner Princess Buttercup or Westley.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland


Who wants to visit the Cliffs of Insanity?



  1. Alouise says:

    I love the Princess Bride, but I never realized that the Cliffs of Insanity were actually the Cliffs of Moher. Very cool.
    Alouise recently posted..Seeing the Musical If/Then at The Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York CityMy Profile

  2. Martin says:

    I spent some time tracking down locations where the Princess Bride was filmed after a couple of friends got places as extras in the film as part of the crowd at Florin Castle, which is in fact Haddon Hall, near to Bakewell, Derbyshire, England. When I first saw the film I immediately recognised some of the places, and others appeard familiar to me, but I couldn’t quit figure out where they were.

    The first shot of the farm at Bradley Rocks is a long shot seen from Limestone Way, near to Robin Hood’s Stride, Birchover, Derbyshire. See my photo at the the webpage to see what the location looked like in 2012. The ‘farm’ is just an old derelict barn and a shed which are right next to a public footpath. It took ages for me to track down this location.

    After the sword-fight we see Westley running from Robin Hood’s Stride towards Cratcliff Rocks. See the webpage.

    Westley fights Fezzig (Andre the giant) at Robin Hood’s Stride, close to where the long shot of the farm was taken from. See the and webpages.

    The battle of wits takes place adjacent to Lathkill Dale at the point where it meets Cales Dale, two steep sided limestone valleys a couple of miles from Bakewell. So far I have only photographed this from the far side of Lathkill Dale. I might visit this location in late autumn as in my experience re-photographing locations previously filmed in the past can be frustrated by foliage and the new growth of trees. See the webpage for a photos depicting the general area where the battle of wits takes place.

    After the battle of wits Westley and Buttercup flee across the moors on the edge of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The location is an ancient site called Carl Wark. Higger Tor is visible in the background. Graham Hogg’s photo at the webpage shows this location.

    Buttercup figures out that the Dread Pirate is Wesley at Cavedale in Castleton, Derbyshire. See the,,, and webpages.

    I hope this helps anyone thinking of visiting the locations.

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