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Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
~ Inigo Montoya's most famous quote

Inigo Montoya is the tritagonist of William Goldman's 1973 novel The Princess Bride.  He is a swordsman who seeks to kill a mysterious six-fingered man, who killed his father. In both the book and the movie, he resided in the fictional country of Florin but came from Spain.

In Rob Reiner's 1987 film adaptation, he was portrayed by Mandy Patinkin, who also portrayed Jason Gideon in the first two seasons of Criminal Minds.

Background

In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya is portrayed as a Spanish fencer and henchman to the Sicilian criminal Vizzini. Inigo's father Domingo was a great sword maker, but he remained obscure because he disliked dealing with the rich and privileged. When Count Rugen, a nobleman with a six-fingered right hand, asked him to forge a sword to accommodate his unusual grip, Domingo poured his heart and soul into the project. When Rugen returned, he reneged on his promised price. Thus, Domingo refused to sell him the sword as a matter of principle, saying he would give the sword to Inigo because the boy would appreciate the hard work and craftsmanship that went into making it. In response, Rugen stabbed Domingo in the heart, killing him. Enraged and heartbroken, 11-year-old Inigo challenged Rugen to a sword fight, wherein Rugen easily disarmed Inigo; he spared the boy's life and allowed him to keep the sword, but scarred his face to "teach him a lesson".

Devastated by the loss, Inigo devoted himself to becoming a great swordsman so he could one day kill the six-fingered man and avenge his father. His training started the next year, which included tutelage under the most skilled fencing masters of his time. In the 30th anniversary version of "The Princess Bride", it is revealed that, while training for his revenge against Count Rugen, Inigo falls in love with a servant girl. He woos her, and she reveals that she is a Countess and is in love with him as well. The two dance, and it is implied that Inigo leaves the next day. After ten years of training, Inigo becomes the greatest swordsman of his generation and the only living man to hold the rank of "wizard" (a fictional fencing rank above "master").

In The Princess Bride

Unable to find his father's killer and fearing that he would never fulfill his quest, Inigo sinks into depression and alcoholism before the criminal Vizzini finds him and takes him into his mob, along with a Turk named Fezzik, who becomes Inigo's best friend. They are hired by an unknown man to kidnap and kill the "princess bride", Buttercup. Subsequent events lead to Inigo's duel with the "Man in Black" (Westley), an extended sequence in both the book and the movie, in which both contestants begin fencing left-handed and eventually convert to their dominant right hands as the contest intensifies.

Westley eventually bests Inigo in the battle, but spares his life (knocking Inigo unconscious instead) out of respect for his abilities. When Inigo regains consciousness, he enters the thieves' quarter of a major city, falls into depression, and becomes a useless drunkard once more. Eventually, Fezzik finds him and helps him regain his health. They eventually rescue Westley from Rugen's torture chamber, but find to their chagrin that he appears to be dead. In desperation, they take him to Miracle Max, the king's former "miracle man", who tells them that Westley is only "mostly dead". Inigo persuades Max to help by appealing to Max's hatred of Prince Humperdinck, who had fired him, and they bring Westley back to life.

That night, Inigo joins Westley to fight Humperdinck, and finally confronts his father's killer with the words he had waited half his life to say: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." He chases Rugen throughout the castle until Rugen suddenly throws a knife at him and seriously wounds him, mocking his quest as he prepares to deliver the fatal blow. At the last second, Inigo recovers his strength and duels his father's murderer, repeating his fateful words as he corners Rugen, inflicting on him the same dueling scars. Rugen begs for his life and offers to give Inigo anything he wants before trying to attack him again; Inigo replies, "I want my father back, you son of a bitch," and kills him. At the end of the film, having avenged his father and thus no longer in "the revenge business," Inigo ponders what he will do with the rest of his life. In response, Westley offers Inigo the position of his successor as "The Dread Pirate Roberts." The novel ends with Inigo's wounds reopening while he is on the run from the Brute Squad, leaving his future in doubt.

Trivia

  • The scene in which Inigo duels and kills Rugen was ranked by Imagine Games Network as #86 in their list of "Top 100 Movie Moments". Mandy Patinkin has said that his inspiration for the line, "I want my father back, you son of a bitch", was his father's recent death after a long battle with cancer; he pretended he was talking to the disease itself.

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