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The Spinal Tap Easter Egg You Never Noticed In The Princess Bride

Nearly four decades after its release, Rob Reiner's immaculate fantasy rom-com The Princess Bride continues to be the cinematic gift that keeps on giving. Not that anyone ever really needs a reason to revisit the 1987 masterpiece, but it seems die-hard fans of the film and Reiner's 1984 feature debut, the hard-rocking O.G. mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, have spotted an easter egg connecting the two titles in supremely clever fashion. 

It's a surprise to find a connection between these flicks, if only because they're on decidedly disparate ends of the cinematic spectrum, with only Reiner's keen comedic sensibilities seemingly connecting them. Well, there's that, plus the appearance of Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap star (and mockumentary heir apparent) Christopher Guest, who joined the cast of The Princess Bride as the vile Count Rugen. It turns out, however, that another This Is Spinal Tap icon made a cameo in The Princess Bride, though one could be forgiven for overlooking it even after a dozen or so screenings.

The cameo in question belongs to the US Navy hat Rob Reiner sported throughout much of This Is Spinal Tap. The funnyman appeared in the Spinal Tap movie as Marty DiBergi, the director of the faux documentary about the faux heavy metal band at the center of the hilarious action. As for Marty DiBergi's blue and gold USS Ooral Sea OV-4B cap, it made its unexpected appearance in The Princess Bride hanging over the bed of the sickly youngster (Fred Savage) being regaled with the amorous adventures of the former farmboy Westley (Cary Elwes) and the fair Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) in the film.  

There's a good reason Reiner's Spinal Tap hat turned up in The Princess Bride

If you're now wondering whether the presence of Reiner's hat in both This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride implies the films share some sort of shared cinematic universe, it appears the director had no real intention of connecting them via that hat. As such, all of you "The Grandson's dad is Marty DiBergi" conspiracy theorists can go ahead and lay that little beauty to rest. 

It turns out Reiner actually had far more practical reasons to drop that USS Ooral Sea hat into frame on The Princess Bride: Because it was the only way he could convince Mark Knopfler to compose the score for the film.

As the Reiner related in the audio commentary on on The Princess Bride's special edition DVD, he met the Dire Straits frontman some time after This Is Spinal Tap was released, and Knopfler was quite the fan of the film. When Reiner set out to helm The Princess Bride, he approached Knopfler to pen the score. Knopfler was keen on the idea, but would only agree to compose for The Princess Bride if Reiner would find a spot in the film for a This Is Spinal Tap reference.

Though Knopfler would later claim the request as a joke, Reiner actually agreed to the arrangement. Unfortunately, he'd lost track of the infamous cap after wrapping This Is Spinal Tap. Sans the actual item, the director had to have it recreated by his props team for its big moment in The Princess Bride. 

Nonetheless, Reiner got it done, and got the great Mark Knopfler to make some seriously beautiful music for what many consider to be the most perfect, if surprisingly adult-themed, fantastical romantic comedy ever produced.