The Princess Bride definitely wasn't the first romance rife with corrupt authority, innocent love, dueling, and quirky friends of the cause. It wasn't even the first of that '80s generation. Two years before inconceivable stories of true love, there was Richard Donner's Ladyhawke.

As much as I love the story of Wesley and Buttercup, theirs wasn't an iconic love. Sure, it was described as such -- and Wesley may have fought off death in the name of it -- but it was a movie of sweetness, not passionate, gut-wrenching love. That was saved for Captain Etienne Navarre and Isabeau d'Anjou -- the wolf and the ladyhawke. No voiceover needed to explain their attraction. It was there, even as their human form was not, in every tortured look. Navarre and Isabeau are the first iconic cinematic couple that my mind can remember, and their fleeting moment between transformations is a scene that was burned into my memory immediately, and has stayed with me these 24 years later -- as if I saw it yesterday. (Catch it after the jump.)

Trivia:
Did you know that Kurt Russell was originally tapped for Navarre, and Donner wanted Rutger Hauer to play the evil captain?

As for Michelle Pfieffer, not too long after that, she found her Dangerous Liaisons, which led her to Stephen Frears and, ultimately, this week's new release -- Chéri. Still, to me, at least some part of her will always be Isabeau, cursed to spend her days as a hawke on the arm of her love.