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Roxanne (film)

Roxanne
Roxanne1987.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fred Schepisi
Produced by Michael I. Rachmil
Daniel Melnick
Written by Steve Martin
Starring
Music by Bruce Smeaton
Cinematography Ian Baker
Edited by John Scott
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 19, 1987 (1987-06-19)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million (est.)
Box office $40,050,884 (domestic)

Roxanne is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Fred Schepisi and starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. It is a modern retelling of Edmond Rostand's 1897 verse play Cyrano de Bergerac, adapted by Steve Martin.

C.D. "Charlie" Bales, the fire chief of the small ski town of Nelson, British Columbia is intelligent, humorous, charismatic, athletic and skilled. Bales is sensitive about his large nose, which many in town have learned to not mention. He is unable to have it surgically altered because of a dangerous allergy to anesthetics. He is close to many in town, especially his godsister, Dixie, who owns the town diner and several rental homes. He becomes immediately attracted to beautiful newcomer Roxanne Kowalski, an astronomy graduate student renting from Dixie while searching for a new comet during the summer. She adores Bales, but only as a friend, preferring Chris, a handsome but dim fireman.

Roxanne goes to Bales for help when Chris fails to advance their relationship further than curious glances. Through a turn of events, she falsely believes Chris is deeply intelligent. When Bales informs Chris of Roxanne's interest, Chris gets sick, intimidated by intelligent women. Chris starts to write her a letter, but takes all day with little result. He convinces Bales to write the letter, with prose that soon bowls over Roxanne. When informed that Roxanne wants to meet him, Chris again gets sick and refuses to meet until Bales comes up with a plan to allow him to be as brilliant as his letter makes him appear. Chris arrives at Roxanne's house with a hunter's cap on, hiding the earphones that relay Bales' words. When the equipment fails, Chris bungles the meeting by speaking his own crass thoughts. After Roxanne storms back into the house furious, Chris begs Bales to fix his mess again. At first he repeats what he is told from under a tree beneath Roxanne's window, but soon also ruins that. Then they switch jackets and hats so Bales can speak the words as Chris. They achieve their goal, and she invites Chris in to make love.

Roxanne gets word about the comet and has to go out of town for a week. Since she can't find Chris, she gives Bales the address of her hotel and asks him to tell Chris to write to her. Bales writes her several times a day, each letter more incredible than the last. They affect Roxanne so deeply that she returns early. Bales is writing a new letter to her in Dixie's diner when he finds out that Chris (who knows nothing about the letters) is on his way to see Roxanne. He arrives at her home and warns Chris that Roxanne would be mentioning some letters that he supposedly wrote. She tries to get Chris to be the man in the letters, revealing that his looks are only secondary to her. Knowing that his looks are all he has, Chris runs out, leaving her confused. Dixie puts the last letter under her door and after reading it, Roxanne calls Bales over.



Cyrano: "Oh, how you must love the little birds so much that when they come and sing to you, you give them this to perch on."
C.D.: "You must love the little birdies to give them this to perch on."
  • June 19, 1987 (1987-06-19)
  • The historical Cyrano de Bergerac wrote of a journey to the Moon and to the Sun, and Roxanne alludes to this in a scene where Bales jokes about UFOs and aliens. Additionally, that scene mirrors one in the play where Cyrano pretends to fall out of a tree to distract another wooer of Roxanne.
  • The names of all three main characters are based on their counterparts in the play. C.D. Bales has the same initials as Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne's name is a slight alteration of Roxane, and Chris is a diminutive form of Christian.
  • The "20 Nose Insults" speech in the film mirrors a similar speech in the play. It even includes a line from the play:
  • C.D.'s position in the firefighters is similar to Cyrano's leadership of the Gascon Cadets.
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