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Roxanne movie poster
Directed by Fred Schepisi
Produced by Steve Martin (executive producer)
Michael I. Rachmil
Daniel Melnick
Written by Steve Martin
Starring Steve Martin
Daryl Hannah
Rick Rossovich
Shelley Duvall
Music by Bruce Smeaton
Cinematography Ian Baker
Editing by John Scott
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) June 19, 1987
Running time 107 min.
Country United States
Language English

Roxanne is a comedy film released in 1987, starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. It is a modern retelling of the verse play Cyrano de Bergerac, written in 1897 by French author Edmond Rostand. The screenplay was written by Martin.

With L.A. Story and A Simple Twist of Fate, this forms the first installment of a loose trilogy of films written by Martin about love.


Plot summary

In the film, Martin plays C.D. Bales, the fire chief in a small American town in the Pacific Northwest. (Note that C.D. Bales' initials match those of Cyrano de Bergerac.) Bales is witty, acrobatic, and skilled at many things, but he has a very large nose about which he is violently sensitive. He loves the beautiful astronomer, Roxanne Kowalski (Hannah), but she is infatuated with Chris (Rick Rossovich), a handsome but dim fireman. As in the play, Bales is touchy about his perceived ugliness (which he cannot get surgically altered because of a dangerous allergy to anesthetics) and speaks to the object of adoration the only way he can: he writes expressions of love in letter form and allows Chris to present them to Roxanne as if they were his own.

In the end Roxanne receives a letter from Chris telling her that he has left her for another woman. Dixie reveals that the letters that Roxanne thought were written by Chris were indeed truly being written for her by C.D. Bales. When C.D. arrives at her home she confonts him on the subject. C.D. and Roxanne then end up in an argument, she claiming that he was deceiving her and leading her on, while C.D. says that she wanted the perfect man, who was both emotionally and physically beautiful.

In the end C.D. and Roxanne forgive one another and Roxanne confesses her love for C.D. and his characteristic nose. She says that flat nosed people are too boring and bland, and that his nose gives him character.

In the end we see C.D. and Roxanne sitting on the roof of her house, gazing happily at the stars, the comet she has recently discovered clearly visible.

Among the side plots in the movie are: C.D. dealing with the incompetence of his volunteer firemen (whom Chris was brought in to help train), an insult fight between C.D. and a barfly, the appearance of a new comet which Roxanne came to observe, and a cafe owner (Shelley Duvall) who is a friend of both C.D. and Roxanne.



The movie was filmed in the summer of 1986 in the town of Nelson, British Columbia. Steve Martin chose to use the local fire hall on Ward Street as a primary set.

Critical reception

This film is number 71 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".

It also currently holds a 88% (out of a 100%) on Rotten Tomatoes.

"Though its sweetness borders on sappiness, Roxanne is an unabashedly romantic comedy that remains one of Steve Martin's funniest." Consensus on Roxanne

Roger Eberthailed the film as a, "gentle, whimsical comedy", giving it a 3.5/4, saying,

"What makes "Roxanne" so wonderful is not this fairly straightforward comedy, however, but the way the movie creates a certain ineffable spirit."-Roger Ebert

It has also won and been nominated for a number of Awards, including:

References to de Bergerac

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 C.D. jokes about UFOs and aliens.


In the insult fight scene, C.D. had to come up with twenty unique nose jokes. When C.D. called for a count of jokes in the middle, one of his men said that he was up to 14 jokes; he actually had said 19 at that point. But C.D. did come up with six more anyway, making the actual number of jokes on screen 25. Usually one joke is moved to the end when the movie is put in syndication[citation needed], covering the final joke: "Dirty: Your name wouldn't happen to be 'Dick', would it?"

See also

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Roxanne is a comedy film released in 1987, starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. It is a modern retelling of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, written in 1897 by French author Edmond Rostand.

C. D. Bales

  • I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad.
  • Oh, irony! Oh no, we don't get that here. See, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony's not really a high priority. We haven't had any irony here since about '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.

(challenged to come up with 20 insults better than "Big Nose"):

  • "Paranoid: Keep that guy away from my cocaine!"
  • "Religious: The Lord giveth, and he just kept on giving, didn't he?"
  • "Commercial: Hi, I'm Earl Schieb, and I can paint that nose for $39.95!"
  • "Polite: Excuse me, would you mind not bobbing your head? The uh, orchestra keeps changing tempo."
  • "Inquiry: When you stop and smell the flowers, are they afraid?"
  • "Complimentary: You must LOVE the little birdies to give them THIS to perch on."
  • "Melodic, everyone: (the entire bar sings)He's got the WHOLE WORLD, in his nose!"
  • "Obscure: 'Wow, I'd hate to see the grindstone!'"
  • "Dirty: You're name would'nt be Dick, would it?'"


Ralston: Man, whatever you do, don't stare.
Chris McConnell:: Look, I'm not gonna stare, come on.
Jerry: None of us would. But you get there, and you feel yourself not staring.
Ralston: Then you think, "it's obvious I'm not staring." So you look, and you think, "I'm staring." So you say, "this is ridiculous," and you take a GOOD LOOK. And you think, "I'm looking at a man who, when he washes his face, loses the bar of soap." [laughs]
Chris McConnell: Thanks guys, all right.
Ralston: Don't say we didn't warn you.

Dixie: Hey, what about your boyfriend? What was his name?
Roxanne Kowalski: Richard.
Dixie: When's he coming?
Roxanne Kowalski: He's not. He's not coming.
Dixie: What happened?
Roxanne Kowalski: We just ran out of gas. I guess I mistook sex for love.
Sandy: Oh, I did that once. It was great.

C.D. Bales: Let's take a look at that letter...
Chris McConnell: I think it's really good!
C.D. Bales: "Dear Roxanne, how's it going? Want to have a drink sometime? If you do, check this box."

C.D. Bales: You must know about M31.
Roxanne Kowalski: Yeah.
C.D. Bales: Now, see, I like it when they give astronomical objects names, you know, like "Andromeda" and "Saturn" and "Sea of Tranquility." This whole numbering thing is just too boring for us civilians.
Roxanne Kowalski: Do you know how many objects are up there?
C.D. Bales: Well, I know it's over fifty.

[to two drunks that have just made fun of his nose]
C.D. Bales: I really admire your shoes.
Drunk #1: What?
C.D. Bales: I love your shoes.
Drunk #2: What do ya mean?
C.D. Bales: And I was just thinking: as much as I really admire your shoes, and as much as I'd love to have a pair just like them, I really wouldn't want to be IN your shoes at this particular time and place.

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