Roxanne (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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. Rostand is mentioned in the opening credits.


C.D. "Charlie" Bales, the fire chief of the small ski town of Nelson, Washington is an intelligent, humorous, charismatic, athletic and skilled man. Regardless, he is rather sensitive about his abnormally large nose, which many in town have learned not to talk about; he cannot have it surgically altered due to a dangerous allergy to anesthetics. Still, he is close to many residents, especially his god-sister, Dixie, who owns the town diner and several rental homes. When the beautiful Roxanne Kowalski, a graduate student in astronomy, arrives to search for a new comet during the summer, he, as many others in town, becomes immediately attracted to her. She adores C.D., but only as a friend, preferring Chris, a handsome but dim-witted fireman, newly arrived in town to train the local firefighters, who are quite incompetent.

Roxanne goes to C.D. for help when Chris fails to advance their relationship further than curious glances. After seeing him pick up a book by Sartre for a friend, she wrongly believes Chris is deeply intelligent. When C.D. informs Chris of Roxanne's interest, Chris feels sick as he is intimidated by intelligent women. Chris starts to write her a letter, but takes all day with little result. He convinces C.D. to write the letter, with prose that soon woos Roxanne. When informed that Roxanne wants to meet him, Chris again feels sick and refuses to meet until C.D. 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 C.D.'s 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 C.D. to fix his mess again. At first he attempts to repeat what he's being prompted from under a tree beneath Roxanne's window, but soon also ruins that. Then they switch jackets and hats so C.D. can speak 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. She tells C.D. first since she had shared the possibility with him. She asks if Chris is around, but since he isn't, she gives the address of her hotel and asks him to tell Chris to write her. Instead if informing Chris, C D. writes her several times a day, each letter more incredible than the last. As C.D is writing a new letter to her in Dixie's diner, he is told Chris is on his way to see Roxanne since she returned early. He arrives at her home and after a game of ding dong dash, 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. Feeling ill due to knowing that his looks are all he has, Chris runs out, leaving her confused. Dixie puts the last letter under Roxanne's door and after reading it, Roxanne calls C.D. over.

Chris prepares to leave town with bartender Sandy, whom he met while Roxanne was away. When she asks if he has told Roxanne (the women are acquaintances), he replies that he will write her a letter since he has a history of it.

C.D. arrives, unaware that Roxanne knows the truth. She asks him to read one of the letters and then to look at the back, which shows that Dixie revealed its true author. She explodes in anger that he lied to her. He retorts that he simply wanted to tell her how he felt about her, but she was only interested in Chris's attractiveness. When he reminds her that it only took a few nice words for Chris to get her into bed, she punches him in the face and throws him out. As he prepares to say more, he stops and sniffs the air. He slowly walks back to the firehouse and alerts his team, who then "follow his nose" until they find and extinguish a fire in a barn that if not contained, could burn down the entire town. During their celebration afterwards, someone mentions his nose and although everyone thinks CD will get upset, he doesn't.

Back home, sitting on his roof, Bales hears someone speaking his words to him. It's Roxanne, declaring that she realized that it was C.D.'s personality that she loved, not Chris' looks. After she declares her love, C.D. stylishly descends from the roof and they reconcile. During the credits, she reveals that she named the comet "Charlie" (C.D.'s first name), but after her father.


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