Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Roxanne (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Roxanne (1987)

In director Fred Schepisi's modern romantic comedy - a revisionist updating of Edmond Rostand's late 19th century play Cyrano de Bergerac about a 17th century soldier-duellist and dramatist with a giant nose - with humorist Steve Martin's hopelessly-romantic, Pinocchio-faced character involved in a romantic triangle:

  • the introductory early morning sequence of small-town (Nelson), eccentric, and fearless Washington State fire chief Charlie C. D. Bales (Steve Martin) being ridiculed and insulted by "two coked-up hopheads" for his abnormally large nose as he walked down a town sidewalk ("Quite a hood ornament you got there, pal"); when the two drunks: Drunk # 1 and # 2 (Kevin Nealon and Ritch Shydner) began to cause trouble and called out: "3D comin' at ya," he cleverly warned them: "I really admire your shoes....I love your shoes....And I was just thinking that 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"; when they came at him with ski poles, he fearlessly retaliated and vanquished the pair with martial-arts swipes and flourishes from his tennis racket while keeping tennis score: "Fifteen love, thirty love, forty love, are we having fun yet? Service, Game, let's play again sometime" - and then proceeded on
Two Bullying Drunks in Film's Opening
Vanquishing Them with a Tennis Racquet
  • he walked into town and returned the tennis racket to its owner - his best friend and god-sister Dixie (Shelley Duvall) who owned the town's cafe/diner; when she asked: "What's this stuff on it? Vitalis?", he non-chalantly replied: "Oh no, it's blood"
  • as he left the cafe, he put a coin in a newspaper box on the sidewalk and pulled out the morning paper - after an immediate double-take and scream, he turned back to the box, put in another coin, and returned the paper to the stack
  • at the local firehouse where he was the police chief, CD put out a minor fire in a barrel on the ground floor after exclaiming: "God dammit, we're supposed to put them out"; then he spoke to his negligent fire-fighting team on the upper floor: "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 as their houses are burning down, say: 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department.' That would be bad"
  • at an outside side entrance to the fire station, CD came to the aid of a distressed blonde female who had just locked herself out of her rented house for the summer, when she went to retrieve her cat Grover; she revealed she was nude while hiding behind a bush: ("I don't have any clothes on"); when he asked if she wanted a coat, the female responded with an "ironic" comment that she didn't need a coat: "No, I really like to stand naked in this bush in the freezing cold"; she became exasperated by his non-response and asked a second time for a coat as they walked to her nearby house; he replied: "I thought you said you didn't want a coat" - he added that he didn't understand her irony: "Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no. We don't get that here. See, people ski topless here while smoking dope so irony is 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"; he also quipped: ("I noticed you don't have any tattoos. I think that's a wise choice. I don't think Jackie Onassis would have gone as far if she'd had an anchor on her arm")
  • at the house, he opened his toolbox for the "perfect tool" - a single MasterCard credit card that he unsuccessfully used to pick the door lock ("This lock does not accept Master Charge"); he was forced to effortlessly and acrobatically clamber up to the roof (with a balancing act along a porch railing) to gain entry through an open loft window; afterwards, he invited himself inside and without asking permission began to prepare a shared meal for them in the kitchen of "some cheese and some vegetables au naturel"; she embarrassingly asked: "Maybe you'd like some wine with your nose? -- Cheese!?"; when offered a glass of wine, he struggled to drink from the narrow-mouthed glass, and eventually sucked it up through his nose ("Cheers! Party trick!"); she introduced herself as Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah), a beautiful and extremely smart astronomy graduate student who was secretly studying comets
Preparing a Meal in Roxanne's House
Struggling to Drink From a Narrow Wine Glass
Roxanne Marveling at His Nose
  • at the town's local bar 279, Roxanne was noticed by many males, including newly-arrived handsome and hunky "pro" firefighter Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich); Roxanne showed some interest in the painfully-shy fireman with limited intelligence from afar; when approached by a second fireman named Chuck (John Kapelos) and invited to go hot-tubbing, she cleverly responded to the "maestro's" come-on: "Well, if I do change my mind, you'll know because my breasts will be heaving and moist with perspiration"; she told Sandy (Shandra Bari), the bartender: "I just want to meet someone with half a brain"
  • another night at the bar brought the film's classic scene of "20 Nose Insults" - a marvelous verbal retort/monologue comeback scene in a crowded bar-room in which long-nosed, witty, modern-day love-lorn Cyrano de Bergerac, CD Bales challenged a boorish, obnoxious, and husky drunk bully named Jim (Thom Curley) who had called him "Big-Nose"; as he was cheered on, CD suggested twenty (actually 25!) better, more imaginative nasal insults for his own oversized nose: ("Obvious: Excuse me, is that your nose, or did a bus park on your face; Meteorological: Everybody take cover, she's going to blow!; Fashionable: You know, you could de-emphasize your nose if you wore something larger, like Wyoming; Personal: Well, here we are, just the three of us; Punctual: All right, Dellman, your nose was on time, but you were fifteen minutes late; Envious: Ooh, I wish I were you. Gosh, to be able to smell your own ear; Naughty: Pardon me, sir, some of the ladies have asked if you wouldn't mind putting that thing away; Philosophical: You know, it's not the size of a nose that's important, it's what's in it that matters; Humorous: laugh and the world laughs with you; Sneeze, and it's goodbye, Seattle! Commercial: Hi, I'm Earl Scheib, and I can paint that nose for $39.95! Polite: uh, would you mind not bobbing your head? The, uh, orchestra keeps changing tempo; Melodic: Everybody. He's got... (everyone singing) the whole world in his nose; Sympathetic: Ooh, what happened? Did your parents lose a bet with God?; Complimentary: You must love the little birdies to give them this to perch on; Scientific: Say, does that thing there influence the tides?; Obscure: Whoa, I'd hate to see the grindstone!... Inquiry: When you stop and smell the flowers, are they afraid?; French: Zee pigs have refused to find any more truffles until you leave! Pornographic: Finally, a man who can satisfy two women at once!... Religious: the Lord giveth - and He just kept on giving, didn't He?; Disgusting: Say, who mows your nose hair?; Paranoid: keep that guy away from my cocaine!; Aromatic: it must wonderful to wake up in the morning and smell the coffee - in Brazil; Appreciative: Oooh, how original! Most people just have their teeth capped"); he ended with an insult for the bully himself: "Dirty: your name wouldn't be Dick, would it?"; and then added: "You flat-faced, flat-nosed, flat-head!"; he deflected a punch, then knocked him out (with a delayed response) to the floor and asked: "Has he fallen yet?"
"25 Nose Insults" for Bully in Bar
Jim - the Bully
In the Audience: Roxanne with Dixie (Shelley Duvall)
CD's Retorts
  • during lunch at the diner, CD admitted to Dixie that he was homely, and didn’t expect anybody to ever fall in love with him because of his nose: "Sometimes I take a walk at night and I see couples walking, holding hands and I look at them and I think: 'Why not me?' Then I catch my shadow on the wall"; Sandy came over to their table - and told CD that Roxanne was in love with him - but didn't know it herself: ("And I think she's fallen in love, but she doesn't know it yet")
  • although told not to stare at or mention the Fire Chief's nose multiple times, when Chris met him for the first time in the pool room area of the fire station, he was amazed by the sight of his gigantic nose; CD used it to hypnotize Chris: "It's hypnotic, isn't not?" - Chris responded: "It's huge! It's enormous, it's gigantic. And they said it was big, but I didn't expect it to be BIG"; the onlooking firemen fled the scene, fearing CD's reprisal
  • to the tune of Strauss' waltz, the clownish volunteer fire brigade was humorously drilled and practiced with high-velocity fire hoses by beefy "pro" Chris and CD; the men were instructed to move in concert to the music as they maneuvered the hose together ("The secret to moving a hose is in the rhythm")
  • during a scene of double-talk, CD interpreted Roxanne's feelings of love (for a man she should "get to know better," someone who liked her too who was "interesting, different, intelligent, handsome") as referring to himself, when she was really speaking about Chris; he was taken aback and realized his error when she revealed: "I've only seen him a few times. We've never even spoken. We just exchanged a couple of goofy looks....He works for you. His name's Chris McConnell"
  • the scene of CD's visit to his cosmetic surgeon (Brian George) where he demanded an excisement of his nose ("rhinoplasty"): "This time I want you to do it, Dave. I want you to cut the thing off! I am tired of having a magnificent, fabulous, interesting nose. I want a cute, little pert, little petite, little button nose. Give me the American beauty, Dave....Get the knife, cut me Dave, cut it!"; but the medical physical refused: "I can't. Allergies to anesthetics are very, very dangerous; you know that; you've had problems before"; CD added: "I want to look like Diana Ross"; the surgeon tried to convince CD of the reason for his nose's existence: "Have you ever thought that you were born with this nose for a reason?"; CD responded: "Oh yeah, like opening Coke bottles"; in the end, CD settled for looking through nose cards one more time, to fantasize in a mirror what it would be like to have a smaller nose; he pretended he was suavely speaking to a female: "Hey there, darling, I haven't seen you in a while"
  • while speaking to Chris about his fear of Roxanne's intelligence, Chris became emboldened: "What am I afraid of her for? She's no rocket scientist", but CD informed him: "Well, actually, she is a rocket scientist"; Chris decided to compose a letter to her
  • CD's visit to a cosmetics store where he deceptively told the clerk (Maureen Murphy) about a third-person female who needed help about an extra-large feature: "She has this feature that she would like to de-emphasize" - he was instructed on how to apply eye shadow: "She would just shade the area of the feature to make it look - it would appear to be more shadows and less actual acreage - I mean area"
  • Chris' first letter to Roxanne was elementary and unromantic, but took him all afternoon to compose: "Dear Roxanne, how's it going? Want to have a drink sometime? If you do, check this box"; Chris requested that CD ghost-write a letter for him to request a date - while imagining what he felt about her
  • during Chris' arranged date with Roxanne, as CD hid in a van and watched through binoculars, CD vicariously wooed Roxanne on an outdoor porch by communicating with his normally tongue-tied, vacuous romantic rival Chris through an ear-piece (conspicuously hidden by a hunter's cap) to help him know exactly what to say; Chris began with flowery words: "Oh yes, it is an exquisite evening. Filled with mysterious portents. Magic and romance," but then became nervous when Roxanne asked: "Why are you wearing that hat?"; CD fed him an excuse: "Because tonight, I am a hunter. Hunting for words"; Chris called her not "defenseless" prey like a rabbit, but a "lioness"; he continued: "Alert and sensitive to every mis-step....Therefore, I must move silently, moving in toward you....My hand out reaching to..." - but then the ploy failed when the radio transmission picked up a police band, and he blurted out: "Car 3! Car 3! Proceed to the 279..."; he recovered slightly, adding: "Confirm my feelings...because there is a heart here that wants yours to know that there's a possible 502 on Main. Proceed to Main, confirm..."; she complimented him on his letter that earlier she had said was: "Strange and intelligent .and sexual": ("Where'd you learn to write like that?") - but he only stammered: "The usual places"; when forced to use his own words instead of Barry Manilow song lyrics ("Why do birds suddenly appear every time you're near?"), he blurted out: "You-you have a great body. Your knockers, your - no, not your knockers, your breasts, your breasts are like, uh, melons, not melons, like, uh pillows. Can I- can I fluff your pillows? Uh, maybe?...June '85?...Weren't you Playmate of the Month - June '85?" - she fled into her house
  • to recover from the embarrassing incident, CD proposed that Chris romanticize Roxanne from outside her house (similar to the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet), while he hid in the bushes to suggest in whispers (and charade-like gestures) what to say; Chris apologized for his rude behavior: "I was an idiot, Roxanne...I was a stupid, bumbling...stupid-ass"; when cued to say he was afraid of "words," he mistakenly told her: "Because I was afraid of worms!"; exasperated with Chris, CD took over, wore Chris' jacket, and impersonated him; using flowery words, he impressed Roxanne but she was suspicious ("Your voice sounds different") and wanted to see him, but CD declined: "Only my voice, you don't need to see me, just, just listen to me" - he capped off his words with: "I am in orbit around you, I am suspended weightless over you like, like the blue man in the Chagall, just hovering, hanging over you in a delirious kiss"; he hinted at his identity: "I am and I will always be the one who loved you without limits...This is my whole life right now. Standing here talking to you like this. Saying things I've wanted to say, but couldn't...because I was afraid of having you laugh at me"; Chris encouraged CD to seduce her by having her admit she had fantasized about him in bed: "Lying back into your bed with me...You and I would be connected by a tunnel of light" - and she agreed to have sex with a simple one-word assent: "Yes!"; Chris rushed into the house
  • on his way home in a very creepy sequence, CD fell out of a tree in front of a group of four elderly ladies to describe his recent alien abduction: "They brought me home!...I was walking along, a spacecraft landed right in front of me...You never saw so many lights! It was like Broadway! Then this door opened. A creature came out, had big suckers on his palms! He walked like this. (he demonstrated) Then he took his palms, put 'em right on my face. Took me over to Roxanne's house. He said they wanted to observe me....That's where they are right now!...You think I'm nuts, don't you? They wanted to ask me about older women....Because they wanted to have sex with them....Here! Right here in Nelson. They wanted to start a colony of supermen who would have sex with older women because they said, and I quote: 'They really know what they're doing'"; the ladies forgot about a Friday night TV episode of Dallas, as Dottie (Jane Campbell) expressed the group's views: "Oh, girls, girls! Do you actually believe that there are creatures from outer space who want to have sex with older women? Let's go and check it out!"
  • during a one-week absence by Roxanne, Chris had hooked up with Sandy, the bartender, who was more compatible with him, while CD continued to write many love letters to Roxanne without Chris' knowledge (3 each day for six days to her hotel); during Roxanne's trip, Dixie bluntly advised CD to tell Roxanne of his love for her ("Tell Roxanne that you love her"); CD admitted he had metaphorically made love to her already - through his words - "it was sort of me...It just wasn't the actual me who did, uh, the, uh honors"
  • when Roxanne returned, in her bedroom, she told Chris that she wanted to know his "real" self after so many wonderful love letters: "The one I spoke to at the window," but he couldn't meet her expectations; he turned nauseous and fled from her; she was not aware that Chris was on the verge of leaving town with Sandy, who had taken a new more lucrative job as a cocktail waitress in Tahoe, and was too cowardly to tell her in person; before leaving town, he wrote her a 'Dear John' letter
  • in a confrontational sequence with CD, Roxanne now knew (through Dixie) that the love letters from Chris had been deceptively written by him - in different handwriting; and he had been Chris' voice the whole time: "It was your voice that night under the balcony. Chris did not write those letters, you did. All this time, right there in front of me, and I couldn't even see you. You bastard! How could you trick me like that?" - she expressed her fierce anger at CD by punching him in the nose
  • when he claimed she should have realized the trick sooner, she responded: ("When you're getting love letters, you don't go around trying to compare the signature to the handwriting"); he accused her of wanting to be duped and believe the romantic fantasy of Chris' physical attractiveness: "You wanna know why? Cause you wanted to believe it. You wanted it all. All the romance and all the emotion, all wrapped up in a cute little nose and a cute little ass!"; he was angry that she had so quickly hopped into bed with Chris - due to his own effective seduction: "You went to bed with him on your first date....You still went to bed with him awfully fast! A few frilly words and you're counting ceilling tiles"; she retaliated by felling that CD was too dishonest and duplicitous in telling her of his love: ("You sure have a lousy way of telling someone") - and threw him off her porch; however, she came out momentarily to ask what he yelled at her, thinking he had said: "Earn more sessions by sleeving" - instead of "Ten more seconds and I'm leaving"
Roxanne Realizing She Had Been Tricked
CD Angrily Punched in the Face
CD Had Been Impersonating Chris' Love All Along
  • CD left the porch - and back in front of the fire-house, he sniffed: "There's a fire somewhere" - he employed his unique nose to "follow" and discover an unreported hidden fire in a barn in town ("We got a burner, boys!"); after the successful fire-fight, the town celebrated ("We beat this fire by a nose!") and Mayor Deebs (Fred Willard) toasted: "I would rather be with the people of this town than with the finest people in the world"
  • in the film's happy conclusion, as CD sat on his rooftop later that night, Roxanne finally expressed her real love for CD and an appreciation of his true gifts with a heartfelt, romantic speech: ("When I close my eyes, I see you again and again. Your eyes, your face, the way you walk. Your style, your wit and your nose, Charlie"); she said she wasn't in love with Chris, but with the person who was the author of many love letters to her: ("I went inside and I thought what it was about Chris that attracted me. It wasn't the way he looked. Well, that's not true, at first it was the way he looked. But it was how he made me feel. He made me feel romantic, intelligent, feminine. But it wasn't him doing that to me, it was you. All these other men, Charlie, they've got flat, featureless faces. No character, no fire, no nose. Charlie, you have a big nose. You have a beautiful, great, big, flesh and bone nose. I love your nose. I love your nose, Charlie. I love you, Charlie (pause) Well?"); disbelieving at first, he responded: "Are you kidding?" and then slid down his roof and performed a full-body forward flip to the ground to be next to her
  • after a few awkward moments of finding the right angle and having him tilt his head to the right, she kissed him; he spoke the film's last line of dialogue outside his locked front door: "Oh, it's locked! It's locked! Oh! Oh. Thank God, I have a key"; they entered and kissed again
Tilted Kiss
  • during the credits in voice-over, she revealed that she had named the comet that she was studying "Charlie" (CD's first name) - but it was after her father: ("By the way, I named the comet....Comet Charlie...It's my dad's name")

Introductory Profile and Straight-On View of C.D. Bales (Steve Martin)

Dixie (Shelley Duvall) in The Cafe Examining Her Bloody Tennis Racket

Putting Out A Blaze in the Fire Station With a "I Have a Dream" Speech

Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) - Nude and Locked Out of Her House - She Summoned CD for Help at the Fire Station

CD Climbing Onto Roxanne's Roof - With a Balancing Act

Becoming Acquainted

With Dixie and Sandy (the Bartender)

Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich) - His First Meeting with CD and His Hypnotic Nose

Montage: Brigade Training to the Tune of Strauss' Waltz

At the Plastic Surgeon's Office - Demanding His Nose Be Removed

Viewing Nose Cards

Speaking to Cosmetologist

Chris' Arranged Date with Roxanne - "Hunting For Words" With Coaching From CD

"Your breasts are like melons...Can I fluff your pillows?"

Balcony Scene - Roxanne's First Words: "Go away!"

Chris: "I was afraid of worms!"

CD's Impersonation of Chris to Roxanne

CD's Description of His Alien Abduction to Old Ladies

Chris' Flirtations with Bartender Sandy

The Image of CD Letting a Bird Perch on His Nose

Chris Leaving Town with Sandy for Tahoe

Reconciled With Roxanne on His Rooftop: "I love your nose, Charlie! I love you, Charlie!"


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