Charming '80s romantic comedy has innuendo, swearing.
  • Review Date: July 25, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although much of the movie involves deception and pretending to be someone you're not to impress someone else, ultimately characters learn that they're much happier when they're true to themselves and one another. Honesty and self-acceptance are the foundations of lasting love.

Positive role models

C.D. means well but is undermined by self-doubt and insecurity for much of the movie, especially when it comes to romance. He does stand up for himself admirably in one very memorable scene. Chris also doubts himself and his ability to impress Roxanne. Roxanne has high standards when it comes to love; she's a smart, independent woman who doesn't want to settle for less than she deserves.


C.D. uses a tennis racket and his feet to hit and batter two drunk jerks who insult him. He also punches a rude man in a bar and manhandles others who are rude to him.


Frequent innuendo and suggestive language, including in relation to C.D.'s large nose ("finally, a man who can satisfy two women at once"). Roxanne runs around naked after being locked out of her house; no sensitive body parts are seen, but there are glimpses of her bottom. References to oral sex. Characters talk about sex ("I mistook sex for love") and reference things such as Playboy magazine in come-on lines.


Fairly frequent language includes several uses of "s--t," plus "p---y" (once), "bastard," "ass," "hell," "a--hole," "d--k," "horny," "knockers," "goddamn," and more.


References to Playboy magazine.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink wine and beer in bars and restaurants; reference to cocaine in the scene in which C.D. comes up with alternative insults to "big nose." C.D. drinks a slug of alcohol at one point to gird himself for a medical procedure (which doesn't end up happening). Two obviously drunk men insult C.D.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Roxanne is Steve Martin's update of the classic play Cyrano de Bergerac. It's sweet and charming and ultimately has a worthy message about having to believe in yourself to find true love. This 1987 romantic comedy also is edgier than its PG rating might suggest. There's frequent innuendo (some related to the size of Martin's character's nose) and talk of sex (including fleeting oral-sex references), as well as a scene in which costar Daryl Hannah runs around naked after being locked out of her house (no sensitive body parts are shown, but she's clearly nude). Characters also swear ("s--t," "a--hole") and drink socially. Martin's character is sensitive about his unusual facial feature, and he kicks, punches, and otherwise manhandles some of those who insult him. Two of the main characters collaborate on a deception that hurtfully misleads another, but truth and honesty eventually rule the day.

Kids say

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What's the story?

As the intellectual, frequently exasperated fire chief of a quaint small town in Colorado, C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) has found a comfortable niche for himself -- and, overall, acceptance for his unusual facial feature: an extremely long, large nose. Although newcomers occasionally need reminding (sometimes forcefully) that nasal insults won't be tolerated, for the most part C.D. is satisfied with his life. Then smart, beautiful astronomer ROXANNE (Daryl Hannah) comes to town for the summer, throwing C.D. for a loop and leaving him instantly smitten. But his hopes fade in the face of Roxanne's attraction to fellow town newbie Chris (Rick Rossovich), a traditionally handsome firefighter who has his own issues (talking to women makes him so nervous that he runs away). C.D. soon finds himself helping Chris woo Roxanne by proxy, supplying the eloquent words that win her heart -- if not the body that warms her bed. But what happens if the deception is discovered?

Is it any good?


Martin also wrote the screenplay for this updated take on Edmond Rostand's classic play Cyrano de Bergerac, and it's brimming with his brand of witty, whimsical humor. Stand-out comic scenes include C.D.'s epic response to a restaurant patron who dares to call him "big nose" -- C.D. proceeds to come up with 20 better insults, leaving his fellow diners (and audiences) in stitches -- and a sequence in which C.D. and Chris use the fire/police radio to communicate during Chris' date with Roxanne, only to have things go off the rails when an emergency broadcast cuts in.

Roxanne ​also is sweetly, genuinely romantic. C.D.'s expressions of love are so eloquent and heartfelt that you fall for him right alongside Roxanne. If it's somewhat hard to believe that she'd fall for his and Chris' scheme even for a little while, just chalk it up to the mood of magical realism that permeates the whole movie. In C.D. and Roxanne's world, you just might discover true love and a new comet on the same night.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Roxanne's messages. What do Chris and C.D. learn about telling the truth and being themselves? Why is it problematic to start a relationship under false pretenses?

  • What role does sex play in the movie? Do characters treat it seriously, casually, or both? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How does this version compare to the original Cyrano tale?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 19, 1987
DVD release date:December 22, 1998
Cast:Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich, Steve Martin
Director:Fred Schepisi
Studio:Sony Pictures
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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Parent of a 12 year old Written bycrankylibrarian January 3, 2014

Slightly steamy, funny with an impeccable literary pedigree

Anything by Steve Martin is probably a good bet, but this tale of a small town fire chief, his haplessly inept team, and his rivalry with a younger but much dumber stud for a beautiful neighbor is particularly appealing. And what better way to introduce your kids to the classic Cyrano De Bergerac? Admittedly it lacks the bittersweet romance of the source material; on the other hand everyone gets the happy ending they deserve without dying on a battlefield. Some concerns: although Martin's C.D. is far less mindlessly violent than the original character, he takes a bit too much glee in punching out his opponent for my taste. Roxanne is supposed to be an astrophysicist, yet we don't see much evidence of this (she occasionally dons spectacles to look smart and she needs help lugging around a telescope, but that's it).
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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