Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) Poster

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This is the Masterpiece you've waited all your life to see
TexasRedge8 April 2002

This is the ONE film that made Gérard Depardieu a world-wide superstar. Although he was a star in the french cinema for years, Gérard Depardieu was an un-heard-of unknown in the United States prior to the success, and critical acclaim of this french language film. This film also won 2 Academy awards in 1990(best foriegn film, and best costume). If you have ever seen this film then you know that this was the role that Gérard Depardieu was born to play. After seeing this I cannot imagine another actor in the world playing this role but Gérard Depardieu. This movie will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. You cannot help but to experience all of Cyrano's passions and his lust for life, as well as his heartache for never getting Roxanne to fall in love with him,and his anger and embarassment he feels about his self-contiousness about his large nose. As the film moves foward you grow to love the Cyrano de Bergerac charactor as you experience his emotions with him.There is some good battle scenes and some action scenes and even some killing(but what little bloodshed is done in this film -is done with good taste and relavence to the story instead of a bunch of meaningless killing like as seen in other films in this genre). This is about as well done as any film will ever get. I give it 5 out of 5 stars, a perfect film- A masterpiece
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Best adaptation ever
sansay8 January 2006
I saw the first adaptation of Edmond Rostand's novel, the 1950 version with José Ferrer. Despite Ferrer's good acting, it had some things going against it. First it was in English, and the thing is that the whole play is written in verses that rhyme. Of course, you just cannot do that in English. Second, Rostand's story was seriously altered.

Now, with this version we finally get the real Cyrano de Bergerac, a man whose nose is as great as his courage and skill at sword play, his talent at writing beautiful love poetry, and his will to resist all temptation to become the servant of higher powers. We get to follow his adventures, to feel his wonderful love for beautiful Roxane, his attempt to win her love in ways that nobody would ever consider, and his struggle to keep the freedom of his spirit.

I admired the acting, the direction, the lighting, and the costumes. There is so much in this movie to applaud. But the best of it all is that it keeps so close to the original text. I read the play and I just couldn't believe how good this adaptation is. Watch this movie if you have the heart of both a lion and of a lover, and you can appreciate excellent French poetry.
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Hopelessly Romantic?
tomdolly4 April 2001
If you are a hopelessly romantic guy like me, you will love this movie. :) It is very poetic and moving. The english sub-titles forces you to really pay attention to the words, which are the best part of the movie. French IS the language of love, so they say. I bet your girlfriend will like it too! (In case you don't have a girlfriend, you can watch it and think of yourself as a diamond in the rough, romantic, poetic and underappreciated, just Cyrano. :p
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Translated? You don't say.
loki197923 February 2004
The subtitles in this movie are done so well, one almost forgets the movie was done in French. The words seem to glide effortlessly off of Gerard Depardieu's tongue, as if only he were meant to speak them. It almost makes you jealous of Cirano's eloquence. Even those with no appreciation of poetry whatsoever can still find this movie entertaining. The action is enthralling; the cinematography, endearing; the movie, entertaining. A must see film if you enjoy poetry, romance, humor, action, suspense, period pieces, aesthetically pleasing images, theatre, French, English, other languages, large noses, good movies, or any combination of the above. In short, rent it, buy it or steal it. Just make sure you watch it. And don't blame me if you get caught stealing it.
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Non, non, mon cher amour, je ne vous aimais pas!
TechNoir27 August 2003
No, no, my dearest love... I don't love you!

I was just a teenager when I first saw this film. I really didn't know what to expect of a French movie with unknown actors (at least to me by then), with a story I didn't previously know and with the only reference of some Cesar awards. After all, it was an european movie, it was French, it was based in a classic book and with a romantic theme. But something attracted me.

I was shocked.

Actually it was the first movie I ever went to see to the cinema more than once. I purchased it on VHS as soon as I could, and I am getting it on DVD now that it's available in Spain. After all this time, I know by heart almost every scene of the movie, and it keeps on bringing tears to my eyes in the final scenes, no matter how many times I've seen it.

The movie has so many things so nicely put together, it's almost impossible not to be hooked on some of them.

To begin with, I was very surprised with the fact that the whole movie is spoken in verse. I think it was the first time I had ever seen something like that, and it is probably also the last since I can't remember any other movie like this! I don't know how well it was done in English, but I can say it was translated into Spanish awesomely. I can only wonder how beautiful it is in the original French version. Everything is so musically coherent and adequate, that you really enjoy watching the movie spoken in verse. I loved it.

Then there is the absolutely magnificent performance by Gerard Depardieu. He perfectly resembles at every moment the personality of the eager and sometimes naive but at the same time extremely intelligent, romantic, desperate and vulnerable Cyrano. His physical look, his facial expressions, his voice... everything makes him the perfect Cyrano de Bergerac. You really share his suffering and at the same time you admire its strong personality and determination. He makes Cyrano an admirable man, an enjoyable human being. Wonderful.

Apart from that, there is many more things in this movie that make it absolutely enjoyable. The humor. The sets and props, all the environments created. The music. And the story is an absolute classic that many people will feel related to; the struggle of a man than, even though not physically gifted, wants to live and love with no limits... to the person who is not ready to correspond him. Maybe it's the reason why it was so touching for me when I was a teenager, and maybe that's why it still brings tears to my eyes even today :)

All in all, a beautiful romantic tale with great sets and performances and that will touch almost anyone's hearts. My favourite movie of all time, and definetly a classic.
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A beautiful, romantic movie.
Son_of_Mansfield7 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Cyrano De Bergerac remains one of the most tragic romantic heroes of all time. He speaks to those who should have anything they want, but deny themselves everything. This film is a fitting tribute to a larger than life character. It is simple, elegant, and subtle. At the center is a awesome performance by Gerard Depardieu as the tragic renaissance man. The rest of the cast does a fine job as well, including Vincent Perez as Christian and Anne Brochet as Roxane. Roxane is also a very tragic figure. She lives for fourteen years, after the death of her one true love, in mourning being visited by her actual love without knowing. The plot is very complicated with no main character getting an easy ride or coming out happy. This is a film for those who believe that they will never have love, although it may only be in your own mind.
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Deeply moving
Ripe Peach8 February 2001
The film that made me realise that it's OK for guys to cry. Cyrano, as played so convincingly by Depardieu, is a great rollicking hero, not the foppish aristocrat of previous productions. Indeed, it is his larger than life robustness that makes his futile, towering defiance at the resolution so poignant; the ignoble end of a hero is a classic theme, right from Beowulf, through John Wayne's "The Shootist", to 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

The lyricism in the English translation of Cyrano is commendable, the filmmaking technically sound, the sets and choreography well presented. Depardieu's portrayal of the legendary swordsman as a bullish brawler rather than a delicate fencer is an interesting take, and I find it works.

The downside is that the character of Roxanne is so utterly insipid and moronic that you wonder why Cyrano is so taken with her. The tragedy of this Cyrano isn't that his love is unrequited, but that it's so misplaced. An interesting contrast is with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", which replaces the Roxanne character with a peer for the hero, a "companion battleship" as Henry Higgins would say. This makes for an even more heartwrenching story, and makes you realise that Cyrano could have been even better if Depardieu's superb performance had been tempered just a little in favour of a Roxanne who was more worthy of his regard.
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Now That's What I Call Acting!
frankwhat31 October 2004
All I have to say is wow! I think it's safe to say that these French don't mess around when it comes to acting. Gérard Depardieu was absolutely brilliant as Cyrano himself and it was such a refreshing pace from the garbage I've seen recently. This was definitely one of the most brilliant performances in late film history. Yes the acting was theatrical but that was the only real way to carry it would've stunk if they modernized it just for the cameras, I'm sure other versions have done this and that's why you don't hear too much about them. I thought it was funny that Vincent Perez was such a proper performer in this and then they made him Eric Draven in "The Crow" sequel which was far from good. Just everything about this movie was well done and while it was very romantic it didn't do it in a mushy kind of way that'd turn off guys that aren't really big on that stuff such as myself. There was some decent swashbuckling but it's not one you'd choose for the action itself per say. Just watching this made me really want to read the book because the script was simply genius and nothing less.

The poetic lines sounded like silk feels and I highly recommend this to any couples out there that are looking for a little revitalization!

Final Gesture:

Movies: It's long but I think I'd make it through just to give it due credit.

DVD Purchase: The idea is gnawing away at the back of my mind.

Rental: YES!
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Careers are built on films like this
csagne9 September 2007
Gérard Depardieu became famous with Cyrano, and Cyrano de Bergerac knew its master with Depardieu.

This classic piece of French literature is based on real events (largely adapted), and while it is a stage play, the skill of transposing the play to the silver screen is a feat!

The film resorts to skillful cutting of the text (now public domain - check Gutemberg), which sounds easy, but is not, because it flows so naturally and needs to be cut surgically, word for word.

At the same time, all that is missing from the script by Edmond Rostand is inspired by generations of stage performance. The miracle then is making the script in French likable to audiences who do not understand French, as Edmond Rostand can be compared to George Bernard Shaw, Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett.

The genius of Gérard Depardieu and the beauty of the sets, the quality and care for detail all push to bring this beautiful film within reach of non French audiences. In that respect the sword duel scene at the beginning is memorable and worth playing twice on DVD!

One thing though, the finale scene I found awkward but Edmond Rostand created it so the director had no choice.
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Perhaps the greatest film of all time
glen-parry7 July 2007
How can one even begin to describe the greatness of this film? Forget that it is subtitled; this soon becomes immaterial as the translation is perfect, or that a couple of very minor scenes from the play were omitted, it is impossible to think of a greater example of cinematography than was achieved here.

Gerard Depardieu; in his first internationally acclaimed role, gives an early inkling of the talent that he would later display in, "The Man in the Iron Mask". At times he is comic, haughty, tragic & noble.

Cyrano ceases to be a dramatic creation & becomes a real human being with whom we can empathise & be brought, almost, to the point of tears at the point of his death. Depardieu creates a man very much of his time; never mind Edmund Rostand's writing it is Depardieu who brings the character described as every actor's dream to life. He is believable, noble & generates sympathy in the viewer.

Anne Brochet's Roxanne is beautiful. It is clear from early on that she is an intellectual (described as "precieuse") but shallow, who we see developing as the story evolves.

Vincent Perez is convincing as Christain: handsome & with fairly base objectives, but developing through association with Cyrano & honourable.

Even Jacques Weber portrays De Guiche in such a way that we can accept his, later, friendship with Cyrano & never truly induces the feelings of hatred that so many villains evoke in the viewer.

The colours & lighting in the film are exceptional; a sign of the care that were invested in making it as historically accurate as possible, with soft, muted shades replacing the garish colours that have flawed so many depictions of the period, whilst it soon becomes evident that Rapineau wanted to ensure that the word epic would be truly applicable to this production.

As a piece of romantic fiction this film cannot be bettered & would be ideal for those wanting to settle down for an evening with someone really special. Whatever you do see this film.
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Cyrano de Bergerac : a great introduction to the richness of French culture.
FilmCriticLalitRao28 July 2008
Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the most perfect films made in French language.It is a film which must be shown to all connoisseurs of French culture as it makes for the most perfect introduction to French civilization.The greatness of Cyrano is universal as he teaches us some of the most essential human values such as friendship,love, sadness and trust.It is a film for which everybody has worked hard under the leadership of French auteur Jean Paul Rappeneau.There is an air of authenticity in the portrayal of France circa late 1900s.This has been achieved by creating magnificent sets,marvelous costumes and a cast of many junior artists.Jean Paul Rappeneau allows us to be transported to a time when innumerable duels were fought over women, pure love was omnipotent and poets and artists were venerated.When we watch this film,we come to realize that Gerard Depardieu is exceptionally great as troubled Cyrano who has hidden many deep secrets in his heart.It is due to the greatness of his personality that we choose to own his sadness in order to lessen his pain.There are no so many films which can have such an effect on movie goers. This is the best virtue of this historical drama.
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cousin, I'm a poet
dbdumonteil27 February 2004
Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the most representative characters of French theater and he has been the subject of many screen adaptations. Here, this is Jean-Paul Rappeneau's turn to transpose in pictures Edmond Rostand's famous play. With the help of his scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, this is a faithful and especially modernized version that he offers us. Rappeneau and Carrière have deleted difficult or old-fashioned verses and they have even written necessary verses for understanding. In short, a substantial work has been made and it is better this way because the result is very convincing. It enables to make the movie easier to follow and dialogs, partly constitute the success of the movie.

As for the directing, it's very tempting to make a comparison with another movie: "Molière" (1978). Both stand out by a witty, vivid and sometimes poetic directing full of liberty and movements that does everything to avoid filmed stage production and succeeds in it. And of course, the movie enjoys a performance of a high quality. Beginning with Gérard Depardieu whose performance is absolutely convincing and he will remain an unforgettable Cyrano de Bergerac. He is very well followed by the whole of the distribution.

At last, it was a surprise to see this movie gain a triumph (11 French cinema awards in 1991 and a huge commercial success). Ultimately, a smart and subtle movie... but not Rappeneau's best movie. His finest achievement was to come five years later with "le hussard sur le toit" (1995).
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howabominable10 July 2007
I hate poetry. I hate romance. I love this movie.

The thing that stood out the most to me was the attention to detail. It is obvious that the director and the actors worked tirelessly on this film in order to make it flawless, and wonderfully entertaining. After taking a class when I first saw it where I had to watch many French movies and discuss them, this is the only one I came out really enjoying and recommending others to watch.

I have not seen any other version of Cyrano, so I have nothing to compare it to but itself. Depardieu does an incredible job. He owned the part, he convinced me that he was Cyrano. It usually is apparent when watching actors that they are simply acting - they are not really "being" the character they're playing. I love watching Depardieu because he gets into the part, and you forget that anyone is acting at all.

This movie definitely ranks among my favorite movies of all time. It has a little bit of everything. It is hilarious, sad, happy, colorful, beautiful, ugly, and mesmerizing all at the same time. And this is the first French movie that even the guys in the class were able to admit that they enjoyed!
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C'est magnifique
jonskerr17 October 2005
This is my favorite film of all time. It is a poem in every respect. The dialog AND the subtitles are poetry, but if you speak un peu de francais you'll see they don't exactly match. Yet the script and acting are so smooth you forget the poetry unless you listen for it, which makes for pleasurable repeat viewings. Also, the film intelligently discusses aspects of love that affect everyone, both the ugly and the beautiful. Great music throughout, and it looks like Technicolor, though I'm not sure it is.. Incredible performances by everyone in the film, and wonderful bits of excitement, romance and adventure. Tragedy and comedy, and gorgeous both to look at and listen to. Check it out! Pauvre Cyrano...
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Greatest French film of all time
vampyrz6 February 2002
Gerard Depardieu should have won all possible acting awards for this wonderful film. This is his best performance (So far). Brilliant costumes and sets. Perfect dialogue. This is the greatest French film of all time. Certainly the greatest European film I've ever seen. (Not counting films from Great Britain, as Great Britain is not in Europe.) Where the Hell is the DVD?
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A sad story of why you should not let love go unspoken
david-sarkies17 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Now this is interesting because I have a feeling that Roxanne, the American version of this film, was released first. I am not sure as to the release date of the first film for I believe it to be a 80's movie as opposed to a 90's movie. It was on recently but I think, no, I know that I threw out the television paper so I do not know. Anyway, Cyrano de Bergerac seriously romps all over Roxanne, as most French movies tend to do to their American counterparts.

Cyrano de Bergerac is about the captain of the Gascony guard who has a big, no a whopping great nose, and he is very sensitive about its size. He considers himself a freak and that nobody will see past the nose to his soul. Cyrano is a poet and a great lover but he feels he can never be loved because of his physical appearance. The woman that he loves, Roxanne, is in love with another man, Christian, who is in Cyrano's battalion but Christian does not know how to be romantic so Cyrano becomes Christian's romantic side and uses his romantic words to create an intellectual depth to Christian that does not exist.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a tragedy in a number of ways. There is no fulfillment in the romantic sequences. Christian is not what Roxanne wants and they can never really be together because Roxanne loves Christian's words and his looks and nothing else. She claims to love his soul, but it is a soul that says the words that she wants to hear. When Christian tries to confront her without Cyrano's help, she sees a brute that she wants nothing to do with. She does not love his soul but rather his words, the words that Cyrano speaks. The further tragic part deals with the Duke who also loves Roxanne, and wants to marry her. Instead, Roxanne marries Christian, with Cyrano's help and upon discovery, the duke sends them off to the Spanish Front where there is little hope of survival. They are married in word but it is not consummated and the duke makes sure that it is not, and never will be consummated.

The greater tragedy is that of Cyrano. He holds a love for Roxanne, though it is really only attraction to her physical appearance, yet he does not speak of it to anyone. Christian learns before his death, and he is the only one that knows that Cyrano loves Roxanne. This he learns from the letters that are sent in his name. He has read the letters and soon realises that Cyrano gives Roxanne a love that he never could, but Cyrano is constantly held back by his deformity. There is constantly reference to love in spite of a deformity, but Cyrano feels that he is not for Roxanne and remains silent. He spends time with her, every Saturday, and even manages to crawl to visit her on his death bed, but it is a love that remains silent, and the only person that knows and can reveal it is dead.

Roxanne was a comedy, Cyrano de Bergerac is a tragedy. There is no hope in the film and everything is spiraling down to a very bloody conclusion. Cyrano is a master swordsman, who defeats a hundred men by himself, but he cannot stave off the anger of a duke. He is able to fight the Spanish hordes, but he is taunted by a love that he feels that can never be fulfilled. He speaks only of it on his death bed, and even though is very reluctant. This is a very sad movie, nothing like the Hollywood rubbish that is splattered over all of the screens. This is a movie with depth that deals with the real emotions of people. It is not one where the couple get together and live happily in the end, but one in which pain strikes through it right until the end. It is a poetic movie, though much of it will be lost in the translation. In essence, I see Cyrano de Bergerac on the level of a modern Shakespeare for it seems to have lots of Shakespearian elements, including a very deep, poetical language -- even though it is in French.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a film that has one overriding theme and that is Carpe Diem - seize the day. Though such a thing does not happen in this movie, it shows us that it is something that we should do. We cannot let our love kindle unspoken, especially when the woman that our love is focused on so dearly wants to hear. In my opinion, it is not something that should be done for I feel that we need to be tactful in regards to the woman that we speak with and shouldn't overwhelm them, but in Cyrano's case he feels that his nose makes him hideous and that Roxanne won't want anything to do with him, which is not true as you learn at the end. When it comes down to self-doubt then it should be cast away. One should be tactful, but one should not attack oneself in belief that no woman would even want him.
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The ultimate romantic hero
galba3-13 March 2006
This is the sort of hero that most men would aspire to being, poet, warrior, Noble soul, protector. In fact this film has to be a blue print for the masculine soul, the non Merci! speech has to be one of the high points, the little man with the power and the good sense not to abuse it. The film has its roots firmly embedded in the European tradition of chivalry and we can not without the benefit of hindsight Roxanne was always unobtainable to Cyrano because of his own perceived deformity. Cyrano was similarly trapped by his own position in society, especially as he was acting in Loco Parentis. This is an incredibly sad film about missed opportunities and wasted lives . Cyrano is a man out of time living up to ideals that no one can be expected to maintain in todays society and perhaps even at the time. This is also a film with compassion and standards that men secretly want to live up to.
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Forget about it!
kaaber-211 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Rappeneau has rendered all future attempts to remake Rostand's play futile. This must be the knock-out all-time version to make us forget the efforts of José Ferrer (1950) and Derek Jacoby (1985). First of all, Depardieu is the ultimate Cyrano, embracing the 17th century poet as well as the 17th century action hero. Secondly, the film is replete with unsurpassed visual splendor, and in spite of his name, the composer, Jean-Claude Petit, has made what approximates the greatest of musical scores. But most poignantly, this play MUST be done in French, in the Molière metre that Rostand so masterly copied in his old, but-not-that-old play. No translation can do justice to Cyrano's definition of a kiss as "Un point rose qu'on met sur l'i du verbe aimer" – a rose-colored dot over the 'i' in the verb ... to love? (do you see what I mean?), and there's Cyrano's great goodbye to Roxane: "Grâce à vous une robe a passé dans ma vie." - thanks to you, a skirt has passed through my life," the beauty of the original poetry teetering on the brink of disaster:'a skirt'? a dame? a moll? We suddenly see Cyrano accompanied by Lauren Bacall or Gloria Grahame. I have seen the play in seven or eight different versions, but I experienced for the first time that I actually shed tears in the final scene, when Cyrano senses an august balance in his fate that consigned him to waiting in the shadow while others mounted to passion and fame – his handsome young protegé, Christian, who culled the kiss from Roxanne that Cyrano so yearned for, and Molière who has stolen lines from Cyrano's unpublished poetry.

Accordingly, one can pity Rostand for never experiencing what his play could really achieve.
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superb adaptation of Rostand
didi-524 July 2004
This fine French film (with rhyming subtitles provided by Anthony Burgess) stars Gérard Depardieu in perhaps his best performance, as Cyrano, the romantic adventurer who pens ghost letters and creates conversation for his friend to the woman he secretly loves. A play which crackles with energy and wit as well as being truly touching, this fine version excels all expectations.

Anne Brochet is a fine Roxane, never sure of the truth until it is too late, while Vincent Perez is colourless (or just overshadowed by Depardieu?) as Christian. Pick of the many great scenes in this - the duel early on where Cyrano rattles off descriptions of his over-large nose while sword-fighting; the scene under the balcony where Roxane first reacts to the poetic words of the lover-fighter; and the scene in the garden near the end, where the pretence on all sides comes to a head.

This film draws out the heart of the play and makes it sing with true relevance once more. Highly recommended and proves the towering talent of Depardieu when in the language of his native country - fine actor he may be but never as effective in English.
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probably the best ending line for a period piece
dumsumdumfai10 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Steve Martin did a commendable job in turning this classic into Roxanne - but it was too optimistic for a modern piece... and lacks that... certain.... "P" thingy.

It is only through the period setting and our limited and romanticized knowledge of the past that this version can work. And no less with Depardieu's imposing figure and statue.

The opening sequence is captivating enough with the atmosphere, the smoke and the candle lights and the crowded theater/bar what have you. Still you need great delivery of the lines and a top-notched translation for the non-French speaking (like me)

And what a last line !!!
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A Love For The Arts
felicianicholson15 March 2006
If you are one to enjoy movies of romance, comedy, tragedy, and suspense, then this movie is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie. Though I am not a fluent French speaker, the subtitles helped me, and could help anyone to still experience the same emotions as though it was in their native language. Gerard Depardieu's talented acting has a knack for captivating the viewer. The personality of his character, is the personality that any man wishes he could have... witty, sharp, and of course, excellent with words and finding comebacks for insults, which are constantly thrown at him because of the size of his nose. His charming ways of speaking would make any woman fall in love with him, as we saw with Roxanne, though his physical appearance is one to put many off. The extremely good looking Christian (played by Vincent Perez) has the opposite qualities. A very handsome appearance, but finds it very hard to express his feelings in words. Then there is Roxanne (Anne Brochet), who was supposed to be beautiful (though I do not find her at all appealing) and was the one who both these men were in love with. Out of all the actors, I think that she did the poorest job out of all of them. She seems to be extremely ignorant and naive, and she is portrayed just as a silly little girl.

I heartily recommend this movie for anyone who appreciates the arts and has an interest in comedy and has an interest for history.
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Days Of Rhyme And Noses
writers_reign19 June 2004
Exactly forty years after a Puerto Rican (Jose Ferrer) stamped an indelible mark on the role, the soldier-poet is again portrayed by a Frenchman, arguably the greatest French actor working today in both film and on stage, which is saying something given the strength - Philippe Noirot, Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Lindon, Jacques Gamblin, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Andre Dussolier, Jacques Villeret, Michel Aumont, Jean Rochefort, Jean-Paul Marielle, Michel Serrault, Fabrice Luchini, Jean Reno, Alain Chabat, Gerard Lanvin, etc -of the competition. I'll deal with the Ferrer version more fully on its own page but will, of course, touch on comparisons - the non-rhyming translation of 1950 versus (for English viewers) the rhyming couplets of Anthony Burgess in 1990. Writer-Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau has been sparing with his enormous talent; since his first screenplay 'Signe Arsene Lupin', produced in 1959, he has authored a mere fourteen more including one cult film - Zazie dans le metro - produced the following year and the well-received, well-remembered Jean-Paul Belmondo vehicle, L'Homme de Rio. Since his directorial debut, the exquisite La Vie de Château, he has given us only six more, culminating in his latest masterpiece 'Bon Voyage' released in 2003. He has worked twice with two of the greatest talents in French cinema; with Yves Montand he made Le Sauvage and Tout feu, tout flamme and with Gerard Depardieu he made Cyrano de Bergerac and Bon Voyage and in between the stately, elegant Hussard sur le toit (Horseman On The Roof). With a painter's eye for detail and composition Rappeneau does not shrink from the large canvas and/or crowd scenes (witness the gorgeous shots of a teeming Bordeaux in Bon Voyage) and gives us here a Paris well-stocked with set-dressing and extras but he is also at home in one-to-one intimacy and knows how to use both sound and music to express and/or heighten a mood. On paper the ultimate romantic story of a doomed romance is actor-proof, after all how difficult can it be to apply a prosthetic organ and spout some of the most eloquent language ever bestowed on a character already drawn larger than life. On paper is one thing, on stage or set it is quite another and the role requires acting of the highest order to bring off - witness the current fiasco at England's National Theatre - and in both Ferrer and Depardieu the role finds the actor. Much has been made and rightly so of Ferrer's magnificent timbre and vocal calisthenics but he WAS speaking in English which meant that English-speaking filmgoers could sit back and bask in his magnificent delivery without the need for looking beneath his image to find out what he was saying. For native French-speakers Depardieu is more than up to the comparison despite the odd complaint of his machine-gun delivery. In full color and sumptuous production values Depardieu IS Cyrano and if you haven't seen or HEARD Ferrer then there is nothing here - no inadequacy in performer or director - that will make you feel short-changed and want to seek an alternative version; in Black and White with virtually no production values to speak of Ferrer was forced to rely almost totally on his great voice. In Rappeneau, Depardieu and (for English-speaking viewers) Burgess, this version has three no trumps which it exploits to the full. Like the Ferrer version it doesn't waste much of its budget on high-salaried support, though both Ann Brochet (currently appearing in support in Patrice Leconte's 'Confidence trop intimes') and Vincent Perez (who suffers from either type-casting or a penchant for costume roles viz, Le Bossu, La Reine Margot and the remake of Fanfan la Tulipe) continue to work in films. The DVD version, complete with Booklet, is currently available in cut-price outlets in Paris for 10 Euros which has to be a snip. 9/10
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Great--with the heartwrenching story, funny rhyming script, and a terrific Depardieu lead
secondtake13 July 2012
Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)

This is Gerard Depardieu's shining moment in an up and down career. Some say the movie makes a blur of the subtle writing and emotional power of the original play by Edmond Rostand of the same title, written in 1897. And as much as the English version by Jose Ferrar (1950) is the acclaimed English language version, the play was originally French. And it's all in verse, including the subtitles, which in this case use the translation by Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame).

But the story, the story. It's all about the simple amazing plot (about which Rostand was convicted, on slim evidence, of stealing from a Chicago amateur writer). The year is something like 1680, in France. A man of great talent and fighting skill, a deep emotional life and poetic sensibility, and also with a gigantic nose, is in love with Roxane. This is poor Cyrano, who has everything but good looks. And Roxane happens to be in love with a very good looking young man who is a bit of a talentless fool. Cyrano, out of love for Roxane, steps in to help the fool by writing letters for him that succeed in wooing the beautiful Roxane.

If this sounds like that crazy movie called "Roxane" starring Steve Martin, well, you've got it. That's the Cyrano story, and Martin's movie sort of kicked off the contemporary deluge of Cyrano movies in 1987 (three years before this one). Of course his is a comedy, and there are some changes from the play and this 1990 version, which tries even in its grandiose production to be true to the tightly written and scripted original.

It's all pretty terrific. In a way, if you like Shakespeare, it's the play that holds the whole thing back a bit, lacking, oddly enough, complexity. An example is the funny but thin asides with the cake maker who wants to be a poet. There is no shortage of characters, there is a constant turning of events, and it does never quite ever slow down, but the main trick and drama of the situation is so central and gripping you end up waiting for it to find some kind of denouement or twist and surprise. And you do eventually get that, with great beauty and pathos (this is no comedy). But that's sort of all you get, in terms of narrative flow.

And that's almost all you need, I have to admit. This production pulls out all the stops, and scene after scene is amazing in its set design and lighting, in its huge range of characters and gritty lovely evocation of 17th Century France. You could watch a bad play with such sets. And the photography is fluid, active, and formally terrific, too, which layers up the ongoing beauty of the filming.

And Depardieu is terrific in his bloated, leading man way (I say this because he has detractors, those who have seen searing and cutting intensity in stage versions, but I have nothing to compare it to except Steve Martin). The two other main characters are actually a drag overall, and avoidably, I should think, with all the talent being lavishly expended. Roxane is more delighted than delightful, ornamentally pretty but also so stiff emotionally you wonder what all the fuss is about. And the foolish pretty boy is probably meant to be a bit shallow as a character, but it does leave his parts a little cardboard.

Anyway, I overthink this. See the movie. If you don't like subtitles, see the American one from 1950. Don't think the Steve Martin one is enough. For one thing, the original ending is one of the most moving and memorable in all of cinema. For me, the Depardieu version of this last great scene is unmatched.
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Good, but the classic version from 1950 is better
Lady_Targaryen19 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As a person who loves Cyrano de Bergerac's story, I needed to watch this version of the movie. I didn't hate it, but I need to say that this version is far away from the classic version of 1950 with Jose Ferrer as Cyrano. Gérard Depardieu is a nice actor, but he simply can't compete with all Jose's eloquence and posture. I mean, Jose IS Cyrano, while Gerard have more talent with comedies and romances. The actress who plays Roxanne in the 50's version is much more beautiful then Anne Brochet and all the emotion from the classic version it's not followed in this one: Cyrano played by Gerard doesn't look to be in love with Roxanne, and neither does Roxanne played by Anne looks sad when Cyrano dies in the last scene.

But to be a little bit optimist, I need to say that this version has better scenarios,clothes and locations, as also has much more sense the story about Cyrano be in french then in English.
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I really have to agree with the commentary om this-its very good
alaskanlawnmowing15 January 2007
When I was first introduced to this movie I was forever hooked-the plot and the story were awesome as well as the incredible acting of Gerard Depardieu and all the right factors, such as the awesome French, with great, true subtitles by Anthony Burgess and just the overall feel, which left me feeling so good. And yes, as frank said, this is a romance/action drama movie that men will enjoy very much indeed, perhaps even more so than women, which I think is true as it is more likely to communicate to men; I have totally felt how both Cyrano and Christian felt in the movie and the end where he is recounting his life and then wanders into the trees, with Roxanne and the others following in wonder, is the part that makes me feel nostalgic for the beginning of the film. Everything about this film is good. Everything. Gerard Depardieu at his finest, with the amazing Vincent Perez and lovely Anne Brochet, who add to the quality of the film. Good music, good back-round scenery, beautiful lines, dialogue, philosophies, love poems, and the overall quality of the film are too much to describe with words on IMDb alone. Watch the movie! All young adults, and some adults will love this film, of love, life, passion, sadness, action, humor, art, incredible word use, and cinematography.
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