Get Tickets CYRANO is now playing.
If someone were to walk up to you on the street and say something along the lines of: “Name a famous play that has received comedy, drama, and samurai film adaptations,” you would probably say “The Tragedy of Macbeth” or one of the other classic William Shakespeare plays. And while you would technically be right, especially with the literary great’s supernatural tragedy, that’s not the play we’re talking about here. The correct answer — in this case, anyway — is Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play “Cyrano de Bergerac,” which has received dozens of adaptations and reimaginings on the silver screen, TV, and playhouses around the world going back more than a century.
The timeless stage play, which tells the story of the life of a 17th-Century writer, who despite knowing all the right romantic words and how to use them, has trouble in the love department simply because of his hideously long nose. And with the most recent adaptation CYRANO arriving at AMC Theatres on February 25, 2022, now seems like the perfect time to go back and look at four great movies inspired by “Cyrano de Bergerac” and what makes them so much fun. Well, let’s get into it, shall we?
One of the best romantic comedies of all time, Fred Schepisi’s 1987 reimagining of “Cyrano de Bergerac” takes the basic premise of the 19th-Century play and brings it to the then-modern time of the late 1980s. In ROXANNE, Steve Martin takes on the role of Charlie “C.D.” Bales, an intelligent, charismatic, and all-around successful man with an unusually large nose who has fallen madly in love with Roxanne Kowalski, played by Daryl Hannah, who sees him as a friend as she has her eyes on the attractive yet dim-witted Chris McConnell, portrayed by Rick Rossovich.
In a similar fashion to the original play, C.D. agrees to help Chris win the heart of Roxanne by crafting a series of well-written letters expressing his true feelings for the woman of his dreams. But as is typically the case, the plan becomes all the more complicated as it goes on, leading to revelations that could cause everyone to lose out on love.
The Truth About Cats And Dogs
Although based on “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Michael Lehmann’s THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS flips the script, so to speak. Instead of focusing on a talented writer with an unusually large nose, this charming and moderately successful 1996 romantic comedy centers on Abby Barnes, an insecure veterinarian and radio show host portrayed by Janeane Garofalo who asks her neighbor Noelle Slusarsky, played by Uma Thurman, to stand in for her on a date with an extremely attractive man named Brian, played by Ben Chaplin.
This major change to the dynamic of the “Cyrano de Bergerac” story makes THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS feel fresh and creates some great unique situations and interactions between the central cast. The decision to have Noelle act like she’s Abby and Abby take on the persona of “Donna” also adds to the freshness and creates some hilarious and hilariously awkward situations.
Unless you follow South Korean cinema more than the average moviegoer, there’s a good chance this is the first you are hearing of CYRANO AGENCY, a 2010 romantic comedy based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” that focuses on a dating agency that people enlist whenever their original plans to win over the hearts of their crushes proves to be fruitless. Though successful with all of their previous cases — they boast a 100% success rate in helping people find love — the group finds themselves in a perilous situation with their next client, a successful financier who hires them to win over the heart of a woman who used to date one of the agency’s founders.
Even though CYRANO AGENCY takes the basic premise and some of the same situations from Edmond Rostand’s play, the South Korean romantic comedy strays from the beaten path a little more than other adaptations and reinterpretations of the classic stage play. The movie could have easily become a mess on account of all the characters, sprawling storylines, and additional dynamics not found in the source material, but they are pulled off miraculously at every turn, creating a smart and funny story that shouldn’t be missed.
Life Of An Expert Swordsman
Perhaps the most faithful adaptation of “Cyrano de Bergerac” on this list, Hiroshi Inagaki’s 1959 samurai film LIFE OF AN EXPERT SWORDSMAN — also sometimes referred to as SAMURAI SAGA — takes Edmond Rostand’s stage play out of 17th-Century France and transports it to feudal Japan during the days of the samurai. More dramatic than the romantic comedies mentioned above, LIFE OF A SWORDSMAN still sees the main character — this time named Heihachiro Komaki and played by Toshiro Mifune — as he puts his feelings for Princess Chiyo, played by Yoko Tsukasa, on the shelf to die while helping a friend win her heart with his words.
Another thing that makes LIFE OF AN EXPERT SWORDSMAN such a gem is Hiroshi Inagaki’s ability to simultaneously pay respect to the original source material and the film’s historic setting, which is pulled off flawlessly and doesn’t seem like he was sacrificing one for the other. With massive battles and epic duels, this expertly crafted samurai film is truly something to behold, and is honestly one of the best introductions to Japanese cinema for someone who has always wanted to check out what the style of film was all about but didn’t know where to start.
These are just four of the dozens of great movies inspired or based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” that have been released over the years. But don’t let the exclusion of some of the more standard adaptations of Edmond Rostand’s landmark play make you feel as though they aren’t worthy, because that’s far from the case. This is just to serve as a jumping off point and you should continue your journey if you want to see more.
Get Tickets CYRANO is now playing.