Review by Richard Kuipers:
A handy essay on the factual, literary and film history of Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac
(1619-1655) informs us that this is at least the fourth film version of the Edmond Rostand
play that premiered in Paris in 1898. Superbly performed and decorated, Jean-Paul
Rappeneau and co-writer Jean-Claude Carriere's adaptation is without doubt Cyrano's finest
hour on the small or silver screen.
There's more here than simply Gerard Dépardieu's magnificent performance as the man
whose oversized proboscis is matched by his wit, swordplay and love for his beautiful
cousin Roxane Rolin. Dépardieu, considerably younger than most actors to have played the
role, fills the screen but doesn't chew the scenery. His is a finely judged portrayal of a
man who is at once a master fighter capable of defeating 100 men in combat, a brilliant
orator whose every rhyming couplet brings gasps from the crowd and a tortured soul whose
bravado hides a crushing sorrow - 'Look and tell me what exuberance I have with this
protuberance'. Surrounding him is a Roxane of agreeably greater substance than previously
presented, Vincent Perez a drop-dead hunky de Neuvillette - 'a brainless fool' by his own
admission - and a dazzling arrangement of sets, costumes and extras.
This is style and substance at its best - director Rappeneau has us gasping at Cyrano's
lusty swordplay one minute and deeply moved by his emotional pain the next. Bonuses on
this DVD include a delightful interview with Dépardieu recorded in Sydney by The Movie
Show's Margaret Pomeranz, Roger Ebert's review and unusually detailed biographies and
filmographies of main cast members. I also liked the sword highlighter that appears on the
menu. A nice addition to a highly recommended release.
Published January 10, 2002