10 Things I Learned From the Movie, "Roxanne."

by Carlo Carino


The movie Roxanne came out when I was twelve years old. I’d say I was the perfect age to be affected by it. Steve Martin plays fire chief C.D. Bales, a great guy with a HUGE nose, who falls for astronomer Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah). She has a crush on one of C.D.'s colleagues, Chris, a man who unfortunately needs C.D.'s help to woo Roxanne.  

However, that's all beside the point. The main thing that I take from the film is how terminally good guy, C.D. Bales, conducts himself and how he treats the people around him. Between this film and L.A. Story, I learned a lot about how to conduct myself as an adult.

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid to make a joke for one.

Did you hear?

Throughout the film, C.D. finds a way to slip in a good-natured joke or two in the middle of a conversation, often to the amusement of just himself or Shelly Duvall. Sometimes the most fun you can have is when you’re the only one laughing.

Lesson 2: Make a woman laugh.

Laugh with me

Want to spend more time with a special lady? Then try be a person who’s fun to be around in just about any situation.

Lesson 3: If you’re in love, just say so.

The Speech

One of the big points of the movie. If you can no longer contain your affection, then darn it, declare yourself. Use poetry and honesty to bare your soul and just accept the consequences.

Lesson 4: Go ahead and be a know-it-all, but don’t be a jerk about it.

What a wonderful idea!

C.D. is damn smart. But he doesn’t go around correcting people or lording it over then. Instead he shows that you can use being well rounded and well-read as a tool to relate to people, no matter what their interests are.

Lesson 5: Learn to fence

En Garde

This is self-explanatory. I took fencing for two years and I was thinking of this scene the entire time.

Lesson 6: There’s a time for sincerity

The Truth

It’s true, be a funny guy when you can, but make sure you know to talk honestly when it’s appropriate. It can help you when you need it most. The scenes between C.D. and his sister Dixie are my some of my favorites in the film.

Lesson 7: Smart women are sexier


Chris: “What am I afraid of her for? She’s no rocket scientist.”

C.D.: “Well, actually, she is a rocket scientist.”

What can I say, It’s good to be outsmarted from time to time. It’s especially fun when you love the person who’s doing it.

Lesson 8: Make fun of yourself first and best

The fight

The scene in the bar, where C.D. is challenged to say 20 better insults about himself that are better than, “big nose,” is a classic. It’s the best remedy for dealing with a dumb bully who thinks they’re funny. A major plus is that it demonstrates supreme self-confidence.

Lesson 9: Be a patient teacher

Uh, guys?


C.D. is the fire chief of a town with a 99% volunteer fire department. He’s the best at what he does, but he has to deal with a crew that repeatedly fails at learning. Does he ever lose his temper? Nope.

Lesson 10: Some people are deeper than we think

A little light reading

In a bookstore scene, Andy — one of the firefighters — is afraid to purchase a copy of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre. So he has Chris do it for him. Who knows, the goof next door could be grappling with the nature of consciousness, when all you think he does is watch Wheel of Fortune. Never take people at face value, dig a bit deeper and they’ll surprise you.

If I had to sum it all up, it’s this: Be funny. Be self-aware. Be kind. Be yourself.

What a great movie.

Here's the trailer if you've never seen, Roxanne.