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In seventeenth century Paris, Cyrano de Bergerac, a gentleman who is equally accomplished with the pen and the sword, interrupts the performance at the Hôtel de Bourgogne Theatre and, appalled by the star's bad acting, refunds the audience's money himself. A nobleman, Valvert, provokes a duel by commenting on Cyrano's enormous nose, and Cyrano improvises a poem as they fight, delivering the fatal thrust during the final refrain. This display delights the assembled crowd, which includes Cyrano's beautiful cousin Roxane, but Cyrano's friend Le Bret warns that his brash behavior will make him dangerous enemies. Cyrano admits to Le Bret that he is in love with Roxane but will not tell her, sure that his big nose renders him undesirable to women. A servant then appears with a request that Cyrano call on Roxane in the morning, and Cyrano is exultant. When he and Le Bret leave the theater, they are approached by the pastry chef Ragueneau, who tells them that a nobleman about whom he wrote comic verses has hired one hundred men to ambush him on the way home. Cyrano insists on doing battle with the ruffians and defeats them all. The next morning, Cyrano meets with Roxane at Ragueneau's pastry shop, and she tells him she is in love with a handsome guardsman named Christian, to whom she has never spoken. She asks Cyrano to befriend Christian, and although he is crushed by Roxane's news, he agrees. Later, at the guardhouse, Cyrano tells Christian that Roxane loves him and wishes to receive a letter. Christian confesses he is not a good writer, and when Cyrano offers to aid Christian in his suit by supplying the words with which to woo Roxane, the young man happily accepts. Several weeks later, Roxane tells Cyrano that Christian is brilliant, and as she ecstatically quotes from "Christian's" letters and speeches, Cyrano basks in the indirect praise. That night, Christian tells Cyrano he no longer needs his help, and Cyrano hides behind a bush and listens as Roxane asks Christian to rhapsodize on the theme of love. Christian's attempts to improvise fail miserably, and Roxane indignantly goes inside. Christian appeals to Cyrano, who stands in the shadows beneath Roxane's balcony and prompts Christian, then steps in and takes his place, speaking his own passionate feelings under cover of darkness. At the end of Cyrano's speech, Christian joins Roxane on the balcony and they kiss. A monk then comes by with a letter from Antoine De Guiche, the Cardinal's nephew, saying that his regiment has been ordered to the front to fight the Spanish and insisting that Roxane marry him at once. Roxane tells the monk that he has been instructed to marry her to Christian, and when De Guiche arrives, Cyrano detains him until the wedding is over. Furious at the deception, De Guiche orders Christian to leave for the front at once. One night, Roxane visits the camp and tells Christian that although she once loved him merely for being handsome, the many love letters she has received have made her fall in love with his soul. Christian realizes that Cyrano is in love with Roxane, and tells him that he must tell her the truth so that she can choose between them. Before Cyrano can reveal his love to Roxane, however, Christian volunteers for a dangerous mission and is mortally wounded, and Cyrano tells the dying Christian that Roxane chose him. Fourteen years pass, during which Cyrano visits Roxane each week at the convent where she has lived since Christian's death. His satirical essays continue to make him powerful enemies, and one night, he is ambushed and run down by a carriage. Despite his grave injuries, Cyrano visits Roxane the next afternoon and asks to read her last letter from Christian. He recites aloud with great feeling, and Roxane suddenly recognizes the voice she heard from her balcony long ago. Cyrano dies, and Roxane mourns the one true love she has lost twice.