Cyrano De Bergerac (Gérard Depardieu) is lyrical genius and not too shabby with a sword either. Had he not been afflicted with a large hooter he would be the ideal man for any lady in 19th Century France.
He is desperately in love with his cousin Roxane (Anne Brochet) but is unable to explain his feelings to her and when he learns she finds one of his cadets, Christian (Vincent Perez) attractive he decides to charm her by proxy.
Of course, the entire storyline is clichéd by modern standards. An ugly man loves a beautiful girl who can't see past his bad looks. He attempts to woo her by serenading her while she is on the balcony and, eventually, she realises that there is more to life than looks.
Despite this, or perhaps aided by the cliché, Cyrano De Bergerac is a love story through and through. In part it is also aided beautifully by a whole series of rhyming couplets - which translate beautifully using Anthony Burgess's English translation as the subtitles - that continue throughout the film.
For a love story though, the action isn't disappointing. With a tragic scene behind a barricade that reminds me of Marius' injury in Les Miserables, there is plenty of other emotional moments that are able to keep the viewer on the rollercoaster before the film's ending.
So, the ending. This is perhaps where Cyrano falls down. At one point I was begging the film to end so that I could just award it five stars and be done with it but the final scene just kept going... and going... and going. Until it became slightly irritating. Perhaps a film shouldn't be punished for trying but really it's not five stars without a perfect end.
As Empire say - perhaps the greatest love story ever told. Remember to fast forward the end though.