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Melvin and Howard (1980)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,111 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 16 critic

The story of hard-luck Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Elizabeth Cheshire ...
Darcy Dummar
...
Chip Taylor ...
Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ...
Bus Depot Counterman
...
Little Red
...
Lucy
Gene Borkan ...
Go-Go Club Owner #1
Lesley Margret Burton ...
Go-Go Dancer
Wendy Lee Couch ...
Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski ...
Go-Go Dancer
Janice King ...
Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein ...
Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas ...
Go-Go Dancer
Edit

Storyline

This movie tells the possibly true story of Melvin Dummar. Melvin is a nice guy, but he is a total loser: unlucky, impractical and can't keep a job. One night, however, he helps an old man who has had a motorcycle accident in the desert. Melvin laughs when the old man says he is Howard Hughes, the eccentric multimillionaire. But when Howard Hughes dies, Melvin is mailed a will leaving him part of the estate! Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Poor Melvin. All he wanted was to be Milkman of the Month. Instead, he lost his job, his truck, and his wife. Then Howard Hughes left him $156,000,000. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The closing credits state that "This picture was filmed entirely on location in California, Nevada and Utah where the events actually occurred". See more »

Goofs

At the end of the truck ride to Vegas, Hughes doesn't know how to open the passenger door from the inside, but in Dummar's flashback at the end of the movie (when Hughes gets to drive the truck), Hughes has no trouble opening the door. See more »

Quotes

Lynda Dummar: C'est la vie.
Melvin Dummar: What's that?
Lynda Dummar: French, Melvin. I used to dream of becoming a French interpreter.
Melvin Dummar: You don't speak French.
Lynda Dummar: I told you it was only a dream.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Scenes Under the Midnight Sun (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Can't Hold a Ramblin' Man
Written and performed by Danny Darst (as Daniel Dean Darst)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No Special Effects, No Mega-Buck Stars, Just a Great Film
4 June 2004 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

In this day of $100 million plus movies with special effects that drown out the dialog and stars with out-sized egos and paychecks to match, a film like Jonathan Demme's minor masterwork, "Melvin and Howard," would be lucky to get a video distributor. Even a quarter century ago on its initial release, the film was largely ignored by audiences despite glowing reviews, Academy Awards, and critics kudos. However, those who make the effort to seek out this wonderful fable will be rewarded. Based on a story that may or may not have been true, "Melvin and Howard" spins the tale of an easy going hard luck kinda guy named Melvin Dummar who gives a lift to an old man he finds asleep in the desert. The man says that he is Howard Hughes, and, years later, when Hughes dies, Melvin finds a will that has been left on his filling station desk that names him as one of the heirs to the Hughes fortune. Since we know the ending before the film starts, the pleasures lie in the quirky characters and situations that screenwriter Bo Goldman and a terrific cast have created. Despite the circus that surrounded the question of the will's validity, Melvin was content just knowing that, during their drive, Howard Hughes had sung a song that Melvin had written. His evident joy in that simple event was a rare personal quality even in 1980. There are a lot of other unpretentious, yet memorable, moments in this outstanding film.


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