6.9/10
3,703
36 user 22 critic

Melvin and Howard (1980)

The story of hard-luck Melvin E. 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 15 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Chip Taylor ...
Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ...
Bus Depot Counterman
...
...
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
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Storyline

This movie tells the possibly true story of Melvin E. 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 | Plot 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

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Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,309,490
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, Melvin E. Dummar did not receive the $156 million. According to Wikipedia, "While working at a service station in Willard, Utah, Dummar claimed to have discovered a disheveled and lost man lying on the side of a stretch of U.S. Highway 95 about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, Nevada, near Lida Junction. Hughes asked Dummar to take him to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Dummar claimed that only in the final minutes of their encounter did Hughes reveal his identity". The will was "was eventually rejected by the Nevada court in June 1978 as a forgery. The court declared that Hughes had died intestate" and "Dummar was largely discounted by the public as a phony and an opportunist". Moreover, "Dummar's claims [have] resulted in a series of court battles which have all ruled against Dummar". See more »

Goofs

When Melvin and Howard are driving the pickup truck into Vegas during the movie opening the drivers side headlight is out. When Howard is driving the truck during the closing both headlights are operating. See more »

Quotes

Melvin Dummar: Now listen buddy, you wanna do me a favour?
Howard Hughes: Depends on what it is.
Melvin Dummar: I wrote this song...
Howard Hughes: NO!
See more »


Soundtracks

The Windmills of Your Mind
Music by Michel Legrand and English lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most neglected
6 December 1999 | by See all my reviews

I just noticed that "Melvin and Howard" registered a mere 6.6 on the IMDb rating scale. Don't you believe it! This is a great American movie. Director Demme and writer Goldman take a footnote to history -- a contested Howard Hughes will that named Melvin Dummar, a milkman who once loaned him a quarter, as one of his heirs -- and turn that slight material into a wry meditation on the American Dream. Or more specifically, the thin line that separates the American Dream from pure hell. Demme has a great eye for people like Dummar, a dreamer whose clock for realizing his dreams is winding down. The performances are terrific, especially Paul Le Mat as Dummar (whatever happened to Le Mat?) and Mary Steenburgen who won an Oscar for playing his wife. Jason Robards does one of his patented cameos playing a real life character (his Howard Hughes makes a neat hat trick with his Oscar winning performances as Dashiell Hammett and Ben Bradley.) Watch for the real-life Melvin Dummar as the counterman in the bus station where Steenburgen makes a sandwich for her daughter. This is a small but knowing and winning movie. It definitely gets my vote for "Milkman of the Month"!


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