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Melvin and Howard (1980)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  19 September 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,344 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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Melvin and Howard (1980) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Cheshire ...
Darcy Dummar
Chip Taylor ...
Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ...
Bus Depot Counterman
Little Red
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


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


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 »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


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 »


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 »


She's About a Mover
'Written by Doug Sahm
Performed by Sir Douglas Quintet
Courtesy of Crazy Cajun Records
See more »

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User Reviews

An unseen classic
15 October 1999 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Don't be surprised if you have never heard of "Melvin and Howard" because most people haven't. But if the chance comes up to watch it then grab it. It's a true american classic involving a down on his luck man (Paul Le Mat, so great as Milner in "American Graffiti") who gives a ride to an injured hitchhiker in the desert that turns out to be none other than Howard Hughes (Jason Robards, who is brilliant in a small, understated performance). Years later after Hughes has died Melvin learns he is in Hughes' will. The only problem is that there is no will to be found.

Mary Steenburgen won as Oscar as Melvin's kooky first wife. The scene where she appears on a game show is priceless. This is a sweet and very funny slice of life movie directed by Jonathan Demme who went on to many fine films such as "Silence of the Lambs." This is a true classic. Don't miss it.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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