6.9/10
3,439
33 user 19 critic

Melvin and Howard (1980)

Trailer
2:44 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

This movie interlaces the stories of several characters in a small town united by their use of CB (citizen's band) radio. Paul LeMat is the local CB coordinator who has time for little else... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Bruce McGill
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A free-spirited woman "kidnaps" a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband shows up.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, George 'Red' Schwartz
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An undercover FBI agent falls in love with a recently widowed mafia wife, who is trying to restart her life following her husband's murder while being pursued by a libidinous mafia kingpin seeking to claim her for himself.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Alec Baldwin, Paul Lazar
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Spalding Gray discusses his participation in the film The Killing Fields (1984) and the background story about the troubles of Cambodia.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Spalding Gray, Sam Waterston, Ira Wheeler
Swing Shift (1984)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A woman finds romance when she takes a job at an aircraft plant to help make ends meet after her husband goes off to war.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Christine Lahti
Choose Me (1984)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Several lost-soul night-owls, including a nightclub owner, a talkback radio relationships counseller, and an itinerant stranger have encounters that expose their contradictions and ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Rudolph
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Keith Carradine, Lesley Ann Warren
Micki + Maude (1984)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A bigamist must keep his wives from meeting each other, which becomes tricky when they're both pregnant.

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Dudley Moore, Amy Irving, Ann Reinking
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss
Norma Rae (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the Deep South in the 1930s, a widow and her family try to run their cotton farm with the help of a disparate group of friends.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris
Crazy Mama (1975)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Jonathan Demme directs this joyous relentlessly kitschy celebration of 50's America: opportunity, rock'n'roll, and the road. He follows three generations of women and the men they pick up, ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
Director: Jonathan Demme
Edit

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 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 | 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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason Robards was nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for playing Howard Hughes in this movie. It was the third time in five years that Robards had been nominated in this category at the Academy Awards. The first two times, in 1977 and 1978, Robards had achieved the extraordinary feat of winning back-to-back Oscars. The films Robards won consecutive Academy Awards for were Julia (1977) and All the President's Men (1976). 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

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 »

Connections

Featured in The 53rd Annual Academy Awards (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Mort Dixon
Performed by Jason Robards
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the most neglected
6 December 1999 | by (New York) – 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"!


23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Was Melvin telling the truth? joanbrazas
Why R? And3ww
Gloria Graham olblueeyes40
Great Movie grhmb
This story is in the news djhunnicut
Boring piece of filth mawilk
Discuss Melvin and Howard (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?