6.9/10
3,636
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:
...
...
Elizabeth Cheshire ...
Darcy Dummar
...
Chip Taylor ...
Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ...
Bus Depot Counterman
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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
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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 | 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

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Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin (and Howard)  »

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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The text of the real life "Mormon Will" read: "Last Will and Testament I, Howard R. Hughes, being of sound mind and disposing mind and memory, not acting under duress, fraud or the undue influence of any person whomever, and being a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, declare that this is to be my last will and revolt [sic] all other wills previously made by me - After my death, my estate is to be devided [sic] as follows - First: one-forth [sic] of all my assets to go to Hughes Medical Institute of Miami - Second: one-eight [sic] of assets to be devided [sic] among the University of Texas - Rice Institute of Technology of Houston - the University of Nevada - and the University of Calif. Third: one-sixteenth to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - David O. McKay - Pre. Forth [sic]: one-sixteenth to establish a home for Orphan Children [sic] - Fifth: one-sixteenth of assets to go to Boy Scouts of America. Sixth: one-sixteenth to be devided [sic] among Jean Peters of Los Angeles and Ella Rice of Houston - Seventh: one-sixteenth of assets to William R. Lommis [sic] of Houston, Texas - Eighth: one-sixteenth to go to Melvin DuMar [sic] of Gabbs, Nevada - Ninth: one-sixteenth to be devided [sic] among my personal aids [sic] at the time of my death - Tenth: one-sixteenth to be used as school scholarship fund for entire country - the spruce goose is to be given to the City of Long Beach, Calif. The remainder of my estate is to be devided [sic] among the key men of the company's [sic] I own at the time of my death. I appoint Noah Dietrich as the executer [sic] of this will - Signed the 19 [sic] day of March 1968 Howard R. Hughes". See more »

Goofs

While the men are in the truck talking, a sandwich being eaten has the bite area alternately changing from one side of the bread between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lynda Dummar: It says you can be anything you want to be if you'll just believe in yourself. And you believe in yourself - it's just the believing hasn't been enough to let you become what you believe you can be.
Melvin Dummar: Honey, they didn't burn down Rome in one day - you got to keep pluggin'.
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Connections

Version of Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace Used to be Her Favorite Song
Written by Russell Smith
Performed by The Amazing Rhythm Aces
Courtesy of CBS Records
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User Reviews

Some Film Moments Are Truly Better Than Money
14 March 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The film's opening interaction between Dumar (the quintessential dreamer/loser) and Hughes (who found his dream but lost himself)is hauntingly brilliant. As they drive along in Melvin's truck, on the cusp of desert's dawn, Melvin manages to draw Hughes out of his crusty and maniacal shell by getting him to sing one of his self-written songs. As dawn opens, Hughes is still singing. It is probably his most uncomplicated - yet happiest moment in years.

Melvin never does receive any money from the disputed and disregarded will. But he really does not care. He still has his dreams, and knows that validation can be found in impecunity as he reflects upon his encounter with Hughes: "No, I'm not going to see that money. That's all right. Because you know what happened? Howard Hughes sang Melvin Dumar's song. He sang it." Some moments are truly better than all the pain that money can buy.


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