6.9/10
3,670
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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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 | 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
Citizens Band (1977)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 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
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
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
Cutter's Way (1981)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Richard spots a man dumping a body, and decides to expose the man he thinks is the culprit with his friend Alex Cutter.

Director: Ivan Passer
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Heard, Lisa Eichhorn
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir
Julia (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards
Straight Time (1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After being released on parole, a burglar attempts to go straight, get a regular job, and just go by the rules. He soon finds himself back in jail at the hands of a power-hungry parole ... See full summary »

Directors: Ulu Grosbard, Dustin Hoffman
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey
Fighting Mad (1976)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An Arkansas farmer stages a one-man war against corrupt land developers who want to evict him and his neighbors from their farms for real estate developments.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Peter Fonda, Gino Franco, Harry Northup
Last Embrace (1979)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Harry breaks down and loses his job after his wife is assassinated - could it be his turn next ?

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Roy Scheider, Janet Margolin, John Glover
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1940s Texas, an elderly woman is determined to visit her childhood home for one last time.

Director: Peter Masterson
Stars: Geraldine Page, John Heard, Carlin Glynn
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:

A true story? 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:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,309,490 (USA)
 »

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

The name of the succession document left on Melvin's desk was the "Last Will and Testament of Howard Hughes". This paperwork later became informally known as "The Mormon Will". 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: 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

References The Merv Griffin Show (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Shake the Ground
Performed by The Bait Brothers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Overlooked gem.
15 April 1999 | by (warren michigan) – See all my reviews

1980 was one of Hollywoods' true 'golden years'( the strongest was, probably 1939, and the weakest was-probably- 1956.) Everyone remembers such great films as Raging Bull, The Elephant Man, Ordinary People, and Coal Miners daughter, but there were other, overlooked or nearly overlooked films. Of these, the finest was, beyond a doubt, Melvin and Howard.Based on a twentieth century addition to American folklore( the improbable saga of Howard Hughes and Melvin Dummar), Jonathan Demmes' film tells the story of a chronically unsuccessful Everyman, Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have unknowingly picked up Howard Hughes one night in the Nevada desert, and who also claimed to have been written into Hughes' will. Demme uses these materials to fashion a parable about the American dream and human aspiration.It is funny, superbly acted ( Robards probably deserved a third Oscar, and Mary Steenburgen fully deserved hers), well written, and profoundly human. Melvin Dummar may not have actually picked up Hughes in the desert, and the will may have been a forgery, but his life story does tell some important truths about the meaning of life.


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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?