Max Dugan Returns (1983)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 March 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,586 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 9 critic

An English teacher and struggling single mother has her life disrupted when the father who abandoned her as a child comes back into her life.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nora McPhee
Max Dugan
Brian Costello
Dody Goodman ...
Mrs. Litke
Coach Roy
Panchito Gómez ...
Luis (as Panchito Gomez)
Charley Lau ...
Charley Lau
Mari Gorman ...
Brian Part ...
Kevin Costello
Older Woman
Tessa Richarde ...
Blonde at Shoe Store
Man at Shoe Store (as James Staahl)
Sondra Blake ...


Nora is a single mother who lives with her son Michael in a small house. They don't have much money but at least they have each other. Out of the blue comes Nora's father Max Dugan, who left her and her mother when Nora was nine years old. He brings a suitcase with dollar bills and showers her and Michael with gifts, trying to make up for lost time, knowing that he has a fatal heart ailment. The money comes from his shady career in Las Vegas and Nora is dating a police who is very interested in meeting him... Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's time to feel good again See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Como caído del cielo  »

Box Office


$17,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final collaboration of then married couple actress Marsha Mason and writer Neil Simon. The two were divorced in 1983, the year that this movie was first released. See more »


When Brian Costello is interrogating Nora McPhee at her school she is walking away from him in an empty gymnasium. She stops standing on the green floor of the free throw lane. The shot cuts and she is suddenly standing in a different position on the court not on the green floor area before she turns around to face him. See more »


Michael McPhee: Can you make money from philosophy?
Max Dugan: Yeah, if you have the right one.
See more »


Referenced in Yes Man (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Slightly corny, quite "80's", but very pleasant movie experience.
14 December 2002 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

I always enjoy watching this movie during those (rare) times that it comes on TV. I realize now that this movie makes an ideal holiday film, one that should best be seen around either Christmas/New Year's, or Thanksgiving holiday time. Why? Simply because it has such a strong "family values" theme to it. (Oh, and Max Dugan (Jason Robards) is also very generous with giving splendid gifts to his daughter and grandson (Marsha Mason and Matthew Broderick) in the film).

Perhaps a bit corny by today's film standards, I would nevertheless recommend this film to anyone who lived through the 80's - at least to those who were cognizant of everything that was going on around them. It should stimulate a few memories of the zeitgeist of the 80's (like, think "materialism" and "philosophy") - and it's all done without special effects or smoke and filter-lens photography.

This film shows Jason Robards in one of his best roles, with that deep, smooth, mellifluous voice of his just hitting all the right notes. Matthew Broderick is fun to watch in this film as well; it's an early peek at his big-screen work before he hit it big as Ferris Bueller in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Donald Sutherland is interesting as always, and Marsha Mason is excellent as the single mom trying to cope with all the crazy stuff happening to her.

If you like this film, I would recommend you rent "Rocket Gibraltar" (1988) starring Burt Lancaster. Another excellent family film that showcases a well-known actor in one of his last film roles.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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