4.6/10
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Howard the Duck (1986)

A sarcastic humanoid duck is pulled from his homeworld to Earth where he must stop a hellish alien invasion with the help of a nerdy scientist and a cute struggling female rock singer who fancies him.

Director:

Willard Huyck

Writers:

Steve Gerber (Marvel comics character: Howard the Duck), Willard Huyck | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,340 ( 417)

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ON DISC
5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lea Thompson ... Beverly Switzler
Jeffrey Jones ... Dr. Walter Jenning
Tim Robbins ... Phil Blumburtt
Ed Gale ... Howard T. Duck
Chip Zien ... Howard T. Duck (voice)
Tim Rose ... Howard T. Duck
Steve Sleap Steve Sleap ... Howard T. Duck
Peter Baird Peter Baird ... Howard T. Duck
Mary Wells Mary Wells ... Howard T. Duck
Lisa Sturz Lisa Sturz ... Howard T. Duck
Jordan Prentice ... Howard T. Duck
Paul Guilfoyle ... Lieutenant Welker
Liz Sagal Liz Sagal ... Ronette, Cherry Bomb
Dominique Davalos ... Cal, Cherry Bomb
Holly Robinson Peete ... K.C., Cherry Bomb (as Holly Robinson)
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Storyline

A scientific experiment unknowingly brings extraterrestrial life forms to the Earth through a laser beam. First is the cigar smoking drake Howard from the duck's planet. A few kids try to keep him from the greedy scientists and help him back to his planet. But then a much less friendly being arrives through the beam... Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped in a world he never made. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howard See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,070,136, 3 August 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,295,774

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,667,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cook in the sushi restaurant is wearing an "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" t-shirt, which was another Lucasfilm production written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 11 mins) During the diner scene when the Overlord levitates and begins spinning Howard, the rope was edited out, but the shadow of the rope used to suspend the actor is still visible. See more »

Quotes

Howard T. Duck: It's alright, Toots.
See more »

Alternate Versions

West German theatrical version was cut to secure a "Not under 12" rating. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Glitch! (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Turn Away (Reprise)
Written by Thomas Dolby and Allee Wills
Performed by Lea Thompson, Holly Robinson Peete (as Holly Robinson), Dominique Davalos and Liz Sagal
Produced by Thomas Dolby
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I'm going to be kind reviewing this one.
12 February 2003 | by San FranciscanSee all my reviews

HOWARD THE DUCK is one of those movies you have to see to believe.

A whopping boondoggle of sheer notoriety that replaced HEAVEN'S GATE as The Most Embarrassing Miscalculation In Hollywood History, this flick immediately humanized George Lucas; it proved that even he could make a bomb. And that's one of the things that makes it so fascinating--you just sit there, wondering what on earth the man was thinking.

I'm not going to write this with any intent of sarcastically ripping it to shreds, though. I'm going to attempt to both be fair and to express my opinion of it at the same time, mainly because I know that there *are* some folks out there who enjoy it for various reasons.

I'll be honest with you, the moment I heard Lucas was doing this film months in advance (and even then I was convinced the guy telling me was kidding until I saw an article for it in the paper), I rolled my eyes with disgust and didn't see it in the theatres. I saw it when a friend later rented it out of curiosity after it was rushed to video.

So what was it that suddenly possessed me to watch it? Well, I found out that my cousin was in it. You see, my cousin's name is Debbie Carrington (a.k.a. Debbie Lee Carrington), who was an Ewok in RETURN OF THE JEDI as well as a slew of other things, including but not limited to MEN IN BLACK, CAPTAIN EO, TOTAL RECALL (where she got to get on a table in a blonde wig and blast people with a machine gun) and on THE DREW CAREY SHOW ("Mini-Mimi"). So, naturally, I wanted to see this one because I learned of her involvement in it after the fact.

Most people loathe this film, but some like it simply because it's *so* weird in its badness while others genuinely love it for whatever reason. And that's okay. Actually, I kind of got a kick out of it and all its silliness the first time I saw it. We tried to watch it a second time, though, and were bored by it half the way through.

I just now saw it again for the first time since then.

One of the most bizarre things about this movie is how cheap it looks. For all the gobs of cash wasted on it (a record sum), HOWARD THE DUCK looks terrible. And no, I'm not talking about just the duck costume; I'm talking about the overall film, which looks exactly like a low-budget special made for television. Seriously, that's exactly how it looks, and I have no clue as to where the budget went to. I once wondered if it was used to desperately convince the stars involved to be in it, but I doubt it.

And meanwhile... speaking of the stars, I've got to hand it to Lea Thompson. Despite all the oddness here and all the stuff she is asked to do, she handles it all like a real trooper. In fact, this may be the bravest performance she's ever done, especially the bed scene. It also apparently didn't kill her career, thank God. Even though her character isn't at all fitting for a Big City Punkette, critics have nevertheless pointed out that she's still appealing here in her role as Beverly, and I agree. Meanwhile, Jeffery Jones gives quite possibly the strangest performance he's ever done, which is also an oddly effective one.

The biggest problem with the film is its mechanically coy, self-conscious script that has commercialized to death all of the original comic's appeal out of the final result (so what ELSE is new, Hollywood? ;) ). The movie can't decide whether it wants to follow the original concept or sweeten it up to supposedly appeal to a wider audience, and it is badly confused as a result. The movie desperately wants to protect its investment, so much so that the life has been choked out of it. Also, it has a *huge* amount of blah, unimaginatively generic lines ("No more Mr. Nice Duck", "You'll never get away with this", etc.).

But these days, it does have a ridiculous kind of flaky charm, partially because it's such an unbelievable anti-achievement and because it's so incredibly Eighties that it serves as a strong time capsule. And for those reasons and more, HOWARD THE DUCK has earned a place in twentieth century culture.


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