6.8/10
4,044
37 user 27 critic

Melvin and Howard (1980)

Trailer
2:43 | 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:

Jonathan Demme

Writer:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
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
Citizens Band (1977)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A successful, ego-maniacal architect who has spent a lifetime bullying his wife, employees and mistresses wants to make peace as his life approaches its final act.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty, Lisa Joyce
Fighting Mad (1976)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 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 6.1/10 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
Crazy Mama (1975)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Several women begin an outlaws' lives in a desperate trip to their family farm, which was taken off them by corrupt authorities.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When his apartment building is torn down, a retired lifelong New Yorker goes on a cross country odyssey with his beloved cat Tonto.

Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, René Enríquez
Cross Creek (1983)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1930's Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings moves to Florida's backwaters to write in peace. She feels bothered by affectionate men, editor and confused neighbors, but soon she connects and writes The Yearling, a classic of American literature.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Mary Steenburgen, Rip Torn, Peter Coyote
Country (1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Gilbert Ivy and his wife Jewell are farmers. They seem to be working against the odds, producing no financial surplus. Gilbert has lost hope of ever becoming prosperous, but his wife ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Pearce
Stars: Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Robards ... Howard Hughes
Paul Le Mat ... Melvin Dummar
Elizabeth Cheshire ... Darcy Dummar
Mary Steenburgen ... Lynda Dummar
Chip Taylor Chip Taylor ... Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar Melvin E. Dummar ... Bus Depot Counterman
Michael J. Pollard ... Little Red
Denise Galik ... Lucy
Gene Borkan Gene Borkan ... Go-Go Club Owner #1
Lesley Margret Burton Lesley Margret Burton ... Go-Go Dancer
Wendy Lee Couch Wendy Lee Couch ... Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski Marguerite Baierski ... Go-Go Dancer
Janice King Janice King ... Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein Deborah Ann Klein ... Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas 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 | Plot 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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Melvin Dummar Story See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,309,490

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,309,490
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Along with Fighting Mad (1976), Citizens Band (1977), and Last Embrace (1979), this picture was one of the first studio films of director Jonathan Demme who had previously made B-movies for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. 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

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'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.10 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Fortunate Son
Written by John Fogerty
Performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival (as Creedance Clearwater Revival)
Courtesy of Fantasy Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the most neglected
6 December 1999 | by Joel ISee 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"!


27 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed