Max Dugan Returns (1983)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Max Dugan (Jason Robards Jr.) is an elderly ne'er-do-well whose tenuous mob connections have made him persona non grata with his daughter Marsha Mason. Struggling to raise her restless son Matthew Broderick on her own, Mason is none too pleased when Max returns to the family fold with yet another portfolio of get-rich-quick schemes. Forced to leave town due to the investigative habits of cop Donald Sutherland, Mason's new boyfriend, Max does one last good deed to renew the faith of the … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Neil Simon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 12, 2005


as Nora McPhee

as Max Dugan

as Brian Costello

as Michael McPhee

as Mrs. Litke

as Himself

as Bill Costello

as Older Woman

as Blonde in Shoe Store

as Man in Shoe Store

as Teacher

as Teacher

as Shoe Store Cop

as His Wife

as Truck Washer

as 3rd Baseman

as Baseball Player

as Maitre d'

as Bears' Coach

as Basketball Coach

as Shoe Store Cop

as Shoe Store Manager
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Max Dugan Returns

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Critic Reviews for Max Dugan Returns

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

A consistently happy comedic fable which should please romanticists drawn to a teaming of Neil Simon, Marsha Mason and Herbert Ross.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Simon's gift also is his downfall. He's so good at writing lightweight dialogue that it all begins to sound the same.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

There are certainly some questionable ingredients to the story, but you're not likely to notice them while the film is under way. You're likely to be laughing.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A clumsy, heavy film, its most profoundly expressed emotion is greed.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This sentimental outing was written by Neil Simon and stars Marsha Mason as Nora, a single parent trying to raise her son Michael (Matthew Broderick).

Full Review… | October 26, 2011
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Comic, clever, and satisfying fairy tale of redemption.

Full Review… | December 30, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Max Dugan Returns


A great family comedy drama, again with the cute young Broderick, I loved this movie, it's charming. Oh, and just so you don't get confused like I did, this movie isn't a sequel to anything.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Charming fable. Jaon Robards is irresistible as the wandering dad.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A real charming movie from 1983. What would you do if someone suddenly gave you everything you ever wanted. That's what happens when Nora's long estranged father Max shows up on her doorstep one rainy night carrying a satchel filled with $687,000. Max only has 6 months left to live, and wants to give Nora, a struggling schoolteacher, and her young son Michael, all the luxuries he can in the time he has left. The problem is, the money Max has, he stole from a casino he worked at in Vegas. To further complicate matters, Nora has just started dating Kevin, who is a police detective. Bestowed with amazing gifts, from new appliances, to a brand new Mercedes, to a completely refurbished house, Nora tries to hide her father's identity, and explain away her seemingly new found wealth. Jason Robards gives a poignant performance as Max, a lifelong ne'er do well, who tries to make things right with his family. Marsha Mason is charming and hilarious as the put upon Nora. Kiefer Sutherland is solid as the police detective torn between his feelings for Nora, and the nagging feeling he has that all is not as it appears with her. The movie features Matthew Broderick, in his film debut, as Nora's son Michael, a kid who hits the jackpot, and doesn't see his mother's problem with taking what Max is giving them. It's a very Frank Capra-esque fantasy, that showcases the fantasy that everyone who struggles with everyday life would feel if their ship suddenly came in. A feel good movie if there ever was one, it's also the screen debut of 24's Keifer Sutherland.

RJ MacReady

Super Reviewer

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