Melvin and Howard


Melvin and Howard

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,656
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Melvin and Howard Photos

Movie Info

Outside Las Vegas, truck driver, milkman and aspiring songwriter Melvin Dummar gives a ride to a desert drifter who claims to be billionaire Howard Hughes. Several years later, Melvin produces a will that names him as an heir to the Hughes fortune!


Paul Le Mat
as Melvin Dummar
Jason Robards
as Howard Hughes
Mary Steenburgen
as Lynda Dummar
Jack Kehoe
as Jim Delgado
Elizabeth Cheshire
as Darcy Dummar
Chip Taylor
as Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar
as Bus Depot Counterman
Gloria Grahame
as Mrs. Sisk
Pamela Reed
as Bonnie Dummar
Dabney Coleman
as Judge Keith Hayes
Joe Ragno
as Attorney Maxwell
John Glover
as Attorney Freese
Robert Ridgely
as TV Master of Ceremonies
Susan Peretz
as Chapel Owner
Charlene Holt
as Mrs. Worth
Melissa Williams
as Sherry Dummar
Rick Lenz
as Melvin's Lawyer
Danny Dark
as Easy Street Announcer
Martine Beswick
as Real Estate Woman
Gene Borkan
as Go-Go Club Owner #1
Wendy Lee Couch
as Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski
as Go-Go Dancer
Janice King
as Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein
as Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas
as Go-Go Dancer
Elise Hudson
as "Easy Street" Singer
Robert Wentz
as Justice of the Peace
Cheryl Smith
as Patient Ronnie
Melissa Prophet
as Easy Street Model
Herbie Faye
as Witness
Sonny Carl Davis
as Milkman George
John Levin
as Reporter
Jack Verbois
as Holdup Man
Brendan Kelly
as Milkman Ralph
Danny Tucker
as Milkman Pete
Shirley Washington
as Patient Debbie
Rainbeaux Smith
as Patient Ronnie
John Thundercloud
as Chief Thundercloud
Gary Goetzman
as Melvin's Cousin Fred
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Critic Reviews for Melvin and Howard

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Melvin and Howard

  • Jul 22, 2014
    After picking up a random hitchhiker who claims to be Howard Hughes, a truck driver goes on with the rest of his boring life until he finds out that Hughes left him a fortune. This film should be called Melvin because Howard appears for ten minutes and his presence is felt for about twenty. And the problem is that Melvin is a terribly boring character. He has a job problem and a love problem, but these aren't interesting conflicts, and frankly, Melvin is a douche. When he gets Howard's inheritance in the final act, it's a stroke of good fortune for a guy who could've withered away without anyone noticing. Overall, I'm surprised that Jonathan Demme is capable of Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs but also capable of this and Rachel Getting Married.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2011
    "Melvin and Howard" is a charming but mediocre dramedy based on fact. Melvin Dummar is a Utah man (he is still alive) who claimed in 1976 to have received a hand-written will authored by Howard Hughes, in which he, Dummar, was named one of the beneficiaries of Hughes's estate. This happened just four years after another man, Clifford Irving, claimed to be collaborating with Mr. Hughes (who died in 1976) on an authorized autobiography. Hughes, who by then was a complete recluse, eventually came out publicly and stated that Irving's story was a hoax. This triggered a wave of fascination with hoaxes and forgeries. (See Orson Welles's terrible 1973 semi-documentary "F for Fake," which contains a lot of footage of Irving.) "Melvin and Howard" presents the Dummar story as if it were true. Bo Goldman, who won an Oscar for the screenplay, imagines what Dummar's life must have been like. Mary Steenburgen, who won a Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in the film, plays Dummar's wife. Goldman and director Jonathan Demme (this was Demme's sixth film) present Dummar and his wife as semi-retarded. But somehow it comes across as an affectionate portrayal. There's a lot that's charming about the film. It captures the milieu of down-and-out Western folk as well as "Five Easy Pieces" did, but with more comedy than tragedy. But both the comedy and drama are pretty light. I just kind of sat there limply watching it. Almost everything about it is flaccid. (Just incidentally, 1980 was the year of "Raging Bull," "Coal Miner's Daughter," "The Elephant Man," and "Ordinary People," which won the Oscar for Best Picture -- four of my all-time favorite films. What a good year for film.)
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2009
    Wonderful film.I just wish everything worked out for Melvin
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 13, 2008
    I am on a huge Robards kick here lately. He gives another amazing performance and he's not even in half the movie. Paul LeMat is great as Melvin whose life is one of the most entertaining train wrecks I have had the pleasure of watching. Mary Steenburger is outstanding as Le Mat's twice married and then twice divorced wife. (The scene in the strip club and on the game show are hilarious). I thought the writing and direction were really well done and I see how Demme influenced directors like PTA. It's quirky (in a good way), funny, sad, with a great anti hero at the center that you hate one minute and end up respecting at the end. A nice gem of a movie that I highly suggest everyone see.
    Tim S Super Reviewer

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