Melvin and Howard

Watch Melvin and Howard

"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."
  • R
  • 1980
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 6.8  (5,245)

Melvin and Howard is a 1980 American biographical comedy-drama film that takes a look into the life of a struggling blue-collar worker named Melvin Dummar. The story follows the unlikely encounter between Melvin and Howard Hughes, a wealthy entrepreneur and eccentric billionaire who was known for his strange mannerisms and obsessions.

The film opens with Melvin (played by Paul Le Mat) working as a milkman in Las Vegas and struggling to make ends meet. One night, while driving in the desert, he comes across a disheveled and seemingly homeless man who claims to be Howard Hughes (played by Jason Robards). Melvin reluctantly gives Hughes a ride to a nearby hotel, but is skeptical about the man's true identity.

As the story unfolds, Melvin's encounter with Hughes becomes the catalyst for a chain of events that lead to a controversial will and testament. According to Melvin, Hughes allegedly wrote a will leaving him a substantial amount of money. However, the validity of the will is called into question by Hughes' lawyers, who claim that it is a forgery.

Despite the attention that the will receives in the media, Melvin struggles to prove its authenticity and is forced to confront the skepticism of those around him. Along the way, he finds himself being hounded by reporters, scorned by his family, and rejected by his wife (Elizabeth Cheshire).

As Melvin's situation becomes more desperate, he reflects on his life and the choices that brought him to where he is. Through a series of flashbacks, we see his struggles to make ends meet, his strained relationship with his wife, and his conflicted feelings about his own self-worth.

The film is a poignant and at times darkly comedic exploration of themes such as wealth, ambition, and the American Dream. Director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) masterfully balances comedic and dramatic elements to create a film that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The cast is superb, with standout performances by Le Mat and Robards. Le Mat brings a naturalistic feel to the role of Melvin, capturing the character's raw emotions and vulnerability. Robards, meanwhile, delivers a memorable and nuanced portrayal of Hughes, imbuing the character with a sense of warmth and humanity.

Overall, Melvin and Howard is a unique and compelling film that offers insight into the complexities of human motivation and the quest for meaning and fulfillment. Its blend of humor and drama make it a timeless classic that audiences will continue to appreciate for years to come.

Melvin and Howard
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (5,245)