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Melvin and Howard Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Jonathan Demme's breakthrough movie featured the shaggy energy and affection for marginal American eccentrics that marked his earlier Jonathan Demme (1977) and such later films as Jonathan Demme (1986) and Jonathan Demme (1988). Melvin Dummar (Paul LeMat) is a barely-getting-by Nevada milkman. One day in the early 1970s, while driving down a lonely highway, Melvin picks up a shaggy, bearded bum (Jason Robards Jr.) and offers him a ride into town. Melvin gives the bum a quarter at the end of the ride, and that, so far as Melvin is concerned, is that. The story goes off on a new tangent, involving the on-and-off marriage between Dummar and his contest-happy wife Lynda (Mary Steenburgen). During one of the multitude of financial crises endured by the Dummars, Melvin discovers that the tramp he picked up was none other than billionaire Howard Hughes -- and when Hughes dies, Melvin inherits $150 million. The movie's wide acclaim included Oscars for Steenburgen and Goldman's script and New York Film Critics Awards in almost all major categories, including Best Picture and awards for Demme, Goldman, Steenburgen, and Robards. Demme would gain even greater attention in the 1990s as the director of Mary Steenburgen (1991) and Mary Steenburgen (1993). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:September 19, 1980

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bo Goldman Best Original Screenplay 1980 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Bo Goldman Best Screenplay 1980 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Jonathan Demme Best Director 1980 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Mary Steenburgen Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1980 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Mary Steenburgen Best Supporting Actress 1980 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Mary Steenburgen Best Supporting Actress 1980 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Mary Steenburgen Best Supporting Actress 1980 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Mary Steenburgen Best Supporting Actress 1980 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Paul Le Mat Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1980 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jason Robards, Jr. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1980 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jason Robards, Jr. Best Supporting Actor 1980 Nominee

Cast

Paul Le Mat
as Melvin Dummar
Jason Robards, Jr.
as Howard Hughes
Mary Steenburgen
as Lynda Dummar
Jack Kehoe
as Jim Delgado
Michael J. Pollard
as Little Red
Dabney Coleman
as Judge Keith Hayes
Gloria Grahame
as Mrs. Sisk
Pamela Reed
as Bonnie Dummar
John Glover
as Attorney Freese
Charles Napier
as Ventura
Elizabeth Cheshire
as Darcy Dummar
Susan Peretz
as Chapel Owner
Danny Dark
as "Easy Street" Announcer
Martine Beswicke
as Real Estate Woman
Rick Lenz
as Melvin's Lawyer
Joe Ragno
as Attorney Maxwell
Chip Taylor
as Clark Taylor
Denise Galik
as Lucy
Gene Borkan
as 1st Go-Go Club Owner
Robert Ridgely
as Wally Williams
Robert Wentz
as Justice of the Peace
Hal Marshall
as Hal
Herbie Faye
as Man Witness
Brendan Kelly
as Milkman Ralph
Danny Tucker
as Milkman Pete
Shirley Washington
as Patient Debbie
Melissa Prophet
as Easy Street Model
Anthony Alda
as Terry
Gary Goetzman
as Melvin's Cousin Fred
Jack Verbois
as Holdup Man
Sonny Davis
as Milkman George
Brendan Kelly
as Milkman Ralph
Shirley Washington
as Patient Debbie
Chip Taylor
as Clark Taylor
Jack Verbois
as Holdup Man
Melissa Prophet
as Easy Street Model
Robert Wentz
as Justice of the Peace
Danny Tucker
as Milkman Pete
Gary Goetzman
as Melvin's Cousin Fred
Herbie Faye
as Man Witness
Anthony Alda
as Terry
Hal Marshall
as Hal
Robert Ridgely
as Wally Williams
Gene Borkan
as 1st Go-Go Club Owner
Denise Galik
as Lucy

Crew

Jonathan Demme
Director
Art Linson
Producer
Don Phillips
Producer
Bo Goldman
Screenwriter
Tak Fujimoto
Cinematographer
Bruce Langhorne
Composer (Music Score)
Craig McKay
Editor
Terry Nelson
Associate Producer
Robert Gould
Set Decorator
David Ronne
Sound/Sound Designer
Don Heitzer
First Assistant Director
Michael Chinich
Casting
William Scharf
Sound Editor
Evelyn Purcell
Second Unit Director
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