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Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck (1986).jpg
Genre: Science Ficton
Photography: Color
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: August 1, 1986
Directed by: Willard Huyck
Written by: Willard Huyck
Gloria Katz
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Starring: Lea Thompson
Jeffrey Jones
Tim Robbins

Howard the Duck is a 1986 science fiction comedy film based on the Marvel comic book of the same name.


In this film based on the comic book character, Howard the Duck is suddenly beamed from Duckworld, a planet of intelligent ducks with arms and legs, to Earth, where he lands in Cleveland. There he saves rocker Beverly (Lea Thompson) from thugs and forms a friendship with her. She introduces him to Phil (Tim Robbins), who works at a lab with scientist Dr. Jenning (Jeffrey Jones). When the doctor attempts to return Howard to his world, Jenning instead transfers an evil spirit into his own body.

Why It Sucks

  1. Awkward and bad acting from most of the cast, especially from Howard the Duck himself.
  2. Howard's costume nosedives straight into the Uncanny Valley.
  3. Tim Robbins' awful portrayal of Phil Blumbertt.
  4. Poorly done special effects.
  5. The film can get really boring and unwatchable at times.
  6. When the scientists take Howard to the laboratory to send him home, the film could have stopped there, but it was kept going for some reason.
  7. All of the duck puns are god-awful and not particularly clever.
  8. Actual breasts are shown on an female duck character. No joke.
  9. Some scenes include swearing, mean-spirited content and even nudity. This wouldn't be a problem if the film wasn't rated PG.
  10. Two death fake-outs in one movie.
  11. Horribly unfunny jokes.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The ending song is pretty catchy.
  2. The stop-motion effects of the Dark Overlord are good.


The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and was a box office failure. Contemporary critics saw the decision to shoot the film in live action instead of as an animated film and the appearance of Howard as primary obstacles to its success, while more recent commentators tend to focus on the film's writing.

The film is notable for being the first comic book-based film to win a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture (tied with Prince's Under the Cherry Moon), followed by Catwoman in 2004 and the 2015 Fantastic Four film.

Over the years, the film has grown a cult following.


  • The Howard comic later spoofed the movie in a storyline featuring Lea Thompson herself!
  • Howard the Duck later made a cameo appearance in the first two Guardians of the GalaxyGMW films. James Gunn said Howard the Duck was his favorite Marvel character since childhood, then he dislikes Howard the Duck film since it ever released.
  • Most of the actors had trouble finding work because of this film. However, the lead actors (Thompson, Jones, and Robbins) all went on to more acclaimed projects, with Robbins later winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the 2003 film Mystic RiverGMW.
  • Mel Brooks was a fan of the movie and hired Ed Gale, who wore the duck suit, for his film SpaceballsGMW, saying "Anybody who was in Howard the Duck can be in my movie.".
  • This was the last film directed by Willard Huyck.
  • This film was parodied in Disney's sequel to Planes and Planes Fire & Rescue.


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