Bumstead had a fairly weak period during the 1980s, but after teaming with Martin Scorsese on the remake of Cape Fear in 1991, he was hired by Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven, which led to another nomination. From that point he worked with Eastwood on eight more films up until he was diagnosed with cancer during production of Million Dollar Baby. In 1998, Bumstead, who was known as "Bummy" to friends and colleagues, received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Art Directors.
In an interview with MovieMaker Magazine, Henry Bumstead summed up his life as a great success: "I'm very happy. Nobody could've had more fun than I had. I've seen the world first class and worked with lots of talented and wonderful people. Sometimes I wake up in the night and just can't believe that I've been able to raise four kids, send them all to universities and, at the same time, been so lucky to do what I've always loved to do. It's been a great life every minute of it."