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The Great Santini (1979)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  26 October 1979 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,119 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 20 critic

As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated marine pilot.

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(novel), (written for the screen by), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Stars: Ken Howard, Blythe Danner, Norman Bartold
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Col. 'Bull' Meechum
...
Lillian Meechum
...
...
Mary Anne Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock ...
Karen Meechum
...
Matthew Meechum
...
Toomer Smalls
...
Arrabella Smalls
...
Red Petus
Paul Mantee ...
Col. Virgil Hedgepath
...
Col. Varney
Bennett Liss ...
Cpl. Atcherly
Joe Dorsey ...
Coach Spinks
David Frankham ...
Capt. Weber
Jan Stratton ...
Mrs. Weber
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Storyline

In 1962, the Marine Corps family, the Meechums - parents Lieutenant Colonel Wilbur "Bull" Meechum and Lillian Meechum, and their four children Ben Meechum, Mary Anne Meechum, Karen Meechum and Matthew Meechum - are moving like they do most years, this time to Beaufort, South Carolina. Bull - nicknamed "the Great Santini" - is known as a great pilot, but has gotten into much trouble in the past for his sophomoric behavior. He runs his family much as a military commander, where they are all to obey his orders without question. Everything he does within the family context he reasons is to build character, but in reality everything ends up being about him. The oldest Ben, approaching manhood, is the one of his offspring who has the greatest issue with his father. Ben wants his respect, but isn't sure if he really loves him. As Ben goes through his senior year in high school, his attempts to play varsity basketball and an incident between black Toomer Smalls - his friend and their cook ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The bravest thing he would ever do was let his family love him.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Santini  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite playing their mother, Blythe Danner is only 12 years older than Michael O'Keefe and Lisa Jane Persky. Danner later appeared as Tom Wingo's wife in The Prince of Tides (1991), which was also based on a novel by Pat Conroy. See more »

Goofs

In the opening dogfight sequence you hear the lead pilot call "Okay, it's Marines verses Navy"; and you see a F-4J Phantom with the word Navy on the side. However, the squadron designation is VMFA-251. At the time, only Marine Phantoms carried the "VMFA" designation, Navy Phantoms were "VF" . The "Marine" squadron was in fact VMFA-251 Thunderbolts, who now fly the F/A-18C. See more »

Quotes

Lillian Meechum: Your father is very nervous about this game. Look at me, youg lady! Look at me! You've got to interpret the signals he gives off!
Mary Anne Meechum: No problem! He always gives off the signals of a psychopathic killer, so it really doesn't matter how you interpret them !
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell/Green Day (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A powerful film
6 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is one of the finest ever made, in my humble opinion, and the greatest display of Robert Duval's acting abilities. This film is powerful and moving. An "era" piece, it's message resounds regardless.

The cinematography is beautifully done. The acting is top notch. The scenes between Metchum and his son are the most riveting, of course but the scenes between the son and mother are also quite touching and tender, and contrast wonderfully with the other scenes. And while this is a gripping drama, with very well acted round characters, there is humor too, and handled brilliantly.

Truly every movie library should have this film in it's collection.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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