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The Great Santini (1979)

PG | | Drama | 26 October 1979 (USA)
As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated marine pilot.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Col. 'Bull' Meechum
...
Lillian Meechum
...
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Mary Anne Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock ...
Karen Meechum
Brian Andrews ...
Matthew Meechum
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Toomer Smalls
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Arrabella Smalls
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Red Petus
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Col. Virgil Hedgepath
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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the basketball game, Pat Conroy's mother Peg, the woman with the short blonde hair, is seated directly behind Blythe Danner. Pat's brother, Tom, who tragically committed suicide at the age of 33, is #32 on the team, the player wearing glasses. See more »

Goofs

In Colonel Hedgepath's office, he admonished, "And don't go attacking anymore corporals on the latrine!" No Marine would refer to a bathroom as a "latrine"; that is an Army term. In the Marine Corps and the Navy, the term is "head." See more »

Quotes

[Walking down the hall at school]
Mary Anne Meechum: They're staring at us like we're freaks or something.
Ben Meechum: No they're no. Look, just pick someone out. Go on up to them and say, "Hi my name's Mary Anne Meechum. I'm new in town, like you for a friend." Just like that.
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Connections

Referenced in NCIS: House Rules (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon River
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Mancini
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User Reviews

The Great Santini
16 June 1999 | by (Marietta, OH) – See all my reviews

Duvall received a much deserved Oscar nomination as a Marine who runs his family like he runs his men... with vigor and power. He's a Patton without a war and Duvall plays it off beautifully. O'Keefe (also Oscar nominated) is fantastic as his son who's only wish is to please his father. There are many startling scenes in the picture, especially the basketball game where Duvall orders O'Keefe to put another player "on the floor" for obvious flagrant fouls. Duvall's Bull Meechum rules with a iron fist and screams at his son, "Put him down, or you don't come home tonight." The film is based on Pat Conroy's novel and also stars the always wonderful Danner, as Duvall's wife and Stan Shaw as a black man befriended by O'Keefe. Lewis John Carlino directs.


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