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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.

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(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
...
...
Mary Anne Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock ...
Karen Meechum
Brian Andrews ...
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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the morning of the Academy Award nominations in 1981, when the movie got nods for actor and supporting actor, author Pat Conroy received a phone call from him father who told him "You and me got nominated for Academy Awards, your mother didn't get squat". See more »

Goofs

Bull Meechum meets his old buddy, Virgil Hedgepath, and they wrestle each other in Hedgepath's office. In the background, you can see a couch. As Hedgepath gets Meechum in an arm lock, on the floor, you can see that the floor has been raised: in the background, the couch is noticeably higher, and you can see the side of the platform that the actors are on, directly below Robert Duvall's face. Filmed in a 4:3 ratio, the raised floor was cropped out for the 1:85 theatrical release. See more »

Quotes

Mary Anne Meechum: Hey Dad, why do you love me more than your other children?
Bull Meechum: Beat it, I'm reading the sports page.
Mary Anne Meechum: Let's have a conversation Dad. Let's bare our souls and get to know one another.
Bull Meechum: I don't want you to get to know me. I like being an enigma, like a Chink. Now scram.
Mary Anne Meechum: Am I a Meechum Dad? Can girls be real Meechums; girls without jump shots? Or am a simple form of Meechum, like in biology. Mary Anne, the one-celled Meechum.
Bull Meechum: Mary Anne scram, I'm starting to lose my temper; Lilian!
Mary Anne Meechum: [falls to the ground] ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Hide and Seek (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Twist and Shout
(uncredited)
Written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns
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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.


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