7.2/10
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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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Writers:

(novel), (written for the screen by)
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ON DISC
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

The South Carolina house where much of the movie takes place is the same house in Beaufort used in The Big Chill (1983). It is known as the "Edgar Fripp Home" as well as "Tidalholm." See more »

Goofs

The squadron that Bull Meechum assumes command of, VMFA-312, was known as "Checkerboards", not "Werewolves". In the opening scene, he dogfights with two navy F-4s while flying a VMFA-312 jet. Supposedly, he left that squadron in Spain! Also, the tail letters for VMFA-312 are "DR", not "DF". 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 !
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Connections

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Music by F.D. Marchetti
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User Reviews

 
Memorable character study of a warrior without a war
10 June 2002 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Robert Duvall is magnificent as a classic warrior without a war who moves his family from town to town. Blythe Danner is an excellent match as his wife. And Michael O'Keefe deserves all the kudos he received plus more as Duvall's put-upon son. Lisa Jane Persky strikes a nice balance as the sarcastic-yet-still-loving daughter. Stan Shaw, Paul Mantee, Paul Gleason, and David Keith are flawless in edgy supporting performances. There's perhaps one scene that's slightly overdone which causes me to give it a 9/10 rather than a 10. Otherwise, The Great Santini is an utterly riveting family portrait from start to finish.


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