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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

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Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Santini  »

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Runtime:

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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

As Santini's family is waiting at the hanger for him to arrive, Lillian's hair changes. With the wind blowing, sometimes her hair is messed up, sometimes it is combed nicely. See more »

Quotes

Mary Anne Meechum: I hate this place.
Lillian Meechum: Now sugar, you've got to open yourself to a town. You've been in the corps long enough to know that.
Mary Anne Meechum: I am not in the corps.
Matthew Meechum: Says you!
Bull Meechum: Shut your little yaps! Now here it is sports fans, Beaufort S.C.!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Body of Proof: Hard Knocks (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Just Like Living With a Ticking Time Bomb.
23 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hard-nosed military pilot Robert Duvall (Oscar-nominated in the title role) is a nut of epic proportions as he abuses his wife (Blythe Danner) and four kids (led by Oscar-nominee Michael O'Keefe) with verbal outbursts, bully-style antics and cruel behavior. Duvall's over-the-top role is an intensely interesting and volatile character who is full of fire, but also strangely sympathetic and dare I say even likable. The movie takes place just before the Vietnam years and keeps up an intensity because of the events going on in the world around them. Also O'Keefe gets into all kinds of trouble as a high schooler in the newest town the group has moved to. The relationship between Duvall and O'Keefe is the primary focus and the rest of the project is really just window dressing. Duvall is a revelation once again and he is able to keep everything believable and coherent. 4 stars out of 5.


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