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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
...
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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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was originally released directly to cable and airlines, under the title "The Ace". When the NY Times reviewed it very favorably, it was pulled from cable, and released to theaters under the title "The Great Santini". See more »

Goofs

At a military funeral all personnel in uniform render a hand salute during the playing of Taps. In the movie the only personnel presenting arms are the firing detail. See more »

Quotes

Bull Meechum: I didn't know you looked so stacked, sports fans.
Mary Anne Meechum: How sicko sexual can you get?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Rampage (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodnight, Sweetheart
(uncredited)
Music by Ray Noble
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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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