IMDb > The Great Santini (1979)
The Great Santini
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The Great Santini (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Pat Conroy (novel)
Lewis John Carlino (written for the screen by)
View company contact information for The Great Santini on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 October 1979 (USA) See more »
The bravest thing he would ever do was let his family love him.
As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated marine pilot. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(56 articles)
The Glass Castle – Review
 (From 10 August 2017, 11:28 PM, PDT)

Class | Blu-ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 8 March 2016, 6:00 AM, PST)

Pat Conroy, Author of ‘The Prince of Tides,’ ‘The Great Santini,’ Dies at 70
 (From Variety - Film News. 4 March 2016, 9:48 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Memorable character study of a warrior without a war See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Duvall ... Lt. Col. 'Bull' Meechum

Blythe Danner ... Lillian Meechum

Michael O'Keefe ... Ben Meechum

Lisa Jane Persky ... Mary Anne Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock ... Karen Meechum
Brian Andrews ... Matthew Meechum

Stan Shaw ... Toomer Smalls

Theresa Merritt ... Arrabella Smalls

David Keith ... Red Petus

Paul Mantee ... Col. Virgil Hedgepath

Michael Strong ... Col. Varney
Bennett Liss ... Cpl. Atcherly
Joe Dorsey ... Coach Spinks
David Frankham ... Capt. Weber
Jan Stratton ... Mrs. Weber

Paul Gleason ... Lt. Sammy
W.K. Stratton ... Ace
Lew Horn ... Capt. Brookout
Michael Rougas ... Col. J.S. Mullinax
Al Garcia ... Pedro
Stacy MacGregor ... Leroy
Harold B. Bibey ... Hedgepath's Sergeant
Gordon Gene Jones ... Bartender
Harry Pickins Porth ... Squadron Executive Officer
Albert Smith ... Hobie Simms
Walter Gay ... Man at Shrimp Dock
Wendell Gregory ... Shrimp Header
Bill Nelson ... 1st Cousin

Bill Eudaly ... 2nd Cousin
Wayne Sharpnack ... Mac
Morris Phifer ... Air Traffic Controller Sergeant
Brad Baldwin ... Radar Operator Sergeant
Ronnie Cross ... Honor Guard Sergeant
Timothy Norton ... Jim Don
Richard Horswell ... Art
Ronald Garrett Jr. ... Pinkie
Hank Chappell ... Mumford
Reggie Malphrus ... Abbot
Doyle Kelley ... 1st Referee
Larry Burke ... 2nd Referee
K.C. Stiglbauer ... Basketball player
Randy Cauthen ... Basketball player
Tom Conroy ... Basketball player
Lance Snyder ... Basketball player
Tony Langdale ... Basketball player
Gary Towles ... Basketball player
Ray Nix ... Basketball player
Chip Upchurch ... Basketball Player
Nicole von der Heyde ... Cheerleader
Nancy Black ... Cheerleader
Lisa Collins ... Cheerleader
Kim Duncan ... Cheerleader
Claudette Evans ... Cheerleader
Carol Monson ... Cheerleader
Tara Hudson ... Cheerleader
Sandra Patterson ... Cheerleader
Holly Malphrus ... Cheerleader
Sarah Sanford ... Cheerleader
Denise Walker ... Cheerleader
Edwina Dawn Tucker ... Cheerleader
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Ted Otis ... Bus Passenger (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis John Carlino 
Writing credits
Pat Conroy (novel)

Lewis John Carlino (written for the screen by)

Herman Raucher  uncredited

Produced by
Charles A. Pratt .... producer
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
Cinematography by
Ralph Woolsey 
Film Editing by
Houseley Stevenson Jr.  (as Houseley Stevenson)
Casting by
Irving Lande 
Production Design by
Jack Poplin 
Set Decoration by
Jeff Haley 
Donald J. Sullivan  (as Don Sullivan)
Makeup Department
Lon Bentley .... makeup artist
Andy Ciannella .... makeup artist: New York (as Andy Cianella)
Lynn Del Kail .... hair stylist
Production Management
Sally J. Fitzhenry .... post-production supervisor
Floyd Joyer .... unit production manager
John Pommer .... executive in charge of production (as John E. Pommer)
Ken Swor .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Edward D. Markley .... first assistant director (as Edward Markley)
Ken Swor .... first assistant director
Jonathan Giles Zimmerman .... second assistant director (as Jonathan Zimmerman)
Art Department
Michael Dunn .... property master (as Mike Dunn)
Sylvio Fama .... propmaker
Wally Graham .... construction coordinator
Mike Humburger .... lead man
Ed Meena .... lead man
Edmund Villa .... assistant property master (as Ed Villa)
Sound Department
Lee Alexander .... production sound mixer
David Dockendorf .... re-recording mixer
Teri E. Dorman .... sound editor
Jerry Jacobson .... loop editor (as Jerry M. Jacobson)
James J. Klinger .... supervising sound editor
Special Effects by
Ken Pepiot .... special effects
Bennie E. Dobbins .... stunt coordinator (as Bennie Dobbins)
Monty Jordan .... stunt double (uncredited)
Conrad E. Palmisano .... stunt double: Michael O' Keefe (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Don Biller .... first assistant camera: New York
Arthur Brooker .... key grip (as Art Brooker)
Catharine Bushnell .... still photographer: New York
Alan R. Disler .... first assistant camera (as Alan Disler)
David Greene .... second assistant camera: New York
George Holmes .... gaffer
Larry Keys .... second electrician (as Larry Keyes)
Richard C. Kratina .... director of photography: New York (as Dick Kratina)
Stan McClain .... assistant camera: aerial unit (as Stan McClean)
David B. Nowell .... aerial camera operator (as David Nowell)
Richard Redlin .... second grip
William H. Steiner .... camera operator: New York (as William Steiner)
Casting Department
Jo Doster .... local casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael W. Hoffman .... costumer (as Mike Hoffman)
Christine Zamiara .... costumer (as Chris Zamiara)
Editorial Department
George Folsey Jr. .... consulting editor
David Strohmaier .... assistant editor
Location Management
Jan Dennehy .... location auditor (as Janice Elan)
Music Department
Else Blangsted .... music editor
John Norman .... scoring mixer
Elmer Bernstein .... conductor (uncredited)
Peter Bernstein .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alan Broadbent .... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Franklin Jones Jr. .... score recording engineer and score mix engineer (uncredited)
William Kraft .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
David Spear .... conductor (uncredited)
David Spear .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Transportation Department
George Alden .... transportation captain
Eddie Lee Voelker .... transportation co-captain (as Ed Voelker)
Other crew
Jill Chadwick .... production assistant (as Jill D. Chadwick)
P.C.G. Coulter .... technical advisor (as Capt. P.C.G. Coulter)
Hunt Downs .... unit publicist
Sean Kevin Fitzpatrick .... development executive: BCP
Fred Hesper .... bee consultant
Cindy James .... dog trainer
Clay Lacy .... aerial sequences
Ted Langwell .... assistant to production executive
Betsy Norton .... script supervisor
Tobi C. Singleton .... production coordinator
Jean Weyand .... assistant to unit publicist
Jay Brown .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Ace" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
115 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:L | Peru:Apt | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video) | USA:PG (certificate #25695)

Did You Know?

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 »
Anachronisms: The film takes place in 1962, but the aircraft are F-4J Phantom II's, an aircraft that was manufactured in 1966. The aircraft have ECM antennas on the intake shoulders, which were added in 1975. Finally, the planes are gull-gray on the bellies and noses. This was a paint scheme mandated in 1978.See more »
Ben Meechum:You know what Toomer? This is terrific. There's a shooting star.
Toomer:There's no star boy. That's the tear of infant Jesus falling on such a sinful, hateful world. This is sure one fine night, isn't it buddy boy?
Ben Meechum:Yep, this is one fine night Toomer.
See more »
Movie Connections:
FascinationSee more »


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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Memorable character study of a warrior without a war, 10 June 2002
Author: herbqedi from New York, NY

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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