7.2/10
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41 user 24 critic

The Great Santini (1979)

PG | | Drama | 26 October 1979 (USA)
Trailer
2:40 | Trailer

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As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated Marine pilot.

Director:

Lewis John Carlino

Writers:

Pat Conroy (novel), Lewis John Carlino (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Richard Pearce
Stars: Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Lt. Col. 'Bull' Meechum
Blythe Danner ... Lillian Meechum
Michael O'Keefe ... Ben Meechum
Lisa Jane Persky ... Mary Anne Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock 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 Bennett Liss ... Cpl. Atcherly
Joe Dorsey ... Coach Spinks
David Frankham ... Capt. Weber
Jan Stratton 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Santini See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,702,575, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

The film begins in 1962, but the aircraft are F-4J Phantom II's, a version first produced in 1966. They fill in for the F-4B which reached its first Navy and Marine squadrons in 1961. 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 »

Quotes

[Walking down the hall at school]
Mary Anne Meechum: They're staring at us like we're freaks or something.
Ben Meechum: No they're no. Look, just pick someone out. Go on up to them and say, "Hi my name's Mary Anne Meechum. I'm new in town, like you for a friend." Just like that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Twist and Shout
(uncredited)
Written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A powerful film
6 May 2005 | by Toadman005See 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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