7.2/10
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41 user 27 critic

The Great Santini (1979)

PG | | Drama | 26 October 1979 (USA)
Trailer
2:41 | Trailer
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... 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 Pettus
Paul Mantee ... Col. Virgil Hedgepath
Michael Strong ... Col. Varney
Bennett Liss Bennett Liss ... Corp. 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

Opening Weekend USA:

$83,527, 28 October 1979

Gross USA:

$4,702,575

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,702,575
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

Despite playing their mother, Blythe Danner is only twelve years older than Michael O'Keefe and Lisa Jane Persky. Danner 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

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

Ben Meechum: [Angry with his father] I hope he dies out there with the rest of the snakes!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sports Jeopardy!: Episode #2.17 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon River
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Mancini
See more »

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User Reviews

Just Like Living With a Ticking Time Bomb.
23 June 2004 | by tfrizzellSee 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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