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
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 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 Gift of Fury See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bing Crosby Productions See more »
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

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

Goofs

Lt. Col. 'Bull' Meechum grabs Cpl. Atcherly by the feet and dunks him head first into the toilet. After he pulls him out and lets go of him Atchlerly's shirt is mostly dry. But in the very next shot Atcherly's shirt is almost completely soaked with water. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Double Date (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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