7.2/10
4,892
42 user 23 critic

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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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Julie Anne Haddock ...
Brian Andrews ...
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Arrabella Smalls
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Red Petus
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Col. Virgil Hedgepath
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Bennett Liss ...
Joe Dorsey ...
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

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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 Ace  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

In the opening dogfight scene, Colonel Mullinax (the flight leader) announces, "This is Marines versus Navy, 1 v 1." He is leading a flight of three Marine fighters against two Navy fighters, so by definition, this mission is 3 v 2. See more »

Quotes

Bull Meechum: [to his subordinates] You're looking at Bull Meechum now, and this is the eye of the storm!
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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
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User Reviews

 
Great first half, then sputters (don't read if you haven't seen the movie)
24 March 2001 | by (Van Nuys, California) – See all my reviews

This movie is excellent for its first half: crisply delivered, well-developed, it takes chances that you don't see in films made today. Characters like Bull Meechum are usually, in contemporary films, greatly exaggerated or treated with utter contempt (the military dad in American Beauty as a typical example). This film delivers all the way through the basketball game episode.

Then it starts to fall apart. The episode with Toomer and Red seems like a mighty big price to pay just to show Bull's lack of sensitivity and empathy, or anything else it intends to show. Not too long after, Bull himself gets yanked right out of the movie. I really would have appreciated seeing all of these interesting characters resolve their differences - or see things come to a head. I just felt that the movie just quit with 30 minutes to go.

The music was also kind of hit and miss in the last half. For example, when Ben confesses that he prayed for his father's death, the music is inappropriately creepy. It resolves into sorrow, but the net result was kind of off-putting.


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