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The Great Santini (1979)

PG | | Drama | 26 October 1979 (USA)
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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)
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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:
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 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

Timothy Hutton auditioned for the role of Ben Meechum. After being cast instead in Ordinary People (1980), he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Michael O'Keefe was a fellow competitor. See more »

Goofs

After Col. Meechum dunks Cpl. Achley's head in the toilet, he tells him to "get out!". The strike plate for the stall door has been visibly loosened, allowing the stall door to swing outward, which it is not intended to do. The prank would be difficult to pull off if the door only swung inward. See more »

Quotes

Bull Meechum: You're probably wondering why I attacked you right?
Col. Varney: Yes, sir.
Bull Meechum: What's your name Corporal?
Col. Varney: Atchley, sir.
Bull Meechum: Atchley do you realize that several Marines were killed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor while taking craps?
Col. Varney: No, sir.
Bull Meechum: A fighting man must be vigilant to surprise attack no matter where he is. The survival of our nation depends on the readiness of Marines all over the world. Also more importantly, you only wiped yourself twice - grossly insufficient. Right now, germs with names you can't even ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hot Chick (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Music by Fermo Dante Marchetti
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User Reviews

 
Robert Duvall's best performance!
28 January 1999 | by andy-227See all my reviews

I've seen Robert Duvall in other movies. He is a quiet, wise, somewhat reverent man. Being a fan of his, I caught "The Great Santini" on TV. And I gotta tell you, his performance as Bull Meechum just blew the hell out of me! I never knew he could play a role as fierce, violent, and powerful as Bull Meechum! Although it's a film with little attention, it's Robert Duvall best film! It's his best performance. The conflict between the father and the son is strong enough to wildly shake our emotions! Duvall was nominated for Best Actor, and he should've won! It's a must see! I tried purchasing it, but since it's not in high demand, the store didn't have it. It's worth owning, and it's definitely worth watching! Put it on your list of films to see next!


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