The Great Santini


The Great Santini

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,965
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The Great Santini Photos

Movie Info

Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall) loves fighting almost as much as he loves the Marine Corps. Profane, cocky, and arrogant, he's a great fighter pilot -- and he knows it. His boss hates his guts, but knows that if he's going to straighten out his lagging squadron, Meechum is the man to do it. The story and irony of The Great Santini is in Meechum's total intolerance of family life and fatherhood. Meechum has a lovely, supportive wife, Lillian (Blythe Danner), an earnest, likeable son, Ben (Michael O'Keefe), three smaller children, and a good home, but Meechum finds the pastoral nature of peacetime totally incompatible with his gung-ho nature. So he begins to drink. He drills his family unmercifully, like recruits. He hammers his son relentlessly until, in a basketball game, his son fights back, and the family cheers Ben's efforts. Tension builds in the household until, during one drunken night, Meechum breaks down. Based on a best-selling novel by Pat Conroy, The Great Santini earned critical raves but fared poorly at the box office. Duvall's performance as Meechum is generally regarded as one of his greatest.

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Robert Duvall
as Lt. Col. Bull Meechum
Michael O'Keefe
as Ben Meechum
Blythe Danner
as Lillian Meechum
Lisa Jane Persky
as Mary Anne Meechum
Stan Shaw
as Toomer Smalls
Theresa Merritt
as Arrabelle
Paul Mantee
as Col. Hedgepath
Michael Strong
as Colonel Varney
Bennett Liss
as Corporal Atcherly
Joe Dorsey
as Coach Spinks
David Frankham
as Captain Weber
Jan Stratton
as Mrs. Weber
Paul Gleason
as Lieutenant Sammy
Lew Horn
as Captain Brookout
Michael Rougas
as Colonel Muillnax
Bill Nelson
as 1st Cousin
Ronnie Cross
as Honor Guard Sergeant
David Simmons
as Basketball Player
Nancy Black
as Cheerleader
Lisa Collins
as Cheerleader
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Critic Reviews for The Great Santini

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for The Great Santini

  • Oct 02, 2013
    Duvall embodies cockiness to the nth degree as he sets unrealistic expectations for his offspring in living up to the greatness of Santini. It borders on annoying by the end but it is nonetheless a great character created.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 24, 2010
    (1979 Director: Lewis John Carlino) Blythe Danner AND Robert Duvall! Ah, what a combination!? This is not a happy role for Duvall's talents, but he is most believable as the aggressive, overly discipliniarian military father--with an obsession on basketball! Setting: My home state of Indiana. <div style="width:440px;"><a href=""><img src="" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="">Flixster</a> - Share Movies</div></div>
    Teresa S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2009
    I thought the kid who played Benny was a bit much. It was a bit unbelievable. Otherwise, the movie was pretty good. Duvall's character was funny. Sad though!
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2009
    Duvall was nominated for this and watching it you will see why. Great story of a bullying father and husband, whos children make him come to turns with his issues.
    Lee K Super Reviewer

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