Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Great Santini, The (1979)

Great Santini, The (1979)

As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum (Michael O’Keefe) struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, Bull (Robert Duvall), an aggressively competitive, but frustrated Marine fighter pilot so skilled that he’s called “The Great Santini”.

But now it’s peacetime 1962 and the indomitable Bull Meechum – more at home playing ‘top gun’ in the cockpit than father in his own living room – has become that most useless of figures: a warrior without a war.

He commands a squadron at a tiny Marine airbase outside Beaufort, South Carolina and yearns for the old days. He rules over his family like a drill sergeant, barking orders at his gentle Southern wife (Blythe Danner) and lining up his four children for inspection and instructions. In his own little Marine Corps, Bull plays the five-star general.

Oldest son, Ben, is the intended heir to the military career and macho swagger, but Ben has inherited instead his mother’s sensitivity and clear-eyed intelligence – which does not exactly make him prime Marine Corps material. Because he sees through his father’s bravado, Ben becomes his adversary.

Finally, Bull Meechum has a war – and he pulls out all the stops to win.

Based on Pat Conroy’s semi-autobiographical bestseller, Conrack.

Lt. Col. ‘Bull’ Meechum
Robert Duvall
Lillian Meechum
Blythe Danner
Ben Meechum
Michael O’Keefe
Mary Anne Meechum
Lisa Jane Persky
Karen Meechum
Julie Anne Haddock
Matthew Meechum
Brian Andrews
Toomer Smalls
Stan Shaw
Arabella Smalls
Theresa Merritt
Red Petus
David Keith
Col. Virgil Hedgepath
Paul Mantee
Col. Varney
Michael Strong
Cpl. Atcherly
Bennett Liss
Coach Spinks
Joe Dorsey
Capt. Weber
David Frankham
Mrs Weber
Jan Stratton

Director
Lewis John Carlino