Director: Lewis John Carlino
Stars: Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Michael O'Keefe, Stan Shaw, Theresa Merritt, David Keith
It's 1962 and the Lieutenant Colonel Wilbur "Bull" Meechum and his four children are moving to Beaufort, South Carolina to another military base. His oldest son, Ben Meechum, will be starting his Senior year in a new school. Lieutenant Colonel Meechum was sent to this base as a punishment. He is hard to handle and has a drinking problem. His family tolerates his drinking and the pain that goes with it. He expects his children to be the best at whatever they do, if they do not he shows them cruelty and abuse. Lieutenant Colonel Meechum does not know how to show his family proper affection. He runs his house like the military. Ben has a problem with how he is treated by his father and how he is expected to follow in his footsteps.
This movie is based on the book with the same title by Pat Conroy. The film version of the story help show how some military families functioned behind closed doors back in the day. It was a times of proper looks and behavior on the outside, but no one could ever know what went on behind closed doors. A lot of families acted like that in the 60's. There were the racist scenes that involved the character Toomer. Those scenes are painful to watch knowing so many black people were treated that way by stupid white folks. The best was to see how the Meechum family treated Toomer with love and respect. It help that his momma was their housekeeper. They loved her too.
The cast was great for the movie. Robert Duvall had his first Oscar nomination for his role in the movie. He deserved it. He was incredible in the role. He became "the Great Santini". You believed in him and his family. You think of him as this crappy character. Michael O'Keefe was started his adult acting career and continued to prosper in the acting field. Blythe Danner was the perfect kind upper middle class southern mother.
This is almost a forgotten movie now days. If you have never seen this movie, then do yourself a favor and watch it. It is a great story with a great cast. Enjoy.
The Great Santini (1979) Trailer