The Great Santini

The Great Santini is a 1979 film which tells the story of a highly successful Marine officer whose success as a military aviator contrasts with his shortcomings as a husband and father. The film also explores the high price of heroism and self sacrifice on the man's soul and interpersonal relationships. It stars Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Michael O'Keefe, Lisa Jane Persky, Julie Anne Haddock, Brian Andrews, Stan Shaw and David Keith. Much of the film was shot on location in Beaufort, South Carolina. The setting of the Meechum's house was later used in The Big Chill.


The movie was adapted by Lewis John Carlino from the novel by Pat Conroy, with assistance from an un-credited Herman Raucher. Carlino also directed the film. The title character, Lt. Col. Wilbur "Bull" Meechum aka "The Great Santini," was based on Conroy's father.

The movie, for the most part, follows the book. As with most movies based on books, there is some material left out in the movie. The movie's major divergence from the book is the absence of Sammy, Ben Meechum's Jewish best friend.


The Great Santini received two Academy Award nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robert Duvall) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael O'Keefe).


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