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Showing 1-10 of 288 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 335 reviews
on June 22, 2016
This movie is ostensibly a classic father-son story where the coming-of-age son begins to break away from his overbearing, overburden -some father all the while trying to discover his own true self and identity. However, there is one glaring difference: this father, Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall), is a tough, narcissistic marine Colonel and pilot who cannot show love to his family -especially his eldest son (O'Keefe)-except through the full-throttled mannerisms of his disciplinarian, macho self. Needless to say, father and son love each other but neither can be what the other so desparately want and need in order to fulfill themselves as human beings and complete each others identities. In the end, tragedy usurps decency but lessons are learned by all, albeit one in particular learned too late. And that one lesson is to show love to those we love while it matters....in the here ans now. Regretably, this is one life lesson we all tend to learn too late, making the movie more generalizable to the audience. The character development is excellent, from the wise-cracking Bull Meechum and his oldest teenage daughter, to the big and lovable Toomer, a black man who befriends Meechum's son, Ben. Toomer, although dirt poor and subject to the predudicial times of the early 1960s when the movie takes place, shows Ben that a man can still be a man even if he is gentle, loves nature, animals, and a beautiful sunset....things his father would never even notice, let alone acknowledge yet qualities his mother wishes her husband had himself. Ben gets dished a double dose of tragedy in this movie, transforming him from the fair, kind-hearted person he struggles to be to ultimately the man he tried so hard not to become....his father. The acting is suburb with Duvall leading the pack and O'Keefe keeping pace.stride for stride. This is an excellent film for father's to watch with their sons, especially for those whose relationships have been strained or challenged. A tear-jerker of a movie, to be sure, so have your Kleenex at the ready sports fans!
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on March 2, 2016
I can't comment on the DVD specifically yet as I only received yesterday and it will be a few weeks before I have time to watch it; however, I am very familiar with the movie as I own an old VCR video of it. I think it's a great movie with splendid acting all around. Had I been able to vote for the Academy Awards when Robert Duvall and Michael O'Keefe were nominated I would have voted for Duvall. O'Keefe would have been my second choice for supporting as that was the year Timothy Hutton won for Ordinary People, and I would have had to go with Timothy. It would have been a really hard choice if I had a vote. At the time Michael O'Keefe didn't have a lot of experience, as I recall, which makes his performance all the more moving. He slid right into the character. You can't help but feel his pain.
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on September 11, 2015
Another from the actual, past life of Pat Conroy, this story/film illustrates how a teen (and his family) bend and contend with "a warrior without a war" who seems more than overbearing but, as the plot thickens, is most determined to be "an enigma"--emotionally removed from them while raising Hell among them. The behavior of Bull Meechem is disturbing but true to form of such characters/types in a dysfunctional, codependent family where everyone else must either do the dance or depart, one way or another. To fully appreciate the story is to know the background of the author, the persona of such warriors (and antics of a not-so gentleman) and life/living in the Low Country.
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on March 8, 2016
I saw this movie years ago and now that we have lost our beloved Pat Conroy here in S.C, I wanted to see the movie again. The book version of this movie is equally as good and the Great Santini was Pat Conroy's father ( deceased) who was a Marine Colonel who flew jets. He was a tough customer as a Dad per the book and movie. Well worth seeing. Robert Duval is great as his Dad in the movie! Extremely well written.
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on February 8, 2013
Based on the Pat Conroy novel, this is one of my favorite Robert Duvall roles and my absolute favorite from Blythe Danner. Duvall is Wilbur "Bull" Meechum, a Marine fighter pilot - among the best at what he does...a true warrior...but a warrior w/out a war. His warrior persona is similar to some of the great warriors in our history - Patton comes to mind immediately - who do not function so well in peacetime. In spite of his skill as a fighter pilot and commander, he is only a LtCol Squadron Commander and his difficulties carry over into his personal life as he has a drinking problem and can only express love for his wife and four kids by using military command and control methods. Blythe Danner is the quintessential Southern Belle, as Meechum's wife; loving him and trying to control him...winning the fight sometimes, but often losing. As in the book, the film also explores the love/hate relationship between Meechum and his oldest son, Ben...played superbly by Michael O'Keefe. Conroy's novel is based on his own relationship with his father; so the love/hate relationship is central to the plot. Also look for superb performances from Lisa Jane Persky as the oldest Meechum daughter; Theresa Merritt as the family maid, Arabella Smalls; and Stan Shaw, as Toomer, Arabella's son and Ben's friend. The film is set and was filmed in Beaufort, SC and there is an ugly racial incident involving Toomer and a red-neck character, played by David Keith. The planes used by Meechum and the rest of the Marine pilots are F-4s and the simulated air warfare scenes are well staged and filmed. Great story, great performances...highly recommended. -
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on April 23, 2017
Robert Duvall at his best.....from the novel by Pat Conroy. Duvall is the drill-seargant-like dad to a group of colorful kids. Blythe Danner portrays his wife is the only placid pool in this existence of a move-around-the-country military family. Set in the 60's in the Deep South, the spine of the story centers around the combustible relationship between Duvall and his eldest son, played perfectly by a very young Michael O'Keefe (known to most as Roseanne's sister's husband on "Rosanne" AND Bonnie Raitt's ex-husband). O'Keefe shoulda gotten an Academy Award nomination for a scene near the end (you'll know it when it gets there and you better have the Puffs ready).
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on September 9, 2016
Perhaps I am not a fair judge of this film because I read the novel and I read The Death of Santini.
First the bad news: as much as I love Robert Duvall, his Santini was a positive pussycat compared to the one in the novel. The whole film had a low-budget quality to it and the score was just terrible. But most disappointingly to my 3 boys (to whom I read the book aloud) and me, the entire Sammy Wertzberger plot line was not included.
Now the good news: Michael O'Keefe and Blythe Danner were outstanding. All of Pat Conroy's witty dialogue was preserved and the Family Psychology was well played. Best of all was the part of Toomer Smalls, which carried us from rivited to anxious to weeping.
Highly recommended for those who have never read the book; cautiously so for those who have.
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on May 7, 2015
The flying scene at the beginning of the film, with Robert Duvall being a Marine Dogfighter flying a F4 Phantom against Navy planes was great, but then I'm an aviation devotee! Duvall is given a going-away party at a local restaurant (I think in Spain), since he is getting his first command, a squadron at a base in South Carolina. This is one of the most hilarious party scenes I have ever seen (since the party is extremely rowdy and a senior Navy officer comes to the party room and requests a little peace and quiet for him and his wife and the other restaurant patrons.)

Mostly it is about Duvall and his son, played by Michael O'Keefe, but this was the first film for a very interesting actress, Lisa Jane Persky (see her in Wikipedia.) Lisa is hilarious in this film. Other actors that I'm familiar with are Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow is her daughter), Stan Shaw and Brian Keith.
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I saw "The Great Santini" in the theatre in 1979 when it was first released. I always thought that Warner Brothers did a huge disservice to the film by retaining the original Pat Conroy book title (although the later re-release as "the Ace" also fails to inspire.) Despite the somewhat lackluster title, this is an absolutely superb film when viewed on many levels. I was originally interested in the film because of the aviation context, but that really only provides a medium for Robert Duvall to develop the character of Bull Meechum.

The real story here revolves around family and interpersonal dynamics in an early 1960s military family. Duvall gives a stunning performance in the title role as a hard charging Marine fighter pilot who finds expressions of affection next to impossible. Although a PG rated film, the language and violence (there is no nudity) are not excessive and are only used when necessary to further the plot (largely in the anti-racism subplot.) Despite this some of the scenes are very difficult to watch as they hit very close to home for people familiar with difficult family situations. The scene where Michael O'Keefe beats Duvall in basketball is one of the all-time most amazing scenes in cinema.

I think that the entire cast is perfect in every way. Stan Shaw gives an incredibly effective performance as Toomer in a subplot that addresses the futility of racism better than any other film I have ever seen. I find the scene of Red and Toomer with the bees and the dogs is one of the most poignant and brilliantly acted in history. The subtle complexity of the emotions (especially hatred and sorrow) in that one scene make the film worth watching, and should be required viewing in film schools everywhere. Likewise, Blythe Danner is amazing as the longsuffering military wife and mother.

By far the most important component of the film is the family relationships within the Meechum family, and in particular the conflict between Duvall and O'Keefe. Both were nominated for Oscars for these roles, and I firmly believe that both should have won, as both give brilliant performances. Of the two, though, I actually think that O'Keefe does the better job in the exceptionally difficult role of the 18 year old son. The emotional range that O'Keefe demonstrates in this film put him in the league of truly great actors like Duvall. Every time I have seen this film I have come to admire O'Keefe's portrayal more.

This is one of the best films from the 1970s and deserves more recognition than it has ever received. I give the film five stars (no question about that) although the Warner Brothers packaging leaves a lot to be desired. There are no commentary tracks or other extras on the DVD and that's a real shame. Nonetheless, this is a world class drama with occasionally brilliant comic insights that is as finely done as any other film I have ever seen.

I highly recommend "The Great Santini" to everyone.
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on September 18, 2016
Had seen movie long ago & now tried to download & watch with a friend... Every 10 minutes loading would stop... build...and give a label saying slow download & return to main menu... Not having much luck with any downloads from Amazon... (even when selecting to download in Standard Definition/SD over HD) Netflix, Youtube, and others channels stream just fine on my ROKU Player... Not sure what's up with Amazon? 4 stars for the movie... 1 star for download experience.
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