1979 - United States - 115 minutes
Writer and Director - Lewis John Carlino from a novel by Pat Conroy
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.2/10 - Link to IMDB
Roger Ebert Rating - 4 of 4 Stars - Link to Ebert's Review
My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars

For those of you who are old enough, you probably know the feeling of disappointment whenever you view a film by which you were impressed many years earlier and find that it has not "aged" well.  I was wary that that might be the case with The Great Santini because I had not seen it since it was released over twenty years ago.  Instead, I found just the opposite for it remains an excellent film with excellent acting. 

Has Robert Duvall ever given a less-than-superior performance?  I'm sure not, and I was far more able to appreciate his portrayal of Bull Meechum the martinet head of the family for, with age, comes shades of gray not only in your hair but in your viewpoints.  I hated Bull Meechum twenty years ago but am now better able to sympathize with this man who only knows how to express emotion through rage or bravado.

Blythe Danner as the strong-willed mother who is the emotional rock of the family is another excellent actor who is a treat to watch.  She has such an enchanting quality.  She truly exemplifies her name.

Michael O'Keefe as the older son torn between pleasing his father and acknowledging his own thoughts of independence gives a heart wrenching performance.  He is probably best known in today's times as Fred on Roseanne, and a viewing of The Great Santini gives interesting insight into his acting talents.

The DVD is a disappointment in that it is in standard format for one of the many advantages of DVD's is that most are wide-screen format.  The sound is nothing special, either.  The DVD only costs two dollars more than the VHS version so it is worth the extra cost for improved picture quality, chapter search, etc.  The Great Santini is a movie worthy of adding to one's private collection.

Neil Turner
February 20, 2000

The Great Santini