Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall) is one of nature’s hard cases, an ace marine fighter pilot so adept at his lethal trade that they call him The Great Santini. But now it’s peacetime 1962. And more at home playing “top gun” in the cockpit than playing father in his own living room, he’s become that most useless of all figures: a warrior without a war.
Based on Pat Conroy’s best-selling autobiographical novel, The Great Santini’s battleground is the family home, with Meechum’s objective to mold his oldest son in his own rigid image.
Robert Duvall’s impressive career is studded with remarkable screen characterizations but none cuts deeper to the bone than his portrayal of the mercurial Meechum, described by Time’s Richard Corliss as “a one-man nuclear-family holocaust – who can do everything except express what he feels for the people he loves.” This memorable performance also garnered Duvall a 1980 Oscar® nomination for Best Actor.