- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Occupies Space in my Memory
I saw this movie when it came out and was moved. I always hoped I'd see it again some day. It is complex and powerful.
Duvall Dominates as Dominating Dad
Here's a film that's about as close to many folks' upbringing as you can get--Dad as an object of affection and hate. Robert Duvall is the Great Santini who dominates, controls, berates, hates, loves, protects, and annoys his wife and kids. His military career and training is so entrenched in his personality that he cannot for one minute let go of the need to control everyone and everything. Which brings on his resulting out-of-control behavior. It is much like living with an alcoholic in that all is well when the drinker is sober, but things explode when the drinker is drunk. His family walks on egg shells to co-exist with him until things finally began to show their fray, especially the relationship with his son. A poignant portrayal of a family deeply entrenched in unhealthy relationships based on giving up one's own needs/desires to satisfy those of the controller.
- kevin sellers
Strange movie. It ranges from touching (the love letter Blythe Danner writes to her son on his 18th birthday) to disturbing (a hard to watch spousal abuse scene) to silly (Robert Duvall tackling a corporal in the men's room thinking it's a fellow officer with whom he has a "he-man" relationship) to cliche (the local rednecks are out of a bad Waltons" episode) When the focus is on the father, eldest son, mother triangle the movie is on solid ground, with excellent performances by Duval, Michael O'Keefe and Blythe Danner, respectively. However, when the film strays from these three it gets sort of TV movie-ish. Characters are left undeveloped, especially the youngest two children of the Meecham family, and relationships that you expected to develop go nowhere, like the one between Duvall and his commanding officer and Duvall with his African American maid. (There are hints of racism in Duvall's character, but they stay that way because they are unexplored.) When the dust is all settled I guess it's a solid B. P.S. Another glaring screenwriting omission is that we never know why the very Irish Bull Meecham calls himself The Great Santini. (This, of course, is the second time Duval played an Irishman taking on an Italian identity.)