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