Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1979. Bing Crosby Productions. Screenplay by Lewis John Carlino, based on the novel by Pat Conroy. Cinematography by Ralph Woolsey. Produced by Charles A. Pratt. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by Jack Poplin. Film Editing by Houseley Stevenson Jr.. Academy Awards 1980. Golden Globe Awards 1980. National Board of Review Awards 1980. New York Film Critics Awards 1980.
Robert Duvall is a tough Air Force pilot who is brought home from Spain and stationed with his family and four kids in a small town in South Carolina. Frustrated by being overlooked for the promotion he so deserves, Duvall is awkward and harsh with his children, unable to be a thoughtful family man when the only world that makes sense to him is the pranking and bullying society of the men he serves with. No one feels this more than his eldest son (Michael O’Keefe in a poignant performance) who is reaching manhood and torn between his love for his father and his growing awareness that he needs to find his own personality. Excellent acting, especially from a loveably terrifying Duvall, make this drama based on the novel by Pat Conroy absorbing and often moving, though the melodramatic turn in the last third is unnecessary and not really earned by the events leading up to it.