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The Great Santini (1979)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
The Great Santini The Great Santini
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 1500
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: August 2011
Catalog #: Vol. 14, No. 13
# of Discs: 1

The Great Santini (1979) was novelist Pat Conroy’s semi-autographical tribute to his father, a Marine fighter pilot who struggled with being a loving father and husband while keeping up his aggressive machismo image. The film featured Oscar-nominated performances by Robert Duvall as Col. “Bull” Meechum and Michael O’Keefe as his eldest son, Ben. Blythe Danner played Meechum’s wife, Lillian.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Elmer Bernstein seemed temporarily type-cast as a composer of low-brow comedies such as Animal House, Meatballs and Airplane!, but his score for The Great Santini amply demonstrated his undiminished gift for poignant and emotional drama. The lyrical melodies he composed for Santini perfectly capture the film’s characters and their complex interrelationships.  In addition to these evocative themes, suitably percussive, dissonant and dramatic passages mirror the darker elements of the story.
There are several source music cues in the film—including an arrangement of Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s) by Bernstein’s orchestrator, David Spear—that reflect the story’s early 1960s time-frame.
With the exception of two cues taken from the film’s monaural music stem, this premiere presentation of Bernstein’s complete score for The Great Santini has been mixed from the original Warner Bros. 1/2" three-track stereo masters. In addition, FSM has included a delightful bonus (recorded during the Santini sessions but not related to the film): a march Bernstein composed for the inauguration of Charles Huttenback as the third chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The 16-page booklet designed by Joe Sikoryak contains films stills, poster art, and notes on the film and music by Scott Bettencourt and Frank K. DeWald. Additional background information is also available—for free—at FSM’s growing repository of online notes. The Great Santini is a prime example of the art of film scoring by one of its greatest practitioners and makes a significant addition to the FSM catalog of Bernstein titles.
Elmer Bernstein Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Elmer Bernstein (1922–2004) had a Hollywood career that lasted over a half a century; invented and reinvented himself as a composer across several genres (jazz, epics, westerns, comedies and adult dramas); and scored more than a few Hollywood classics—The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Escape and Airplane! to name but five. FSM has released a dozen of his scores and counting, but the most popular may be Heavy Metal (1981)—don't be fooled by the title, it's Elmer's "Star Wars." In addition to his prolific work as a composer, Bernstein was a tireless champion of film music as an art form, serving on the boards of several professional organizations and in the 1970s recording his own LP series of classic Hollywood scores, Elmer Bernstein's Film Music Collection, released by FSM as a 12-CD box set. IMDB

Comments (41):Log in or register to post your own comments




This is one of my most sought-after holy grails! Thank you FSM and SAE!

Good Stuff!

One of my favorite Columbo murderers

YIPPEE! This completes my Bernstein collection, as this was the one holdout
and one of my most cherished grails. Great Americana score to a great movie.
THANKYOU, Lukas...and the rest of you FSM guys! ORDERED!


Is it limited?

Is it limited?[/endquote]

Yes. 1500 copies.

I don't remember the score, but oh how I wish they still made movies like THE GREAT SANTINI. It is classic.

Lukas & Co, you've made my day! Great news...

The moment I saw this I thought "Sarge is gonna flip!"

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Elmer Bernstein, David R. Spear

Murray Adler, Jeanne E. Aiken, Doris Y. Carr, Glenn Dicterow, Harold Dicterow, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), George Kast, Ezra Kliger, Jacob Krachmalnick, Brian Leonard, Marvin Limonick, Stanley Plummer, Jay Allen Rosen, Julie Ann Rosenfeld, Nathan Ross, Paul C. Shure, Polly Sweeney, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel), Miwako Watanabe, Margaret Wooten, Shari Zippert (Freebairn-Smith)

Samuel Boghossian, Pamela Goldsmith, Linda S. Lipsett, Virginia Majewski, David Schwartz, Milton Thomas, Barbara Thomason

Douglas L. Davis, Selene Depuy-Hurford, Marie Fera, Todd L. Hemmenway, Armand Kaproff, Jacqueline Lustgarten, Frederick R. Seykora, Nancy Stein

Charles C. Berghofer, Steven Edelman, Milton Kestenbaum, Abraham Luboff, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

Louise M. DiTullio (Dissman), Sylvia Ruderman, David J. Shostac

William Criss, Earle D. Dumler, Arnold Koblentz

Peter Christlieb, Dominick Fera, Gary Foster, James M. Kanter, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), John Neufeld, Hugo Raimondi

Fowler A. Friedlander, Norman H. Herzberg, Jack Marsh, Kenneth Munday

French Horn:
James Atkinson, Vincent N. DeRosa, David A. Duke, Arthur Maebe, Jr., Richard E. Perissi, Gale H. Robinson, Victor Vener

Nelson Hatt, Malcolm Boyd McNab, Anthony "Tony" Terran, Graham Young

George M. Roberts, Thomas Shepard, Lloyd E. Ulyate, Chauncey Welsch

John D. Berkman, Alan Broadbent, Daniel Gordon, Chet Swiatkowski

Thomas "Tommy" Tedesco

Dorothy S. Remsen

Larry Bunker, William Kraft, Peter Limonick, Thomas D. Raney, Steve Schaeffer, Kenneth E. Watson

Peter Bernstein, David R. Spear

Nathan Kaproff

Dante DiThomas, Kevin L. Hiatt, David A. Leech, Bernie K. Lewis, Dwight Mikkelsen, Aime Vereecke, Ricardo Vettraino

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