This movie is ostensibly a classic father-son story where the coming-of-age son begins to break away from his overbearing, overly burdensome father, all the while trying to discover his own true self and identity. However, there is one glaring difference: this particular father, Bull Meechum (Robert Duvall), is a tough, narcissistic marine Colonel and pilot who cannot show love to his family -especially his eldest son (O'Keefe)-except through the full-throttled mannerisms of his disciplinarian, macho self. Needless to say, father and son love each other but neither can be what the other so desparately want and need in order to fulfill themselves as human beings and complete each others identities. In the end, tragedy usurps decency but lessons are learned by all, with one lesson learned too late. And that one lesson is to show love to those we love while it matters....in the here and now. Regretably, this is one life lesson we all tend to learn too late, if ever at all, making the movie more generalizable to the audience. The character development is excellent, from the wise-cracking Bull Meechum and his oldest teenage daughter, to the big and lovable Toomer, a black man who befriends Meechum's son, Ben. Toomer, although dirt poor and subject to the prejudicial times of the early 1960s when the movie takes place, shows Ben that a man can still be a man even if he is gentle, loves nature, animals, and a beautiful sunset....things his father would never even notice, let alone acknowledge. Yet, these are the qualities Ben's mother wishes her husband had himself. Ben gets dished a double dose of tragedy in this movie, transforming him from the fair, kind-hearted person he struggles to be to ultimately the man he tried so hard not to become: his father. The acting is suburb with Duvall leading the pack and O'Keefe keeping pace stride for stride. This is an excellent film for father's to watch with their sons, especially for those whose relationships have been strained or challenged. A tear-jerker of a movie, to be sure, so have your Kleenex at the ready sports fans!