The true story of controversial General George S. Patton, who led the
Allied forces to victory in North Africa, Italy, and France during WWII.
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
Written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North
Starring George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates,
Karl Michael Vogler, Stephen Young, Michael Strong,
John Doucette, Edward Binns
Based on the books Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas
Farago and A Soldier's Story by Omar N. Bradley
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Actor (George C. Scott),
Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction,
Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects,
Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith)
Patton tells the story of one of the most skilled military strategists of all time, General George S. Patton, and how his short temper and tendency to speak his mind nearly blacklisted him from command during the final years of World War II. Played to absolute perfection by the late George C. Scott, Patton is a biopic that is not afraid to show the reality of its subject and doesn't manipulate facts to make him into a hero. The truth is Patton was a born and bred war hawk, a madman with a thirst for war and a talent for strategy. Nobody but George C. Scott could've played him honestly, and even though he refused the award, he deserved to win Best Actor for his portrayal.
Don't be intimidated by Patton's nearly three hour run-time. While the film may have an intermission, the time really does fly by because the film is so interesting. It's incredible how history really does repeat itself. Patton was one of the first victims of his own mouth, as the press caught him in soundbites all the time. Of course, there was an incident where Patton slapped a battle fatigued soldier and called him a coward, which was where the trouble really started for him, but in a war against an enemy as evil as the Nazis, does it really make sense to persecute a man who hurt someone's feelings? I think Patton was justified in his behavior, though his reaction may have been overzealous. Regardless, it astounded me to watch this proud, expert military tactician fall from grace because of that. The film seems to manipulate you into being on Patton's side for pretty much everything, mostly because Scott's performance is so charming.
This film is one of the most brutally honest biopics of the 20th century and has earned its now iconic status. While the supporting cast may not be very memorable, George C. Scott more than makes up for them. General Patton was a controversial figure who wanted nothing more than to lead an army into combat. According to this film, he was a big part of the reason the Allies won the war. He learned from the strategies of the ancients, from battle plans used by Ancient Rome and the Carthaginians. If he were alive today, people would call him crazy. Hell, they were doing it then.