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George C. Scott's performance of Patton is one I consider the greatest given of any war film. Patton is a champion for freedom while sometimes equally as much of a tyrant as the ones he's trying to put down, he's a monster and a hero, and neither he nor the filmmakers give a damn about political correctness. I found the character to be an overly harsh prick, myself, but in some strange way, very likeable and sympathetic, and when watching the movie again I don't look at the screen and say, `Hey, there's George C. Scott.' Instead it's, `Hey, there's Patton.' Not very many film characters have a personality strong enough to overtake the actor playing them. I appreciate that depth and that degree of realism, this attention to detail on the parts of Scott and Schaffner.
Schaffner surprised me by somehow managing to capture my interest on a subject matter I'd ordinarily write off as too silly (Planet of the Apes); two years later, he applied that same technical know how, craft, and intelligent storytelling towards a film whose subject appeals to me from the get go, and once again I'm impressed. There are some great war films out today; however, Schaffner's take pursued the most unique perspective in all realms, and captured my imagination with such ease . . . I can't help but come back to it over other war films.
And I have to comment on the score, which is not only one of my favorite Goldsmith scores but also one of my favorite war-film scores. Jerry Goldsmith matched point for point the brilliance of Franklin Schaffner's vision, the depth of George C. Scott's performance, and somehow managed to captured the essence of both musically. A good music score is one that tells the story of the film in its own unique voice. Goldsmith's score has such a prominent voice in the experience of Patton, that to remove it would be the equivalent of removing Schaffner's direction or George C. Scott.
Lastly, how accurate is the film? Not a clue, and even if it is completely false, I don't care. I've never been about writing history papers based on cinema experiences. All I know for certain is that Patton is a very entertaining and well balanced movie that holds up very well thirty years later, and it's a film that can be admired for its craft.
George C. Scott was commonly referred to as a 'character actor' in view of his remarkably extensive range... Oddly for a character actor, Scott was almost always the same person on screen vigorous to the point of pugnacity, acting with his chin the way other actors do with their eyes-yet revealing, in his own eyes, unsuspected depths of humor and intelligence...
Now few actors have ever been so convincing in such a powerful and colorful character... Only Peter 0'Toole's eccentric T.E. Lawrence comes immediately to mind... Both, he and Scott, create their characters out of complementary contradictions... Lawrence detests the savagery of war but embraces it... Patton cannot separate the conduct of war from his own personal glorification, and both actors are given large canvases upon which to work...
Screenwriters Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North and director Franklin J. Schaffner introduce a 16th-century warrior lost in contemporary times... He is a brilliant and military historian, with a hazardous speech...
Magnificently uniformed, and wearing his ivory-handled pistol, George S. Patton steps up, against a backdrop of the Stars and Stripes, before an unseen gathering of soldiers defining himself in unambiguous terms as a man who revels in war... The scene is cut to a close shot of two scorpions crawling across the body of a dead soldier at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia... The camera then pulls back to reveal a harsh look at American casualties with dozens of Arabs busily stripping more bodies...
The American Army has just suffered its first defeat at the hands of the Germans... Patton's first job is to restore the morale and discipline of the dispirited troops of his new command... His experience with tanks led General Dwight Eisenhower to place him in charge of one of the three task forces invading North Africa in 1943...
According to his theory of war, Patton would drive all the way to Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily, slicing the island in half... But his finest moment comes during the massive German counteroffensive in the Ardennes... By the time the Germans feared him above all other Allied generals...
Schaffner turns to the Germans for comments on Patton's abilities... They expect him to lead a major invasion... When he was sent to Corsica, the Germans were convinced he would lead an invasion of southern France... When he was sent to Cairo, they feared for an invasion through the Balkans...
Patton is seen reprimanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for indiscreet political statements... As an able tactician who promotes himself to three-star general before it's officially approved by the U.S. Senate, Patton proves himself as the most effective American field commander of the European war... Behind his audacity lay an imaginative planning and a shrewd judgment... Patton knows that loyalty to a leader would inspire his men to take on objectives against all odds... His strict discipline, toughness, and disregard of classic military rules, contributed to his advance across France and Germany...
The modest and conscientious Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. 12th Army Group, who had served under Patton in Africa and Sicily as a deputy commander, found Patton to be a superb combat general, but hotheaded, profane, and unpredictable... Bradley ends now as Patton's superior... It was soon apparent that the two make a superb team... Patton's dash and drive in the field is a perfect complement to Bradley's careful planning...
With the help of Bradley, Patton prepares to re-engage German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel... After he defeats Rommel's 10th Panzer Division at El Guettar thanks to his analysis of Rommel's published strategies, he shouts one of the greatest lines in war films: "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" At the same time, his rivalry with his Field Marshal Montgomery (hero of El Alamein) becomes more intense... Patton was motivated by a pride to reach his target before his British colleague, sometimes not for the purpose of the Allies...
Karl Malden has the film's only other significant leading role, as the most capable, yet unpretentious general... Malden could be deduced from the number of major directors with whom he has worked... These include Cukor, Hathaway, Kazan, King, Preminger, Milestone, Vidor, Hitchcock, Brooks, Mulligan, Daves, Brando, Frankenheimer, Ford, Quine and Schaffner... In his best and most personal work he has succeeded in exploring depths of moral ambiguity rare in commercial cinema...
Schaffner illuminates various sides of Patton's remarkable personality, presenting a dashing extrovert and attractive general, with a compassionate side...
Touring an evacuation hospital in Sicily, Patton slaps an enlisted soldier twice calling him a 'yellow,' and threatens to shoot him, before two men forcibly remove him from the tent... The incident occurs because Patton's views of bravery and cowardice are so severely limited... The fighting general who has the imagination to write poetry and to believe that he has been reincarnated, in ancient Greece, at Carthage, and Moscow, cannot conceive of a psychological wound that he cannot see... The incident occurred after he prays at the bedside of one man severely injured... Patton whispers some words in his ear which the audience doesn't hear, then lays a medal on his pillow and gives him a gentle touch on his head... The portrait is so compelling that it's easy to overlook Patton's own final words in the film, "All glory is fleeting."
Franklin J. Schaffner's motion picture reveals an effective portrait of three men: Patton, Bradley, and the unseen Dwight Eisenhower... The film is a fine epic about 'a pure warrior, and a magnificent anachronism,' who loved war...
The Academy Awards saluted 'Patton' capturing eight Oscars, including best picture, best director, best actor (Scott declined his well deserved Oscar), best screenplay, best editing, and best production design...
Patton was a man who lived for war. World War II was the high point and culmination of his life. He didn't fight for any principles, he didn't fight to defend freedom or democracy or any abstract idea; he fought because he loved fighting. In his diaries you can read of his fear of flunking out of West Point; the prospect terrified him because he was certain that he would never be good at anything except being a general or a leader of a country.
As a leader of men, he was exceptional. His speech at the beginning of the movie is vintage Patton, an almost exact reproduction of a speech Patton actually gave to Third Army. It's tough, and no-nonsense; Patton lets you know in no uncertain terms that he is here to win, to destroy the enemy, and by God you'd better be too. I don't know if Patton actually directed traffic on the roads as he is shown doing in the movie, but it was a very Pattonish thing to do. Patton did on at least one occasion get out of his staff car and join a squad of G.I.'s in heaving a vehicle out of the mud. Try to imagine Montgomery doing that; the very thought is hilarious!
Patton's character explains his treatment of his men. To those who had been wounded fighting for him he was always kind and considerate. But to those whose minds could not stand the horrible strain that war imposed on them, he was merciless; he could not comprehend the fact that other people didn't share his love of violence for violence' sake. PATTON shows this aspect of his character very well.
Karl Malden's Omar Bradley is shown in an almost father-like role; he sees and recognizes Patton's immense talents as a general, and uses them in spite of Patton's natural ability to antagonize everybody around him. Not shown in the movie is Patton's unloveable characteristic of turning on his subordinates once they surpassed him in their careers. Patton had nothing but good to say about Bradley, until Bradley was promoted over Patton's head, whereupon Patton savaged Bradley in his diary. Patton did the same to Eisenhower.
A general can have no higher compliment than the fear and respect of his adversaries, and as PATTON demonstrates, Patton was more feared by the Germans than any other Allied general, at least on the Western front. As one German officer observes all too prophetically, "the absence of war will destroy him [Patton]." And although mankind's single greatest stroke of good fortune in the 20th century was that Russia and America never came to blows, it is still hard not to feel sorry for Patton as he desperately seeks his superiors' approval to carry the war on eastward into the Soviet Union - anything, just to have a war to fight. Patton is like an addict to a destructive drug.
Hollywood has rarely given us such a textured and human portrait of a great man: cruel, often foolish in his relations with others, rude, and psychopathically attached to violence, but brave, dedicated, and loyal. Certainly those who, like myself, have Jewish blood, or who were otherwise marked for death by the Nazi state, all owe him a great debt of gratitude for his pivotal role in destroying that state. And yet, had he been born German, Patton would surely have fought just as devotedly for the Nazi side. I'm glad he wasn't.
Rating: **** out of ****.
How much of this story is fact and how much is fiction, I don't know. Knowing Hollywood and knowing when this was made - during the heyday of the anti-war (Vietnam) movement - I have my suspicions, but for the sake of the review, I will assume all of this is true.Whatever political bias a filmmaker might have, Patton made for a good movie subject anyway and the story is interesting all the way, thanks to the acting of George C. Scott, who was astounding as Patton and gives one of the more memorable performances ever by an actor.
Not only is Scott's acting superb, the widescreen photography is also good. Thank goodness DVDs came out so films like this could be seen in the aspect in which they were filmed. I can't imagine viewing this on formatted-to-TV images. I think much of this movie was filmed in Spain.
I think the filmmakers also did a nice job of not overdoing the action scenes. When overdone, violence can get boring. The explosions and machine-gun fire was realistic, especially for a film that is now 36 years old.
Going back to what's true and what isn't, if it was then Patton was a poor excuse for a Christian, which he claims to be here. For one thing, Christians don't believe in re-incarnation at Patton claims he did in the film. There are other comments, too, which shed a poor light on his "religion," something Hollywood loves to point out.
Nonetheless, if you enjoy character studies, this is one of the best. Patton's opening 6-minute speech before this huge American flag is a famous scene in movie history. That, and the rest of his performance and this movie in general, is one you won't forget.
And that is why Patton works - you have an unambiguous war against and unambiguous evil - Nazi Germany. Whereas Vietnam might have been a tough conflict for even its supporters to explain, World War Two was quite simple - we were the good guys, and they WERE the bad guys. And so you COULD root for the US Army and Patton without feeling a tinge of guilt.
Also superb in the film is everyman Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley, providing the stable and workmanlike leader (and one who rises quicker in the ranks due to it) to Patton's egomaniac.
And Yes, George C. Scott delivers a career-defining performance that is one for the books. Could Brando or Telly Savalas have pulled off the role as well? I don't think so - it was just tailor made for Scott.
That's part of the problem. Patton himself. I suppose that like most people he had a "good" side -- loving family, played with his dog, collected stamps and whatnot. But as good and aggressive a general as he was, he wasn't a particularly likable guy. It's easy to demand that everyone in your command have shoes as shiny as yours -- especially when you've got some black PFC doing your shining for you.
The movie is noticeably slanted. Patton's weakness, like Coriolanus's, is ambition. Sometimes it's played for laughs. He carried the stars of a Lieutenant General around with him until word of his promotion comes down, then immediately has them pinned on. But only three times is his meanness illustrated without tongue in cheek. (1) During a conversation with Bradley he reveals that he's disobeyed orders by sending his army on a mission to beat Montgomery in taking Sicily. He calls the attack "a reconnaissance in force". He receives an order to get his troops back where they belong and tells his aide to send the message back because it's garbled. "A simple old soldier," Bradly comments disapprovingly. (2) He orders General Truscott to stage some amphibious landings which will help him take Messina before Montgomery. Truscott complains that they're not prepared to do that without heavy casualties. Patton lies down and threatens to fire Truscott and get someone else to do the job. (3) While visiting a hospital and presenting the wounded with decorations he comes across a soldier whose nerves are shot and who is weeping, and Patton slaps him twice and sends him back to the front.
His mean streak went beyond those incidents. He used to practice his arrogant, threatening scowl in front of the mirror. Whether or not it improved the GI's morale to wear neckties in combat is, at best, arguable. (What would Patton make of the Israeli army?) But the simple historical fact is that the movie pitches even these "mean" incidents at the audience like softballs. He didn't just slap a soldier who was feeling sorry for himself, which is the picture the film presents. He slapped two soldiers on separate occasions, one suffering from combat fatigue (which is no joke) and the other from malaria and other illnesses. Patton also enjoyed an intimate relationship with his niece, a Red Cross donut girl, who accompanied him in England and France, much to his wife's displeasure.
Those slapping incidents cost Patton a bit in the way of professional esteem but it didn't cost any lives. And it didn't cause him any remorse. Even in his "apology," he claims he was trying to "shame a coward." What DID cost lives was Patton's cobbling together a small task force to liberate a POW camp in Germany shortly before the war's end, when such a dangerous move was no longer necessary. "Task Force Baum" was recognized by its leaders for the lost cause it was, a plunge deep into enemy territory without any backup. There were 53 vehicles and 294 men. All the vehicles were destroyed or captured. Twenty-five of the men were killed, 32 wounded, and almost all the rest captured. The purpose of the mission, it was tacitly agreed, was to rescue Patton's son-in-law.
His fitful harshness towards his troops is usually justified in the movie, even if it looks excessive. The soldier-slapping scene is preceded by one in which Patton kneels in the hospital, whispers something to a soldier whose face is covered by bandages, and lovingly places a medal on his chest. Next thing he encounters: Tim Considine, fully dressed, sitting up, and sobbing with self pity. Earlier, when Patton asks a cook why he's not wearing sidearms, the cook laughs genially and replies, "Sidearms? Why, hell, General, I'm a cook!" I missed the part where cooks learn to laugh in the face of orders from a general, but it gives Patton a chance to tear everybody a new one.
Everyone paid for Patton's ambition and vanity, even those not under his command. The gasoline and other supplies he diverted to his own forces during the run through France helped him alright, but they were also needed elsewhere.
The movie's subtitle is "Salute to a Rebel." Very stylish for 1970 audiences, but the material is presented in such a way as to leave us with a lingering admiration for Patton's genius and bullheadedness. What kind of "rebel" was he? He was more of an authoritarian Arschloch than anybody else in his greater vicinity.
What the writers, the director, and George C. Scott have given us, to paraphrase someone else, is not a warts-and-all portrait but the suggestion that there is something heroic about a wart.
I gave the movie high marks because it's as well done as it is -- disregarding its relationship to Patton himself. I didn't mind so much that the wrong tanks were used and that the production could only find two Heinkel 111s in flying condition. The location shooting is great, the cinematography crisp and unimpeachable, the score one of Goldsmith's best, and Scott's performance deserved whatever awards it got.
I also wished that the movie had pointed out that in WW1, Patton commanded the first ever American tank battalion, and was severely wounded in battle, yet kept fighting until he just about passed out from loss of blood. I thought this should have been brought out that he had practiced what he preached... Gen. Omar Bradley: portrayed in the movie as Patton's "buddy", he was nothing of the sort. Jealous of Patton, the real life Bradley would go to Eisenhower behind Patton's back to stymie George's success.
Monty: Sorry, Monty fans, but the movie points out one historical fact. Monty usurped needed gas and supplies from Patton in September of '44 for his disastrous "Market Garden" attack (watch Richard Attenborough's "A Bridge Too Far" as a companion movie to "Patton"). Thanks to Monty, the war went on much longer than it probably would have if Patton had been allowed to drive into Germany. Patton's arrogance helped win battles. Monty's arrogance gave us the Battle of the Bulge, the fire bombing of Dresden, not to mention countless Jewish lives lost. Patton had the Germans reeling in the fall of 1944, and, as the movie pointed out, had the army in just the right place at the right time to end it. Unfortunately, thanks to Monty's political pull and crappy generalmanship, the war went on longer than it should have...
Scott's presentation of an ambitious, single-minded, overbearing man brimming with self-belief is wonderfully realised. You cannot imagine that he is anything but the general he pretends to be. At times likable and loathsome, we nevertheless care about him and his sometimes strange contradictions.. If not for his unpromising face and gravel-crusher voice GCS would surely have been one of the leading hero/ladies-men of his day. Yet despite the punished-looking expression, and the Dalek-with-a-sore-throat delivery, every feature and vocal tone manages to carry some subtle nuance of emotion and thought. Scott is a real actor, from a time when acting carried more weight than good looks. Ernest Borgnine cut a similar figure.
This is a movie about a general. War takes second place. We get to know the kind of man responsible for the lives of thousands. We learn about his own personal and political wars, his likes and dislikes, and those who like and dislike him. There's a lot more of the latter. He shows us that heroes can sometimes be insufferable. They are often driven men who drive others just as hard and this excites resentment. Worse still it excites ingratitude. For however much we may despise them, they are needful to the hour. Without them we would be lost.
There is war, and the action is perfectly adequate for the movie's vintage. But the real war is Patton's own. His victory is the victory of personal ambition.
Other actors pale into insignificance. And maybe this was intended by the director. The only other instantly recognisable face is Karl Malden's, which is scarcely more ornamental. The budget is big and deservedly so. location-work is expansive, filming, lighting and editing all hit their targets.
War-mongers like Patton may be discountenanced now in this politically-correct age of left-wing liberalism. But when the enemy begins banging at the gates - who ya gonna call?
Very highly recommended.
Superb film on an extraordinary, larger-than-life man. Patton was truly a military genius and the movie demonstrates this very well. It also demonstrates well the lack of diplomacy which often set his career back.
Excellent performance by George C Scott in the lead role, a performance for which he won an Oscar.
The movie itself won the 1971 Best Picture Oscar.
This movie is free of the propaganda that is in many war movies that depict the Nazis as barbarians and the allies as liberators. Patton is correctly depicted as a man of the military. He even admits it during the movie unlike Montgomery,Bradley or Eisenhower who have different attitudes.
Patton is seen more like an officer of the Afrika Korp than an Allied General. This movie does a great job in being true to form in portraying him and showing the viewer the mind set of the General who is clearly not a fan of ceremonial military forces but a force that can repel attack and launch daring Napoleonic warfare against enemy forces.
This movie is well worth seeing.
Undoubtedly the best aspect of the movie is George C Scott who is physically almost identical to George Patton . He captures the arrogant mannerisms of the American general very well and few and far between are movies where a performance like this dominates a movie . Ironically this is a case of where an Oscar for best actor was fully deserved and yet the recipient turned down the honour . There's also obviously a lot of thought gone into the screenplay as to where to begin and end the story . Do you start when Patton was a child and find out what motivated him to be a soldier ? Do you start when he fought in the American Expidionary force in France 1917-18 ? Do you finish the story with his death ? I think that writers Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H North have got the settings right with starting the story with the immediate aftermath of The Kasserine Pass and finishing the story while Patton was still alive . The screenplay itself is somewhat knowingly ironic as Patton spouts " America has never and will never lose a war " while it was becoming obvious in 1970 there was no way the US were going to be victors in Vietnam . It was a well known fact that Patton despised Monty and much of Patton's motives were of beating Montgomery as much as the Germans and this might have led to needless deaths of men under Patton's command . The screenplay while not exactly spelling this out does hint that his dislike of Monty led to Patton's reckless streak and the audience are left to make up their own mind on this issue . It was also well known that Patton wanted to throw back the Soviets from Eastern Europe ( Monty also had a hatred of communism but was far less vocal about it ) and there are conspiracy theories that the car accident that killed Patton wasn't an accident at all . Thankfully the screenwriters and producers have absolutely no time for any conspiracy theories of any kind
While being a good movie PATTON fails to be great one simply because niggling little faults creep into the movie like historical inaccuracies . In the aftermath the Germans discuss the battle of Kasserine Pass where " The Americans were led by the British general Anderson " Who was Anderson ? The Americans who were badly defeated at the battle were led by American general Lloyd Fredendall without doubt the worst allied general of the war and it was this that led to Patton being appointed to his post . Rommel is portrayed as having the utmost respect for Patton and his American troops but in reality this wasn't actually the case . Throughout the war Erwin Rommel had contempt for American equipment ( With good reason since German Panther and Tiger tanks were far superior to the American built Shermans and the same applied to preceding equipment ) and servicemen and counted Monty as his arch nemesis not Patton . Also as with most American war movies made round about this time the tank battles fought between Americans and Germans seem to be composed of both sides using American tanks built in the 1950s
All in all a bio-pic that while being better than many others isn't flawless but like I said if you want to see how NOT to make a bio-pic watch THE HURRICANE
George C. Scott won the 1970 Best Actor Oscar for this film, and it remains to this day the only unclaimed Academy Award. He felt that competition between actors was useless and silly (honestly, who doesn't?). He did deserve it, and anyone who is or aspires to be an actor should watch this film. Repeatedly.
Besides Scott's brilliant performance is the film itself. It is the last of the great Hollywood spectacles, although the "spectacle" is not pretty to look at. Made at the height of the Viet Nam conflict, what makes this film stand out is that only the viewer can decide if it is "Pro-War" or "Anti-War," solely based on their own personal perspective. One of the few Best Picture winners that will stand the test of time, as it reflects two different aspects of the 20th century; the period where the film takes place, and the period in which it was made.
They don't make 'em like this anymore.
FrankliN Schaffner was a fine Director and he guises the film brilliantly but it is George C Scott who gives one of the greatest male performances I have ever seen. As we all know, Mr. Scott refused the Oscar for which he so richly earned.
A fine supporting cast in this 20th Century Fox film which was a smash hit.
Technical: Very good use of montage editing emphasizing character. Excellent reenactment of the war. High quality cinematography. 90/100
Narrative: Great use of the opening monologue to set up our protagonist. Presented the historical facts well, the inaccuracies seemed minor. I have read "A Soldiers Story" by Omar Bradley and found the film made the tension between Patton and Bradley not as strong as is really was but is still was there in the film. The story arcs well; we see Patton rise, fall, rise again and retire. Good use of companion story from the German perspective also. 90/100
Acting/Character: High quality portrayal of Patton and Bradley. We see some of the tension between Patton and Bradley but more is placed between Patton and Montgomery. 95/100
Did I enjoy it: Yes, a great deal. I was kept attentive with what Patton was going to say or do next. 100/100
Artistic merit: The opening monologue is the most iconic piece of this film; added to a well crafted film give it it's power 85/100
Total score 90.8/100
Meanwhile, Patton was assigned to London as a decoy to deceive the Germans in a sham operation called Fortitude. The ruse was successful because the German High Command respected Patton more than any other Allied commander and deemed him crucial to any plan to invade mainland Europe. Immediately following the successful invasion, he was put in command of the Third Army in the final Allied thrust against Germany where the headstrong general, once again, proved his mettle as his forces favored speed and aggressive offensive action.
Patton was an interesting character who maintained a flashy larger-than-life image in order to encourage his troops; and he didn't hesitate to get his hands dirty with them. While other officers tried to blend-in with the troops on the battlefield, Patton brazenly displayed his rank insignia. He was a romantic who valued bravery and tenacity above all. All this is effectively conveyed in this ambitious war flick. It's interesting to observe the North African and European theaters of the war from the standpoint of the Allied generals, mostly Patton and Bradley, rather than the typical perspective of the infantry.
THE FILM WAS WRITTEN by Francis Ford Coppola with additional material from Edmund H. North (based on the factual accounts of Ladislas Farago & Omar N. Bradley). It runs 172 minutes and was shot in Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Crete and England, with the opening speech filmed at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles.
From the moment I see George C. Scott walking onstage as Patton to deliver his iconic speech in front of a sprawling American flag, I knew this was going to be a great movie. Every scene is captivating especially when Scott is in it, but the opening scene is the greatest, most powerful scene in the movie. The above quote I featured is part of the speech and immediately you can tell what kind of man Patton was. Patton was a man who took no crap from anybody and was a man who dearly loved his country. He spoke with such colorful language (although that idea was exaggerated in the film) and he had a way to make those words count. He was a man of perfection. You can see that during a scene where he slaps a soldier for being in a hospital for depression instead of battle injuries. That caused him a fall from grace, but you can see the man Patton was. The movie does an exemplary job in making Patton a lifelike character on the big screen.
This isn't your typical birth-to-death biography. This is a biography that covers Patton during the wartime years. The movie makes a point in showing what a fine general he was and how he positively contributed to the war, but it did not hold back on showing him as an eccentric man. The scenes where he drags his very scared puppy around everywhere he goes is just one of those examples. The film begins with his conquests in Libya as he drives German general Rommel out of the country. Then we see a downfall of his due to his big mouth and incident where he slaps the soldier. Then we see a comeback as Patton commands the Allies on the European front mowing down Germans left and right as they move closer to Berlin.
The main actor in the film, of course, is George C. Scott who delivers a splendid performance as Patton. In fact, this may be the best performance of Scott's long career and he had a wonderful career. The performance works on various levels. Scott is an on screen presence to be reckoned with and he follows the oldest rule in the acting handbook-to become the character. I felt I was watching Patton the entire time, despite the mannerisms of Scott. But also you can draw parallels between the two men. Scott is seen as a recluse in Hollywood because he was so eccentric. He had the extreme talent, but his personality made him like an outcast. It was a foregone conclusion he was going to win the Oscar for Best Actor (and he did), but the question was if he was going to personally accept the award. He did not stating he did not like the Academy or acting competitions in general. Scott and Patton would have been great blood brothers. Casting Scott to play Patton is one of cinema's greatest casting decisions ever. Scott delivered such a powerful performance. The other main performance was Karl Malden who delivers an admirable performance as General Omar Bradley, the man who gave Patton a second chance in the war.
Patton is a long film as it clocks in nearly three hours long and Scott is in nearly every frame, but it works very much thanks to Scott's layered performance enhancing upon Patton's theatricality. The guy who possesses such bravery also loves to hear himself speak during his long-winded speeches. The movie has many speeches, but they are worthy of your attention. The guy gives such a commanding presence and I got the goosebumps during that opening scene. The movie sees the war the way Patton saw it and it's an exhilarating experience.
The direction is also a highlight of the film. Franklin J. Schaffner is known for taking on ambitious projects and this may have been his most ambitious project he may have ever tackled. It's fun to see directors rise to the challenge and Schaffner took a mighty challenge here and won. Also a noticeable presence was the score by Jerry Goldsmith. He created such a patriotic score with the help of a pipe organ. Every time I think of Patton himself, the main theme becomes stuck in my head and that is a good thing. 1970 was a good year for war films. M.A.S.H and now Patton are must-see war films from that year. The former film was a spoof on the dangers of war, but the latter is about a man who dedicated his life to winning the war his style. And his style is very interesting to watch. A man who won't back down from anything. Because of George S. Patton, the Allies won the war.
My Grade: A