Patton (1970)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting : 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nitty, gritty war movie about an unusual person

Sometime feels like older war movies

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Patton

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Genre(s):  War/Drama

Release Date(s):  February 4, 1970 (Premiere)/April 2, 1970 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

patton george c scott giatn american flag

It’s my way or the highway!

General George S. Patton Jr. (George C. Scott) has a clear view of his destiny.  He sees himself the most recent in a long line of soldiers and hopes to be remembered as a great general in the war against the Nazis.  Unfortunate, Patton has a way of getting himself in trouble by talking frankly and not kowtowing to his superiors or their commands.  Patton’s goals might be the same as the United States and its allies…but Patton’s not going to let their goals get in his way.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton is a war biopic.  The film was released to critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor (George C. Scott), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing, with nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Music—Original Score, and Best Visual Effects.  It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2003.

[attpm george c scott shoots at bombers

WWII version of “Old Man Yells at Cloud”

Patton was released in 1970 but it feels like one of those older, classic war movies.  Like a Lawrence of Arabia or The Bridge on the River Kwai, Patton’s has the look and feel of classic film but with a more modern take on the script.

Patton starts out with the unconventional five minute plus monologue of Patton stating his views on war in front of a giant American flag.  Francis Ford Coppola wrote the script (he credits the Academy Award from keeping him from being fired from The Godfather) and the opening was controversial at the time.  It is culled from Patton’s actual thoughts and serves as a good outline for the man in general.  This opening speech can be applied to Patton’s actions throughout the movie and throughout the war.

While the movie is a “story” of Patton, it is really all about George C. Scott and his portrayal.  Patton was an oddity, and Scott plays him with bombastic energy.  The idea of a soldier who believes in reincarnation (in general) seems like a bad plan…you lose your life or a soldier’s life, they’ll be reborn…and sometimes Patton appears to put the goal above the lives of those around him (and himself).  Scott famously won the Best Actor award, but turned down the presentation of the Oscar.

patton george c scott slaps soldiers

See…cancel culture isn’t a new thing. Patton, you’re out!

The film also looks quite good.  Obviously the opening monologue with the flag is what is most remembered, but the war scenes and the style of the film also has a realism.  This is combined with the memorable score (which has an uncanny similarity to the Police Academy theme…which has to be intentional as part of the joke).

The problem with Patton is that with the older style and feeling, it also is somewhat forgettable in the bigger sense.  Each time I watch Patton, I realize it is a good film, but I also realize that I forget little of the plot (other than the larger-than-life Scott).  Scott returned to the role of Patton in the made-for-TV movie The Last Days of Patton in 1986.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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