Nominated for ten Academy Awards, and winner of seven including Best Picture, Patton is one of the most inspirational and interesting biographies ever produced on the big screen.
Cast in the title role, George C. Scott won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but refused to accept the award because he didn't consider himself in competition with other actors. With brilliant direction, cinematography, visual effects, and an original musical score (by Jerry Goldsmith) – themselves all nominated for Academy Awards – Patton stacks up as one of the best films of all time from any genre.
Patton follows the life of George S. Patton (George C. Scott), famous Allied tank commander from World War II. Beginning with his exploits in North Africa, the film follows the career of this bombastic general through the D-Day invasion (in which he would act as a decoy), the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of Germany. Throughout the process, viewers are privy to the ongoing behind-the-scenes actions of a man famous for his temper and infamous among his peers for his insubordination.
Along the way, Patton must learn to deal with his contemporaries, men such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden), and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (Michael Bates). Despite his display of military genius in the field of battle (garnering the fear of his German enemies), Patton is relieved from his post as Occupation Commander of Germany because of the many faults he exhibits. A military historian who believed he was destined for greatness throughout the ages, Patton loved war. In fact, once the war ended, he died within a few months when he was killed in a car accident.
George C. Scott turns in a memorable performance as the larger-than-life Patton. With an overpowering personality and a domineering will, George Patton led his men to victory in one of the most pivotal wars for freedom the world has ever witnessed. Politically-incorrect by every standard of today's measure, the real Patton wouldn't last a minute in today's military. Ironic, because that same military would acknowledge him as one of the greatest generals of its hallowed past! Nevertheless, Patton's legacy endures through our memories and through this film, and the lessons of his life continue to inspire people to this day (people who hopefully use a bit more tact and subtlety in asserting their desires).
Overall, Patton is a blockbuster film even by today's standards. Despite vast improvements in the realm of filmmaking, Patton (released in 1970) remains unrivaled in its portrayal of one of America's greatest heroes. The battle scenes are especially realistic, and decades before Saving Private Ryan, they vividly illustrate the horrors of war. One of the greatest films of the 20th Century, written about one of the greatest figures of the 20th Century, Patton is a definite must-see film for any serious aficionado of movies.
Britt's Rating: 9.4/10