Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Epic Films - Tragedy

Patton Movie Review

scott george awards actor

1970 – Franklin J. Schaffner –

Great men are bred throughout history. Some of them are born to greatness. Some of them reach for greatness. But very few of them actually believe that they have been great all through history. George S. Patton embodied a type of historical hubris, honestly believing that he had fought on nearly every famous battlefield since the dawn of time. It would be difficult to see any other actor than Scott in this role. He plays the part of Patton so well you actually think you are seeing “Old Blood and Guts” himself. In one scene, Patton stands in the middle of the road during a German air raid, shaking his fist and firing his pistol at oncoming planes. Opposite the very animated Scott, Karl Malden portrays General Omar Bradley in a convincing, quiet, and humble way. Malden's portrayal emphasizes decency and lowliness and contrasts Patton so effectively as to leave nearly no difference but rank between Bradley and the lowliest private in his army.

The movie gives an historically accurate account of Patton as his own worst enemy. For every great thing he does, he seems to follow-up with disruptive behavior (through his unchecked mouth or, in one case, the back of his hand) that significantly hinders him. Patton truly is a tragic character. On the one hand, he is a brilliant strategist and commander. On the other, as Bradley tells him, he never knows when to back down. Like all tragic heroes, he begins to self-destruct. With the end of the war comes the end of the general.

Patton contains, in particular, two great battle scenes. The first one is in the desert of North Africa as Patton has his first great armor battle against the Germans. The second is in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. The cinematography is superb. And the movie is made to fit the big screen, or at least a letter-box format. The wide angles of the battle scenes are spectacular.

Based on Ladislas Farago's book Patton: Ordeal and Triumph and General Omar Bradley's autobiography, Patton received seven Oscars. Scott, who won and rejected the best actor award, citing performance shortcomings, was the fifth choice for the role, following Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, Lee Marvin, and Robert Mitchum. Scott did a small-screen encore as the General in 1986, starring in television's The Last Days of Patton.

Cast: George C. Scott (Gen. George S. Patton), Karl Malden (Gen. Omar N. Bradley), Michael Bates (Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery), Edward Binns (Major General Walter Bedell Smith), Stephen Young (Captain Chester B. Hansen), Lawrence Dobkin (Colonel Gaston Bell), John Doucette (Major General Lucian K. Truscott), James Edwards (Sergeant William G. Meeks), Frank Latimore (Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davenport), Richard Munch (Colonel General Alfred Jodl), Morgan Paull (Captain Richard N. Jensen), Siegfried Rauch (Captain Oskar Steiger), Paul Stevens (Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Codman), Michael Strong (Brigadier General Hobart Carver), Karl Michael Vogler (Field Marshal Erwin Rommel), Tim Considine (Slapped Soldier) Screenwriter: Francis Ford Coppola, Edmund H. North Cinematographer: Fred J. Koenekamp Composer: Jerry Goldsmith Producer: Frank McCarthy for Twentieth Century Fox MPAA Rating: PG Running Time: 171 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards 1970: Actor (George C. Scott), Art Direction/Set Direction, Director (Franklin J. Schaffner), Film Editing, Picture, Sound, Story and Screenplay; Nominations: Cinematography (Fred J. Koenekamp), Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith); Director's Guild of America Awards 1970: Director (Franklin J. Schaffner); Golden Globe Awards 1971: Actor—Drama (George C. Scott); National Board of Review Awards 1970: 10 Best Films of the Year, Actor (George C. Scott); New York Film Critics Award 1970: Actor (George C. Scott); Writer's Guild of America 1970: Original Screenplay.

Raging Bull Movie Review [next] [back] Nixon Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or