Patton (1970)
November 16, 2022 1:45 AM - Subscribe

"Patton" tells the tale of General George S. Patton, famous tank commander of World War II. The film begins with Patton's career in North Africa and progresses through the invasion of Germany and the fall of the Third Reich. Side plots also speak of Patton's numerous faults such his temper and habit towards insubordination.

1970. Biography of controversial World War II hero General George S. Patton (George C. Scott.) The film covers his wartime activities and accomplishments, beginning with his entry into the North African campaign and ending with his removal from command after his outspoken criticism of US post-war military strategy.


Director by Franklin J. Schaffner.

Written by Ladislas Farago, Omar N. Bradley, Francis Ford Coppola, Edmund H. North.

Staring George C. Scott, Karl Malden.

90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

JustWatch listing.

Academy Awards, 1971

Best Picture
Frank McCarthy

Best Actor in a Leading Role
George C. Scott

Best Director
Franklin J. Schaffner

Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material
Francis Ford Coppola
Edmund H. North

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Urie McCleary
Gil Parrondo
Antonio Mateos
Pierre-Louis Thévenet

Best Sound
Douglas O. Williams
Don J. Bassman

Best Film Editing
Hugh S. Fowler
posted by Marky (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the 1980s I was in a JROTC program in my high school. Our senior instructor was a warm, wonderful LTCOL from from the 82nd Airborne (since retired, and doing a lot of community theater) named "Buzz."

My senior year, none of the JROTC "leadership development" classes fit in my schedule so I got to independent study it (since they already had me second-in-command and couldn't just boot me out of the program). The notion of independently studying leadership actually meant that I had a study hall -- but for a few weeks that winter, I went into Colonel Kriesel's office and we watched this movie in 50-minute chunks.

I am not sure what he hoped to teach me, since I declined to pursue an appointment to West Point and never joined up after I turned 18 -- but it's a heck of a movie. I think some of its impact was diluted because I had already seen "Taps" and its theme about the futility of
posted by wenestvedt at 6:56 AM on November 16, 2022

I was 7 in 1970, and this is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. Dad was/is a WWII buff, so it's not surprising we went. I can remember the theater had a giant screen, with a curtain, as they did, that closed and then opened again between the (blessedly few) coming attractions trailers and the main event.
The opening scene, the full screen american flag and Patton's footsteps as he takes center stage to deliver his monologue, truly set the stage for a bigger than life experience that's hard to rival. I haven't seen this in years, but I can still remember Patton firing his pistols at the strafing aircraft, the rolling tank battles, the musical score as the 3rd army relieved Bastogne to end the battle of the bulge.
It wasn't until many years later that I saw Dr Strangelove, and could hardly process the George C Scott I knew with his comedic turn as General Buck Turgidson.
It's also fun to note that Scott turned down his nomination for best actor, feeling he wasn't in competition with other actors, but won anyway.
Patton himself was in interesting character, who lived the military life that TR dreamed of. He seemed the kind of guy who might have run for President had he lived.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:03 AM on November 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

George C Scott's line reading of "Rommmmelll . . . you mag-nificent bastard I read your BOOOK!" is unparalleled.

Jerry Goldsmith's score is quite possibly the best war movie score ever.

The visual storytelling of the Weather Prayer sequence still gets me.

Just a textbook example of moviemaking hitting on all cylinders.
posted by whuppy at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

This is one of the best of the "old hollywood" epics. All the polish, all the pomp, leanness coming in from the change in modern technique. If the movie had been made prior to 1970, I don't think you'd get the ugly side - it would be more fawning.

Patton himself was a complex bastard of a man. Needed for the time and thank god he didn't get to run for President.

And then for me and the movie, there's my biological grandfather, who I never met, served in the 3rd Army on that relief mission as a Priest commander. He apparently matched Patton in the son of a bitch department - hence never meeting him.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

George C Scott's line reading of "Rommmmelll . . . you mag-nificent bastard I read your BOOOK!" is unparalleled.

As a former English professor, I will always love that line. Research for the win!
posted by miss-lapin at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I should add the first time I saw this movie was during a snowstorm in the late 90s. I was visiting a couple I was friends with and since I got snowed into their house, he decided to give me a bit of a film education. We watched this and All That Jazz in the living room with a fire going.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2022

Patton is a favorite. It's one of the better movies ever made. It's one of the greatest movies every made. But I also consider it an odd movie. In spite of all it has going for it in performances, writing, and soundtrack, Patton still has that 60s WWII flick aesthetic that I don't think has aged well at all. It's bad enough that the production had to fill out its onscreen armies with modern (for the day) vehicles. But did the German high command have to exist in an underground computer center?
posted by Stuka at 1:48 PM on November 16, 2022

I had already seen "Taps" and its theme about the futility of

Of what? The futility of what?! Don't leave us hanging!
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:17 PM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

George C Scott's line reading of "Rommmmelll . . . you mag-nificent bastard I read your BOOOK!" is unparalleled.

I love that line, too! So good.

Taps is an interesting pairing, with George C. Scott in a more contemplative role (plus, Tom Cruise and Sean Penn each play parts the other is more typically cast in).
posted by kirkaracha at 3:12 PM on November 16, 2022

« Older The Great British Bake Off: Th...   |  Movie: All the King's Men (194... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments