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Patton

Patton poster#4 – Patton (1970) – Top 10 Favorite War Films

Directed By:  Franklin J. Schaffner
Produced by:  Frank McCarthy
Written By:  Ladislas Farago (book), Omar N. Bradley
Music by:  Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography by:  Fred J. Koenekamp
Rating: PG
Aspect Ratio: 2.20 : 1
Running Time: 172 Minutes

Cast: As:
George C. Scott Gen. George S. Patton
Karl Malden Gen. Omar N. Bradley
Michael Bates F.M. Montgomery
Ed Binns Gen. Walter Smith
Stephen Young Capt. Chester Hansen
Lawrence Dobkin Col. Gaston Bell
John Doucette Gen. Lucian Truscott
James Edwards Sgt. William Meeks
Frank Latimore Lt. Col. Henry Davenport
Morgan Paull Capt. Richard Jenson

The text below is part of a series of articles originally published May 25th – June 6, 1999.

Patton is one of the best biographies of an individual soldier ever put to film.  This achievement had an estimated budget of $13 million . . . back in 1969!  By comparison, Star Wars had an estimated budget of $9.8 million dollars when it was filmed in 1976.  Patton was filmed over an 18 week period in parts of Spain, England, Morocco, Greece, and Los Angeles.  To top off this great movie, the original was filmed in glorious 70 millimeter stock.  It must have been something to see on the big screen.

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As implied by the title, the story is completely centered on United States General George S. Patton Jr and his exploits during WW II.  It starts with the campaign in North Africa and ends with his humiliating removal from command following his criticism of post-war strategies.  General Patton generally loved the troops under his command, and for the most part they looked to him for his brilliant leadership.  Some of his love may have been of the tough variety.  The infamous scene where General Patton physically strikes and berates a soldier in a hospital is re-created with tense effectiveness.  The overall emphasis of the story is not necessarily the combat of WW II, but about a man and his pursuit of being a modern warrior in an era of modern mechanized warfare.

Thankfully, the movie does not end with his tragic death . . . a fatal vehicle accident, not combat.  How ironic that one of this centuries greatest military leaders perished in an auto accident and not on the battlefield of the bloodiest conflict in human history.  George C. Scott does a masterful job recreating the persona of Patton, and Karl Malden does a great job playing Patton’s right-hand man General Omar N. Bradley.  George C. Scott eventually went on to win an Oscar for his performance of General Patton.

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It’s interesting to note that Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now) won an Oscar as co-screenwriter on this movie.  Patton received 10 Academy Award Nominations, and ended up taking home 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. Unfortunately, Patton is listed as #89 on the American Film Institute’s top 100 movies.  I think it should be much higher than this, it’s ranked behind Tootsie . . . TOOTSIE!  Do yourself a favor and go out and rent the widescreen version of Patton . . . it’s not 70 millimeter but it will do just fine.

Note:   I’m revisiting and re-posting many older articles (almost 200) I’ve written (or contributed to) over the years, either for my own purposes or as contributions to other sites now long digitally decayed and dormant.  These reviews/articles will appear in their nearly raw, unaltered form, with a few updated thoughts at the beginning of each.

About Neal Ulen

Neal Ulen
Editor/Webmaster - Neal is a writer and recovering engineer who likes pizza, the insidious power of sarcasm (and pizza), and debating science fiction (and pizza). You can also find his writing on Omni, Geeks, and other media platforms.