Starring: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates
Release Date: Feb. 4, 1970
Running Time: 170 min
Genres: Biography, Drama, War
Commentary Patton is an incredible biography of the World War II command of General George S. Patton. Patton is unique in the realistic way it portrays the general's egotism and brutality as well as his military genius.
Unlike my parents, who lived through the Second World War, I've never been a big fan of war films, especially World War II films, but I love this one.
The film begins with General Patton delivering a speech to the Third Army set against a huge American flag. Patton begins by taking charge of demoralized American troops in North Africa after losing the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. From there his unit participates in the invasion of Sicily, where he races against the British general Montgomery to capture the port of Messina. After beating Montgomery, he is relieved of duty for slapping a shell-shocked soldier and threatening him with a gun. After begging his former subordinate, General Omar Bradley (Malden) for a new command, he's given the U.S. Third Army, in which he successfully relieves the town of Bagstone in the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces invade Nazi Germany and ultimately defeat the Germans. Afterward, however, he still insists on going after the Soviet Union, though of course his superiors won't allow him to do so.
Patton is a very controvertial American figure. He was a hugely successful general, but also incredibly egotististical and power-hungry. Several earlier attempts to make the movie were unsuccessful, due to Patton's family refusing to cooperate by handing over his diaries. Finally, Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North wrote the film from two biographies, "Patton: Ordeal and Triumph" by Lasislas Farago and "A Soldier's Story" by Omar Bradley.
Here's the original movie trailer.
Here's Patton's famous speech at the beginning of the film.
Here's a clip of Patton taking charge of his unit.
Here's a great scene in which Patton explains to Bradley how he fought for the Cartheginians in a past life.
Here's a scene in which Patton argues with Bradley over gasoline.