Oscar Review: Patton (1970)
Squeeking in at #89 on AFI’s list, our next film will be the first in a series that will encompass all of the Best Pictures of 1970-80.
Patton traces the career of the great military strategist, historian, poet and German Occupational Commander General George S. Patton (played by George C. Scott). Believing in reincarnation, Patton felt that he was a brilliant military leader in a previous life and was destined to be great in this one – creating for him a tremendous ego.
A master tank commader and a genius when it came to fighting a land war, Patton rarely met a challenge he couldn’t overcome. With his unorthodox methods, his extreme self-confidence, and his temper the general often found himself in hot water with his superiors and was perceived by many as being more than a little insane.
Receiving 7 Oscars (of 10 nominations), Patton is one of those movies that stands out as one of the more comprehensive historical American epics. Though he refused the statuette – the first to do so – George C. Scott won Best Actor for his portrayal. During the awards ceremony, Scott stayed home reportedly watching a hockey game because he felt the Oscars were contrived.
I enjoyed Patton each time I’ve watched it. It’s a hair under 3 hours long, and it feels it! It tries to put in so much of Patton’s life, touching on all of his most famous exploits, which, at times, makes the film seem to drag on and jump around a little. The writing is ok for its day, though beware of the cheesy one-liners offered throughout.
Fans of history should enjoy this movie, just be sure you watch it at a time when you won’t nod off.
UPDATE: In the spirit of reporting the honors received by these films, in addition to their Oscars, readers might find it interesting that Patton’s title character was named as the #29 greatest film hero in AFI’s list.