Movie: Patton

Release Date: February 5, 1970

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring: George C. Scott, Karl Malden

Personal History: Never Watched Before

Rating: 5.75 Oscars out of 10

“War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.”

As you may recall (if you have been keeping up with my blog and this particular movie challenge), War is not one of my favorite film genres. Recently though, if you remember ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’ I have begun to question my opinion on the matter. So going into ‘Patton,’ a film I had never seen before, I kept an open mind about the almost three hour epic war film. Sadly, my thoughts about the genre took a few steps back.

That’s not to say ‘Patton’ is a bad movie. It was a decent commercial success when it was originally released in 1970 making a profit for the film company. It was also praised by critics especially for the performance by its lead, George C. Scott. It eventually garnered ten Academy Award nominations, winning seven including Best Picture. It is still to this day revered as one of the greatest biographical war films ever made. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Regardless of genre, essentially two things make me like a movie, the story and its characters. If you take a film like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ one of my all time favorite movies (you can read what I said about it in 2020 here), although a war movie, its story is so compelling and I care so deeply for all of its characters every time I watch it. Sure, I have a hard on for Steven Spielberg, but the man knows how to tell a story and he connects with his audience through his characters like no other director. Something that ‘Patton,’ at least for me, lacked.

History, if I have said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, was not my favorite subject in school and is still not something I necessarily care about. So the fact that the plot of ‘Patton’ is historical in nature, didn’t blow my skirt up. However what I really disliked about the movie was the character of George S. Patton himself. Was he really a narcissistic, egomaniacal, horrible douchebag? I honestly was routing for him to get shot or blown up many times throughout the film. This has nothing to do with the performance of George C. Scott, he was very believable and did a fine portrayal of the General. It’s just, well, I hated him. And because of that, I just didn’t care what happened.

With that said, there are many positive attributes to ‘Patton.’ Sure, the acting is fine as already mentioned, but the sets, sounds and cinematography are truly superb. It was definitely a feast for the eyes and ears. The music was also a standout for me. Jerry Goldsmith was nominated for his work here (losing to ‘Love Story’). For some reason though I kept thinking of ‘Police Academy.’ I mean, listen to the theme of that 1980’s comedy and then the theme from ‘Patton.’ . I’m just saying, I hope Jerry Goldsmith got some money from Robert Folk.


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