Okay, I will admit it. Up until a couple of years ago, the only war movie I really watched and loved was White Christmas. I’m working on fixing that – lately, I’ve seen The Dirty Dozen, M.A.S.H., Lawrence of Arabia… and now Patton.
We PVRed this recently, at John’s suggestion, and since I’m trying to work myself through all of the Academy Award Best Picture winners, I was definitely interested.
Patton tells the story of the American General George S. Patton during WWII. The movie starts shortly after the American defeat at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Throughout the movie, we see how Patton’s actions causes his career to grow, change and falter.
The Test of Time
I find there are two ways that classic movies can go – either they are really great and could solidly stand up to movies today, or they are just completely out of touch or reality. Watching this today, you don’t realize that it was released in 1970. You could tell the cinematography has improved a lot in the past few decades, and some of the special effects… well, when you can see explosions in front of the tanks, instead of actual blowing up a tank.
Patton was one of Francis Ford Coppola’s earlier films, but it really doesn’t feel like it.
The Character of Patton
So, Patton himself really intrigued me. He had romanticized war, believed he was other warriors reincarnated, and ended up ruining his own career. At times he came across, to me at least, like a Shakespearean tragic hero, except I can’t fully decide what his character trait is that would normally be a virtue, but which turns out to be his fatal flaw… Plus he didn’t technically die, he just ended up losing his command.
And at other times, he just really seemed obsessed with war. Completely utterly obsessed with it.
The Bottom Line
I was so super impressed with this movie – it’s definitely something that everyone should see at some point, and I can understand why it won Best Picture in 1971.