Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner
Written By: Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North (story and screenplay) Ladislas Farago and Omar N. Bradley (factual research)
I am generally not a fan of biopics but some men deserve to be remembered. Some men lived head and shoulders above others and occasionally a movie actually does them justice.
While this movie does do justice to General George Patton, it should only serve to inspire actual research into the real man. This movie does an excellent job of showcasing one of the most interesting men to serve this country during WWII but it is still a movie. Even when biopics do justice to their namesakes they still embellish where embellishment is needed for story telling purposes. This movie serves as a good and interesting template for a man who deserves more of your attention and respect.
I have never been a big World War II buff myself but I saw this movie in half a dozen classes throughout my time in school. When history classes cram to fit in the entirety of history into a specific time limit they always cop-out in the end. As the end of semesters and school years came near topics like WWII and Vietnam just get brushed over. More often than not it was the lazy period right before the end when the teacher would just pop in a movie that would “cover it.” In many cases in my experience that was simply playing this appropriately rated film so I and other students would shut up and watch a movie for a day or so. Nevertheless this movie made an impression on me when I was young and it has been part of our collection for a long time.
George C. Scott was a terrific actor whose performance here overshadows a lot of great work he did before and after. He famously refused the Academy Award for the role stating that he didn’t deserve an award for simply acting like a man who really was great. He did deserve the award however because nobody could have brought Patton to life on the big screen quite like Scott. Scott was against the famous opening scene of the film because he thought it would overshadow his performance as a whole. In fact there is a lot of speculation as to where the famous Patton speech the movie kicks off with actually came from. Patton was known for great and colorful speeches that motivated his men but what we see in this film is the product of someone’s writing. Patton also never wore his entire full regalia of military achievements. However in the movie this is how he appears and the speech is what he said. See? Even in a movie such as this you can’t take everything at face value and always remember it is what it is, a movie.
If you enjoy this movie then let it inspire you. Let it encourage you to find out more about the real story behind the film. There is a world of knowledge out there for anyone interested and it can offer you much more than simply something a 2 hour movie can cover. This is a great movie about an important topic, but it is only a taste of a greater story beyond.
I think this is a terrific movie, but it does not cover the entirety of WWII. If you are a high school history teacher I just want to suggest you don’t cop-out on teaching the topic by simply showing a movie at the end of the semester. Otherwise this is a great movie that is worth your time to see.
NEXT FILM: Paul (2011)