War is something most people never want to experience but it is something we cannot escape. War is absolute horror and we are never the same after it is all over. There are very few people, however, that were born to fight in war and lead us to victory. General George S. Patton is one of those people.
The film opens with George C. Scott as Patton giving one of cinemas most famous monologues in front of an enormous American flag. Patton is a man who lives and breathes on the battlefield. He is a true American and will do anything for his country. His battle plans baffle his superiors and his soldiers but they are genius. War is the only thing that this man knows he embraces it, war is his destiny and leading an army to victory is his calling.
During the film we not only see George Patton’s battle plans being given we also see how they are played out and we are shown that even though they are not your typical attack strategies they are strategies of a man who knows his enemies and knows their every move. Patton smells the fear of his enemies and uses it to his advantage. Patton is a true general and a true overlooked hero who deserves a lot of credit for winning WW2.
As the film moves forward we find that Patton has no pity for soldier’s who refuse to fight due to battle fatigue or shellshock. After a soldier in the military hospital tells Patton that he can no longer handle the war Patton becomes furious with the man and smacks him multiple times. He believes that this man is a coward and not a true American. For this specific act Patton is relieved of his duty and his career as general is tarnished. There are many specific scenes in this film that infuriated me many are in which Patton is told that he cannot do this and that and to keep his mouth shut. This is a man of true dignity and the country he dedicates his life to wants no part of him. I question as to why this great hero was not given more command than he got because the war would have been over much quicker if Patton had more control.
Watching George C. Scott take command of this role is breathtaking. He looks the part of Patton and he speaks to and commands his troops much like Patton would. Call Scott’s performance “iconic” is a true understatement his performance is one that many cannot match.
The script is co-written by Francis Ford Coppola, a man also familiar with war. In Patton we signs of his genius that would be used in his own war epic, Apocalypse Now. Coppola writes the Patton character with genuine intellect and makes us understand why Patton is such a great man. Coppola tells the tale as if it was his own and shows us that hero’s can come from anywhere.
Franklin J. Schaffner, the director of the film, seems to know this world of misery and unfairness that Patton lives in but shows us that there is some sort of reasoning behind it all. Patton, although upset that he does not have the command that he wants never shows aggravation or hatred towards his country, he is a loyal man with America until the bitter end.
I love it when a there is a film that teaches me things that I have never known. I have never known much about why wars are fought but upon seeing Patton I now know that there was a man who was always willing to fight for his country what the cause.