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Patton (1970)

Updated on October 7, 2012

The Hard-Headed But Brilliant General

Geoge C. Scott as Patton
Geoge C. Scott as Patton

From the moment that George C. Scott steps in front of the giant American flag to address the troops to the scene of his final homage, there is no equivocation that we are seeing General Patton. George C. Scott's acting is so on-spot that his figurement appears and behaves as the personification of Patton. The general was such a gung-ho personality that he disregarded his own military assignments -- if for no other reason than to show Field Marshal Montgomery that he was a superior leader of combat assaults.

Patton - A Figure For The Ages

Karl Malden as General Bradley
Karl Malden as General Bradley

He regarded himself as the reincarnation of other commanders in ancient wars -- and he was well-versed on strategics from historic logs. He was both profane and religions, sometimes seeking God for moral guidance. Thus Patton was a complex individual -- divided by his own desire to prove his leadership skills, and the often humiliating twists of fate. Despite his human foibles, Patton was a brilliant tactician -- and, as the German's surmised, the indisputable commander to lead the D-Day invasion -- though his actions prior to the war were merely to solidify the German opinion.

A Great Desire For Glory

Malden and Scott in the Field
Malden and Scott in the Field

One is only left to wonder how the invasion of Normandy might have turned out under Patton's command vs. Bradley. Even after the defeat of Germany, Patton saw a strategic need to push into Communist Russia. Without the Cold War, there would have been no conflicts in Korea or Vietnam (assuming we had prevailed against the USSR). There would have been no arms race, no space race, etc. Cooler heads prevailed, and the only test against the USSR turned out to be a protracted cold war and proxy wars carried out in foreign lands.

Old "Blood and Guts"

Scott in the Field
Scott in the Field

Patton was painted as a madman to have these thoughts -- but were they truly mad? These foresights were regarded as insane for his time, but in actuality may have averted a multi-level conflict between the world's two super-powers. All of this and more is hinted at in the film, displaying verisimilitudes of a highly complex general's thinking and potential foresight. Patton loved war -- not the loss of life -- but the gamemanship, and his strategic knowledge of warfare probably helped end the war earlier rather than later.

Movie Trailer

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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      My father was career Air Force and so we went to see Patton shortly after it came out. I have seen it several times since and it never fails to impress. Great man, Great film, Great Hub. Sharing.

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