Critics Consensus

George C. Scott's sympathetic, unflinching portrayal of the titular general in this sprawling epic is as definitive as any performance in the history of American biopics.



Reviews Counted: 45

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Average Rating: 4/5

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Movie Info

In 1943 North Africa, George Patton (George C. Scott) assumes command of (and instills some much-needed discipline in) the American forces. Engaged in battle against Germany's Field Marshal Rommel (Karl Michael Vogler), Patton drives back "The Desert Fox" by using the German's own tactics. Promoted to Lieutenant General, Patton is sent to Sicily, where he engages in a personal war of egos with British Field Marshal Montgomery (Michael Bates). Performing brilliantly in Italy, Patton seriously jeopardizes his future with a single slap. While touring an Army hospital, the General comes across a GI (Tim Considine) suffering from nervous fatigue. Incensed by what he considers a slacker, Patton smacks the poor soldier and orders him to get well in a hurry. This incident results in his losing his command-and, by extension, missing out on D-Day. In his final campaign, Patton leads the US 3rd Army through Europe. Unabashedly flamboyant, Patton remains a valuable resource, but ultimately proves too much of a "loose cannon" in comparison to the more level-headed tactics of his old friend Omar Bradley (Karl Malden). Patton won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Scott, an award that he refused. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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George C. Scott
as Gen. George S. Patton
Karl Malden
as Bradley
Michael Bates
as Montgomery
Lawrence Dobkin
as Col. Gaston Bell
John Doucette
as Maj. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott
James Edwards
as Sgt. William George Meeks
Frank Latimore
as Lt. Col. Henry Davenport
Richard Münch
as Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl
Siegfried Rauch
as Capt. Oskar Steiger
Peter Barkworth
as Col. John Welkin
John Barrie
as Air Vice-Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham
David Bauer
as Lt. Gen. Harry Buford
Tim Considine
as Slapped Soldier
Gerald Flood
as Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder
Jack Gwillim
as Gen. Sir Harold Alexander
David Healy
as Clergyman
Bill Hickman
as Gen. Patton's Driver
Carey Loftin
as Gen. Bradley's Driver
Lionel Murton
as 3rd Army Chaplain
Sandy Kevin
as Correspondent
Douglas Wilmer
as Maj. Gen. Francis de Guingand
Patrick J. Zurica
as 1st Lt. Alexander Stiller
Lowell Thomas
as Newsreel Narrator
Alan MacNaughtan
as British Briefing Officer
Clint Ritchie
as Tank Captain
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News & Interviews for Patton

Critic Reviews for Patton

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (10)

  • I'd like to pin four stars on each shoulder of George C. Scott for his perspective characterization of the military genius, the controversial man.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie's vision blurs the man and, incidentally, the just war around him.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • George C. Scott's performance cannot be praised highly enough for capturing both the violence and the vulnerability of the Patton personality without degenerating either into vulgar caricature or cardboard sentimentality.

    Feb 6, 2013 | Full Review…
  • War is hell, and Patton is one hell of a war picture, perhaps one of the most remarkable of its type ever made.

    Feb 19, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Nixon's favorite movie, which proves he was blind to ambiguity as well as a few other things.

    Dec 13, 2006 | Full Review…
  • The film lays bare the roots of Patton's lust for power in his willingess to sacrifice everything to his vaunting ego, a trait which is mirrored in George C Scott's superb performance.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Phil Hardy

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Patton

"Patton" is the largest, most focused, and clearly unapologetic biopic of a military man, ever. It just is, whether you want to argue the scale of the production, the unmatched performance from lead actor George C. Scott, or the stretched approach to the story of his years in the Second World War, this film is incomparable. It also looks at the ugly side of war, by way of approaching its lead subject without convention. Instead of the reproachful general of lore, Patton is shown as both a man of prestige and knowledge but also a man plagued by war and grit. The layered individual is very well portrayed as both a man who understands the finer aspects of intelligentsia, but is always looking for the next battle, or really victory, over the Germans. If this film had been made forty years earlier it would have heralded the man as an abject hero, but here he is criticized, ostracized, and broken down into little pieces. He gives a speech about camaraderie and heroism at the beginning of the film, but he also finds himself plagued by controversy at his tactics, at the meaning of bravery when it comes to the loss of human life. The years covered in this film primarily deal with Patton's time around the media and his misspoken words after his many victories. George C. Scott commands the screen as the general, and though he himself was unsure he was portraying the complex figure to his advantage, he came out with a thoughtful performance. Karl Malden, who is always the perfecting choice in any supporting role, works well as Patton's subordinate and later as his boss. Their familiarity towards one another creates an understanding ally for the pariah, but also he handles him, and keeps the blow-hard in check even when Eisenhower himself doesn't believe in Patton. It's disparagingly honest, and speaks with a spirited authority that only a military biopic can. Though there's less heroism and brass than there is raw courage, it delivers on its promise to be a commanding film.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

An extraordinary depiction of General George Patton and his character, strategies, and flaws as a human being during the days of WWII. George C. Scott was born to play this role, and it is one of the most iconic portrayals in the history of film. It is a long, rich, rewarding journey detailing one of the most unique and fascinating members in the history of the US military. The writing is impeccable, the acting is phenomenal, and the way the story progresses feels effortless and you really start to believe you are watching a documentary on Patton just because of how well done this movie is. Not for everyone given its length, but definitely an important film that paints a vivid picture of the US military and the great leaders it continues to have over time.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

'Patton' is the successful film that it is because of George C. Scott's amazing performance as the violent and vulnerable general. The action pieces are well done, the script is witty and well paced, and the film is well shot. What makes 'Patton' stand out from other war movies though is Scott's command of both the screen and the role. From first shot to last, 'Patton' is one of the greatest war films you can experience.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer


Grandiose war epic, centered around the life and achievements of famous American general George S. Patton. Some interesting trivia about the film, as told to us in the introduction, is that Francis Ford Coppola - who wrote the original screenplay - actually got fired from his writing assignment, as they thought the opening scene was too "out there". A scene which later became one of the most iconic moments in classic cinema. Besides George C. Scott's fantastic performance, I also found Patton to be a very fascinating historic figure. He might not have the most likeable of personas, and in some ways you'll even detest him. But as a leader and human being, he's one of the few real warrior poets to have ever walked on this earth. His own obsession of ancient history and belief in past lives, is something that really struck a chord with me. Especially as I too share a very similar spiritual conviction. It's this nuanced portrayal of him that drives the movie forward, and makes the battles themselves secondary in relevance. A little too long for my taste, but yet a sweeping biopic, majestically directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. I also had the great benefit of watching this on Blu-ray, which made the experience all the more fulfilling. With a clean, crisp and amazingly detailed picture quality, the restoration job is so incredibly well done, it looks like the film could have been made today. So if you get the chance, I can really recommend you to see it in this format. It's truly worthy of such a beautifully crafted film.

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer

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