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.
by Hal Erickson synopsis