Patton (1970)

Genres - War, Epic  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], War Epic  |   Run Time - 171 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Patton ranks as one of the screen's greatest biopics, much as George C. Scott's work in the title role is often considered one of the towering performances in screen history. Scott, and the film overall, benefit from an uncommonly intelligent script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, an odd yet fortuitous pairing of seemingly dissimilar writing styles. Despite a nearly three-hour running time, the film focuses on only a small portion of Patton's career, beginning with his North Africa campaign and continuing to the conclusion of World War II. There are only a few compromises with history -- for example, Patton wears the uniform of a four-star general, a higher rank than was appropriate, at the rousing speech to his troops that begins the movie. The scene, though, is taken almost word-for-word from a speech that Patton delivered on June 4, 1944. It's just one example of the verisimilitude that gives the film its superb texture. Patton also benefits from outstanding tech credits, particularly Fred Koenekamp's cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith's orchestral score. Overall, the film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Scott refused his award, which the Academy kept for him in case he later changed his mind. He didn't.