What is it? Biopic of controversial World War II General George S. Patton Jr (George C. Scott), who achieved great success with his military genius but then pissed it all away by being a right bugger to work with.
Why did it win? Given that most of the Academy's membership is composed of actors, films featuring Big Performances have always done disproportionately well, and this is another example of the trend. Among the other nominees, Five Easy Pieces was perhaps too similar to last year's winner, Airport too melodramatic, M*A*S*H* too acerbic and Love Story too nauseatingly soppy even for a body that liked Ordinary People and Forrest Gump.
Did it deserve to win? It's an exceptionally good biopic with a great central performance from Scott, but the best film of the year it was not: that'd be M*A*S*H* or maybe Five Easy Pieces. That said, it wasn't a vintage year all round: other heavy hitters included Performance, Love Story and, er, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (which Edgar Wright assures us is ace).
Worth a look? Yes - Scott's terrific, winning Best Actor for his efforts but returning the award because he didn't feel he was in competition with anyone.