Patton: Lust for Glory Review

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The story of General George S. Patton (Scott), a tank commander so blazenly gifted his enemies grow to respect him, whilst his superiors grow to resent him in equal measure. As WWII ends and the Third Reich falls, Patton is relieved of his duties and his passion.


Francis Ford Coppola's astute script and George C. Scott's ironclad charisma give this portrait of WWII's "blood and guts" general an unexpectedly wide scope. That the panorama doesn’t rip at the seems is testament to Schaffner’s unflinching, undaunted direction of the massive reputations – cinematic, artistic and most importantly of all, perhaps, historical – at stake.

Thanks to Scott’s complete immersion in the lead role and a timeframe that negotiates a perfect rise and fall cycle in Patton’s military career (precocious tank commanding leads to title of Occupation Commander of Germany leads to bitchy relief from duty) it’s impossible to rank the eponymous yank into either of the two personality types commentators have for him: slapdash egomaniac or monumental national hero. As such, Patton works as an intensely realistic character study and not just a spectacular blitz on the cinema of war. It’s both. And more.

A character study of rise and fall like no other in the sizable arsenal of WWII films.