Patton (film)

Infobox Film
name = Patton

image_size = 200px
caption = "Patton" film poster
director = Franklin J. Schaffner
producer = Frank Caffey
Frank McCarthy
writer = Biography ("Patton: Ordeal and Triumph"):
Ladislas Farago
Memoir ("A Soldier's Story"):
Omar N. Bradley
Francis Ford Coppola
Edmund H. North
narrator =
starring = George C. Scott
Karl Malden
Michael Bates
Karl Michael Vogler
music = Jerry Goldsmith
cinematography = Fred J. Koenekamp, ASC
editing = Hugh S. Fowler
distributor = Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
released = February 4, 1970
runtime = 170 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget = $12,000,000
gross = $61,749,765 [ [ Allmovie Gross] ]
preceded_by =
followed_by = "The Last Days of Patton"
website =
amg_id = 1:37460
imdb_id = 0066206

"Patton" (UK: "Patton: Lust for Glory") is a 1970 biography drama war film, which tells the story of General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner from a script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, and photographed in 65mm Dimension 150 by Fred J. Koenekamp, with a music score by Jerry Goldsmith.

"Patton" won seven Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The opening monologue, delivered by Scott with an enormous American flag behind him, remains an iconic and often quoted image in film. Despite the rise of the Vietnam protest movement and a decline in interest in World War II movies, the film became a success and an American classic. [cite news | first=Nathan | last=Rabin | coauthors= | title=Patton |date=May 24, 2006 | publisher= | url= | work=AV Club | pages= | accessdate = 2007-01-07 | language = ]

In 2003, "Patton" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


The film documents the story of General George S. Patton (George C. Scott) during World War II, beginning with his taking charge of demoralized American forces in North Africa after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, leading them to victory at the Battle of El Guettar. He then participates in the invasion of Sicily and races against the equally egotistical British General Bernard Law Montgomery to capture the Sicilian port of Messina.

After he beats Montgomery into the city, Patton is relieved of command for slapping a shell-shocked soldier in an Army hospital. This incident, along with his tendency to speak his mind to the press, gets the general in trouble and he is sidelined during the invasion of Europe. Later, he begs his former subordinate, General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden), for a command before the war ends. He is given the U.S. Third Army, and distinguishes himself by rapidly sweeping across France and later relieving the vital town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Later, Patton smashes through the German "West Wall" and drives into Germany itself.

The movie depicts some of Patton's more controversial actions, for example his remarks following the fall of Germany, casually comparing many Nazis to American Republicans and Democrats, and remarking to a British crowd that America and Great Britain would dominate the post-war world, which the press finds insulting to the Russians. He also believes in reincarnation, while remaining a devout Christian. At one point in the movie, during the North Africa campaign, Patton takes his staff on an unexpected detour to the site of the ancient Battle of Zama. There he reminisces about the battle, insisting to Omar Bradley that he was there.


*George C. Scott as General George S. Patton. ::Rod Steiger was offered the role, but turned it down, saying that he did not want to glorify war. After viewing the completed film, he said that refusing the role was the biggest mistake of his career.Fact|date=May 2008
*Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley
*Stephen Young as Chester B. Hansen
*Michael Strong as Hobart Carver
*Michael Bates as General Bernard Law Montgomery
*Frank Latimore as Henry Davenport
*Morgan Paull as Richard N. Jensen
*Karl Michael Vogler as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
*Siegfried Rauch as Captain Steiger
*Richard Münch as Alfred Jodl
*John Doucette as Lucian Truscott
*Paul Stevens as Colonel Charles R. Codman
*Ed Binns as General Walter Bedell Smith
*Jack Gwillim as General Harold Alexander


Scott's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1971. He famously refused to accept it [ [,,306200,00.html Entertainment Weekly] ] --the first actor, though not the last, to do so.

The film won six additional Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced. It was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Effects, Special Visual Effects and Best Music, Original Score.

In 2006, the Writers Guild of America selected the adapted screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund North as the 94th best screenplay of all time. The screenplay was based upon the biographies "A Soldier's Story" by General Omar Bradley, and "" by Ladislas Farago.

The "Best Picture" Oscar is on display at the George C. Marshall Museum at the Virginia Military Institute, courtesy of Frank McCarthy (Producer).


Popular online film critic James Berardinelli has called "Patton" his favorite film of all time. [ [ James Berardinelli review] ]

According to Woodward and Bernstein's book "The Final Days", it was also Richard Nixon's favorite film. He screened it several times at The White House and during a cruise on the Presidential Yacht.

Some journalists Who|date=September 2008 criticized the patriotic dimension of the film and maybe its propaganda for the Vietnam war, even accusing Nixon of having decided to go on with the war after having watched the film. But according to some,Who|date=September 2008 there is no sense finding any patriotic meaning in this film, since it is centered on the character of Patton and his will to be a true conqueror like the ones he admired in history. Or|date=September 2008


Patton family objections

There were several attempts to make the movie, starting in 1953. The Patton family was approached by the producers for help in making the film. They wanted access to Patton's diaries and input from family members. By coincidence, the day they asked the family was the day after the funeral of Beatrice Ayer Patton, the general's widow. After that, the family was dead set against the movie and refused to give any help to the filmmakers.

Because of this, Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North wrote the film from two biographies: "Patton: Ordeal and Triumph" by Ladislas Farago and "A Soldier's Story" by Omar Bradley. In 2005, Patton's wife's "Button Box" manuscript was finally released by his family, with the posthumous release of Ruth Ellen Patton Totten's book, "The Button Box: A Daughter's Loving Memoir of Mrs. George S. Patton." [ [ Washington Times - Gen. Patton's wife, a New York citizen ] ]

The opening

"Patton" opens with Scott's rendering of Patton's famous military IPAudio|Pattonintro.ogg|"Pep Talk" to members of the Third Army, set against a huge American flag. The movie writers had to tone down Patton's actual words and statements throughout the film in order to get a PG rating; in the opening monologue, the word "fornicating" replaced "fucking" when criticizing the "Saturday Evening Post" newspaper. Also, Scott's gravelly voice is practically the opposite of Patton's, which was high-pitched and somewhat nasal.

When Scott learned that the speech would open the film, he refused to do it, as he believed that it would overshadow the rest of his performance. Director Franklin J. Schaffner lied and assured him that it would be shown at the end. It was shot in a basement room.

All the medals and decorations shown on Patton's uniform in the monologue are authentic replicas of those actually awarded to Patton. However, the general never wore all of them in public. Patton wore them all on only one occasion, in his backyard in Virginia at the request of his wife, who wanted a picture of him with all his medals. The producers used a copy of this photo to help recreate this "look" for the opening scene. Also, the ivory-handled revolvers Scott wears in this scene are in fact Patton's, borrowed from the Patton museum.

The iconic opening scene has been parodied in numerous films, political cartoons and television shows. In "", Sheila Broflovski gives a speech to US troops at a USO show, urging war with Canada in front of an American flag. In "Small Soldiers", action figure Major Chip Hazard stands in front of a jigsaw puzzle of the American flag and recites phrases from Patton's speech along with other military phrases in a nonsensical way. In "Jackass 2.5", Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the Jackass, dressed in military attire, giving the introduction to the movie in front of a giant American flag; in the outro, Johnny gives an inspirational speech about the events of the film in the same manner (before a party breaks out). Harvey Korman, playing Patton, parodies the speech in an episode of "The Carol Burnett Show". In the deleted original ending of the 1986 musical "Little Shop of Horrors", chorus girls Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon foretell America's doom while posed before a glittering version of Patton's flag backdrop.


The entire film was shot in Spain, except for the scene in Tunisia where Patton visits Carthaginian ruins, and the scene at the dedication of the welcome center in Knutsford, England, which was filmed at the actual site. The scenes set in Africa and Sicily were shot in the south of Spain, while the winter scenes in Belgium were shot near Madrid (to which the production crew rushed when they were informed that snow had fallen). In one scene, a supposedly "Arab" woman is selling "pollos y gallinas" (chickens and hens) in Spanish.

Anachronistic props

"Patton" used very few actual World War II vintage tanks, except in archival newsreel footage. The film's tanks were supplied by the Spanish Army, which assisted the production. They included M41 Walker Bulldog, M46 Patton and M47 Patton tanks for the American side, M24 Chaffee tanks for the British, and M48 Patton tanks for the Germans. Of these machines, only the Chaffee had served in World War II, although not for the British. In reality, General Patton commanded a mixture of M-4 Shermans, M-5 Stuarts, and, very late in the war, M-26 Pershings. However, at the time of the filming, the only armed forces still to use the Sherman tanks were the Israeli Defense Forces (in highly modified postwar versions), the Yugoslav People's Army, and several Latin American nations.

Spanish CASA 2.111 airplanes were also used in several scenes. These were heavily modified versions of the German Heinkel He 111, which had been used extensively by the Luftwaffe in World War II. They can be recognized by their engine nacelles, which have a prominent airscoop directly under the propeller, whereas the Heinkel's airscoop was set further back.

In addition, 1950s M38 Jeeps can be seen, and 1960s M35 cargo trucks were used (for both American and German trucks).

A map of Europe shown in the background in one scene displays post-war national boundaries.


While serving to illuminate the tension between Patton and Montgomery, there was no competitive race between the two to capture Messina. Montgomery actually suggested on July 24 that Patton take Messina since he was in a better position to do so.

George Patton is shown in one scene prematurely pinning on insignia as a Lieutenant General, before the rank was confirmed by the United States Senate. Patton's service record indicates that he only referred to himself as a Lieutenant General after signing the official commission from the Department of the Army (Source: NPRC).

The tactically indecisive Battle of El Guettar is portrayed as a complete American victory.

In one scene, Patton incorrectly cites Frederick the Great as saying, "L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!" ("Audacity, audacity - always audacity!") This actually originated with Georges Danton.


A made-for-television sequel, "The Last Days of Patton", was produced in 1986. Scott reprised his title role. The movie was based on Patton's final weeks after being mortally injured in a car accident, with flashbacks of Patton's life.

ee also

* North African Campaign
* Tunisia Campaign
* Operation Torch
* Erwin Rommel
* Battle of the Bulge
* "The Last Days of Patton"


External links

*imdb title|id=0066206|title=Patton
*tcmdb title|id=18647|title=Patton
* [ Opening Speech from the Movie in Text, Audio and Video] from
* [ Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago]
* [ The Patton Society Homepage (Life of the General)]
* [ The history of the famous Patton speech]
* [ The real Patton speech]

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