Patton (1970)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 51 mins

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This epic war saga tells the tale of General George S. Patton, famous tank commander of World War II. The film begins with Patton's career in North Africa and progresses through the invasion of Europe and the fall of the Third Reich. This biographical tale also highlights Patton's numerous faults such his temper and tendency toward insubordination, faults that would prevent him from becoming the lead American general in the Normandy Invasion, as well as to his being relieved as Occupation Commander of Germany. At the end of the day, how will General Patton be remembered? Having proved himself one of the greatest military commanders of World War II, how will he learn to live in a world without war?
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Did you know? According to his co-star Karl Malden, George C. Scott caused a shooting delay by immersing himself in a ping-pong tournament against a world-champion table-tennis player. Scott (who was in full costume and makeup) kept losing to the champ; yet he was determined to win at least one set, even if they had to stand there playing the entire night. Read More
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Direction

Production

Producer
Associate Producer

Distribution

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

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Art

Editorial

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Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
6-Track 70mm, Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
The Douglas C-47 was a relatively loud aircraft; however, in the scene showing Patton talking to his staff while their C-47 was flying them to France, almost no engine noise can be heard.

Revealing Mistakes
After Patton knocks the pin-up girl poster off the wall, multiple scratches can be seen on the wall from earlier takes.

Factual Mistake
In the movie, George S. Patton refers to himself as a Lieutenant (3-star) General before the confirmation became official. In reality, according to his service record, he only referred to himself by that rank after he signed his official commission paperwork.

Factual Mistake
Near the end of the movie when Patton volunteers his men to aide at the Battle of the Bulge, the leaders discuss a decision made by "Ike" (General Eisenhower) and it shows him absent from the meeting. General Eisenhower was actually present at that meeting.

Factual Mistake
The HE-111 bombers used in the attack on Patton's Headquarters in North Africa didn't have the capacity to carry the number of bombs that were dropped during this sequence. They must have been designed by the same company that makes Western movie six shooters. Also, the HE-111 was not set up to make ground strafing runs.

Factual Mistake
During the funeral procession for his aide Captain Jenkins, Patton's overseas cap is tucked into his belt. Since he was outdoors, he should have been wearing it (the other soldiers in the procession are correctly wearing their helmets).

Factual Mistake
During the scene at Messina, the drum major gives the command: "Forward, March!" which is incorrect. All pipe band commands follow the British model and the correct command would be: "By the right, Quick March!"

Revealing Mistakes
In the latrine scene where British General Montgomery is briefing U.S. General Smith, Montgomery breathes on the mirror to make a mist, then draws two maps of Sicily on it to show Smith two attack options. Afterwards, Smith erases one map for security reasons, but leaves the other one intact.

Revealing Mistakes
When Patton fires his pistol at the German planes, there is no recoil.

Errors in Geography
In one scene, there is a map of Normandy. This map is completely inaccurate. Rather than five beaches (Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold), it only shows three, and only has two flags over those three beaches. There is an American flag over Omaha and Utah, a blank space over Juno, and a Union Jack over Gold and Sword.

Errors in Geography
In the opening war scene, set in North Africa, two vultures are shown in the abandoned camp. These are Griffon Vultures which are extremely rare in North Africa (but more common in Spain where the film was shot).

Factual Mistake
Contrary to the way it's portrayed in the film, the controversy over Patton's Knutsford speech was not over his having insulted the Russians (in fact, the Army quickly revised the initial transcript of his remarks to reflect that he had mentioned them). It had to do with his talk of "ruling the world" after the war - members of Congress said he had no business as a general commenting on post-war political affairs, while others objected to the notion of the US, Britain or anyone else "ruling the world."

Factual Mistake
During all battle scenes the sound of distant explosions syncs precisely with the sight of them. This is of course impossible due to the discrepancy between the speeds of light and sound. This goof is made in virtually all war films as well as documentaries where sound is added after the fact.

Factual Mistake
Patton slapped a soldier on two separate occasions, not just one as portrayed in the movie.

Factual Mistake
During the scenes taking place in 1944, there is not one single M4 Sherman tank. The M4 Sherman was the workhorse of the Allies, and was almost the only tank used in World War II from early 1944 on. The tanks used in the film are all post war M47 and M48 Patton tanks, despite showing newsreel footage of Shermans.

Factual Mistake
The prayer for good weather was actually put on the back of a small Christmas card that was printed for the troops on December 11th, five days before the Battle of the Bulge began. The actual prayer contained the words "these immoderate rains" while the movie version said "this immoderate weather."

Factual Mistake
When the HE-111s are attacking, George S. Patton pulls out his 1903 Colt General Officer's Model Pistol, firing nine rounds at the planes. The 1903 General Officer's Model holds 7 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber.

Audio/Video Mismatch
In the scene where the German generals watch the captured newsreel footage of George S. Patton and Omar Bradley landing on Sicily, their dialogue is translated falsely in the subtitles - at no time do they call Patton a 'gangster'. The expression might however be meant as an attempt to convey the impression that Patton's big cigar might leave with German officers.

Audio/Video Mismatch
The bagpipe music starts before the pipers have inflated their bags and struck in.

Character Error
Visiting the Carthaginian ancient battle field in Tunisia, Patton says, "The Arab women stripped the dead soldiers of their clothing." There were no Arabs in Tunisia during the Punic wars. The line is complete fiction, obviously intended to draw parallelism between the ancient Carthaginians and Patton's troops in the first shot of the movie (who were not scavenged by Tunisian civilians in real life either).

Character Error
When George S. Patton arrives in Malta, he makes a speech about the Great Siege of Malta, involving the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. However, he puts the date of this defence as 1528. In fact, the siege took place in 1565 - indeed, the Knights were not granted Malta and Tripoli by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V until 1530. He also gives the figure for the number of defenders as 400 Knights with 800 mercenaries when in fact the accepted number is nearer 9000 in total (including Maltese militia). 40,000 attackers is the highest level of the accepted estimates and the more realistic figure is most likely around 25-30,000.

Character Error
When the British troops parade into Messina, a sign can be seen on the wall saying "Benvenutti amici a Messina", with a spelling error (it should read "Benvenuti"). Arguably plausible, as Sicilians are said (by non-Sicilans) to be poorly educated in spelling.

Character Error
A German soldier writing down the number of casualties is shown marking the thousands with commas, as usual in English. Later, the same soldier is shown using periods for thousands, as a German would.

Character Error
When Patton arrives at II Corps Headquarters near the beginning of the movie, the peasant woman who follows him to the door (holding chickens in her hands) speaks Spanish ("Oiga, oiga...compre gallina.") not Arabic.

Character Error
After Gen Patton fires his pistol at the strafing German bombers, he tucks it into his belt even though he's wearing a shoulder holster for it.

Continuity
When George S. Patton learns he has been relieved of command of the 7th Army, Willie "George" Meeks escorts Patton's aide while wearing Staff Sergeant's stripes. In a later scene when Meeks is waiting for Patton to prepare for bed, Meeks is wearing the stripes of a Sergeant.

Continuity
In Walter Bedell Smith's office, after the Knutsford speech controversy, George S. Patton's left shoulder has no patch on it. When he goes into the hallway to meet his orderly, Meeks, the Seventh Army patch of his last command is there.

Continuity
The scene, where General Fredendall jumps into his jeep after being relieved of his command of II Corps by Gen. Patton, the camera shows two GI's replacing the two star I.D. plates in the front of Patton's vehicle with a 3-star I.D. plate after he self-promoted himself in advance of receiving Senate confirmation. In the next scene shows Patton and Bradley heading toward the battle front on Patton's vehicle until he orders his driver to turn right to head for Carthagenian ruins. It shows that vehicle still had the 2-star I.D. plate that was replaced in the earlier scene.

Continuity
When George S. Patton talks with noncommissioned officers about Bernard L. Montgomery's campaign in Sicily, he has a magnifying glass in his left hand and a cup in his right. He sets down the magnifying glass to hold the cup with his left hand to put it on the table. In the next shot the cup is already on the table and he is holding the magnifying glass with the left hand.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When George S. Patton is directing traffic in the muddy field, one of the tanks that is coming toward the camera is driven by a man wearing civilian clothes and a beret.

Crew/Equipment Visible
As George S. Patton is viewing the battlefield through binoculars and facing the camera, various lights/booms etc are clearly reflected in the binocular lenses.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Generals Walter Bedell Smith and Bernard L. Montgomery are discussing Sicily in the latrine, the shadow of the cameraman is seen behind Smith.
Trivia:
The movie begins without showing the 20th Century Fox logo, or any other indication that the film is starting. At military bases across the U.S., theater owners reported that soldiers in the audience would often stand up and snap to attention when they heard the movie's opening line ("Ten-hut!"), assuming it to be a real call to attention.

According to his co-star Karl Malden, George C. Scott caused a shooting delay by immersing himself in a ping-pong tournament against a world-champion table-tennis player. Scott (who was in full costume and makeup) kept losing to the champ; yet he was determined to win at least one set, even if they had to stand there playing the entire night.

Initially, George C. Scott refused to film the famous speech in front of the American Flag when he learned that the speech was going to come at the opening of the film. He felt that if they put that scene at the beginning, then the rest of his performance would not live up to that scene. So director Franklin J. Schaffner lied to Scott and told him that the scene would be put at the end of the film.

In reality, at the time he hit the wounded soldier, George S. Patton had been without sleep for nearly 48 hours and after hitting him, returned a couple of hours later and apologized.

The ivory-handled revolvers George C. Scott wears in the opening speech were actually Patton's bona-fide revolvers.

The scene where General Lucien K. Truscott tells George S. Patton "You're an old athlete yourself General, you know matches are sometimes postponed" refers to the fact that Patton actually had represented the U.S.A. at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm by competing in the Modern Pentathlon. Patton finished a credible fifth in the competition. Remarkably it was the shooting element that let him down. In true Patton style he used his military .38 revolver instead of the lighter .22 favored by most of the athletes. Patton was also an expert fencer. He re-wrote the U.S. Army's manuals on swordsmanship removing the 'parry.' His idea was for all attack. Defence just wasted energy. Such was his mastery of swordsmanship that he designed the last saber ever to be worn into battle as a weapon, the M1913 Cavalry Saber, commonly known as the "Patton Saber".

Producer Frank McCarthy was a retired brigadier general who served on the staff of Gen. George C. Marshall during World War II; he worked for 20 years to make a film about George S. Patton.

John Wayne eagerly sought the role of General George S. Patton but was turned down by the producer.

Many of the quotes from the opening speech are real quotes from George S. Patton. However, not all of them were said at one time; rather, the speech is an assemblage of Patton moments.

George C. Scott felt he hadn't really captured the full character of Patton. He would apologize to director Franklin J. Schaffner on the set for not fully realizing the complexity of the man.

George C. Scott won the Academy Award for best actor and famously refused to accept it, claiming that competition between actors was unfair and a "meat parade".

This was one of President Richard Nixon's favorite films. He had his own print, and would often watch it in the White House, particularly before having to make an important military decisions in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Soldiers who served under the real George S. Patton said that the general's voice was surprisingly high-pitched. This can be heard in actual films and recordings of him. Patton himself said that he used profanity so liberally in order to compensate for this.

Nearly half the budget was spent on soldiers and equipment rented from the Spanish army.

Part of the film was filmed at a Over Peover in Cheshire. This was the actual location that Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton would meet (specifically at the pub, the Bells of Peover). The pub is still there, and flies both the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes outside to commemorate its part in history.

Patton's famous opening speech is subtly implied to take place after the main body of the film. At the time of his speech, he was a 4-star general, as evidenced by his helmet. When Patton first arrives in North Africa at the beginning of the film, he is just receiving his promotion to 3-star general, which he remains until the celebration of Germany's surrender. Both Patton's promotion to 4-star general and opening speech must have taken place between his relief of Bastogne and the celebration (the speech is motivational, and wouldn't be given after the war was already over).

The scene where George S. Patton tells General Truscott that he did serve with Napoléon Bonaparte is in reference to a poem which Patton wrote titled, "Through a Glass Darkly". In the poem, Patton talks about vague memories of six separate past lives, from caveman, to Ancient Roman, to Napoleonic Frenchman, and being a soldier in each and every life.

George S. Patton's line about wanting to "lead a lot of men in a desperate battle" was actually written in a letter to his brother-in-law on the ship crossing the Atlantic on the way to North Africa.

At the end of the film the monologue Patton gives about an ancient Roman triumph was lifted by Coppola from a 1962 book by Robert Payne called "The Roman Triumph." This is from the very first paragraph: "For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, and the dazed prisoners walked in front of him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown over his head, and whispering in his ear a warning that all glory is fleeting."

Some of the stock actual war footage was shot by future director Russ Meyer, who was a combat cameraman in the U.S. Army's Signal Corps during World War II, from 19 July, 1944 on.

The German planes are a Spanish version of the Heinkel He 111, built under license by CASA. These are the same planes as featured in the film The Battle of Britain. Ironically, these Heinkels are powered by British made Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the same engines that powered Spitfires and Hurricanes against the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

Francis Ford Coppola says in the DVD commentary that he wrote a draft screenplay in 1966 and was fired from the film, in large part because Fox objected to opening the movie with Patton's speech. When the film finally went into production, Coppola's draft was dusted off and most of it used in the final film.

The opening speech, which was shot last, was originally intended to be at the beginning of the second half (after the intermission).

Parts of the speech at the beginning were inspired by a real speech George S. Patton gave before the 3rd Army finally landed in Normandy in late June and early July 1944. The parts of the speech used are watered-down versions of what Patton actually said.

Paul Frees dubbed the voice of the Morrocan Minister, and can also be heard at least three other times: As the voice of one of Patton's staff members, once during the press interview soon after the soldier slapping scene, and again near the end of the film, when a reporter interviewing General George S. Patton (who is riding his horse around an indoor track) leads him on by asking the General about similarities between the Nazi party in Germany and the Republican and Democrat parties in the United States.

The invasion of Sicily via Syracuse that George S. Patton describes being executed by Alcibiades was an embarrassing defeat for the Athenians and Alcibiades was condemned as a traitor.