Patton (1970)

GP   |    |  Biography, Drama, War


Patton (1970) Poster

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

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  • "Patton" George C. Scott
  • "Patton," George C. Scott on location during filming Aug. 8, 1969 / MPTV
  • George C. Scott and Paul Stevens in Patton (1970)
  • "Patton" George C. Scott
  • "Patton" George C. Scott
  • "Patton" Goerge C. Scott 1970 / 20th

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Franklin J. Schaffner

Writers:

Francis Ford Coppola (screen story and screenplay), Edmund H. North (screen story and screenplay), Ladislas Farago (based on factual material from Patton: Ordeal and Triumph), Omar N. Bradley (based on factual material from: A Soldier's Story)

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8 September 1999 | Danimal-7
9
| Fascinating portrait of the Allies' greatest general
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reading "The Patton Papers," a collection of Gen. Patton's diary entries and letters edited by Martin Blumenson. Having seen the movie, I think that no actor has ever better captured the spirit of a man better than George C. Scott, nor has any movie better portrayed that spirit than PATTON.

Patton was a man who lived for war. World War II was the high point and culmination of his life. He didn't fight for any principles, he didn't fight to defend freedom or democracy or any abstract idea; he fought because he loved fighting. In his diaries you can read of his fear of flunking out of West Point; the prospect terrified him because he was certain that he would never be good at anything except being a general or a leader of a country.

As a leader of men, he was exceptional. His speech at the beginning of the movie is vintage Patton, an almost exact reproduction of a speech Patton actually gave to Third Army. It's tough, and no-nonsense; Patton lets you know in no uncertain terms that he is here to win, to destroy the enemy, and by God you'd better be too. I don't know if Patton actually directed traffic on the roads as he is shown doing in the movie, but it was a very Pattonish thing to do. Patton did on at least one occasion get out of his staff car and join a squad of G.I.'s in heaving a vehicle out of the mud. Try to imagine Montgomery doing that; the very thought is hilarious!

Patton's character explains his treatment of his men. To those who had been wounded fighting for him he was always kind and considerate. But to those whose minds could not stand the horrible strain that war imposed on them, he was merciless; he could not comprehend the fact that other people didn't share his love of violence for violence' sake. PATTON shows this aspect of his character very well.

Karl Malden's Omar Bradley is shown in an almost father-like role; he sees and recognizes Patton's immense talents as a general, and uses them in spite of Patton's natural ability to antagonize everybody around him. Not shown in the movie is Patton's unloveable characteristic of turning on his subordinates once they surpassed him in their careers. Patton had nothing but good to say about Bradley, until Bradley was promoted over Patton's head, whereupon Patton savaged Bradley in his diary. Patton did the same to Eisenhower.

A general can have no higher compliment than the fear and respect of his adversaries, and as PATTON demonstrates, Patton was more feared by the Germans than any other Allied general, at least on the Western front. As one German officer observes all too prophetically, "the absence of war will destroy him [Patton]." And although mankind's single greatest stroke of good fortune in the 20th century was that Russia and America never came to blows, it is still hard not to feel sorry for Patton as he desperately seeks his superiors' approval to carry the war on eastward into the Soviet Union - anything, just to have a war to fight. Patton is like an addict to a destructive drug.

Hollywood has rarely given us such a textured and human portrait of a great man: cruel, often foolish in his relations with others, rude, and psychopathically attached to violence, but brave, dedicated, and loyal. Certainly those who, like myself, have Jewish blood, or who were otherwise marked for death by the Nazi state, all owe him a great debt of gratitude for his pivotal role in destroying that state. And yet, had he been born German, Patton would surely have fought just as devotedly for the Nazi side. I'm glad he wasn't.

Rating: **** out of ****.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

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.


Quotes

Patton: Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.


Goofs

One of the planes seen in the film is a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which first flew in 1950.


Crazy Credits

One of the very, very few Twentieth Century-Fox films in which that company's logo is not shown at all, beginning or end. The film simply begins with the opening speech, and the opening Fox logo is replaced with an in-credit text-only notice after the speech. However, recent television showings have added the logo (not on DVD prints), and the addition is obviously spliced in from another piece of film.


Alternate Versions

The IMDb credits reflect those in a version of the film once broadcast by Cinemax and listed in the AFI Catalogue. Another version in letterbox format (once broadcast by AMC) omit and change some of the credits. Omitted are: credits for Alex Weldon, Joe Canutt and Pacific Title. Changed credits are all in the Sound Department, where Don J. Bassman, 'Theodore Soderberg', Murray Spivack and Douglas O. Williams are credited simply for 'sound." Whether this was a re-released version is uncertain.


Soundtracks

Scotland the Brave
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played by the bagpipers of Montgomery's 8th Army as they parade through Messina.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama | War

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