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


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

At the end of the film the monologue Patton gives about an ancient Roman triumph was lifted 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."


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

The insignia and decorations on Patton's uniform evolve through the course of the film but, except for the anachronisms at the start (done for purely dramatic reasons), the evolution of the decorations are not always in order. For example, he has one more ribbon during the speech the the women's organization than he does afterwards.


Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: KASSERINE PASS TUNISIA, 1943


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

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by
John Philip Sousa
Played by the 7th Army band when Patton greets Montgomery in Messina, to drown out Montgomery's bagpipes, and then by the British Auxiliary Territorial Service band at the dedication in Knutsford as Patton and his staff arrive.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama | War

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