Patton


2h 51m 1970
Patton

Brief Synopsis

The legendary general's rebellious behavior almost costs him his command during World War II.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Salute to a Rebel
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
War
Biography
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Feb 1970
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago (New York, 1964) and the book A Soldier's Story by Omar N. Bradley (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 51m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Sound System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1

Synopsis

In 1943, after German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps has severely defeated American tank units in the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, Gen. George S. Patton is sent to spearhead the U. S. sector of the North African campaign. His dramatic flair for leadership revitalizes the tank corps; an avid student of military history, he indulges his mystical belief in reincarnation and envisions the succession of great warriors and battles that have preceded him. Aided by his deputy commander, Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Patton scores a decisive victory over Rommel at El Guettar, which eventually leads to the German expulsion from North Africa. His next assignment is to lead the 7th Army into Sicily by taking Palermo, but instead he is ordered to protect the flank of his chief rival, British Field Marshal Montgomery, while Montgomery leads the attack. On his own initiative, Patton pushes forward and takes Messina, the island's main port and primary objective of the campaign, thereby intensifying his feud with Montgomery. Shortly thereafter, Patton visits a field hospital where, in a fit of rage, he slaps a weeping, battle-fatigued soldier; his action causes Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to demand the general's public apology and to eventually relieve Patton of his command. In spite of his probation, Patton's worth as a decoy during a tour of the Mediterranean is acknowledged, and he eventually assumes leadership of the 3rd Army under the command of Bradley. He forces his men through an impasse at Normandy and comes to a dramatic rescue of the beleaguered 101st Airborne under siege at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton pushes his troops all the way to Czechoslovakia where, with total victory imminent, he is ordered to allow Montgomery and the Russian troops to rout the already disorganized German army. At the war's end, Patton cannot refrain from insulting America's current ally, Russia; unable to make the transition to peacetime, he is removed from command and bids a sad farewell to his staff.

Photo Collections

Patton - Movie Poster
Patton - Movie Poster

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
A Salute to a Rebel
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
War
Biography
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Feb 1970
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago (New York, 1964) and the book A Soldier's Story by Omar N. Bradley (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 51m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Sound System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1

Award Wins

Best Actor

1970
George C Scott

Best Art Direction

1970

Best Director

1970
Franklin J. Schaffner

Best Editing

1970
Hugh S Fowler

Best Picture

1970

Best Sound

1970

Best Writing, Screenplay

1971
Francis Ford Coppola

Best Writing, Screenplay

1971
Edmund H North

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1970

Best Score

1970

Best Visual Effects

1970

Articles

Patton


Although it can be didactic at times, Franklin Schaffner's Patton (1970) is one of the more viscerally entertaining World War II films you'll ever see. It's strange to say that about a picture that features such grueling ordeals as D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, but the reason, of course, is due to George C. Scott's riveting performance as Gen. George S. Patton, one of the most arrogant, egotistical military figures in U.S. history, along with his equally self-aggrandizing cohort, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

At times, Scott's rip-roaring work here ­ for which he won, but refused to accept, an Academy Award - is reminiscent of his over-the-top theatrics in Dr. Strangelove (1964). The difference is that Strangelove is a satire that pointedly deflates the military mindset, while Patton salutes the idea of immense power. It makes perfect sense that Richard Nixon repeatedly screened the picture while he was in the White House.

The narrative follows the high and low points of Patton's career, as he self-consciously unfurls his banner across World War II. Schaffner orchestrates such sweeping events as Patton's defeat of Rommel's army in Africa, and his glorious march to Bastogne, with a grandiosity that befits the subject matter. Since the battles stand as extensions of Patton's oversized personality, personal confrontations with such fellow generals as Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) and Bernard Montgomery (Michael Bates) also generate their share of fireworks. Still, it's probably Patton's famous slapping of a shell-shocked soldier (Tim Considine) that best displays his attitude toward warfare: in a nutshell, only the strong survive.

Regardless of your own politics, it's hard not to be impressed by Scott, and by the dialogue supplied to his character by a then up-and-coming young screenwriter named Francis Ford Coppola. Patton's opening scene, as you probably know, consists of a profane speech being delivered by the General to his gathered troops. The real-life Patton never made such a speech, but Coppola brilliantly cobbled together an assortment of statements that Patton actually uttered, thus formulating one of the best-known movie monologues of all time.

It's interesting to note that the monologue was originally intended to take place in the middle of the film, after a brief intermission. Schaffner's decision to place it at the beginning was fortuitous, since it quickly immerses the audience in the magnetism of a man who might otherwise be viewed, quite frankly, as a lunatic. You may not want to run out and die for Patton after listening to this little pep talk. But you'll be more than curious to see where this gung-ho cowboy is heading.

Scott's refusal of the 1970 Academy Award for Best Actor caused such a stir at the time, his name is probably more closely associated with "Oscar®" than it might have been had he just given a gracious acceptance speech and left the stage. Scott was a hard-drinking, opinionated man who wasn't particularly well-liked in movie circles, so it's not altogether surprising that many of his colleagues felt his public dismay over simply being nominated was, in fact, a crafty way of campaigning to win the award.

Actually, Scott admitted that, at one point in his life, he was quite anxious to have an Oscar® on his shelf. In 1960, he was so demoralized when his nominated performance for Anatomy of a Murder (1959) didn't earn him the award, he swore that he would never again focus on such shallow things. "I came to see (the awards show) as a fawning, dizzy 'meat contest' staged every spring. The process was not something I could live with comfortably." He also once told The New York Times that "(the show) encourages the public to think that the award is more important to the actor than the work for which he was nominated." Who knows how Scott would have felt had he not lost to Hugh Griffith (for Ben-Hur) back in 1960?

Patton was one of the first blockbusters of the 1970s. It earned $28-million, which was quite a staggering sum at the time, but, today would stand as a mildly disappointing opening weekend for a Vin Diesel movie. It also raked in a pile of Academy Awards outside of the one that Scott refused. Schaffner won for Best Director, Coppola won Best Adapted Screenplay, the film itself won Best Picture, and there were three other wins in technical categories. "Old Blood and Guts" would have been pleased, although he might have smacked Scott for not standing up and proudly receiving his decoration.

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
Producer: Frank McCarthy and Frank Caffey
Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola (based on the books Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by Gen. Omar N. Bradley)
Cinematography: Fred Koenekamp
Editing: Hugh S. Fowler
Art Design: Urie McCleary and Gil Parrondo
Special Effects: L.B. Abbott and Art Cruickshank
Set Design: Antonio Mateos and Pierre-Louis Thevenet
Principal Cast: George C. Scott (George S. Patton), Karl Malden (Omar Bradley), Michael Bates (Sir Bernard Law Montgomery), Ed Binns (Walter Bedell Smith), Lawrence Dobkin (Gaston Bell), John Doucette (Lucian K. Trescott), James Edwards (William George Meeks), Frank Latimore (Henry Davenport), Richard Munch (Alfred Jodl), Morgan Paull (Richard Jensen), Karl Michael Vogler (Erwin Rommel.)
C-170m. Letterboxed.

by Paul Tatara

Patton

Patton

Although it can be didactic at times, Franklin Schaffner's Patton (1970) is one of the more viscerally entertaining World War II films you'll ever see. It's strange to say that about a picture that features such grueling ordeals as D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, but the reason, of course, is due to George C. Scott's riveting performance as Gen. George S. Patton, one of the most arrogant, egotistical military figures in U.S. history, along with his equally self-aggrandizing cohort, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. At times, Scott's rip-roaring work here ­ for which he won, but refused to accept, an Academy Award - is reminiscent of his over-the-top theatrics in Dr. Strangelove (1964). The difference is that Strangelove is a satire that pointedly deflates the military mindset, while Patton salutes the idea of immense power. It makes perfect sense that Richard Nixon repeatedly screened the picture while he was in the White House. The narrative follows the high and low points of Patton's career, as he self-consciously unfurls his banner across World War II. Schaffner orchestrates such sweeping events as Patton's defeat of Rommel's army in Africa, and his glorious march to Bastogne, with a grandiosity that befits the subject matter. Since the battles stand as extensions of Patton's oversized personality, personal confrontations with such fellow generals as Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) and Bernard Montgomery (Michael Bates) also generate their share of fireworks. Still, it's probably Patton's famous slapping of a shell-shocked soldier (Tim Considine) that best displays his attitude toward warfare: in a nutshell, only the strong survive. Regardless of your own politics, it's hard not to be impressed by Scott, and by the dialogue supplied to his character by a then up-and-coming young screenwriter named Francis Ford Coppola. Patton's opening scene, as you probably know, consists of a profane speech being delivered by the General to his gathered troops. The real-life Patton never made such a speech, but Coppola brilliantly cobbled together an assortment of statements that Patton actually uttered, thus formulating one of the best-known movie monologues of all time. It's interesting to note that the monologue was originally intended to take place in the middle of the film, after a brief intermission. Schaffner's decision to place it at the beginning was fortuitous, since it quickly immerses the audience in the magnetism of a man who might otherwise be viewed, quite frankly, as a lunatic. You may not want to run out and die for Patton after listening to this little pep talk. But you'll be more than curious to see where this gung-ho cowboy is heading. Scott's refusal of the 1970 Academy Award for Best Actor caused such a stir at the time, his name is probably more closely associated with "Oscar®" than it might have been had he just given a gracious acceptance speech and left the stage. Scott was a hard-drinking, opinionated man who wasn't particularly well-liked in movie circles, so it's not altogether surprising that many of his colleagues felt his public dismay over simply being nominated was, in fact, a crafty way of campaigning to win the award. Actually, Scott admitted that, at one point in his life, he was quite anxious to have an Oscar® on his shelf. In 1960, he was so demoralized when his nominated performance for Anatomy of a Murder (1959) didn't earn him the award, he swore that he would never again focus on such shallow things. "I came to see (the awards show) as a fawning, dizzy 'meat contest' staged every spring. The process was not something I could live with comfortably." He also once told The New York Times that "(the show) encourages the public to think that the award is more important to the actor than the work for which he was nominated." Who knows how Scott would have felt had he not lost to Hugh Griffith (for Ben-Hur) back in 1960? Patton was one of the first blockbusters of the 1970s. It earned $28-million, which was quite a staggering sum at the time, but, today would stand as a mildly disappointing opening weekend for a Vin Diesel movie. It also raked in a pile of Academy Awards outside of the one that Scott refused. Schaffner won for Best Director, Coppola won Best Adapted Screenplay, the film itself won Best Picture, and there were three other wins in technical categories. "Old Blood and Guts" would have been pleased, although he might have smacked Scott for not standing up and proudly receiving his decoration. Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner Producer: Frank McCarthy and Frank Caffey Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola (based on the books Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by Gen. Omar N. Bradley) Cinematography: Fred Koenekamp Editing: Hugh S. Fowler Art Design: Urie McCleary and Gil Parrondo Special Effects: L.B. Abbott and Art Cruickshank Set Design: Antonio Mateos and Pierre-Louis Thevenet Principal Cast: George C. Scott (George S. Patton), Karl Malden (Omar Bradley), Michael Bates (Sir Bernard Law Montgomery), Ed Binns (Walter Bedell Smith), Lawrence Dobkin (Gaston Bell), John Doucette (Lucian K. Trescott), James Edwards (William George Meeks), Frank Latimore (Henry Davenport), Richard Munch (Alfred Jodl), Morgan Paull (Richard Jensen), Karl Michael Vogler (Erwin Rommel.) C-170m. Letterboxed. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

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.
- Patton
The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman legions. The Carthaginians were proud and brave but they couldn't hold. They were massacred. Arab women stripped them of their tunics and their swords and lances. The soldiers lay naked in the sun. Two thousand years ago. I was here.
- Patton
Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book.
- Patton
Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're going to go through him like crap through a goose.
- Patton
Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, "What did you do in the great World War II," you won't have to say, "Well... I shoveled shit in Louisiana."
- Patton

Trivia

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

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 Patton.

Rod Steiger, Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster all turned down the lead role.

'John Huston' , Henry Hathaway and Fred Zinnemann each declined to direct the film. William Wyler agreed to direct, but differed with George C. Scott over the script and left for another film.

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

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Spain, England, Morocco, and Greece. Also known as Patton: A Salute to a Rebel. Dimension 150 process used only in 70mm roadshow prints. Fox Movietone News clips were accompanied by a revised narration delivered by Lowell Thomas, who also narrated the original clips.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States on Video May 25, 1989

Released in United States Winter January 1970

Re-released in United States on Video March 5, 1996

Selected in 2003 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Dimension 150

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Released in United States Winter January 1970

Re-released in United States on Video March 5, 1996

Released in United States on Video May 25, 1989