1943 North Africa. Patton (George C. Scott) arrives from Morocco to take command the U.S. army in Tunisia in preparation for fighting Rommel (Karl Michael Vogler). He reads Rommel's book on tank warfare and proceeds forces move to Sicily, where they sweep north across the island, taking Palermo, then racing Montgomery (Michael Bates) to Messina.
Just when it looks like his star may rise among the Army ranks, he slaps a soldier suffering from battle fatigue and suddenly finds himself on the outs with general Eisenhower. The incident keeps him from the action for a while but later General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) gives Patton command of the Allied Third Army. By the time Patton finally does get up to Europe, he plows forward. Finally he stops the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, the last major Nazi offensive of the war.
Within 6 days it would have been Franklin J. Schaffner`s (Director) 93th birthday.
* May 30, 1920
† July 2, 1989
Release date: February 4, 1970
Screenwriter Coppola took excerpts from three of Patton’s actual speeches for the opening scene. Source / More (Book)
George C. Scott won the Academy Award for best actor and famously refused to accept it, stating that competition between actors was unfair. When it was given to him, he send it back to the Academy, where it lingers to this day. Source / More (Book)
The film has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Francis 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.
There were several attempts to make the movie, starting in 1951. But the producers had to wait because of opposition from the Patton family. Source / More (Book)
George C. Scott: “I read 13 books on him [Patton] and had about 3,000 feet of documentary film that I ran at my house every night for a couple of months. I really got into it” Source / More (Book)
Patton’s heroic posturing increased president Richard Nixon’ courage to make a controversial decision about Cambodia. He gave the order to send troops into that country. Nixon: “The world’s most powerful nation should not act like a pitiful helpless giant” Source / More (Book)
General Norman Schwarzkopf (commander in Gulf War) was more inspired by Scott’s portrayal than by his own military training. Source / More (Book)
Patton was a believer in reincarnation. He held himself to be the reincarnation of the Carthaginian General Hannibal, a Roman legionnaire and a Napoleonic field marshal.
December 21, 1945
Born in San Gabriel, California, George attended Virginia Military Institute for one year, then transferred to and graduated from West Point in 1909. He became a keen student of the American Civil War (1861–65), especially its great cavalry leaders.
During the First World War Patton was sent to the Western Front in France where he was given command of 304th Tank Brigade. For the next twenty years he remained a leading advocate of armored warfare as he served in a series of cavalry assignments.
In 1940 Patton was promoted to brigadier general but the apogee of his career came with the dramatic sweep of his 3rd Army across northern France in the summer of 1944. After the surrender of Germany, Patton stated that he United States should fight the Communists and he compared the Nazis to losers in American political elections. This attitude cost him his command and he was transferred to the Fifteenth Army, a paper command preparing a history of the war.
On December 9, 1945 (A day before he was due to return to the United States) he suffered serious injuries from an auto accident and died two weeks later.