Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Patton (1970)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Patton (1970)

In Franklin J. Schaffner's biopic and epic war film (shot in 70 mm. widescreen color) - the winner of seven Academy Award Oscars (including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay) - it provided a survey of America's fiercest battle warrior: the controversial, bombastic, idiosyncratic, multi-dimensional World War II general and hero General George S. Patton (portrayed by Oscar-winning George C. Scott who refused to accept his award) - the story was based on two books: Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by General Omar Bradley (portrayed by Karl Malden):

  • the unforgettable opening shot of the bigger-than-life screen biography was of fierce American General 'Old Blood and Guts' George S. Patton in front of an enormous red and white-striped US flag serving as a backdrop; he was addressing Allied US troops of the Third Army (off-screen) in a memorable, brilliant 6-minute pep-talk monologue to raise morale just before they were deployed overseas at the start of WWII: ("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. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and never will lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team - it lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap...")
  • Patton concluded his opening speech with: "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 s--t in Louisiana.' All right, now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all."; his speech displayed his fierce love of America
  • during the early years of the war in 1943, in the military campaign (the Battle of El Guettar) in Tunisia (North Africa) against Germany's Field Marshal Rommel (Karl Michael Vogler) known as "The Desert Fox," Patton's military genius was exemplified when his troops defeated the advancing German forces, and the Germans were expelled from N. Africa; they quickly annihilated and destroyed enemy tanks and infantry; Patton watched through binoculars at a nearby outpost, and exclaimed that he had used Rommel's own strategy against him in his book 'Infantry Attacks': "Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!"; however, Patton often ran into resistance from traditonal or conventional military leaders, such as General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden)
  • during plans for the invasion of Sicily in 1943 with the 7th Army to wrest it away from the Axis Powers, Patton was forced to work with the more cautious and ineffective British Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery (Michael Bates), who Patton regarded as a hindrance rather than as a complement; on his own initiative, Patton demonstrated his winning philosophy by beating Montgomery to Messina (the island's main eastern port) with a lengthy pincer movement strategy (that took down Palermo along the way); afterwards, the Italian leader Benito Mussolini was removed from power in Italy and the Allies were able to invade Italy
  • an Army field hospital incident nearly damaged Patton's entire career (he also missed out on D-Day in mid-1944 after being reprimanded and losing his command); he responded to a 'cowardly' combat-fatigued, shell-shocked soldier (Tim Considine) who whimpered: "I-I guess I just can't take it, Sir...It's my nerves, Sir. I-I just can't stand the shelling anymore,"; Patton was exasperated with the recruit: "Your nerves? Well, hell, you're just a God-damned coward" - Patton slapped the soldier back and forth with his gloves: "Shut up! I won't have a yellow bastard sitting here crying in front of these brave men who have been wounded in battle! (He knocked off the soldier's helmet) SHUT UP!"; he then ordered the doctors to not admit the patient: "Don't admit this yellow bastard. There's nothing wrong with him. I won't have sons-of-bitches who are afraid to fight stinking up this place of honor! (To the soldier) You're going back to the front, my friend. You may get shot, and you may get killed, but you're going up to the fighting. Either that, or I'm gonna stand you up in front of a firing squad. I ought to shoot you myself, you god-damned bastard! Get him out of here! Send him up to the front! You hear me? You God-damned coward! I won't have cowards in my army."
  • after Patton was reprimanded and demoted as punishment for his verbal abuse treatment and slapping of the fearful, battle-fatigued soldier, he delivered a very curt public 'apology' speech to assembled troops: "I thought I would stand up here and let you people see if I am as big a son-of-a-bitch as some of you think I am. (laughter) I assure you I had no intention of being either harsh or cruel in my treatment of the soldier in question. My sole purpose was to try to restore in him some appreciation of his obligations as a man and as a soldier. 'If one can shame a coward,' I felt, 'one might help him to regain his self-respect.' This was on my mind. Now, I freely admit that my method was wrong, but I hope you can understand my motive and will accept this explanation - and this apology"
  • the fearless, flamboyant, pugnacious and self-confident maverick Gen. Patton ran out of a meeting mid-stream in a headquarters building during an air raid (right after an Allied Air Force officer had bragged: "You will see no more German planes"); he stood in a street and bravely fired his pistol at German planes strafing the area - he yelled out: "Come on, you bastards. Take a shot at me, right in the nose"; one of his officers cautioned: "Get back in here, George. We need a corps commander, not a casualty"
  • before the Battle of the Bulge, Patton requested a weather-related prayer from the chaplain, and then read outloud: "Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness to restrain this immoderate weather with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously harken to us as solders who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. AMEN."
  • under Patton's leadership, the Third Army swept brilliantly across France; he dramatically rescued the trapped 101st Airborne under siege at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge; then he swept into Germany - moving faster and covering more ground than any army in US history; Patton pushed his troops all the way to Czechoslovakia but was ordered to step aside to allow Montgomery and the Russian troops to wipe out the already defeated German army
  • Patton despondently displayed his arrogant power-lust as he confessed: "I love it. God help me, I do love it so. I love it more than my life"
  • as the war ended on the battlefield, the outspoken Patton insulted and snubbed America's current ally Russia, and then unwisely compared the defeated Nazis to other US political parties; he was removed and relieved from command and delivered a sad farewell to his staff
  • in the film's conclusion after the war, Patton's voice-over recalled history; his words were delivered while he was walking his bull terrier Willie over the countryside; he spoke about a returning Roman war hero who was given a victory parade: "For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. 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, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before 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 and whispering in his ear a warning, that all glory is fleeting."

During Battle Against Rommel: "You magnificent bastard! I read your book!"

The Infamous Slapping Scene

Patton's Forced Apology Speech

Patton Firing His Pistol at German Planes

Reading the Weather-Related Battle Prayer

"I love it. God help me, I do love it so. I love it more than my life"

Patton's Concluding Voice-Over


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