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 Best Picture-winning biopic war film:

  • the unforgettable opening shot of fierce American General 'Old Blood and Guts' Patton (George C. Scott) in front of an enormous red and white-striped US flag, addressing the troops in a memorable 6-minute pep-talk monologue to raise morale: ("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 the 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."
  • the scene of the fearless Patton, who left a meeting in a headquarters building during an air raid (right after an Allied Air Force officer had bragged: "You will see no more German planes"), and was standing in a street and bravely firing 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"
  • during the military campaign (the 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 forces 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!"
  • the scene in an Army field hospital when Patton nearly damaged his entire career (and missed out on D-Day in mid-1944 after being reprimanded and losing his command); when a 'cowardly' combat-fatigued, shell-shocked soldier (Tim Considine) 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: "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 being reprimanded and demoted as punishment for his treatment of the soldier, Patton delivered a very curt '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"
  • before the Battle of the Bulge, Patton's request for a weather-related prayer that he commissioned 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."
  • Patton's despondent battlefield confession as the war was winding down: "I love it. God help me, I do love it so. I love it more than my life"
  • in the film's conclusion after the war, Patton's voice-over that recalled history- delivered while walking his bull terrier 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."

Patton Firing His Pistol at German Planes

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

The Infamous Slapping Scene

Patton's Forced Apology Speech

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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