General George S. Patton became known for his aggressiveness, ego and strategic prowess in leading soldiers into battle during World War II. His notoriety and battlefield accomplishments began when he was the first officer assigned to the new U.S. Army Tank Corps during World War I. His love of glory, his courage and the adrenaline rush of matching wits with other commanders, led to his promotion through the ranks over the next several decades. The movie, Patton, takes places when Commander Patton, played by George C. Scott, reaches the high point of his career during World War II, leading the U.S. 7th Army in its invasion of Sicily.
The famous speech he gave to his troops, the ego clashes between him and British commander Bernard Montgomery and the image of tanks sweeping across northern France at the head of the 3rd Army makes this movie worth experiencing again. Moreover, George C. Scott received an Academy Award for his outstanding performance, which he declined due to philosophical differences. His acting, along with a rousing opening monologue (one of the most famous in Hollywood's history) makes this movie a classic worth viewing again and again. So grab a bowl of popcorn, put your feet up and recall one of the greatest movies of all time by taking this quiz!
"Patton" is a 1970 movie all about U.S. Gen. George S. Patton, who gained everlasting fame during World War II. The well-received film helped to cement Patton's legacy.
George C. Scott received unanimous critical acclaim for his performance and then turned down an Academy Award due to philosophical differences.
The movie's opening scene finds Patton giving a rousing speech to a group of soldiers that we never see. It's one of the most famous monologues in Hollywood history.
The general is espousing the virtues of courage and honor as his men prepare to go to war. In Patton's mind, war is a great adventure, both for him and for his men.
The general did say many of these legendary words but the movie version combines real-life multiple speeches into one that's perfectly moving for the big screen.
The general is best known for his battlefield coordination of tank units. His armored columns have become a potent Allied force against the Nazis and other Axis countries.
The Allies have suffered a terrible blow in North Africa. Patton is called in to halt the Axis and hopefully mount some sort of counterattack.
When Patton arrives on his trusty Jeep, his men are lollygagging about, apparently not too concerned that they're at war. Patton immediately sets about changing their attitudes.
An undisciplined camp cook isn't wearing his regulation leggings. Patton decides that this is a punishable offense, and thus, fines the man $20. The general's strict rules force the men to follow all army guidelines.
He understands that the Nazis are formidable enemies and he treats them as such.
Patton insists that lack of air cover was to blame for the American defeat. The British commander promises that his planes will step up their effort and moments later, a Nazi plane swoops over the camp.
The general is nearly distraught when he learns that Rommel was sick and not present at the battle. He wanted to beat the legendary Nazi on the battlefield.
Once North Africa is liberated, Patton's men are ordered to invade Sicily. Two commanders (Patton and British Gen. Bernard Montgomery) are told to come up with a plan for the invasion.
Like Patton, Montgomery has a huge ego, and he's got a rather wide arrogant streak. He and Patton frequently clash in terms of personality and battlefield strategy.
Eisenhower decides that Montgomery's cautious invasion plan is best. Then, to Patton's dismay, Eisenhower places Patton at the rear in support of Montgomery's units.
Patton has no intention of taking a backseat to Montgomery. As the invasion begins, Patton defies his orders and decides to race Montgomery toward the objective.
The British general believes that he has heroically liberated Messina, but as he reaches the city center, he realizes that the smirking Patton has done an end-around and already beaten him there.
The egotistical American general sees the shell-shocked soldier and thinks he's a coward who's scared of battle. He slaps him and mocks him and orders him back to the front.
Patton thinks he's above the law, but he's not. Eisenhower learns of the abuse incident, and he decides to relieve Patton of his command. He also forces the abusive general to apologize in front of multiple groups of soldiers.
Patton is sure he's only experienced a temporary setback. He's certain that Eisenhower will put him in charge of the D-Day invasion of Europe, one of the most important campaigns of World War II.
Patton is a manipulator, and he sees the press as a way to shape public opinion and as a means to grow his own power. It's just one more reason that Eisenhower often doesn't trust the brash American general.
The First United States Army Group is a fake army group that exists only on paper. It's meant as a decoy to confuse German spies and military leaders.
The Germans respected and feared Patton's abilities as an offensive commander, and they were convinced that he would lead the D-Day invasion. The decoy worked very well in the movie, and in real life, too.
Patton is agonized that history is happening without him. He grovels to Gen. Omar Bradley for a chance to take command as the Allies fight the Germans in Europe.
Patton has no intention of letting another opportunity slip through his fingers. He summons his battlefield prowess and sends the Germans reeling, liberating parts of Europe faster than any other Allied commander.
Patton's tanks are overrunning Geman positions all along the front. But then they run out of fuel because his fuel supply has been diverted to his rival, Bernard Montgomery.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans pin down the Americans near Bastogne. In what became one of the most legendary moments of the war, Patton frantically sends his men to the town and rescues the trapped Americans.
Patton is downright sad at the idea of the war ending. He thinks war is an exciting challenge and doesn't want Hitler and his cronies to give up.
Patton speaks about ancient Roman conquerors and the glory they felt after winning a war. But he also realizes that "all glory is fleeting."
Just a few months after the war, Patton died following a car accident. It was perhaps a fitting end for a man who felt that his real purpose was to fight a war that was over.