George S. Patton was born on November 11, 1885 in San Gabriel, California. He graduated from West Point in 1909. Patton had a large military library and was particularly interested in the cavalry during the Civil War period. He was also a student of historical battles and wars. Battle experiences during World War I caused him to focus on tank warfare rather than the cavalry.
Because of his toughness, discipline, and self sacrifice, he elicited pride within his ranks and his soldiers referred to him as “Old Blood and Guts.” Some of his methods were subject to strong civilian criticism, but the criticisms were generally overlooked by his superiors because of his exceptional leadership and military successes.
The controversial general died on December 21, 1945 in a Heidelberg, Germany hospital following an automobile accident near Mannheim.
This 1970 movie was based on the books “A Soldier’s Story” by Omar N. Bradley and “Patton: Ordeal and Triumph” by Ladislas Farago. The screenplay was written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North. George C. Scott is brilliant in his portrayal of Patton and won the Academy Award for his role. Because of his perception of the Hollywood movie industry politics, he refused to accept the Oscar. Karl Malden also does a good acting job in his role as General Bradley. Bradley was often referred to as a soldier’s soldier.
This movie is not really a war story but the story of a general during a war. Patton’s story starts in North Africa at the beginning of the United States involvement in World War II and end with the defeat of Germany.
Interspersed in the film is the story of the German Command trying to figure out who Patton is and what his objectives are. Many of the German generals consider Patton to be the best leader the allies have. One German officer is assigned to analyze Patton, not only the way he wages war but also his thoughts and beliefs.
The portrayal of General Patton in the movie shows he is educated in the history of warfare. Also, he has a love of war and is conceited, competitive and sometimes even manic. His men are shown to hate him during his Sicily campaign and to love him during his march across Europe.
This movie is well worth owning and watching again, even though it has a long run time of almost three hours.
- General George Patton – George C. Scott
- General Omar Bradley – Karl Malden
- General Hobart Carver – Michael Strong
- Captain Richard Jenson – Morgan Paull
- Field Marshall Erwin Rommel – Karl Vogler
- General Harry Buford – David Bauer
- Sir Arthur Coningham – John Barrie
- General Alfred Jodl – Richard Munch
- Field Marshall Montgomery – Michael Bates
- Colonel Charles Codman – Paul Stevens
- Sir Arthur Tedder – Gerald Flood
- General Harold Alexander – Jack Gwillim
- General Bedell Smith – Ed Binns
- General Lucian Truscott – John Doucette
- Slapped soldier – Tim Considine
- Third Army Chaplain – Lionel Murton
- Colonel John Welkin – Peter Barkworth