Patton (1970)

9 corrected entries

(2 votes)

Corrected entry: The drum major leading the British pipes and drums into Messina is a corporal wearing the usual two point-down chevrons on his upper arm. British Army drum majors, who all hold a minimum rank of sergeant, wear four point-up chevrons on their lower arm (on a leather strap if in shirt-sleeve order).


Correction: It is very possible for a corporal to have been appointed as acting drum major, particularly in a highland unit's pipe band. The pipe bands were allocated at battalion level, and the musicians had actual soldier jobs in the units (usually stretcher bearers). If the Drum Major was killed during the campaign, it would not be unusual for a lower-ranking soldier with musical training to take on the role in an acting capacity.


Corrected entry: Just before the Battle of the Bulge sequence, Patton states that "No German army has staged a winter offensive since Frederick the Great." Either Patton or the screenwriter thus chose to overlook the World War I Battle of Verdun, which Germany launched on Feb. 21, 1916. This is quite an oversight, since many historians consider Verdun the most titanic battle of all time.

Correction: Patton is not referring to some sort of seasonal notation marked on a calendar but of actual weather conditions. The battle of Verdun was actually postponed because of winter like conditions at the scheduled start date of the attack. The Germans waited until weather improved to launch that attack.


Corrected entry: After acting as a traffic cop to direct two crossing columns of tanks and trucks, Patton steps off the barrel and goes to talk to Bradley. While talking to Bradley, a large jet contrail is visible in the sky behind Patton. Military use of jets in WWII came too late, and played virtually no role in the course of the war, let alone its outcome. It is unlikely there would have been a jet contrail visible in the sky at that time of the war.

Correction: This is a common misconception. Piston engined aircraft leave condensation trails, too. Bomber crews in World War 2 considered them a curse as they led Luftwaffe fighters right to them. See


Corrected entry: In the scene where George C Scott is directing traffic and Karl Malden pulls him off to the side, you can see the exhaust from a modern jetliner in the sky above their heads.

Correction: Piston engined aircraft leave 'contrails', too - and there were lots of piston engined aircraft in the sky during World War 2.


Corrected entry: Shortly after Patton adds anticipated stars to his uniform in the presence of Omar Bradley, his drivers are shown changing a red signboard on his jeep to reflect the additional star (3 instead of 2). In a subsequent scene, however, as Patton visits an ancient battlefield, there are only 2 stars on the signboard.

Correction: Patton was riding in Bradley's jeep. That was clear by the previous conversation in which General Bradley told Patton the driver had been out to the battlefield "yesterday."


Corrected entry: Francis Ford, the writer, was fired for his beginning scene. It is become a really famous scene. He says it was new and that people didn't understand it. Now, it's a famous scene.

Correction: Not really accurate. Coppola said "I wrote the script of Patton. And the script was very controversial when I wrote it, because they thought it was so stylized. It was supposed to be like, sort of, you know, The Longest Day. And my script of Patton was - I was sort of interested in the reincarnation. And I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I wasn't fired, but I was fired, meaning that when the script was done, they said, "Okay, thank you very much," and they went and hired another writer and that script was forgotten. And I remember very vividly this long, kind of being raked over the coals for this opening scene. My point is that what I've learned is that the stuff that I got in trouble for, the casting for The Godfather or the flag scene in Patton, was the stuff that was remembered, and was considered really the good work."


Corrected entry: The scene of Patton berating a soldier who is scared to fight is in fact missing one person. Two soldiers refused to fight in reality, not one as the movie suggests.

Correction: The scene is correct. Patton did not berate two soldiers on the same day in the same hospital. There were two incidents happening about a week apart. Nor did either soldier refuse to fight, both were there for medical reasons.


Corrected entry: At the onset of the Battle of the Bulge, Patton says the German army hasn't launched a winter offensive since Frederick the Great. Although most of the fighting during this battle occurred in winter, the Germans actually launched their attack on December 16, 1944, i.e. toward the end of autumn, several days before the official start of winter.

Correction: True, according to astronomy, winter begins at the winter solstice (Dec. 21). But meteorogically and in daily speech, December is the first winter month, and winter starts on Dec. 1st. Since this is the term most people use, Patton is well within his rights when he refers to an attack in December as a "winter offensive".


Corrected entry: In the German tank and infantry attack during the desert battle scene a German soldier runs in front of a German tank and is run over by it. When the tank accelerates forward, just before it runs over the German soldier, you can see that the tank's tread marks do not originate from a continual path from behind it, as if it had traveled a great distance with the advancing Germans, but start where the tank accelerated from, revealing that the tank was actually backed up into its spot prior to the filming of this scene.

Correction: Tanks of WWII lacked the gyro-stabilized guns of todays tanks which allow shoot-on-the-move with great accuracy. WWII tanks frequently would stop briefly to fire their gun and then move on. It's entirely possible this tank stopped to shoot and then backed up a bit to get a better shot at some target.

Factual error: In one scene of the film, Rommel is shown wearing a swastika pin. Rommel was not a member of the Nazi party and refused to wear any Nazi insignia (outside of uniform symbols which contained it), instead he wore the traditional Prussian Iron Cross.

More mistakes in Patton

Capt. Richard N. Jenson: What are you doing there, soldier?
Soldier getting up from floor: Trying to get some sleep, sir.
Patton: Well, get back down there, son. You're the only son of a bitch in this headquarters who knows what he's trying to do.

More quotes from Patton

Trivia: This film's most remarkable for the ironic choice of vehicles used. All of the German tanks represented in the movie are, in fact, M48 "Patton" tanks borrowed from the Spanish army. This is most likely the first and only time in history a general is unintentionally fighting to destroy his own namesakes!

More trivia for Patton

Question: When Patton visits the battlefield he says he was there when the battle happened. What did he mean? He wasn't born yet.

Answer: George S. Patton was not speaking figuratively. In real life, Patton very much believed in reincarnation, and he believed he had been reincarnated as a warrior many times, going back thousands of years. His poetry described his real-life belief in reincarnation.

Answer: In real life, George Patton wrote a poem called "Through a Glass, Darkly." This scene is a way to tie that poem into the film. Depending on how you interpret the poem (I suggest reading it and drawing your own conclusion) he's talking about his past lives, where he has been reincarnated as a soldier, or warrior, etc each time. In the poem he suggest he remembers each life and the battles he's fought. So in the scene he's saying he fought in the Punic Wars. If you think he's speaking figuratively, then through his studies of past wars, he's able to vividly image himself there and it feels as if he was there.

More questions & answers from Patton

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