Factual error: When Patton orders his driver to drive to the Carthaginian battlefield he addresses him as "sergeant". He is, however, wearing corporal's chevrons. A famous stickler for discipline and ceremonial, Patton is not likely to have made a mistake like this.


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.

Factual error: The British drum major in the Messina parade gives the order "Forward March". This is only used by the British forces when troops are marking time. If at the halt, as here, the order is "Quick March".


Factual error: When Patton is given command of Third Army in France in 1944, he says that the assassination attempt on Hitler took place several days ago. Later on we see Field Marshal Rommel in a German command HQ looking quite healthy. Rommel was actually severely wounded three days prior to the attempt on Hitler and was in the hospital.

Factual error: In a scene set in 1944 France, shortly after D-Day, Patton is riding in a very distinctive type of Jeep that first went into production in 1953. Another Jeep in that same scene dates from 1950 onwards.

Factual error: In the scene of the high level meeting during the initial stages of the Battle of the Bulge, Bedell Smith is conducting the meeting in General Eisenhower's behalf. In fact, General Eisenhower was present at the meeting.

Factual error: As Patton and his men drive into Palermo, they are greeted by throngs of people on either side of the road, who are obviously hired extras, as they have newer hairstyles and are dressed in modern (for 1970) clothes.


Factual error: In the washroom scene where Gen. Montogomery is speaking with Gen. Smith; Monty breathes on the mirror in order to make a drawing of Sicily. The condensed "breath" remains far too long, the same happens when Smith makes his drawing on the mirror.

Factual error: Before the Battle of El Gattar, Patton is shown reading a book on tank warfare purportedly written by Field Marshal Rommel, his German opponent. Rommel in fact wrote a book on infantry fighting and tactics based on his experiences in World War I. He never wrote a book on tank combat.

Factual error: In the scene in North Africa when Patton's units ambushes the German Tanks and Infantry, All of the German tanks look like American M48 tanks and none of the American tanks are WW II Shermans.

Factual error: Patton arrives at Bradley's mobile HQ just after D-Day. As his jeep pulls up you can see the truck that pulls the HQ trailer. It appears to be a Mack Model "B", which did not enter production until 1953.

Factual error: At the beginning of the movie, Patton is reviewing Morrocan troops during a formal parade. This includes a scene of camel mounted soldiers at attention lined up side by side. These soldiers are armed with the French MAT 49 submachine gun. This weapon was first manufactured in 1949, several years after World War Two had ended.

Bruce Trestrail

Factual error: Despite it being the most common American tank of the war by far, the only M4 Shermans seen in the film are in archive footage. None are seen in action at all. Most of the American tanks appear to be M47 Pattons, which didn't enter service until 1952.

Factual error: Montgomery is shown being appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff at about the same time that Patton is relieved of his command in Germany. Montgomery actually became CIGS in 1946, after Patton's death in December 1945.


Factual error: During the early portions of the film, General Bradley's Jeep is a proper WWII Willys Jeep Model MB (wipers on top of windshield), but the second Jeep that follows Bradley's is a 1950-1952 Model M38 (wipers below windshield) which won't exist until five years after WWII ends. (00:10:00)


Factual error: When he is talking with General Bradley at the Carthaginian ruins near the beginning of the film and he recites his re-incarnation poem. If you look very carefully at the sky you will see a jet streaking, from left to right on the screen. Easy to miss but I've replayed it many times. The object is going in a straight line and going way too fast to be an internal combustion engine plane.

Factual error: At the end of Patton's speech in Knutsford, just when the marching band starts playing, you can see a modern (in 1970) tanker truck driving in the background for a couple of seconds. (01:55:50)

Factual error: Patton wears two overseas service bars (one awarded for every six months' service outside the USA from 7 December 1941) until he goes to Normandy to take over the Third Army. On the plane over he is suddenly wearing four bars. He would have received his third bar before he arrived in Normandy, and his fourth afterwards.


Factual error: Bradley tells Patton that there is trouble in the Ardennes, foreshadowing the Battle of the Bulge. In reality, General Bradley dismissed the German operation as a "spoiling attack." His command was virtually annihilated by the German attack, and Eisenhower transferred the remnants to General Montgomery's 21st Army Group. Bradley was quietly sidelined and given a fourth star as compensation.

Factual error: At the battle of El Guettar, the German tanks which aren't German by the way, but they probably couldn't assemble enough Pz IV for the movie), are retreating from the battle with the rear towards the American positions, although having turned their turrets to face them. German tank crews were pretty experienced by then, and they knew all too well that a tank never should expose its vulnerable rear to the enemy, but rather retreat in reverse, having the strong frontal armor facing the enemy.

Revealing mistake: Several maps of Europe shown in the film have Germany divided into East and West, and show national borders from 1945 onwards.

David Mercier

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: In real life, the infamous soldier slapping scene actually had a somewhat happier outcome. Patton berated the shell shocked trooper largely out of a combination of sleep deprivation (he'd been going for nearly 48 hours without rest) and the emotional turmoil of having so many troops wind up in the hospital due to his commanding decisions. Afterwards he went to a tent, slept for several hours, came back and apologized to the solider.

More trivia for Patton

Question: Is it just me or does this film seem to have some definite homosexual undertones when it comes to Patton? He dresses flamboyantly, wears lots of jewelry, designs uniforms, caresses his dead staff member, kisses a soldier tenderly after a battle. Did the writers do this intentionally and/or were there rumors about Patton's sexual orientation?

Answer: It's just you.

Answer: In real life Patton spoke with a high pitched effeminate voice, not the gruff George C Scott type of voice.


More questions & answers from Patton

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