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.
Continuity mistake: When the three small boys run up and salute Patton, the middle boy stops with the other two slightly behind him to each side, and is the first to salute. When the camera angle changes to view them from in front, the middle boy is instantly behind the other two, and is the last to salute.
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.
Continuity mistake: When the Germans attack during the discussion about air support, Patton's office gets shot up. In one shot we see bullets strafe a wall with a vase in front of it - the vase wobbles but remains intact. Then we see another shot of the same wall/vase combo being strafed - you can see marks on the wall where the bullet impacts are about to be, and this time the vase shatters too.
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.
Add timeBruce Trestrail
Continuity mistake: When the two Jeeps arrive at the Kasserine Pass to survey the results of the battle, the second Jeep comes to stop just short of running over a dead soldier. At the end of the scene, the same Jeep drives away, going forward as if to run over that body, but the body has vanished.
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.
Factual error: 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).
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: 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: 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.
Character mistake: While General Patton is in Malta as a decoy for a fake Greek invasion, he gives some aides a tour of the fortifications there and tells them that they were "defended by 400 Knights of Malta and 800 mercenaries against a force of 40,000 Turks." He is referring to the Siege of Malta in 1565, but the date he gives is 1528.