Patton (film): Wikis


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film poster
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
Produced by Frank McCarthy
Written by Ladislas Farago (biography)
Omar N. Bradley (memoir)
Francis Ford Coppola
Edmund H. North
Starring George C. Scott
Karl Malden
Michael Bates
Karl Michael Vogler
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp
Editing by Hugh S. Fowler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) April 2, 1970
Running time 170 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12,000,000
Gross revenue $61,749,765[1]
Followed by The Last Days of Patton

Patton is a 1970 American biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner from a script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, who based their screenplay on the biography Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and Omar N. Bradley's memoir A Soldier's Story. The film was shot in 65mm Dimension 150 by cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp, and has a music score by Jerry Goldsmith.

Patton won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The opening monologue, delivered by George C. Scott as General Patton with an enormous American flag behind him, remains an iconic and often quoted image in film. The film was a success and has become an American classic.[2]

In 2003, Patton was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".



The film's famous beginning has General George S. Patton (George C. Scott) giving a speech, with a huge American flag in the background. Patton then takes charge of demoralized American forces in North Africa after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. After reinstilling discipline in his soldiers, he leads them to victory at the Battle of El Guettar, though he is bitterly disappointed to learn afterward that Erwin Rommel was not his opponent.

Patton is shown to believe in reincarnation, while remaining a devout Christian. At one point during the North Africa campaign, Patton takes his staff on an unexpected detour to the site of the ancient Battle of Zama. There he reminisces about the battle, insisting to his second in command, General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) that he was there.

After North Africa is secured, he participates in the invasion of Sicily and races against British General Bernard Law Montgomery to capture the Sicilian port of Messina. German General Alfred Jodl (Richard Munch) and Captain Steiger (Siegfied Rauch) are both convinced that Patton will be chosen to lead the invasion of Europe. However, after he beats Montgomery into Messina, Patton is relieved of command for slapping a shell-shocked soldier in an Army hospital. This incident, along with his tendency to speak his mind to the press, gets the general in trouble and he is sidelined during the long-anticipated D-Day landings, being placed in command of the fictional First United States Army Group in south-east England as a decoy.

Fearing he will miss out on his destiny, he begs his former subordinate, General Omar Bradley, for a command before the war ends. He is given the Third United States Army and distinguishes himself by rapidly sweeping across France and later relieving the vital town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton then smashes through the "West Wall" and drives into Germany itself.

Patton remarks to a British crowd that America and Great Britain would dominate the post-war world, which is viewed as insulting to the Russians. After the Germans capitulate, he insults a Russian officer at a celebration; fortunately, the Russian insults Patton right back, leading to a defusing of the situation. In the end, Patton's outspokenness loses him his command once again, though he is kept on to see to the rebuilding of Germany.



Patton family objections

There were several attempts to make the movie, starting in 1953. The Patton family was approached by the producers for help in making the film. They wanted access to Patton's diaries and input from family members. By coincidence, the day they asked the family was the day after the funeral of Beatrice Ayer Patton, the general's widow. After that, the family was dead set against the movie and refused to give any help to the filmmakers.

Because of this, Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North wrote the film from two biographies: Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by Omar Bradley. In 2005, Patton's wife's "Button Box" manuscript was finally released by his family, with the posthumous release of Ruth Ellen Patton Totten's book, The Button Box: A Daughter's Loving Memoir of Mrs. George S. Patton.[4]

The opening

The opening scene of the movie.

Patton opens with Scott's rendering of Patton's famous military "Pep Talk" to members of the Third Army, set against a huge American flag. Coppola and North had to tone down Patton's actual words and statements in this scene, as well as throughout the film, to secure a PG rating; in the opening monologue, the word "fornicating" replaced "fucking" when criticizing the Saturday Evening Post magazine. Also, Scott's gravelly voice is practically the opposite of Patton's, which was high-pitched and somewhat nasal.

When Scott learned that the speech would open the film, he refused to do it, as he believed that it would overshadow the rest of his performance. Director Franklin J. Schaffner lied and assured him that it would be shown at the end. It was shot in a basement room.

All the medals and decorations shown on Patton's uniform in the monologue are authentic replicas of those actually awarded to Patton. However, the general never wore all of them in public. He wore them all on only one occasion, in his backyard in Virginia at the request of his wife, who wanted a picture of him with all his medals. The producers used a copy of this photo to help recreate this "look" for the opening scene. However, the ivory-handled revolvers Scott wears in this scene are in fact Patton's, borrowed from the Patton museum.

The iconic opening scene has been parodied in numerous films, political cartoons and television shows. In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Sheila Broflovski gives a speech to US troops at a USO show, urging war with Canada in front of an American flag. In Jackass 2.5, Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the Jackass crew, dressed in military attire, gives the introduction to the movie in front of a giant American flag; in the outro, Johnny gives an inspirational speech about the events of the film in the same manner (before a party breaks out). Harvey Korman, playing Patton, parodies the speech in an episode of The Carol Burnett Show. In the original "unhappy" ending of the 1986 musical Little Shop of Horrors, chorus girls Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon foretell America's doom while posed before a glittering version of Patton's flag backdrop; this backdrop was also used in the 1985 film Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird.


Virtually the entire film was shot in Spain. One scene, which depicts Patton driving up to an ancient city that is implied to be Carthage, was shot in the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, located in Morocco. The early scene, wherein Patton and Muhammed V are reviewing Moroccan troops including the Goumiers, was shot at the Royal Palace in Rabat. One unannounced battle scene was shot the night before, which raised fears in the Royal Palace neighborhood of a coup d'état. One paratrooper was electrocuted in power lines, but none of this battle footage appears in the film. Also a scene at the dedication of the welcome center in Knutsford, England was filmed at the actual site. The scenes set in Africa and Sicily were shot in the south of Spain, while the winter scenes in Belgium were shot near Madrid (to which the production crew rushed when they were informed that snow had fallen).

It has been noted that in the scene where Patton arrives to establish his North African command, a supposedly "Arab" woman is selling "pollos y gallinas" (chickens and hens) in Spanish, which is not normally spoken by local people in Tunisia.

Anachronistic props

Patton used very few actual World War II vintage tanks, except in archival newsreel footage. The film's tanks were supplied by the Spanish Army, which assisted the production. They included M41 Walker Bulldog, M46 Patton and M47 Patton tanks for the American side, M24 Chaffee tanks for the British, and M48 Patton tanks for the Germans. Of these machines, only the Chaffee had served in World War II, although not for the British. In reality, General Patton commanded a mixture of M-4 Shermans, M-5 Stuarts, and, very late in the war, M-26 Pershings. However, at the time of the filming, the only armed forces still to use the Sherman tanks were the Israeli Defense Forces (in highly modified postwar versions), the Yugoslav People's Army, and several Latin American nations.

Spanish CASA 2.111 airplanes were also used in several scenes. These were heavily modified versions of the German Heinkel He 111, which had been used extensively by the Luftwaffe in World War II. They can be recognized by their engine nacelles, which have a prominent airscoop directly under the propeller, whereas the Heinkel's airscoop was set further back. Additionally, the Cessna Bird Dog can be seen in some scenes, which didn't make its first flight until 4–5 years after World War II ended.

In addition, 1950s M38 Jeeps can be seen, and 1960s M35 cargo trucks were used (for both American and German trucks).

A map of Europe shown in the background in one scene displays post-war national boundaries.

Patton is shown arriving in London at night in a black Packard Custom Eight. The car used is a postwar design, introduced on July 25, 1947 for the 1948 model year.


  • Patton never gave "The Speech" as a four star general, since he was not elevated to full general rank until April 14, 1945, well after the time he would have given any such pre-combat speech.
  • While serving to illuminate the tension between Patton and Montgomery, there was no competitive race between the two to capture Messina. Montgomery actually suggested on July 24 that Patton take Messina since he was in a better position to do so. However, Patton suspected that this was a ruse on Montgomery's part, so the "race" continued in his own mind.
  • George Patton is shown in one scene prematurely pinning on insignia as a Lieutenant General, before the rank was confirmed by the United States Senate. Patton's service record indicates that he only referred to himself as a Lieutenant General after signing the official commission from the Department of the Army.[5]
  • Before the Battle of El Guettar, Patton is shown reading the book The Tank In Attack by Erwin Rommel, and in the scene depicting the battle he shouts "Rommel... you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" In fact, Rommel never finished the book, which exists only in the form of scattered manuscripts and notes. Rommel had published the book Infantry Attacks, and Patton is reported to have read it.
  • In the movie, Patton had a rather tense meeting with Arthur Coningham. Shortly afterward, Patton's young aide Dick Jenson was killed in the Battle of El Guettar. In real life, Jenson was killed shortly after El Guettar, and the meeting with Coningham came after that.[6]
  • In one scene, Patton incorrectly cites Frederick the Great as saying, "L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!" ("Audacity, audacity — always audacity!") This actually originated with Georges Danton ("De l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace et la France sera sauvée!").
  • The movie depicts a meeting of generals at Verdun to deal with the German onslaught in the Ardennes (the Battle of the Bulge). In the movie, General Bedell Smith presides over the conference. In real life, Eisenhower presided over it. (Eisenhower is never seen in the film, but is referred to as a presence behind the other generals.)
  • The movie gives the impression that Patton and Omar Bradley were close friends. In fact, the two men never particulary liked each other. Patton's best friend was probably Eisenhower, and he never appears in the movie.
  • Msgr. James H. O'Neill, whom Patton commanded to pray for good weather, protested that he was portrayed too mildly.
  • The film only depicts one incident of Patton slapping an enlisted man. In real life, there were two. The first involved Private Charles H. Kuhl and took place on August 3, 1943. The second took place exactly one week later, and involved Private Paul G. Bennett. The incident in the film was patterned mostly after the second real-life slapping incident.
  • General Patton's apology to the slapped soldier (Private Paul G. Bennett in real-life) was delivered in private, where Patton admitted he had been too harsh to Bennett, contrary to his reluctance in the film. Patton did apologize publicly but on a separate occasion.
  • The film depicts Patton making a speech in Knutsford, England, where he predicted that America and England would rule the world after the war. This was seen as a snub to the Russians. According to eyewitnesses, Patton actually did mention the Russians in his speech, but it was omitted by British newspapers. By the time a correction was made, the damage was already done.
  • During the Battle of the Bulge, according to the film, Patton orders his chaplain to compose a prayer for good weather. When the weather clears up, Patton announces plans to decorate the chaplain. In real life, Patton gave this order at Lorraine about a month before the Battle of the Bulge. The problem was not winter weather, but constant heavy rains. After the chaplain composed the prayer, the weather indeed cleared up, and Patton awarded the chaplain (James H. O'Neill) a Bronze Star.
  • Near the end of the film, Patton is shown having a tense telephone conversation with Bedell Smith in which he argued that America should go to war with the Soviets. Patton actually had this conversation with General Joseph McNarney, Eisenhower's deputy commander.


Roger Ebert said of George C. Scott, "It is one of those sublime performances in which the personalities of the actor and the character are fulfilled in one another."[7] Online film critic James Berardinelli has called Patton his favorite film of all time[8] and " this day one of Hollywood's most compelling biographical war pictures."[9] Internet film critic The Nostalgia Critic included the film in his list of his top 20 favorite films of all time and also referenced the film for a joke in an earlier video.

According to Woodward and Bernstein's book The Final Days, it was also Richard Nixon's favorite film. He screened it several times at The White House and during a cruise on the Presidential yacht. Before the 1972 Nixon visit to China, then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai specially watched this film in preparation for his meeting with Nixon. It was also a personal favorite of Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes.

Awards and honors

Scott's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1971. He famously refused to accept it, citing a dislike of the voting and even the actual concept of acting competition[10]. He was the first actor, though not the last, to do so (Marlon Brando would, two years later, decline his Oscar for The Godfather in 1973.)

The film won six additional Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and Best Art Direction (Urie McCleary, Gil Parrondo, Antonio Mateos, Pierre-Louis Thévenet).

It was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Music, Original Score.[11]

In 2006, the Writers Guild of America selected the adapted screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund North as the 94th best screenplay of all time. The screenplay was based upon the biographies A Soldier's Story by General Omar Bradley, and Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago.

The "Best Picture" Oscar is on display at the George C. Marshall Museum at the Virginia Military Institute, courtesy of Frank McCarthy.

American Film Institute recognition


A made-for-television sequel, The Last Days of Patton, was produced in 1986. Scott reprised his title role. The movie was based on Patton's final weeks after being mortally injured in a car accident, with flashbacks of Patton's life.


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Midnight Cowboy
Academy Award for Best Picture
Succeeded by
The French Connection


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Patton is a 1970 film starring George C. Scott, Karl Malden and Michael Bates. It is a semi-historical account of the controversial hard-driving General George S. Patton's career during the Second World War.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. Written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North.


George S. Patton (George C. Scott)

Opening speech

  • (The real speech was made by Patton to the Third Army, on June 5, 1944, the eve of D-Day. For the motion picture it was moved to the beginning of the film, out of historical-chronological sequence.)
I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.
Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.
When you were kids you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball player, the toughest boxer. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.
Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don't know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.
Now, we have the finest food, equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by God I, I actually pity those poor bastards we're going up against, by God, I do. We're not just going to shoot the bastards; we're going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel.
Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty.
The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.
Now there's another thing I want you to remember: I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're going to go through him like crap through a goose.
Now, there's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home. And you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you: "What did you do in the great World War II?" You won't have to say, "Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana."
Alright, now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel. Oh... I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere.
That's all.

Battle of Carthage

  • (To Omar Bradley at the ruins of Carthage):
It was here. The battlefield was here. The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman Legions. The Carthaginians were proud and brave but they couldn't hold. They were massacred. The Arab women stripped them of the tunics and swords, and lances. And the soldiers lay naked in the sun. 2000 years ago. I was here. (Looking at Bradley) You don't believe me do you Brad?
You know what the poet said:
'Through the travail of ages,
Midst the pomp and toils of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon a star.
As if through a glass, and darkly
The age-old strife I see—
Where I fought in many guises, many names—
but always me.'
Do you know who the poet was? Me.

Death of Captain Richard N. Jenson

  • (To his diary about the death of his favorite aid, Captain Richard N. "Dick" Jenson, at the Battle of El Guettar. Jenson died from a bomb concussion in an air raid on April 1, 1943, while visiting the command post of Colonel Clarence C. Benson. The bomb just missed General Omar Bradley. Every bone in Jenson's body was broken, but his skin was not scratched.):
Captain Richard N. Jenson was a fine boy. Loyal, unselfish, and efficient. I am terribly sorry.
There are no coffins here since there's no wood.
We will have a trumpeter and an honor guard, but we will not fire the volleys as it would make people think an air raid was on.
I enclosed a lock of Dick's hair in a letter to his mother. He was a fine man and a fine officer. And he had no vices.
I shall miss him a lot.
I can't see the reason such fine young men get killed. There are so many battles yet to fight.

Sicily slapping incident

Patton slaps GI

  • (On August 10, 1943, Patton visits an army aid station tent, while there he confronts a GI who is crying and shaking, Private Paul G. Bennet, but who has no visible wounds. [In reality there were two separate slapping incidents, over a 10-day period. He kicked the first one, Private Charles H. Kuhl, in the butt, in addition to the slapping. The film combines and edits these into one event. The press ignored the first event, but columnist Drew Pearson talked about the second one in a radio broadcast.]):
(Patton): What's the matter with you?
(Bennet): I, I guess I just can't take it sir.
(Patton): What did you say?
(Bennet): It's my nerves sir. I, I, I just can't stand the shelling anymore. (Bennet starts sobbing more)
(Patton): Your nerves? Why hell you are just a God damned coward. (Patton stands slaps Bennet's helmet with his gloves) Shut up. I won't have a yellow bastard sitting here crying, in front of these brave men who have been wounded in battle. (Bennet continues to sob) Shut up!!! (Patton then struck the man again, knocking his helmet liner off. He then turned to the admitting officer and yelled:) Don't admit this yellow bastard. There's nothing the wrong with him. I won't have sons-of-bitches who are afraid to fight stinking up this place of honor. (Turns back to Bennet:) You're going back to the front my friend. You may get shot and you may get killed, but you're going up to the fighting. Either that I am stand you up in front of a firing squad. I (Patton grabs for his pistol.) ought to shoot you myself, you God damned little whimpering bastard. Get him out of here. (You can see the anger in Patton/Scott's eyes; Two orderlies grab Bennet and take him out of tent.) Send him up to the front! You hear me! You Goddamn coward! (Patton tries to compose his anger, and starts walking out of the tent.) I won't have cowards in my army.
  • (After the first incident with Private Kuhl, it would be found that Private Kuhl's final disposition diagnosis was chronic dysentery and malaria. But, nobody knew it at the time.)

Letter from Eisenhower

  • (After slapping the soldier in Sicily, the incident gets into the press, Patton summons General Omar Bradley to his quarters, talking to Bradley.):
(Bradley): You wanted to see me George?
(Patton): Got a letter here from Ike. (hands letter to Bradley, pause, as Bradley starts to read the letter.) I ah, was re-reading Caesar's Commentaries last night. In battle Caesar wore a red robe to distinguish him from his men. I ah, was struck by that fact, because, (pause) despicable, that's the first time in my life anyone ever applied that word to me.
(Bradley): Well-ah, at least its a personal reprimand. It's not official.
(Patton): The man was yellow, he should have been tried for cowardice and shot. My God, have they forgotten about all of the people who have taken a hell of a lot worse than a little kick in the pants? I ruffled his pride a little bit. What's that compared to war? Two weeks ago when we took Palermo they called me a hero, said I was the greatest general since Stonewall Jackson.
(Bradley): And now the draw cartoons about you. (Bradley looking at newspaper cartoon.)
(Patton): Dirty bastard. They got me holding a little G.I. there and kicking him with an iron boot. Do you see that? What's on my boot? A swastika. On my boot. An iron boot with a swastika on it! (Patton takes newspaper and throws it down in anger.)
(Patton picks up the letter a reads a portion of it):
You will apologize to the soldier you slapped. To all doctors and nurses who were present in the tent at the time. To every patient in the tent who can be reached. And last but not least, to the Seventh Army as a whole, through individual units one at a time.
God I, feel low.

Psalm 63

  • (After slapping the soldier in Sicily, feeling low, praying in the church. This was Patton's favorite verse. It was abbreviated in the film.):
(Psalm 63: 1): O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee. My soul thirsteth for Thee. My flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land.
(Psalm 63: 2): So as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.
(Psalm 63: 8): My soul followeth hard after Thee.
(Psalm 63: 9): But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
(Psalm 63: 10): They shall fall by the sword, they shall be apportion for foxes.
(Psalm 63: 11): But the king shall rejoice in God. Everyone that sweareth by Him shall glory. But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

Address to Seventh Army

  • (Patton walks toward waiting troops.)
(unknown): Ten hut!
(Patton): At ease. (long pause) I thought I would stand up here and let people you see, if I am as big of son-of-a-bitch as some of you think I am.
(crowd): (laughter)
(Patton): I assure you I had no intention of being either harsh or cruel in my treatment of the soldier in question. My sole purpose was to try and to restore him some appreciation of his obligation as a man, and as a soldier. If one can shame a coward I felt, one might help him regain his self-respect. This was on my mind. Now I freely admit that my method was wrong, but I hope you can understand my motive. And will accept this explanation, and this apology.
(unknown): Ten hut!
  • (Patton walks away.)

Weather prayer

  • (Wanting good weather to rescue the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, he asks Monsignor James H. O'Neill for a weather prayer):
All Mighty and most merciful Father, We humbly beseech Thee, of thy great goodness to restrain this immoderate weather with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.

Other Patton quotes

  • (Watching German troops get routed):
"Such a waste of fine infantry."
  • (Looking through his binoculars, after catching the German 21st Panzer Division in a pincher trap at the Battle of El Guettar causing the Germans to retreat.):
" magnificent bastard, I read your book!"
  • (In an interview following the capture of Palermo, Sicily, after a reporter asks him about his 'pearl-handled revolvers'):
"They're ivory! Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whore house would carry a pearl-handled revolver."
  • (About the plan to do an end-round on the way from Palermo to Messina, by sending a battalion into the sea, behind German lines, to the town of Brolo. Speaking to Brigadier General Lucian Truscott [with Omar Bradley present], about not being to conservative, Patton misquotes Fredrick the Great [should have been Georges Danton], with):
"L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!" — ("Audacity, audacity, always audacity!")
  • (Patton is putting on his uniform, preparing to fight the 21st Panzer Division at El Guettar, and takes a long hard look at himself in the mirror)
All my life I've wanted to lead a bunch of men in a desperate battle. Today, I get to do just that.
  • "An entire world at war and I'm left out of it? God will not permit this to happen! I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!"
  • (Upon viewing the aftermath an intense and bloody battle):
"I love it. (pause) God help me, I do love it so."

Other characters

  • (During the Battle of Sicily, under very heavy artillery barrage in the central mountains, a private unknowingly addressing General Omar Bradley, the man in charge of the battle, who has his back to the private.):
(Private): What sorry son-of-a-bitch is in charge of this operation?
(Bradley): I don't know, but they ought to hang him.

Final scene

After being relieved of command of Third Army, as he is walking Willie (his Bull Terrier) out to a cold winter, lonely and desolate landscape, and totally alone.:

  • "For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: That all glory is fleeting."

Reviews and awards

  • "The epic American war movie that Hollywood has always wanted to make but never had the guts to do before." -- Vincent Canby, The New York Times.
  • "There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates."


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