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Patton-5225946z0 7128
"Now 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."
George S. Patton

Patton is a 1970 film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola based on the life of General George S. Patton. The title general was played by George C. Scott in his most iconic role. Its story concerns Patton as he leads the American forces during World War II. On the battlefield, he was a military genius respected by both sides. Off the battlefield, Patton's ego and volatile temperament more than often reared its ugly head. While Patton believed himself destined for greater glory, his very temperament is what proves to be the undoing of his military career. This was the winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year.


Patton provides examples of the following tropes: Edit

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "How dare you compare the Nazis to the Republicans and Democrats." Yeah, insulting one's allies, slapping privates, and offering to start World War III is one thing. But insulting the Republicans and Democrats is unforgivable. It wasn't so much the seriousness of the offenses, but their timing. Patton was criticized for the first, and severely punished for the second, but the war wasn't over so he wasn't considered more trouble than he was worth.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Lampshaded as part of Patton's opening speech:

 Patton: 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!

Part of his success both in the movie and real life. While contemporaries fought more conservatively, he was able to use the momentum of his attacks to great effect.

 Bradley: I do this job because I've been trained to. You do it because... you love it!

  • Born in the Wrong Century: Patton. "The pure warrior. A magnificent anachronism." To hear him tell it, he was born in a lot of them.
  • Cold Open: Patton's famous speech in front of the giant flag.
  • Combat by Champion: Patton wished he could face Rommel to decide the outcome of World War II. In tanks.
  • Consultant on Board: Omar Bradley (Patton's subordinate, then commander) was the primary consultant for the film. Bradley's awesomeness is talked up by nearly everyone in the film.
  • Contrast Montage: As Patton reads the preacher's "weather prayer", we get scenes of night-time battles across snow-covered hills with only Patton's voice for sound. The silent explosions and falling soldiers are stark and shocking, but the prayer provides just cause for why American soldiers fought and died.
  • Cultured Warrior: Patton, again.
  • Cutting the Knot: Shooting the mules blocking the bridge.
  • Desolation Shot: The opening (after the famous "flag speech" that is) where a battlefield is shown full of corpses with human and animal scavengers poking around.
  • The Dreaded: Patton himself to the Germans. Truth in Television as he was the most feared commander on the Western Front.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Capt. Steiger tells Nazi Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl that Patton's preferred method of discipline is about to get him a court-martial and off the battlefield, Jodl replies that they would never "keep their best general out of the war just for slapping a soldier." Of course, Steiger ends up being right. Which you could just as easily call "Common Sense Cannot Comprehend Politics".
    What the Nazis couldn't comprehend was that Patton was still punished and kept off the front lines, and assigned to the humiliating job of decoy while the Allies planned their Normandy invasion. The Nazis were convinced (until it was too late) that Patton was leading a (fictitious) army into Calais, and it kept the German reserves inactive until the Allies practically freed most of France. The Wehrmacht never thought that the Allies would hold back their best general as a punishment...
  • Field Promotion: When the Sicilian attack doesn't go as quickly as planned, Patton fires the officer he deems responsible, and promotes the nearest at hand.
  • Final Battle: Ardennes
  • Four-Star Badass: Patton
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Patton's preferred method of discipline.
  • Gilligan Cut: We have complete air superiority.
  • Glory Seeker: Patton. Monty as well. The Ham-to-Ham Combat between the two generals is what drives the real conflict of the movie.
  • Gratuitous French: Patton, on at least three occasions in the film. The first one (an untranslated conversation with his aide in North Africa) is long enough to count as a Bilingual Bonus for those who understand the language.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The First US Army Group, drawing from Real Life.
  • The Lancer: General Omar Bradley is Patton's Lancer in the early days of the war, in North Africa and Sicily. Then he gets promoted over Patton after that slapping incident and Patton becomes Bradley's Lancer in France after D-Day.
  • Large Ham: George S. Patton
  • Million Mook March: Lots of scenes of military traffic by both Red Shirts and Mooks.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: One of the most recognisable ones.
  • Mr. Exposition: The German officer Captain Steiger. Screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola said part of the reason he invented the character was to give out biographical information about Patton to the audience.
  • Number Two: Patton, to Bradley, late in the film.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: A general theme is the conflict between Patton's aggressive philosophy and the other generals' more conservative approach.
  • Outscare the Enemy: Patton says that he'll make his men unafraid of the Germans, but he hopes to God they never stop being afraid of him.
  • Political Cartoon: Patton is the victim of one.

 Patton: A swastika! On my boot!

    • In Real Life, Patton hated cartoonist Bill Maudlin (he of "Willie and Joe" fame) and personally threatened the artist after an unflattering cartoon that dissed Patton's obsession with orderly uniforms.
  • Rated "M" for Manly
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Patton actually had a quite high-pitched voice, unlike George C. Scott's gravelly tones.
  • The Rival: GeneralField Marshal Montgomery.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is gorgeous to look at. Until everything gets blowed up by tanks.
  • Staff of Authority: General Patton is portrayed frequently carrying a riding crop, indicating both his status as an officer with something of a flair for the dramatic, and his background in the cavalry.
  • Tanks, But No Tanks: The German Tanks were played by, ironically enough, M-47 Pattons. They didn't even try to hide the fact.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: Used to burn documents in the Nazi headquarters at the end of the war.
  • The Unseen: Dwight D Eisenhower. Film makers wanted to cast someone to have Ike appear as a cameo but it never worked out. Instead, Eisenhower becomes a God-like being able to pass judgment on Patton and his (mis)deeds.
  • War Is Glorious: Perhaps not intended by the producer

 Patton: The entire world at war and I'm left out of it!

  • War Is Hell: The war is glorious for Patton. The scenes of the dying and wounded still allows for this interpretation.

 "There goes Old Blood and Guts." "Yeah, our blood, his guts."

  • Warrior Poet: Patton, arguably the Trope Codifier.
  • World War II
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: During a speech to a crowd of British women, Patton says that the Americans and British will rule the world, and makes no mention of the Russians. Cut to newsreel proclaiming "Patton insults Russian allies".
  • Worthy Opponent
    • Rommel, of course.
    • Patton also mentions he would give the German pilots who strafed his command center far behind the lines a medal for valor if he could. The German pilots had unwittingly proved Patton's point more eloquently than the man could himself.
  • Wrote the Book: Played with. General Patton knows that Rommel literally wrote the book on tank warfare, so he reads it and uses that knowledge to predict what Rommel will do at their first big showdown.

 Patton: Rommel, you Magnificent Bastard, I read your book!

    • In reality, Rommel completed a book on infantry tactics ("Infantry Attacks", which is still available today). His planned book on tank warfare was never completed; much of the material which was intended to go into it is available in "The Rommel Papers".
  • You Will Know What to Do: When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face.