Trivia / Patton


  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Backed by the Pentagon: Sort of. Nearly half the budget was spent on soldiers and equipment rented from the Spanish army.
  • In an example of Both Sides Have a Point, screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola said he wrote the script so that it would please both the anti-war left, who saw Patton as a warmonger and bully that slapped a shell shocked soldier, and right-wing 'hawks' who saw Patton as a great general and war hero.
  • California Doubling: Most of the 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, Morocco. The early scene, where 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. The scene at the dedication of the welcome centre in Knutsford, Cheshire, England, was filmed at the actual site. The scenes set in Africa and Sicily were shot in the south of Spain (Almeria ), while the winter scenes in Belgium were shot near Segovia (to which the production crew rushed when they were informed that snow had fallen).
  • Completely Different Title: The film was released in Britain as Patton: Lust for Glory.
  • Creator Backlash: George C. Scott felt he hadn't really captured the full character of George S. Patton. He would apologize to director Franklin J. Schaffner on the set for not fully realizing the complexity of the man.
  • Dawson Casting: Karl Malden was 15 years older than George C. Scott. In reality Gen. Omar Bradley was seven years younger than George S. Patton.
  • Director Oliver Stone believes because President Nixon loved Patton and repeatedly watched it at the White House, it gave him the impetus to further escalate the Vietnam War by bombing Cambodia. The bombing of Cambodia led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Therefore, Stone says, the movie Patton is responsible for the genocide of millions in the Killing Fields!
    • Previously marked under Insane Troll Logic, but given its assumptions (the film made Nixon bomb Cambodia) the conclusion is actually logically valid. (Some historians would argue that "the bombing of Cambodia led to the Khmer Rouge" would also be an assumption, as the Khmer Rouge could well have won without the bombing boosting recruitment.)
      • As a matter of fact, George C. Scott seemed to believe this himself. When asked for permission to use a scene of the Nixon family watching Patton for a biopic on Nixon, Scott refused.
  • In a case of Hilarious in Hindsight, Francis Ford Coppola was fired as screenwriter from the film. The reason given? The opening scene. Yes, the same opening scene that has become an icon and been parodied countless times.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The movie took seventeen years from inception to release. An entire book's been written about Patton's tortured pre-production: studio turf feuds, budget concerns, battles over script and casting, and resistance from Patton's family delayed the film's production again and again.
  • Wag the Director: Initially, George C. Scott refused to film the famous speech in front of the American flag when he learned that the speech was going to come at the opening of the film. He felt that if they put that scene at the beginning, then the rest of his performance would not live up to that scene. So director Franklin J. Schaffner lied to Scott and told him that the scene would be put at the end of the film.
    • According to Karl Malden, Scott caused a shooting delay by immersing himself in a ping-pong tournament against a world-champion table-tennis player. Scott (who was in full costume and makeup) kept losing to the champ; yet he was determined to win at least one set, even if they had to stand there playing the entire night.
  • What Could Have Been: At one point, Robert Mitchum was offered the lead role. He turned it down and even suggested George C. Scott would be a better choice for the role.
    • John Wayne eagerly sought the lead role, but was turned down by producer Frank Mc Carthy.
    • Rod Steiger turned down the lead role, believing that the film glorified war. He cited this as the worst mistake of his career.
    • Burt Lancaster turned down the lead role due to his anti-war beliefs.
    • Lee Marvin turned down the lead role. Telly Savalas was also considered.
    • Creator/John Huston, Henry Hathaway and Fred Zinnemann each declined to direct the film. William Wyler agreed to direct, and had even done some preliminary production work on the film, also planning his retirement at conclusion of production, but differed with George C. Scott over the script, instead leaving this production, in favor of The Liberation Of LB Jones, which instead became Wyler's planned final film as director.
  • Working Title: Patton: Salute to a Rebel.

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