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How Historically Accurate Is Patton?

Released in 1970, “Patton” still holds up as one of the greatest war movies of all time. The movie tells the story of General George S. Patton’s (George C. Scott) military leadership of the American armed forces during World War II, beginning with the campaign in North Africa, continuing through the invasion of Sicily and the Battle of the Bulge, and concluding with the push to Berlin and Patton’s untimely death in a car accident.

“Patton,” which arrived in theaters during the Vietnam War, doesn’t shy away from portraying the general’s military genius as well as his many flaws. Patton was such a larger-than-life character that many of his real deeds might seem exaggerated. However, much of “Patton” is based on fact. Screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola used two nonfiction books to write the screenplay: Ladislas Farago’s “Patton: Ordeal and Triumph,” and General Omar N. Bradley’s “A Soldier’s Story.” Bradley was both Patton’s direct superior during the war, as well as a military advisor on the film (via History Net). 

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