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Tribes (film)

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Director  Joseph Sargent
Language  English
7.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama
Country  United States
Tribes (film) movie poster

Release date  November 10, 1970
Writer  Tracy Keenan Wynn, Marvin Schwartz
Writers  Tracy Keenan Wynn, Marvin Schwartz
Nominations  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Cast  Darren McGavin (Drake), Earl Holliman (DePayster), Jan-Michael Vincent (Adrian), John Gruber (Quentin)
Similar movies  Hair, Alice's Restaurant, Full Metal Jacket, Children of Men, Wanderlust, Starship Troopers

Tribes, also known as The Soldier Who Declared Peace (UK), is a 1970 television film, broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week directed by Joseph Sargent. A big ratings success when it first aired November 10, 1970 (which happened to be the Marine Corps' 195th birthday), Tribes was later released theatrically in Britain and Europe under the title The Soldier Who Declared Peace. Tribes has been released on VHS, but, as of 2017 has not been released on DVD.



Tribes tells the story of Private Adrian (Jan-Michael Vincent), a young United States Marine Corps Vietnam war era draftee who, despite being an anti-war hippie, reluctantly reports to boot camp to fulfill his duty as an American.

Adrian excels as a leader; though, his pacifist ideology presents continuing conflicts between himself and his superiors. Adrian's drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Drake (Darren McGavin), quickly recognizes Adrian's leadership qualities, but is conflicted as he grows to respect Adrian while also realizing that he represents everything Adrian opposes. At one point, Adrian points out that his love of meditation is similar to Drake's drawing to relax, indicating a sketch of a flying bird. Both are ways of finding freedom. Drake responds angrily, denying that he had drawn the picture.

Throughout the training, the Chief Drill Instructor (and Drake's superior), Master Sgt. Frank DePayster (Earl Holliman), takes an instant dislike to Adrian. He repeatedly argues with Drake about him, claiming that the fact that the man is performing all of his assigned tasks is not enough. He considers Adrian's attitude grounds enough for him to be set back and placed in the Motivational Platoon, a disciplinary unit for problem recruits. Drake disagrees and allows Adrian to continue training through to graduation. However, DePayster had gone behind Drake's back by filing a complaint against them both with the Company Commanding Officer. Without Drake's approval, the CO removed Adrian, placing him in the Motivational Platoon under DePayster. Drake accuses DePayster of carrying out a personal vendetta, to which DePayster replies "I'll forget I heard that."

Drake takes the drawing of the bird from his desk drawer and hangs it up, thus signifying his own method of rebellion and freedom. The platoon graduates without Adrian. As Drake awaits a new batch of recruits, DePayster informs him that Adrian deserted during the night.


  • Darren McGavin as Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Drake
  • Earl Holliman as Master Sgt. Frank DePayster
  • Jan-Michael Vincent as Adrian
  • John Gruber as Quentin
  • Danny Goldman as Sidney
  • Richard Yniguez as Sanchez
  • Antone Curtis as Marcellus
  • Peter Hooten as Scrunch
  • David Buchanan as Armstrong
  • Ric Weaver as Morton
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    Tribes received three Primetime Emmy Awards for Sound Editing (Don Hall, Jack Jackson, Bob Weatherford and Dick Jensen, sound editors), Film Sound Mixing (Theodore Soderberg, mixer) and Original Teleplay (Marvin Schwartz and Tracy Keenan Wynn, writers). It was also nominated for Directorial Achievement in Drama (Joseph Sargent).

    Tribes was ranked the 8th best boot camp movie by Screenjunkies


    Tribes (film) Wikipedia
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