» » Tribes (1970)

Tribes (1970) HD online

Tribes (1970) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama
Original Title: Tribes
Director: Joseph Sargent
Writers: Tracy Keenan Wynn,Marvin Schwartz
Released: 1970
Duration: 1h 30min
Video type: Movie
Among the new recruits in a U.S. Marine basic-training platoon is Adrian, a long-haired member of the hippie generation, opposed to blind allegiance to authority and the complete opposite of Gunnery Sergeant Tom Drake, who is assigned as Drill Instructor for Adrian's platoon. Drake's job as a D.I. is to break down the individuality of his recruits in order to rebuild them as a military unit, and he sets out to break Adrian's particularly contrary spirit. But Adrian's gentle will is difficult to break, and eventually both men come to learn something about what the other has to offer.
Cast overview:
Darren McGavin Darren McGavin - Drake
Earl Holliman Earl Holliman - DePayster
Jan-Michael Vincent Jan-Michael Vincent - Adrian
John Gruber John Gruber - Quentin
Danny Goldman Danny Goldman - Sidney
Richard Yniguez Richard Yniguez - Sanchez
Antone Curtis Antone Curtis - Marcellus
Peter Hooten Peter Hooten - Scrunch
David Buchanan David Buchanan - Armstrong
Ric Weaver Ric Weaver - Morton

For what it's worth, the Marine Corps approved of this movie, part of their new lenient image no doubt.

Due to its huge viewing figures when first aired, this was also given a limited theatrical release.

It was also named "Tribes" when it aired on HBO.

The United States Marine Corps has two, and only two, basic training installations for the initial enlisted training, commonly called boot-camp. Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (where this movie is based), and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. Officers receive their basic training (Officer Candidate School) at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia.

Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Tyler Is Not Here

    I was a mere 12 years old when I first viewed this film back in 1970 and I loved it. It now reminds me of a future "Full Metal Jacket" without the profanity and violence that that film carried some 17 years later. All the performers, Vincent, McGavin and Holliman were simply all superb. Being a retired military man now, I can highly appreciate military films and "Tribes" will always be amongst those that stand out. This was one truly superb film and I highly recommend it. Although Vincent went on to become a big star in major motion pictures and the TV series "Airwolf", it was shameful that his career was cut short due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Nevertheless, this film will always be a memorable one for me indeed. It would be interesting to have this film come out on DVD with comments from all three leading actors and the director.
  • avatar


    As an ex-Marine, I was keenly interested in seeing this movie of the week rerun when it aired, I think at 2 am, but what the heck I was on night shift anyway.

    First off, I liked it, I really liked it and not because it "took sides" because frankly I don't think it did. A VERY young Jan-Michael Vincent played the part of a spacy draftee quite well and Darren McGavin was his usual excellent self. Parts of the film were filmed at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego, with real recruits going through drill training on the grinder. Even though it was filmed at the height of the Vietnam war, politics was left out of the film, but they did manage to show the conflict between the hippie and the more conventional recruits.

    The best performance though was from Earl Holliman in my opinion. He played the hard-ass DI to the hilt and provided the strongest contrast to the hippie's live-and-let-live anarchy, even stronger than McGavin's character.

    The movie didn't offer answers, nor did it preach about who was right and who wasn't (maybe that was the point anyway, nobody is really 100% "right" in any conflict).
  • avatar


    I gave it a 10, not because it's perfect, but I'm pretty prejudiced about it. "Tribes" is really part of a long tradition in the movies (the misfit becomes a model soldier because of the tough but decent sergeant), but of course it plays around with all the rules - in the first place, you're practically certain that the misfit WON'T be influenced all that much (or that he SHOULD BE), and in the second place, HE begins to influence the SERGEANT! Against his will, of course ("It's not my drawing!"). In spite of being made in 1970, it's far from being strictly a Vietnam-oriented movie. And it's even more than a "hippie vs. the Establishment" movie (though those are fine with me), but a lot more general (I've heard that it was endorsed by the Marine Corps, I guess because it they considered it pretty "balanced".) I don't know much about meditation, but one of the best scenes in this film has Private Adrian describing it to the other recruits, while they listen with "rapt attention", including Scrunch Gordon, the "jock" who hated him at first. Which is another thing - it does without genuine stereotypes, except for Earl Holliman's DePayster, who's nice enough in other scenes, but becomes an over-the-top redneck at the sight of Adrian. (And Holliman is completely entertaining doing those scenes.) Of course, it does have "stock characters", ones that work - like John Gruber as the tragic character, Danny Goldman as the completely comical one. (According to this listing, Bud Cort was in it, though I've never recognized him.) As far as the completely funny scenes, Darrin McGavin is really great in them, giving almost an Oliver Hardy kind of look sometimes (a little like his wonderful character in "A Christmas Story"). And he's never less than great in the other scenes (he and Vincent seemed to work perfectly together). And Jan-Michael Vincent is completely believable as Adrian (because of that, I've always "typecast" him as that kind of character, even though I've hardly ever SEEN him play a similar one).
  • avatar

    Hilarious Kangaroo

    I am usually not a fan of war films or war-themed films, but this one was reely (I meant the spelling) good. It was a fine character study of opposites, with Darren McGavin and Jan-Michael Vincent in stand-out performances. One day I have to try the meditation tricks that Vincent's character uses to mentally take himself away from the unpleasantries he had to deal with at the boot camp.

    On the note of the cast, can someone tell me where is Bud Cort in this film? He's listed as a 'draftee nerd,' but I don't see him. I am wondering if he has been mistaken for Danny Goldman, who was in a lot of Bud's early films ("M*A*S*H" and "The Strawberry Statement" come to mind), and if you didn't look well enough, could have been mistaken for him. (I made that mistake regarding one dramatic scene that takes place in the men's room at the barracks. I had to watch it twice to correct myself that it wasn't Bud Cort).
  • avatar


    I saw this movie when it came out 35 years ago (has it really been that long?). Most memorable scene was the one in which free spirit hippie Jan-Michael Vincent was forced to hold up two full buckets of water (one in each hand) shoulder high as punishment by taskmaster Darrin McGavin. Vincent turned the tables by meditating on a carefree afternoon spent frolicking on a sun-dappled hillside with a comely young miss. His blissed-out state enabled him to maintain the buckets aloft indefinitely. This naturally drove the by-the-book McGavin to distraction. Enjoyed the culture clash theme. Exemplary writing, directing, and especially acting (McGavin superb as the grizzled DI, and Vincent at his charismatic best).
  • avatar


    I had the fortunate luck to see this on a 1989 Saturday afternoon showing on Phoenix's,then,independent station KPHO channel 5 (now a CBS affiliate.) I had read the brief description in TV Guide and decided to give it a look. Being that movies shown this way then,were always scratchy faded and the sound somewhat muffled,it still didn't take anything away from this (for 1970) daring storyline.

    Jan Michael's character is the ultimate anti-war,peace loving '60s hippie who'd like to be anywhere but in the military. He shows it by doing all he can to prove he's not soldier material. Jan should have stayed with movies and skipped doing a TV series,he's too good for that!

    Earl Holliman (miles away from his co-starring role in "Police Woman"),is a great drill Sgt. who is at his wits end in trying to get this young man to "conform" to a military role. In one scene he is finally driven to bend down to Jan Michael and whisper,"You have to shoot etc..." in a way like an understanding father to his son.

    It's often said of TV movies that they are badly acted,directed and come off with less depth than a theatrical release. "Tribes" is one of the handful of 1970's TV Movies that escapes that description,if these two main leads didn't win an Emmy,then that's too bad,their performances sure seem Emmy caliber. Buy it on DVD?...You bet I would! (END)
  • avatar


    In 1970 the United States Marine Corps did for the first time in its 194 year old history draft men for the corp. That's how come a long haired hippie wound up at the training base with long hair and a poncho. This counter-cultural chap Adrian comes face to face with a tough but honest DI played by Darren McGavin who has a softer, more human side under his " I'm a Marine and that's all I am" hardshell leatherneck persona Adrian doesn't conform and uses yoga (which he teaches to the other men) to deal with marine corp training. The made for tv movie has an interesting ending I would give this movie **** four stars
  • avatar


    I am an Air Force officer. I appreciated this movie's adherence to depicting basic training in a fairly accurate light. Placed in the context of early 1970's America, "Tribes" strikes a realistic balance between "hippie culture" and military regimentation. I partly expected the movie to take a sappy turn, whereby the entire platoon converted to flower-power and refused to fight. Thankfully, the ending is far more original, although saddening.

    Jan-Michael Vincent acted superbly. Besides the classic 1980s Airwolf TV series, I was never really impressed by his acting ability, until now. Darren McGavin of "The Christmas Story" fame was excellent also, and the two interacted well on screen.

    This movie is a fun Saturday afternoon commentary on the tension between the desensitization of military training and the desire to preserve individual values. I voted a 9 out of 10.

    Richard Bejtlich
  • avatar


    I haven't seen this since my first viewing in 1970 but I remember the reactions of my peers ( I was 16) very well. We thought it was great! It was wonderful to see "one of our own" succeed against the military that threatened all of us at that time. It may be hard to understand today, but in those times of the draft, the Kent State shootings, and the war in Viet Nam, those of us with long hair or alternative views took pleasure in seeing those reflected in the popular media of the day which was anything but "alternative".
  • avatar


    "Tribes" came out in 1970, months after the Kent State shootings at the height of the protest against the Vietnam war. It was released on TV in America but theatrically overseas as "The Soldier Who Declared Peace." The film features an interesting culture clash between two Marine drill instructors and a hippie draftee. One drill instructor, Drake (Darren McGavin), starts to see the merits of the hippie, Adrian (Jan-Michael Vincent), but the senior drill instructor refuses to budge an inch.

    Adrian opens up a whole new world for Drake, one that he never considered. What turns Drake's head is that Adrian isn't some stereotypical drugged-out hippie; he's the most intelligent and fit recruit in his platoon, but how can this be since he dropped out of school and is a hippie? Through a learning attitude and meditational practices Adrian has tapped into a power source that gives him the edge over the rest of the recruits. Drake SEES it and can't deny it, especially since Adrian's techniques start working with the other recruits as well.

    This shakens Drake because he had pegged all hippies as drug-addled vagabonds. But the evidence is undeniable and he can't help but develop respect for the hippie. It also rattles him because he comes to realize that Adrian, despite being only 19 years-old or so, is superior to him in some ways. In other words, the mentor could learn a thing or two from the mentee, which isn't the way it's supposed to be in boot camp. The good thing is that Drake is humble enough -- teachable enough -- to receive from Adrian whereas the senior drill instructor (Earl Holliman) is too arrogant and ape-ish to do anything but spurn him.

    The film is smart in that it doesn't paint Adrian as omnipotent or wholly wise, nor is Drake the opposite. They both have valuable perspectives, intelligence & skills and can learn from each other, if they're open. For instance, Adrian is extraordinary when it comes to mental discipline and the power to overcome the physical and mental challenges of boot camp, but he fails miserable on the rifle range because his indoctrination cripples him from merely shooting a rifle, let alone shooting a human being. Adrian obviously adheres to absolute pacifism, which refuses to ever turn to violence in response to opposition or evil. Clearly Adrian could learn a thing or two about the necessity of self-defense and opposing people who reject the grace of peace and are bent on destruction or evil. It's called limited pacifism, which is what Jesus Christ advocated -- a peaceable attitude that only resorts to violence when necessary. See my review of "Billy Jack" for more details, if interested.

    The film was shot at the Marine Corps depot in San Diego; I went to boot camp at the one in Parris Island, SC. I bring up my experience because of some parallels with the movie. For instance, a spiritual leader rose up in my platoon, much as Adrian does in "Tribes," although he was older than Adrain and he adhered to a different spiritual discipline, Christianity. As the weeks wore on he proved himself over and over -- his mental/spiritual stamina -- and he attracted a formidable following, who hanged around him during free time, much like the recruits do with Adrian. One similarity of these two is that they both led through humble, gentle wisdom rather than a domineering, bloviating spirit, like the drill instructors. In other words, they led without putting on the puke-inducing airs of conventional "leadership." They led simply by influencing people positively by their undeniable wisdom and the power they've obviously tapped into. This is true leadership.

    I mention this because there are other ways to tap into extraordinary power than Transcedental Meditation, like Adrian, even superior ways. The Christian recruit I mentioned did it too, although it wasn't as unrealistically overdone as it was in the film with Adrian. Of course I realize it's a film and the filmmakers had to exaggerate some things to keep it interesting for its 90-minute runtime. What was unrealistic? Well, for one, the idea that Adrian was able to win over the ENTIRE platoon and, secondly, that every recruit was able to enter into such a deep state of meditation that Drake had a hard time waking them out of their inner bliss one morning, including Quentin who's taking drugs and is clearly unstable -- unstable enough to attempt suicide.

    I bring the above up because "Tribes" shouldn't be pigeonholed as TM propaganda (although it may have that effect on some) anymore than the Christian's actions in my platoon could be construed as Christian propaganda. (By the way, I didn't hang around this guy, the things I mentioned above were just things I noticed and it somewhat influenced me years later. So I guess he did positively influence me, huh?). The film simply shows that there's more for you -- more power, knowledge, wisdom -- if you seek it, but this treasure exists outside conventional training and educational structures.

    What's interesting is that both the drill instructors in the film are probably Christian, at least nominally. And it shows how sterile and powerless Christianity has become in the West, at least in some ways. Believe it or not, the Bible actually supports meditation, as Psalm 119:15-16 shows, not to mention the incredible power available through spiritual rebirth and the baptism of the Spirit. These dynamic aspects of Christianity are generally written off, ignored or mocked by most denominations and blockheaded pastors, which is shameful. Is it any wonder that people -- even professing believers -- can be intrigued by TM and other such disciplines to the point that they think Christianity is somehow a lesser belief system? Actually, it's far more than a mere belief system or spiritual discipline; I'd elaborate but I don't want this review to turn into Christian propaganda, lol.
  • avatar


    When this film began, I wondered if it was originally intended for theatrical release. While I know it was a made for television picture for "The ABC Movie of the Week", the opening titles sure looked like a non-television film...and most of these made for TV films are only about 75 minutes while this one clocks in at 90. Who knows...?

    The script for "Tribes" won a Prime Time Emmy Award and was written by Tracy Keenan Wynn, Keenan Wynn's son. He also wrote scripts for some high profile projects like "The Longest Yard" and "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman".

    The film follows a group of young Marine draftees through boot camp with their tough Drill Instructor, Sgt. Drake (Darren McGavin). Of all the guys in the platoon, the one that seems to rub Drake wrong the most often is Pvt. Adrian (Jan-Michael Vincent), as Adrian is a hippie---with long hair and sandals. However, in many ways Adrian is a great recruit...but he doesn't quite fit in all the time (particularly when it comes to the rifle range). He uses meditation to excel at physical training and soon is teaching it to the rest of the recruits...much to the annoyance and confusion of Drake! This movie focuses on this relationship between Adrian and Drake...and you wonder throughout which one will win this battle of wills. Oddly, however, towards the end of the picture, Drake takes on a rather paternal attitude towards Adrian...and another Drill Instructor doesn't like this.

    Not surprisingly, McGavin is exceptional...and the script one that keeps your interest throughout. It's also a wonderful time capsule for the period...a look back into America circa 1970. The negative, and it didn't bother me, is the ending...which I am pretty sure left many viewers disappointed at its vagueness. Still, well worth seeing.

    By the way, I wonder where this film is supposed to take place. After all, you see Adrian walking along the beach...and you assume it's perhaps in San Diego (and this IS where it was filmed). But in a scene with the Chaplain, he and Drake talk about going to the Snake River to do some fishing on their day off (Sunday)...and the Snake River is rather far from the coast--mostly running in Wyoming and Idaho but also into Southwest Washington. This would be about a 19 hour drive!
  • avatar


    I saw this when I was 14 in 1970 and it had a big impact on me. Everything about it was excellent. Special kudos to Vincent for insisting they shave his actual hair for realism. (I read about that in one of the teen magazines of the time, lol)

    Anyone interested in the late 60s early 70s "hippie" movement should watch this, and anyone who wonders about the military's methods of transforming ordinary citizens into military personnel. As other reviewers have noted, this film doesn't take sides, but presents a sympathetic view to both the DI and the drafted hippie, and protrays them both as willing and able to see other points of view. A good film for parents to watch with teens; it will lead to interesting discussions.
  • avatar


    ***SPOILERS*** Made some 17 before the far more popular "Full Metal Jacket" the made for TV movie "Tribes" still packs the same kind of wallop now as it did back then, in 1970, at the very hight of the Vietnam War.

    In "Tribes" we have the freedom loving flower child Adrian Stone, Jan-Michael Vincent, passively refusing to conform to the US Marine Code of becoming a blood and guts American fighting man. Adrian's Marine Drill Sargent Thomas Drake, Darren McGavin,is mortified at Adrian's attitude and tries everything he can to mold him into the US Marine that he, the Sarge, is. In admiring his sense of independence as well as taking everything that he can dish on him leads the men of Sgt. Drake's Marine company to gravitate to Adrian not him in looking for both advice and guidance in getting through boot camp.

    Not only is Sgt. Drake disturbed in Adrian's Buddhist like meditation and mind altering tactics that enables him, among other things, to do feats of strength like holding up two 10 pond buckets of sands, in the broiling sun, for over an hour but that he's by far, without a formal education, the smartest man in the unit with the highest aptitude scores!

    It's not that long that the Sargent himself starts to admire Adrian and also sees what Adrian so tactfully brought out about his own, what he thought was, mindless doodling. Adrian tells the Neanderthal-like Drake that he has real artistic and creative talents that are just yarning to be released! This makes the hard as nails Marine Drill Sargent seriously feel that it's the sensitive artist, not blood thirsty killer,in him that's really the real Thomas Drake! Seeing that his good friend and fellow Marine Drill Sargent is getting a bit soft in the head, and becoming the laughing stock at the Marine Boot Camp, Sgt. Frank DePayster, Earl Holliman, starts to put the screws on Adrian by going out of his way in breaking his chops at every opportunity. This in spite of the fact that Adrian isn't even in his Marine unit!

    ***SPOILER ALERT*** I did have mixed feeling about the end of the film with Adrian after taking everything, in spite of Sargent's Drake who had now come to his side, that the overly gong-ho and obnoxious Sgt. DePayster could dish out on him ends up going over the hill, or AWOL, and checks out of the Marine Corps for good. What Adrian went though at Marine Boot Camp was horrible but that's what was to condition him for where he, and his fellow US Marine recruits, were to face on the Vietnam battlefront. With Adrian's pacifist attitude in not wanting to shoot or even hold a weapon he would have in the end not only jeopardized himself but his fellow Marines in "Nam". Who were facing an enemy-the Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops-who were anything but the peace loving flower children that Adrian was!
  • avatar


    I saw this movie in 1970 when it was on TV. Eleven years later at the tender age of 29 I joined the Utah National Guard and went to basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC. The memory of this movie helped me to survive basic training. I remembered that the drill sergeants really wanted to yell at the hippie all the time, but as long as he did what he was told the drill sergeants had a hard time finding something to yell at him about. So when I was in basic training I tried hard to do everything I was told so that the drill sergeants wouldn't find a reason to yell at me. It helped a lot. Now I have a son who just went through basic training and I told him about the movie before he left and how it helped me. I consider the movie "Tribes" my key to getting through basic training.
  • avatar


    I served over 8 years in the active Army and also the Guard and am a veteran of Desert Storm. I watched 'Tribes' recently and regard the movie with unusual interest. The movie does not make a blanket statement as being anti-war, but more focuses on the military machine (this being the Marine Corps) trying to indoctrinate a young man who opposes war. Was this movie believable? Yes, I rubbed elbows with men who became pacifists and later refused service when called back to duty. The conflict between Mr McGavin and Mr. Vincent is seen as being very realistic going through basic training with the assumption that being 'we can break and mold you in our image'. That was the reality for all of us in the military and I found the ending to this movie quite different than what I expected it to be. I highly recommend this for all ages.
  • avatar


    "Tribes" tells the story of a 1960s American hippy flower child who fails to adjust to the grimness of military life after being drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps. A very young Jan Michael-Vincent stars as Adrian, the flower child. Darren McGavin plays the role of Gunnery Sergeant Drake, the hard-as-nails veteran platoon drill instructor.

    Adrian proves himself to be a superior recruit, dealing with the stresses of military training by resorting to his inner self. He eventually teaches the rest of his platoon (clandestinely, of course, to avoid the ever-watchful and disapproving eye of the DI) meditative techniques such as yoga. In one hilarious scene, Sgt. Drake walks into the barracks to find Adrian meditating while leaning against the wall, standing on his head -- naked. In an instant, Adrian is locked at attention, explaining to the drill instructor that he was naked because, "I like the freedom, sir!" Drake's head nearly explodes as he nears to within an inch of the boot's face and screams, "THERE WILL BE NO FREEDOM IN MY PLATOON!"

    Even though the finest boot in the group, Adrian eventually desserts before completing boot camp. Drake, frustrated at his platoon's finest member, nevertheless doesn't give up and tracks Adrian down. Adrian tells Drake he'll never use a weapon against another human being; Drake replies that he's had to do just that for the mere privilege of being able to sit and talk to Adrian.

    Can Drake convince Adrian to return?

    But that's not the end of the story.

    "Tribes" (in spite of its anachronisms, readily identifiable by those who've been there) is one of the most faithful efforts of depicting the U.S. Marine Corps -- especially boot camp -- in a movie. It is invariably compared to Kubrick's much more profane, and ultimately more realistic, "Full Metal Jacket". But its message (and audience) is completely different. One should keep in mind that at the time the film was produced, every U.S. draftee was virtually guaranteed to be sent to the still raging war in Vietnam.

    "Tribes" is an astonishing achievement for a made-for-TV movie.
  • avatar


    Just to get it accurate I found out back in the day that the US Marines actually did take draftees during part of Vietnam at least. Apparently they would send recruiters to army induction centers like Whitehall Street in New York City and at big places like that would select four or five and say you lucky ones are part of the Marines as opposed to the army. Around the time I was doing my basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Tribes was popular, so popular this made for TV film actually got a theatrical release.

    I was not the most military of trainees, but I was Sergeant York next to Jan-Michael Vincent. I have to ask myself what was that Marine Corps spotter thinking when he picked him? There he was with that adorable long blond hair and that unforgivable fashion faux pas socks and sandals, looking every inch like he belonged at Woodstock.

    I'd have had the same reaction that gunnery sergeant Darren McGavin did, someone is playing a joke on me. But it's for real and Vincent with his meditation, his yoga starts undermining the whole platoon except for a few gung ho recruits. He drives McGavin batty, but he intrigues him nevertheless. Neither can understand what makes the other tick.

    The one Jan-Michael really drives nuts is the sergeant just above him in rank Earl Holliman. He's got special plans for this hippie freak that McGavin thinks are not appropriate.

    The draft is gone now and the Marines probably for their own good as an elite fighting force dropped it on their own years earlier. It was a Vietnam experiment that could really go wrong if a Jan-Michael Vincent got in the mix in a few places.

    Vincent, McGavin, and Holliman and the rest do some of their best work in Tribes. One of the best made for TV movies ever done.
  • avatar


    I've read all of the reviews for this movie, and I'm not convinced that any of them address its major theme: the triumph of individuality over conformity (although the Storyline alludes to this.)

    Entering into the Marines, everyone is reduced to the status of "maggots." Everyone's hair is shorn. Everyone is reminded that they do not have their mothers' apron strings to clutch. Everyone is questioned as to the propriety of their sexual orientation, whether they are really men or something less than men. Everyone is reduced to their naked bodies standing in the showers, with their bars of soap, toothbrushes and towels. Everyone has the same buzz cut, the same cots, the same clothes, and their behavior scrutinized and reinforced from morning until evening, and again the following day. All of this is done to ensure conformity, obedience and willingness to fight in the name of country.

    In the midst of this overt dehumanization, Adrian stands out, not as a rebellious spirit, but as a sensitive and intelligent thinking man. In one scene, Adrian asks his DI, "Sir, do we dig ditches in order to build up our morale and sense of pride?" To which the drill sergeant replies, "You do not need to know why I ask you to do anything. Simply the fact that I ask it should be sufficient for you to comply." That type of reply, it should be noted, is not persuasive to the sensitive man who can think for himself, as it appeals only to a spirit of authority, not reason.

    Notwithstanding, Adrian excels in all of his activities as a Marine. He can run faster, fight better, endure more pain and suffering than anyone else in his outfit, and moreover he demonstrates a peace and strength that comes from his own spiritual convictions. He also helps those who are weaker than he is and he shows himself wiser than the men who are trying to instruct him.

    And yet, despite the fact that he outwardly shows himself more than capable of everything the Marines throw at him, the senior drill instructor notices that Adrian's serene and peaceable spirit remains unbroken and undiminished. This observation becomes a sadistic blood-lust to the senior instructor, to break the man down and to destroy Adrian's sense of individuality at all costs, even to the point of having him repeat basic training all over again until he conforms to the Marine ideal of the "unthinking obedient killing machine."

    At the end of the movie, Adrian has to decide to which "tribe" he will give his ultimate allegiance. His immediate drill instructor tries to give him his best advice, but of course, he has to do so while remaining loyal to the Corp himself. In the end, who is more loyal to his ideals, Adrian or his instructor?

    I found this movie to be a favorite of mine, embodying the "hero" (or "antihero") theme of retaining one's essential identity in the midst of outside demoralizing and dehumanizing influences. In my opinion, the movie is as instructive and inspiring as it is entertaining!
  • avatar


    I have had a total of fifteen years of military experience in the Guard and in the regular Army. I usually have a big laugh watching movies that depict military basic training because they are often inaccurate to the point of being ridiculous! Tribes was more accurate then a lot of films I've seen. It depicts boot camp very realistically. Darren McGavin is funny as the tough DI who finds this strange hippie in his platoon. Earl Holliman steals the show as an even tougher DI who has it in for the hippie. Full Metal Jacket is still my favorite military film though. I suppose at the time Tribes came out, its peace message was very popular. These days,however, most people wouldn't have a lot of sympathy for Vincents character.
  • avatar


    I just found this to rent at my local library. This is as timeless as a boot-camp movie as you will ever see. Jan Michael Vincent, as a hippie draftee named Adrian, comes to Marine boot-camp during the Vietnam War. He uses some of his 'yoga' skills to become a better, more well-fit solider, both mentally and physically, than the rest of the troops. His inability to 'shoot to kill' is the only thing that seems to hold him back from becoming the ultimate marine. He battles wills with his Sgt. Thomas Drake (Darren McGavin) throughout the movie. Adrian also wins over the hearts of his fellow marines. The drill sergeant has a little 'inner hippie' in him also it seems (he sketches birds, etc.) and he's immediately connected to the Jan Michael character. Eventually he tries to protect him like a father from the other sadistic drill sergeant. There could also be some underlying sexual tension here as Drake seems to want to protect Adrian from the aggressively hostile Sgt. DePayster. It's a great movie! If you like Biloxi Blues, you'll love this! Also, for any Jan Michael fan, this is a must see. Jan really seems to become Adrian after getting his lovely blond hair shaved off (for real!) at the start of the movie. Jan has such a natural way of acting - the shaved hear transforms him beautifully into this young, sensitive marine. It's fascinating to watch. It's one of his superior performances.
  • avatar

    Little Devil

    Saw it when it first came out on TV, then I lucked out & found an official VHS copy at a library sale. I watch it every once in a while. Great film & great acting. Note that on the rifle range the USMC is still using the M14. However, I have to say that my all-time favorite boot camp movie is Jack Webb's "The D.I." "This is the M1 rifle!"
  • avatar


    Friday Night AtThe Movies, Nov.10,1970 was my last official day in USAF boot camp in San Antonio, Tx. The barracks dayroom was packed and this aired for the first time. DAJA VUE all over again.
  • avatar


    I was eight years old, when this film was released. I didn't see it then in 1970, however I saw in on a cable channel in 1990. Jan MIchael Vincient and Darrin McGavin were from two different worlds. Darrin a man of war, who killed men. Jan a man of peace and love, the hippie way of life. I didn't see very many hippies, during my childhood. Jimmy Carter allowed the hippies, who fled to Canada, to avoid the draft, to come back to the United States. How dare they! They didn't want to fight for their country. I had to register with the selective service prior after graduating high school, in the event of war. I liked this movie. If you saw The DI with Jack Webb aka Sgt. Joe Friday, he is lot like Darrin McGavin a tough Marine Drill Sergeant. He had a nonconformist played by Don Dubbins. He wanted out of the marines the same as Jan. Don even slapped a sand flea, which caused the whole platoon to suffer a punishment. Darrin said when Jan was dreaming about making love to his girl friend. If Shirley daydreams we will all take the wrap. While holding those weights, during drill, he was in another world. The other recruits wondered how he did it. The Sgt. got angry when his men were chanting and following Jan's way of life. Well that sums it up.
  • avatar


    I was a mere 8 years old when I saw this made-for-TV movie and began my life-long crush on Jan-Michael Vincent. It is almost incomprehensible now to imagine a riveting made-for-TV movie with the entire family gathered around to watch. Not only was this the case for this movie, but "movies of the week" were part of regular programming for each of the three networks.

    Anyone and everyone who sees this movie remembers the water bucket scene and of course getting sheered. Too young to understand the politics of war, I did comprehend the message.

    The only negative comment I have about this movie is that it isn't available on DVD.
  • avatar


    We were in the time, of the Vietnam war. The hippies or would you call flower children were against it. That's why they rebelled. I don't agree with what they did. A man should be a man. Long hair I hated that style, of the 1970's.Men should go to Barber shops and wear short hair. Darrin McGavin the drill Sergeant, was disgusted, when this hippie showed up at boot camp. His exact words"How dare you show up, at my boot camp like that." The other Sergeant wanted him so bad, in his platoon. He ran away and Darrin McGavin talked him into coming back. However this other Sergeant got him in his platoon. He made things more tougher. I likewise like Darrin McGavin, when he was Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I can't blame McGavin, for being sore at the hippie, for his chanting rituals.