28 user 6 critic

Tribes (1970)

A Marine Corps drill instructor who is disgusted by the fact that the Corps now accepts draftees finds himself pitted against a hippie who has been drafted but refuses to accept the military's way of doing things.


Joseph Sargent
Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Darren McGavin ... Drake
Earl Holliman ... DePayster
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Adrian
John Gruber John Gruber ... Quentin
Danny Goldman Danny Goldman ... Sidney
Richard Yniguez ... Sanchez
Antone Curtis Antone Curtis ... Marcellus
Peter Hooten ... Scrunch
David Buchanan David Buchanan ... Armstrong
Ric Weaver Ric Weaver ... Morton


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. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WANTED by the US Marines: for AWOL, insubordination . . . and doing his thing!










Release Date:

10 November 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Je kan verrekken See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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


As Adrian and Drake leave the bus station, a light is reflected in the door. See more »


DePayster: You hear about those boys in 'Nam, smokin' marijuana? Any of my boys do that, I'll kill 'em!
Drake: What? What are you talking about, you don't have any "boys."
DePayster: Aw, I'll kill 'em anyway.
See more »


Referenced in Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »


Words and Music by Marty Cooper
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User Reviews

An interesting look at America in 1970...
1 December 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

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!

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