YOU CANNOT FIND BETTER QUALITY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
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. 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 naturally excels as a leader, though his pacifist ideology presents continuing conflicts between himself and his drill instructor. 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 graduate. However, DePayster had gone behind his back by filing a complaint against them both with the Company Commanding Officer. Without Drake's approval, the CO flunked Adrian and placed him in 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.
Tribes, 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'.
Jan Michael Vincent ... Adrian
Darren McGavin ... Drake
Earl Holliman ... DePayster
John Gruber ... Quentin
Danny Goldman ... Sidney
Richard Yniguez ... Sanchez
Antone Curtis ... Marcellus
Peter Hooten ... Scrunch
David Buchanan ... Armstrong
Ric Weaver ... Morton