Tank (1984)

PG | 113 mins | Drama | 16 March 1984

Director:

Marvin J. Chomsky

Writer:

Dan Gordon

Producer:

Irwin Yablans

Cinematographer:

Don Birnkrant

Editor:

Donald R. Rode

Production Designer:

Bill Kenney

Production Companies:

Lorimar Productions , Universal
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HISTORY

       As announced in a 3 Mar 1983 WSJ item, Tank was one of the first projects earmarked under a new joint partnership between Lorimar Productions and Universal Pictures.
       A 21 Mar 1983 HR brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 12 Apr 1983 in Fort Benning, GA. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming on the military base took place for five weeks, followed by three weeks in the small town of Griffin, GA. The Department of Defense and the U.S. Army offered their full cooperation to the project, and the 23 Jun 1983 HR noted that Tank marked the first time a film was permitted to shoot at Fort Benning since The Green Berets (1968, see entry). The Georgia State Film Commission also closed portions of a major highway for a week. Thanks to this assistance from state and military authorities, producer Irwin Yablans stated that the production received “a massive look on a small budget,” enabling the film to be completed “at under $6 million.”
       The project marked the feature film debut for actress Jenilee Harrison.
      End credits include the following statements: “Sherman Tanks furnished by Fred Ropkey, Indiana Museum of Military History; Merchandising Services by Associated Film Promotions, Robert H. Kovoloff; The producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Department of Defense; Department of the Army; and particularly the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, in the production of this film. Filmed entirely on location in the State of Georgia with the cooperation and assistance of the Georgia Film Office.”
...

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       As announced in a 3 Mar 1983 WSJ item, Tank was one of the first projects earmarked under a new joint partnership between Lorimar Productions and Universal Pictures.
       A 21 Mar 1983 HR brief stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 12 Apr 1983 in Fort Benning, GA. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming on the military base took place for five weeks, followed by three weeks in the small town of Griffin, GA. The Department of Defense and the U.S. Army offered their full cooperation to the project, and the 23 Jun 1983 HR noted that Tank marked the first time a film was permitted to shoot at Fort Benning since The Green Berets (1968, see entry). The Georgia State Film Commission also closed portions of a major highway for a week. Thanks to this assistance from state and military authorities, producer Irwin Yablans stated that the production received “a massive look on a small budget,” enabling the film to be completed “at under $6 million.”
       The project marked the feature film debut for actress Jenilee Harrison.
      End credits include the following statements: “Sherman Tanks furnished by Fred Ropkey, Indiana Museum of Military History; Merchandising Services by Associated Film Promotions, Robert H. Kovoloff; The producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Department of Defense; Department of the Army; and particularly the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, in the production of this film. Filmed entirely on location in the State of Georgia with the cooperation and assistance of the Georgia Film Office.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1983
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1983
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1984
p. 8, 45
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 1984
Section VI, p. 2
New York Times
16 Mar 1984
p. 8
Variety
14 Mar 1984
p. 20
WSJ
3 Mar 1983
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Lorimar presents
A Universal/Lorimar production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Best boy elec
Still photog
Video playback op
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop
Leadman
Const coord
COSTUMES
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles by
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Tank op
Tank op
Helicopter pilot
Weapon tech
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Local 528 transportation capt
Unit pub
Asst to unit pub
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Loc auditor
Tech adv
Tech adv
Asst to Mr. Yablans
Asst to Mr. Garner
Asst to Mr. Garner
Secy to Mr. Yablans
Prod secy
Prod intern
Local casting
Extra casting
Craft service
Location Caterers of the South
Cook/driver, Location Caterers of the South
Helper, Location Caterers of the South
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt man (bike jump)
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
SONGS
"Saturday Girl," lyrics by Donna Schifrin, music by Lalo Schifrin, performed by Gene Morford
PERFORMED BY
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Tank
Release Date:
16 March 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 Mar 1984
Production Date:
12 Apr--early Jun 1983
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Lorimar/Universal, a joint venture
30 March 1984
PA208887
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
113
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Sergeant Major Zack Carey moves with his wife, LaDonna, and sixteen-year-old son, Billy, to a new post at an army base in Clemensville, Georgia. Zack is unique among army personnel for owning a fully operational World War II Sherman tank. Soon after arriving on base, a military magazine requests an interview about his fifteen-year restoration of the armored vehicle. Zack mentions that his two sons helped him, but the elder one, Jonathan, has since passed away. When Zack reports, he tells General Hubik, his supervising officer, that he has made an offer on a fishing boat and plans to retire after thirty years in the army, if the price is accepted. At the officers club, Zack reunites with Sergeant Ed Tippet, a good friend from a previous post. After addressing commanding officers on the base, Zack displays leadership skills that quickly earn him respect among the troops and General Hubik. Zack wants to celebrate with his wife upon learning that the fishing boat offer has been accepted, but she is busy hosting a dinner for the officers’ wives and suggests he go into town. While drinking beer at a bar off base, Zack enjoys conversing with a woman named Sarah. When Deputy Sheriff Euclid Baker bullies and slaps Sarah, who is a prostitute, Zack intervenes and knocks the deputy to the ground. Before leaving the bar, he drops the policeman’s gun in a fish tank. The next day, the menacing Sheriff Cyrus Buelton insists on punishment for Euclid’s attacker and whips Sarah for being the reason for the fight. Buelton arrives at the base to arrest Zack, but ...

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Sergeant Major Zack Carey moves with his wife, LaDonna, and sixteen-year-old son, Billy, to a new post at an army base in Clemensville, Georgia. Zack is unique among army personnel for owning a fully operational World War II Sherman tank. Soon after arriving on base, a military magazine requests an interview about his fifteen-year restoration of the armored vehicle. Zack mentions that his two sons helped him, but the elder one, Jonathan, has since passed away. When Zack reports, he tells General Hubik, his supervising officer, that he has made an offer on a fishing boat and plans to retire after thirty years in the army, if the price is accepted. At the officers club, Zack reunites with Sergeant Ed Tippet, a good friend from a previous post. After addressing commanding officers on the base, Zack displays leadership skills that quickly earn him respect among the troops and General Hubik. Zack wants to celebrate with his wife upon learning that the fishing boat offer has been accepted, but she is busy hosting a dinner for the officers’ wives and suggests he go into town. While drinking beer at a bar off base, Zack enjoys conversing with a woman named Sarah. When Deputy Sheriff Euclid Baker bullies and slaps Sarah, who is a prostitute, Zack intervenes and knocks the deputy to the ground. Before leaving the bar, he drops the policeman’s gun in a fish tank. The next day, the menacing Sheriff Cyrus Buelton insists on punishment for Euclid’s attacker and whips Sarah for being the reason for the fight. Buelton arrives at the base to arrest Zack, but Sergeant Tippet, who is in charge of base operations, challenges the sheriff by threatening to declare the town off-limits to military personnel, which will undermine the local economy. For now, the corrupt sheriff backs down. Meanwhile, Billy suggests to his dad that they name the boat “Johnny-boy” after Jonathan, who died fighting in Vietnam. Billy believes Jonathan was his father’s favorite son, but Zack tries to reassure Billy that he is mistaken. Later, Buelton and Euclid frame Billy on illegal drug possession and take him to jail. Arriving at the police station to negotiate his son’s release, Zack apologizes to Buelton for the bar fight and offers to pay damages. The sheriff takes Zack on a tour of the correctional facility’s work camp and demonstrates that prisoners are whipped as a form of negative feedback. Buelton warns Zack not to hire a civil rights lawyer or he will send Billy to the work camp. Believing he has no other option, Zack agrees to Buelton’s asking price of $10,000, which is money set aside for the fishing boat. Zack visits Billy in jail and promises he will be released soon, while at home LaDonna is furious at her husband for talking to a prostitute and initiating the incident. She refuses to listen to Zack and contacts a lawyer to solve the problem, which prompts the sheriff to beat Billy and hold a trial during which the teenager is found guilty and sentenced to three years at the work camp. Although Buelton accepts Zack’s payment, the sheriff appears to have no intention of releasing the teenager. Early the next morning, Zack starts up his Sherman tank and drives to Clemensville. Arriving at the sheriff’s office and jail, he confronts Euclid, who is the officer on duty, and makes sure everyone leaves the building, including prisoners, before mowing down the facility with the tank. Zack orders the deputy to strip and enlists Sarah to handcuff him to a post, then brings the young woman along as he rescues Billy from the work camp. Zack informs his son that they will drive the tank to Tennessee in the hope of getting a fair trial and Sarah can act as a witness to Buelton’s coercive tactics. Meanwhile, Buelton, who is out of town meeting with the Georgia governor, learns of the situation and asks for help from state authorities, but they are unwilling to intercede and suggest the sheriff approach the army. However, General Hubik reminds Buelton that the military has no authority to intervene in civil law enforcement without Presidential orders. Taking matters into his own hands, the sheriff deputizes an additional 200 men and places them at filling stations to intercept the gas-guzzling tank, but the sergeant major buys fuel from Mr. Gant, a sympathetic local citizen. Proceeding toward the state line, Zack is adept at camouflaging the vehicle through the woods. However, when he hears Buelton has ordered followers to take revenge on Mr. Gant, Zack returns to defend the man. That night, Zack tries to circumvent Buelton’s posse by traveling through a backwoods hollow, inaccessible to other vehicles, but one of the tank’s tracks becomes disabled. Zack is seriously injured while trying to make repairs and Billy must take over the controls. The teenager decides to take his chances on the highway. Meanwhile, the news reports that Zack, Billy, and Sarah have become “folk heroes” to the public. At the Tennessee state capital, LaDonna uses the media interest to negotiate with the governor, and he agrees to fight the extradition hearing, if the threesome reaches his jurisdiction. When the tank arrives at the Tennessee-Georgia state line, Buelton has a tractor-trailer roadblock in place, forcing Billy to detour through a muddy field. One of Buelton’s men fires a bazooka and demobilizes the tank. A stand-off between Buelton and the folk heroes ensues, but Zack, Billy, and Sarah clearly have the support of the crowd gathered at the state line. With the help of a motorcycle gang, the local citizens rig a towing line to a bulldozer and extract the tank from the mud as Sarah fires the vehicle’s machine gun to hold off Buelton’s men. The Governor of Tennessee and General Hubik even join in the pulling effort. After the tank crosses the state line, LaDonna and the crowd cheer the threesome as they emerge from the vehicle.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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