Tank (film)

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A tank a day keeps the law away.

Tank is a 1984 comedy, drama, and action movie starring James Garner, Jenilee Harrison, and C. Thomas Howell. The film was written by Dan Gordon and directed by Marvin J. Chomsky. It was produced by Lorimar Productions and was commercially released in the United States by Universal Studios on March 16, 1984.

"Posse Comitatus, Sheriff."
"Did you call me a pussy Communist?"
"Now you hear this, asshole: I'm gonna check that hospital every day! If that boy is ever in there again with a mark on him I will destroy you in place! My retirement won't mean shit to me, my stripes won't mean shit to me, the stockade won't mean SHIT to me! I will destroy you in a heartbeat! Do you believe that? DO YA?!"<br?"Yes, Sergeant Major."
"You will get some counseling. Dismissed!"

Sheriff Buelton

  • You syphilitic Bolshevik! You pervert! You pussy Communist!


[Corporal Harris, one of Carey's men, is in Command Sergeant Major Carey's office; CPL Harris is suspected of having domestic abuse problems.]
CSM Zack Carey: I saw your boy over at the hospital the other day; he was badly beat up. Did you do it?
CPL Harris: As much as I know about the Army, sir, that's none of your business.
CSM Zack Carey: Well, if you want, I can call in the Provost Marshall, but-
CPL Harris: Well, call the Provost! Nobody's pressing any charges.
CSM Zack Carey: Hey, Corporal! I'm just havin' a personal chat with you; you wanna make it hard, I'll make it hard! Now, I've tried to keep this inside this office- you're bein' dull!
CPL Harris: Well, fine, then. Let's just keep it in the office.
CSM Zack Carey: I know you got your wife and kids so scared they won't file out a complaint. Now, sooner or later that's gonna blow up in your face. I just don't want it to ever get to that point! We got good counseling on this post. I want you to volunteer for some. Nobody'll know about it; we'll keep it as quiet as possible. But you need some help, son.
CPL Harris: Is that it?
CSM Zack Carey: You're not goin' for it, huh?
CPL Harris: Am I dismissed?
[CSM Carey gets up and sits on the side of his desk, leaning over to talk to Harris.]
CSM Zack Carey: Let me put it to you another way, son. The next time you feel like you're losing control, and you need to hit somebody- you come see me. You come hit me. We can go over to the gym, put on the gloves, and just duke it out.
CPL Harris: [Jumping up] Look! What goes on in my family is my business, it's none of your goddamn-
[CSM Carey stands up and grabs Harris, spinning him around and slamming him against the wall of Carey's office.]
CSM Zack Carey: Now you hear this, asshole: I'm gonna check that hospital every day! If that boy is ever in there again with a mark on him I will destroy you in place! My retirement won't mean shit to me, my stripes won't mean shit to me, the stockade won't mean SHIT to me! I will destroy you in a heartbeat! Do you believe that? DO YA?!
CPL Harris: Yes, Sergeant Major.
CSM Zack Carey: You will get some counseling. Dismissed!
[CSM Carey drags CPL Harris over to the door and throws Harris out of his office]

[CSM Cary is having lunch at a mess hall typically used by junior enlisted men; the NCO in charge of the mess hall, Master Sergeant Johnson, storms out towards Carey with his staff in tow, convinced he is under a surprise inspection.]
Mess MSG Johnson: Sergeant Major Carey? This is a breach of etiquette, do you understand? This is my mess hall, and you keep your nose outta my business. Twenty-seven years I've been runnin' mess halls! Dwight D. Eisenhower ate my cookin'. I don't have to stand for surprise inspections from anybody!
CSM Zack Carey: [Calmly] Sergeant, I came in here because the food smelled good; I wanted to eat with soldiers and not over at the NCO country club. The food is excellent.
Mess MSG Johnson: My food is excellent!
CSM Zack Carey: The facility's clean.
Mess MSG Johnson: I run a clean mess hall!
CSM Zack Carey: Service is good, nobody slops the food; served with pride, respect.
Mess MSG Johnson: Anyone slops my food, I'll slop 'em upside their head!
CSM Zack Carey: You're doing an excellent job, Sergeant; my compliments to you and your entire staff.
[MSG Johnson is now puzzled, unsure what to make of this.]
Mess MSG Johnson: [Points at Carey's tray] You taste that apple cobbler yet?
CSM Zack Carey: I was just getting ready to do that.
Mess MSG Johnson: Well, you wanna talk about my food, you taste that apple cobbler. Then you talk about my food!
[CSM Carey begins to eat a piece of the apple cobbler; the enlisted men in the mess hall and Johnson's staff watch intently.]
CSM Zack Carey: Sergeant?
Mess MSG Johnson: Yeah?
CSM Zack Carey: That's the best fuckin' apple cobbler I ever tasted.
[Some of the enlisted men nearby laugh, and Johnson's staff relax. Johnson, satisfied, turns to one of his cooks.]
Mess MSG Johnson: Get that man some seconds!

[Sheriff Buelton is in Major General Hubik's office after Carey drives his Sherman tank off the base.]
Sheriff Buelton: They're gonna lose, General! They're goin' down in flames and you're gonna help me do it! Now, I just got back from the Governor's office. And I can have him call you, or he can call your superior if that's the way you want it. But either way I'm gonna see some tanks rollin' outta here to stop that maniac!
MG Hubik: Call whoever you want, Sheriff; I don't take orders from governors. Sergeant Major Carey's resigned. Besides, he's committed no major crime in my jurisdiction.
Sheriff Buelton: He stole a goddamn tank!
MG Hubik: It's his tank, he can do what he wants with it! The most I've got him on is busting a twenty-foot section of fence.
Sheriff Buelton: General, I am a local civilian authority. And I am hereby making a formal request of the military to do everything in its power to assist and aid me-
MG Hubik: Posse Comitatus, Sheriff.
Sheriff Buelton: [Stops, startled] Did you call me a pussy communist?
MG Hubik: The U.S. Army is, by act of Congress- the Posse Comitatus Act- specifically precluded from enforcing civilian law outside the reservation.
Sheriff Buelton: Pussy communist?
MG Hubik: That means I do not have the authority to provide you with a singe piece of military personnel or equipment without a direct order from my superior or the President of the United States! I can give you his address if you'd like.


  • Sergeant major Zack Carey believed in Truth, Justice and America. Until the sheriff of a little town put his only son into jail of a crime he hadn't done. And now sergeant major Zack Carey has changed his mind. (original Finnish poster tagline)
  • A tank a day keeps the law away. (DVD tagline)
  • Sergeant-Major Zack Carey takes the law into his own hands with help from his own personal tank (Video Australia)
  • James Garner's at war -- and driving a Sherman Tank


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