Tank (1984)

tank poster 1984 movie james garner
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Garner tries to make the movie enjoyable

The script doesn't work with Garner

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Tank

Studio:  Lorimar Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):

MPAA Rating:  PG


Just a light comedy about a man and his tank…and prostitution and racism

CSM Zack Carey (James Garner), his wife LaDonna (Shirley Jones), and his child Billy (C. Thomas Howell) transfer to a new base along with Carey’s fully functional World War II Sherman tank.  When Carey butts heads with the local sheriff Cyrus Buelton (G. D. Spradlin) by defending a prostitute named Sarah (Jenilee Harrison) from his deputy Euclid Baker (James Cromwell), Carey’s son is arrested under fake drug charges.  Cyrus refuses to surrender Billy, and Zack decides to take justice into his own hands and rescue his son with his tank.  Zack, Billy, and Sarah who can provide evidence against the sheriff become heroes as they fight the sheriff in their attempts to make their way to the Tennessee county line.

Directed by Marvin J. Chomsky, Tank was an action-drama-comedy and mostly received with mixed reviews.  The film was initially slated for an R-Rating but managed to talk the film into a PG rating (PG-13 wasn’t an option at the time).


Wow, you are a stereotype, aren’t you?

I can remember Tank coming out when I was young and wanting to see it.  The idea of a guy running over police and authorities in a tank was “cool” for a younger kid, but Tank really isn’t much of a kid’s movie.

The surprising thing about Tank is that despite being advertised as an “action-comedy”, there isn’t much humor.  The movie is a rather dark with prostitution (which leads to the prostitute being whipped for disobeying), racism, and a sheriff willing to shoot unarmed civilians.  The comedy is pretty lean and some funny music on occasion doesn’t really balance it out.  The PG rating would never happen today especially with an F-bomb and GD dropped within the film.


Look out world there’s a song that we’re singin’…Come on, get Tanked!

The movie is very ’80s.  It just has that feel to it where despite the darkness, you know it going to end up being a crowd of people cheering and everything ok…which it does.  The movie feels like it is built on Smokey and the Bandit’s format but lacking a lot of the fun.  The whole last segment of the film is quite ridiculous with a crowd trying to get the tank across the state line as the sheriff is allowed to shoot rocket launchers at the tank.  Motorcyclists and the crowd save the day…of course.

One of the problems with Tank is that it doesn’t let James Garner be James Garner.  Garner’s best aspect is his charm and the script doesn’t really allow much charm.  Garner’s character has a bit of darkness to him due to the death of his son and despite a speech to the troops that seems to fit the actor, the movie doesn’t really feel like it was tuned to Garner’s best attributes.

With some work, Tank could have worked.  It isn’t a bad film, but the film does have a lot of flow problems.  For a movie about a tank, the tank part of the film takes way too long to get going.  Now, Tank is one of those movies that has fallen into obscurity, but if you are having an ’80s movie weekend, it could be a nice edition.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response