The song, recorded by various artists, charted each year from to on various charts in the United States and Canada. However, it did not chart outside North America. It was a bigger Adult Contemporary hit, reaching number 25 U. AC and number 5 Canada AC. A cover was a hit in the U. The single went to number 26 on the Billboard pop chart   before it was pulled from radio by the film's producer. A re-recorded version by Coven made the Billboard chart in , peaking at number In , Skeeter Davis had moderate success on the American country charts with her rendering, but did very well in Canada, peaking at number 4 on the country chart and number 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Although "One Tin Soldier" has been said to have the same harmonic base as Pachelbel's Canon , it merely has some aural similarities in the verses and has several significantly different chords.
The movie, directed, written and starring Tom Laughlin, as the half-Indian, Green Beret titular character, had a long journey on its way to the screen. Laughlin had begun filming it in on a shoestring budget — with his wife and collaborator, Delores Taylor, as co-star. After it passed hands though a series of distributors, it was finally released by Warner Bros. Its lyrics included the verse: Go ahead and hate your neighbor, Go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of heaven, You can justify it in the end. In , Laughlin re-released Billy Jack to theaters.
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Billy Jack is a Western action drama independent film, the second of four films centering on a character of the same name which began with the movie The Born Losers , played by Tom Laughlin , who directed and co-wrote the script. Filming began in Prescott, Arizona , in the fall of , but the movie was not completed until American International Pictures pulled out, halting filming. Still, the film lacked distribution, so Laughlin booked it into theaters himself in Jack defends the hippie -themed Freedom School inspired by Prescott College and students from townspeople who do not understand or like the counterculture students. The school is organized by its director Jean Roberts Delores Taylor. A group of children of various races from the school go to town for ice cream and are refused service and then abused and humiliated by Bernard Posner David Roya , the son of the county's corrupt political boss Bert Freed , and his gang.