7.6/10
12,337
106 user 24 critic

The Sand Pebbles (1966)

In 1926, a U.S. Naval engineer gets assigned to a gunboat on a rescue mission in war-torn China.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Richard McKenna (novel), Robert Anderson (screenplay)
Reviews

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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Jake Holman
Richard Attenborough ... Frenchy Burgoyne
Richard Crenna ... Captain Collins
Candice Bergen ... Shirley Eckert
Emmanuelle Arsan ... Maily (as Marayat Andriane)
Mako ... Po-han
Larry Gates ... Jameson
Charles Robinson ... Ensign Bordelles
Simon Oakland ... Stawski
Ford Rainey ... Harris
Joe Turkel ... Bronson
Gavin MacLeod ... Crosley
Joe Di Reda Joe Di Reda ... Shanahan (as Joseph di Reda)
Richard Loo ... Major Chin
Barney Phillips ... Franks
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Storyline

Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and cynical nature soon clash with the "rice-bowl" system which runs the ship and the uneasy symbiosis between Chinese and foreigner on the river. Hostility towards the gunboat's presence reaches a climax when the boat must crash through a river-boom and rescue missionaries upriver at China Light Mission. Written by Martin H. Booda <booda@datasync.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the heroic story of the men on the U.S.S. San Pablo who disturbed the sleeping dragon of savage China as the threatened world watched in breathless terror See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and sexual material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

20 December 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El Yang-Tsé en llamas See more »

Filming Locations:

Taipei City, Taiwan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (BBFC submission before censorship) | (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve McQueen received his only Academy Award nomination for this movie. See more »

Goofs

The Machinist Mate First Class (MM1c) rate patch that Holman wears on his left shoulder is a post 1941-type where the "crow" faces to its right side. In 1926 when the movie is set, the crow on a Machinist Mate's rate patch faced left, looking away from the wearer's face. After 1941, all USN petty officer rate patch "crows" faced forward, like their wearer, to "face the enemy". See more »

Quotes

Jake Holman: I was home. What happened? What the hell happened?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: SHANGHAI See more »

Alternate Versions

The original "roadshow" version ran 196 minutes; later cut to its present length (182 minutes) for its general release. The roadshow version was included in a 2007 special edition DVD release, which provided the first viewing of this version since the original 1966 release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Steve McQueen: American Icon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Sleepy Time Gal
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting and Ange Lorenzo
Lyrics by Ray Egan and Joseph R. Alden
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Movie!
12 August 2002 | by jmorrison-2See all my reviews

This is just one exceptional movie. One of my all time classics.

An examination of the little-known or understood tensions and political ramifications of being aboard an American gunboat, in the 1920's, in the China backwater.

The atmosphere and the story are superb.

Steve McQueen has never been better as Jake Holman, a hard-nosed American sailor, with his own code of right and wrong. His character absolutely dominates the movie. This is the type of character he was born to play.

Richard Crenna's ship Captain was perfect: smug, self-involved, deluded about his patriotism, but a decent man caught in a confusing, thankless, possibly deadly situation.

The rest of the cast in this is tremendous, especially Richard Attenborough, Candace Bergen, Simon Oakland, and Mako.

An absolutely superior film!


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