The Sand Pebbles

  • 1966
  • Movie
  • M
  • Adventure, War

A powerful and spectacular film, featuring Steve McQueen at his finest and director Robert Wise at his most persuasive, THE SAND PEBBLES is the panoramic story of a US Navy gunboat cruising China's Yangtze River in 1926 amidst the Nationalist rebellion led by Chiang Kai-Shek. In an Oscar-nominated performance, McQueen plays Jake Holman, the lone wolf sailor...read more

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A powerful and spectacular film, featuring Steve McQueen at his finest and director Robert Wise at his most persuasive, THE SAND PEBBLES is the panoramic story of a US Navy gunboat cruising China's Yangtze River in 1926 amidst the Nationalist rebellion led by Chiang Kai-Shek. In an

Oscar-nominated performance, McQueen plays Jake Holman, the lone wolf sailor who keeps the cranky engines of the USS San Pablo running while Collins (Richard Crenna), its captain, negotiates tricky political waters. Ordered to remain neutral in the Chinese conflict despite the abuse heaped on

them, the crew, who call themselves the "Sand Pebbles," become restive. When Chinese authorities, anxious to create an international incident, frame Jake for the murder of the Chinese wife of a dead shipmate (Richard Attenborough), Collins refuses to hand over the engineer, though the crew is

reluctant to back him up. However, when US Marines land in Shanghai, the Sand Pebbles are finally given a chance to fight back, the gunboat battling its way through a blockade to evacuate American missionaries Jameson (Larry Gates), who resents the US involvement in Chinese affairs, and Shirley

Eckert (Candice Bergen), with whom Jake has fallen in love. The final rescue, like the rest of this long but involving film, is carefully unfolded by Wise, building in intensity towards a heroic but tragic conclusion. Released in 1966, THE SAND PEBBLES offered parallels to the controversial US

involvement then taking place in Vietnam. Although it has undergone several edits, THE SAND PEBBLES is available on videocassette at its original 195-minute running time.

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  • Rating: M
  • Review: A powerful and spectacular film, featuring Steve McQueen at his finest and director Robert Wise at his most persuasive, THE SAND PEBBLES is the panoramic story of a US Navy gunboat cruising China's Yangtze River in 1926 amidst the Nationalist rebellion led… (more)

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