The Sand Pebbles

Watch The Sand Pebbles

"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."
  • PG-13
  • 1966
  • 3 hr 16 min
  • 7.5  (15,879)

The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 epic war film directed by Robert Wise and starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, and Candice Bergen. The film is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Richard McKenna. The story takes place in 1926 in China, and follows the crew of the USS San Pablo, a gunboat tasked with patrolling the Yangtze River to protect American citizens and interests in China. Steve McQueen plays Jake Holman, a machinist's mate who has recently been assigned to the San Pablo. Holman is initially disdainful of the ship and its crew, who he feels are lazy and complacent about their duties.

However, as he becomes more involved in the ship's operations and begins to develop relationships with some of the crew members, including Richard Attenborough's character Frenchy, the ship's chief engineer, and Maily, a Chinese girl played by Candice Bergen, he begins to see the challenges and complexities of their mission. The crew is caught in the middle of a conflict between the Chinese warlords, the Nationalists and the Communists, as well as facing resentment from the local population who view them as outsiders.

As tensions escalate and violence breaks out, the crew of the San Pablo find themselves increasingly at risk, and Holman must grapple with his own feelings of loyalty and duty while facing the reality of the situation they find themselves in.

The Sand Pebbles is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the complexities of war and its impact on individuals and communities. The film is notable for its stunning visuals, which capture the beauty and drama of the Yangtze River and its surroundings, as well as its powerful performances from the entire cast, particularly McQueen, who delivers a deep and nuanced portrayal of Holman's journey from disaffected outsider to committed member of the crew.

The themes explored in The Sand Pebbles are relevant even today, as the film raises important questions about the role of the military in foreign conflict, the impact of imperialism and colonialism on local populations, and the human cost of war. Though it is set in a specific historical context, the film's powerful message is universal, making it a timeless classic that continues to inspire and provoke audiences today.

Overall, The Sand Pebbles is a must-see film for anyone interested in war movies, historical dramas, or compelling stories about complex human relationships. Its powerful themes, stunning visuals, and strong performances make it a true classic of American cinema, and one that continues to resonate with audiences today.

The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 adventure movie with a runtime of 3 hours and 16 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5.

The Sand Pebbles
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The Sand Pebbles is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Sand Pebbles for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    3 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (15,879)