The Sand Pebbles (1966)

3h 16m
Running time

December 20, 1966
Release Date

The Sand Pebbles (1966)

3h 16m
Running time

December 20, 1966
Release Date

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20th Century Fox
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Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat USS 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.

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This Movie Is About.

china · 
chinese · 
battle · 
u.s. navy · 


Release Date
December 20, 1966


Running time
3h 16m

Content Rating



Filming Locations



The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American epic war film directed by Robert Wise in Panavision. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy machinist's mate, first class, aboard the fictional river gunboat USS San Pablo, on Yangtze Patrol in 1920s China.

The film stars Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna and Candice Bergen, and features Mako, Simon Oakland, Larry Gates and Marayat Andriane in supporting roles. Robert Anderson adapted the screenplay from the 1962 novel of the same name by Richard McKenna.

The Sand Pebbles was a critical and commercial success during its general release. It became the fourth highest-grossing film of 1966 and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Lead Actor for Steve McQueen, his only Oscar nomination, and eight Golden Globe Awards, with Attenborough winning the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

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