The Sand Pebbles


Action and adventure

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Splendid camerawork by Joseph MacDonald, otherwise a three-hour plod through a bestseller by Richard McKenna. Set in China in 1926, it deals with the trials and tribulations of an American gunboat crew who learn to love the natives while trying to save them from their own follies and the depredations of everybody else. Behind its timid criticism of imperialist attitudes, lies a much louder and heartfelt American cry - with China 1926 standing in for Vietnam 1966 - of 'Why doesn't everybody love us when we do our best for you?' To leaven the message, McQueen and Attenborough, as the two most humanitarian members of the crew of a ship run by coolie labour, both get romances: McQueen with Bergen's American mission teacher (hair in tight bun), Attenborough with Andriane's half-caste girl (highly cultured). There are also some well-staged battles.


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Release details

UK release:



193 mins

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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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1 person listening

"plod through" my behind. "TM" must be under 30 and uncognizant of the fact that it can be really fun to drop into a long film, especially one as richly researched and affectingly acted as this one.