The Sand Pebbles

D: Robert Wise
20th Century Fox/Argyle/Solar (Robert Wise)
US 1966
182 mins


W: Robert Anderson [based on the novel by Richard McKenna]
DP: Joseph MacDonald
Ed: William Reynolds
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith

Steve McQueen (Jake Holman), Richard Attenborough (Frenchy Burgoyne), Richard Crenna (Lt. Collins), Candice Bergen (Shirley Eckert), Mako (Po-Han)

Steve McQueen received the only Oscar nomination of his career for his performance in Robert Wise's war film, playing a crew member of an American gunship which patrols the Yangtze River during the communist regime in China, invoking the wrath of Chinese warlords.
Robert Wise's film has obvious Vietnam parallels and is a very well produced piece of work, utilising excellent cinematography, production design and some well edited action sequences, but it really does suffer from being an hour too long.
Steve McQueen deserved the acknowledgment from the Academy Awards, but it's not quite his best acting performance. The film received 8 Oscar nominations in total, but failed to win any.

Mako & Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles
Mako & Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles