The Sand Pebbles

Synopsis: Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. 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.
Director(s): Robert Wise
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
182 min

- To make a show- something for the officers.

I don't fool with it.

Oh, don't stop.

I can't do no more.

Just butterflies and rabbits.

Is this your first trip



Did you understand what

they were talking about last night?

- Politics.

- I'd like to know more.

I'm not a missionary.

I'm a teacher.

If I'm gonna teach,

I ought to know more.

You gonna try to teach

the slopeheads?


I taught back home in high school.


Where's your home?

Well, I was born

in Grover, Utah...

but, uh... my home's

whatever ship I'm on.

You're an engineer, huh?

I would have thought that

the engine on a large ship...

would have been more interesting

than the engine on a gunboat.

Too many guys trying

to tell you how to run it.

- Ah.

- You see, on a small ship...

you haven't got any

of that military cra-


they leave you alone.

I had a brother in the navy

during the war.

He was a lieutenant

in the reserve.


- How long have you been in the navy?

- Nine years.

- And out here?

- Seven.

You see...

most China sailors

don't go back.

They pull their 20, 30 years,

shack up with a Chinese girl, open up a bar.

I see.

I keep asking myself the same question

about what I'm doing here.

I'm kind of frightened.

It may be romantic,

but I wanted to be swept up by something.

Then one night, Mr. Jameson came and showed

colored slides in the basement of the church...

slides of his mission,

China Light.

How long you sign up for?

Seven years.

Well... those slopeheads

could use some teaching.

I hope you're good at it.

As long as you're good at something,

they can't bust you down.

Like me, you know,

with the engine.

The reverend will probably tell you

nice American girls don't talk to China sailors.

It's not your brother's navy.

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)


Translate and read this script in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Український (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Discuss this The Sand Pebbles script with the community:


Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


"The Sand Pebbles" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 30 Mar. 2020. <>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

Watch the movie trailer

The Sand Pebbles

The Marketplace:

Sell your Script !

Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!

The Studio:

ScreenWriting Tool

Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.