Born on August 29th, 1923
From Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
In 1926, the USS San Pablo patrols the Yangtze River during the clashes between Chiang Kai-shek's communists and Chinese warlords. Eight-year veteran machinist Jake Holman (Steve McQueen), new to the self-named "sand pebbles" crew, immediately draws deep suspicion due to his independent streak. Ordered to protect Americans, including schoolteacher Shirley Eckhart (Candice Bergen), Jake and the gunboat crew are unwittingly drawn into a bitter nationalistic feud that holds grim consequences.
The East African nation of Batasi is tearing apart at the seams, and a group of British soldiers are caught in the middle. As fighting breaks out between two rival factions in the former British colony, by-the-books Regimental Sgt. Maj. Lauderdale (Richard Attenborough) attempts to preserve peace and order. But his rigid style of command becomes increasingly ill-suited to a volatile political situation in which the stability of the old era has been replaced by violent conflict.