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The Sandpit Generals (1971)

Inspired by the classic novel by Brazilian cultural icon Jorge Amado, this is the story of a gang of homeless children lead by Pedro Bala. Set in Bahia, the film follows the adventures of ... See full summary »


Hall Bartlett


Jorge Amado (novel), Jorge Amado (story) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Juarez Santalvo Juarez Santalvo
Freddie Gedeon Freddie Gedeon ... Almiro
Ademir Da Silva Ademir Da Silva ... Big John
Guilherme Lamounier Guilherme Lamounier ... The Cat
Eliana Pittman Eliana Pittman ... Dalvah
Dorival Caymmi Dorival Caymmi ... John Adam
Peter Nielsen Peter Nielsen ... Lollipop
Mark De Vries Mark De Vries ... Dry Turn
Butch Patrick ... No Legs
John Rubinstein ... Professor
Tisha Sterling ... Dora
Kent Lane Kent Lane ... Bullet
Alejandro Rey ... Fr. Jose Pedro
Aloysio Oliveira Aloysio Oliveira ... Chancellor
Lorrene Baker Lorrene Baker


Inspired by the classic novel by Brazilian cultural icon Jorge Amado, this is the story of a gang of homeless children lead by Pedro Bala. Set in Bahia, the film follows the adventures of Bala's gang of under aged outlaws as they steal, rape, find love, "capoeira" (a Brazilian form of martial arts) and African-Brazilian religion. Written by Cristian "Albator" Redferne <Harlock@prodigy.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the tradition of "Billy jack", the true story of BULLET... See more »


Action | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

August 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wild Pack See more »

Filming Locations:

Bahia, Brazil

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hall Bartlett Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The plural "Generals" is most likely incorrect. Have never found advertising other than singular "The Sandpit General". Distributed by AIP under the title "The Wild Pack", with runs in San Francisco in October 1972 and Chicago (January 5, 1973). Under the title "The Sandpit General", opened in Minneapolis November 14, 1975 and not distributed by AIP (perhaps self-distributed by Hall Bartlett?) Re-titling to "The Defiant" occurred in 1985. See more »


Version of Capitães da Areia (2011) See more »


When I See a Star
Music by Dorival Caymmi
Lyrics by Louis Oliveira
Sung by Tisha Sterling
See more »

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User Reviews

An American Film Unfamiliar to a Western Film-goer but Well-Known in the 'Russian World'... a Historically Established Rum Start!
2 November 2015 | by papasergeySee all my reviews

When I've first time (still a child then) watched this film, I didn't doubt it was either Mexican or Brazilian. Years after, I hardly believed the Internet, that was just another film by Uncle Sam, as this land, in my opinion, always feasting its eyes upon its own efficiency and richness, was unlikely to film something capping joy of communists of every stripe and hue.

Yet, it's a fact! US did film that. As they say, an ideologically irreproachable film. I mean 'Socialist realism' ideology. And a flat ostracism in the Capitalist world is also a fact. In return, the film made out all right in the 'Eastern Bloc', and no surprise. Where it became the greatest hit, was my land, Russia.

'Cause being a proletarian meant to be in then, in Communists' time. While one shouldn't put being rich on airs, unless eager to get great problems... Of course, people still tried to earn a little extra money, either lawfully or not quite (where on earth from would otherwise appear a sarcasm like 'you must live on just your salary, wage slave!') However, they never made a song and dance about it. On the contrary, they would heartily deny being not short of bob. For example, my late grandpa (he worked at a higher education institution and jostled for all positions but president) would come to the point of uttering an absurdity trying to make me believe that in Soviet time: there were no domestics in houses of Communist Party top managers as well as in those of top musicians and scientists; people went by public transport rather than by taxi; people hardly ever deposited money in banks as they lived from payday to payday. And when I, smiling, would argue that I, despite not living in those times, know there were still all those things then - servants, taxi and private accounts - he would frown and say, well, perhaps, but personally, I've never heard of it.

This is it, an ideology gap. Nowadays, being poor has nothing to do with being in. On the contrary, modern Russians want, to an increasing extent, to have themselves addressed as 'Mister' rather than 'Comrade' or 'Dear'. Russian cars are called none other than 'scrap' and outlet store frequenters, 'beggars'. Outcast dogs and especially cats are often treated better than outcast people. And very few modern Russian people are likely to treat juvenile delinquents well, as it is commonly thought that one should work (unless being cripple) rather than plunder.

But yet, this is a perennial problem, frankly speaking. At all times and under all social conditions, there are waifs and strays, lead by particular young proletarians and sometimes even hushed up by ministers of religion. Indeed, mates, what chickens are we to beg and gobble garbage in cesspits?! Gotta be robbers!

And so new youngsters join theft ring in the crime…

And certain creative specialists, willing to extol them to the skies, do turn up. Certain politicians, willing to put romantic tales of aggressive lumpen proletarians on a pedestal, do turn up either. And there are always certain proletarians, a bit less lumpen (than those tales' characters), who follow these politicians blindly, as that's so big of them - to protect interests of the poor! But as soon as some of the poor manage to grow rich to some extent, they tend to repudiate the poor flatly and start hating the under age dregs of society as social chasm between them is growing… And then, politicians set enforcers against dangerous special offenders, so that 'respectable citizens' would vote for those politicians, who guard them from those, who shatter their peace and quiet, the most successfully. The circle closes up…

It is the same both at the first and now, was and is. Thereby, I've no pronounced idea on this film. It was just filmed to spide one ideology and to please the other. A burning problem was raised deliberately; it was filmed in real slums with real guttersnipes instead of actors; the story was dialogued so that the poor had the red colouring of proletarian heroes and the rich, the white colouring of haughty touchy persons. The film's musical topic was originally the sentimental 'fishermen's march' by Dorival Caymmi; it was deliberately covered by the Soviet popscene so that the Russian lyrics would tell of an orphan beggar who scowls at the blue-ribbon residential areas and deep in his heart dreams of spilling the blood of their inhabitants, having fleeced them down to the last scrap as a preliminary…

Any doubts that these guys won't be found wanting to do exactly that? What do you think the opening rape scene tells of? Even Laurie, the vicious and deadly female character of the 'Watchmen' film, verily believed that a male capable of rape was worth hating. Isn't it reasonable?.. Thus, brigands and robbers of all hues, even if 'the rule here is' to justify them, are in fact inhuman and immoral…

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