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Western Animation / The Sand Castle

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Making a starfish buddy.

The Sand Castle is a 1977 animated film directed by Jacobus Willem "Co" Hoedeman and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Somewhere there is a sandy place—beach? Desert? One day after the winds stop blowing the sand around, a humanoid sand creature rises up out of the sand. He then creates some companions out of sand, all of which come to life: a snake, a piglet, and odder creations like a weird three-legged duck-type thing. Once he has finished making his little band of friends, the sandman draws some plans in the sand. All the creatures work together and build a sand castle according to the sandman's plans...but then the wind blows up again.

You can see it on the NFB's Youtube channel here.

Compare Quest, another Stop Motion animated short about an odd sandman creature.


  • Downer Ending: The sand man sees the wind wiping out the elephant's art and tells all the creatures to take cover. They do, but it does no good, as the winds bury their castle. The film does not answer whether or not the little sand man will pop out again when the wind dies.
  • Golem: The sand equivalent thereof, as the sand man rises out of the sand all on his own, somehow.
  • Improvised Golems: The sand man creates his helpers by simply building them out of sand, with them spontaneously animating when he's finished.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: No dialogue.
  • Sentient Sands: The main character is a sand golem that somehow rises up out of the sand spontaneously, then starts crafting a bunch of sand buddies to hang out with and a castle for them to live in.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: He isn't quite sinister, but the snake creature that the sand man creates isn't very helpful. He scares the three-legged duck by popping out of the sand, and he messes up the art that the elephant creature was carefully drawing in the sand.
  • Stop Motion: An intricate stop-motion cartoon using sand.