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It’s the classic cover-up. After finding the chewed-up body of Chrissie Watkins on the beach, the mayor of Amity wants Brody (who in a brilliant piece of storytelling is scared of the water and doesn’t like to swim) to proclaim the death as a boating accident rather than a shark attack so as not to lose the 4th of July money coming into the seaside New England town.
Hooper believes the victim was killed by a shark and when the body of Alex Kinter appears days later, a man-hunt (shark-hunt) is on. When the dead boy’s mother puts a bounty on the shark’s head, the area quickly fills with glory-hunters hoping for a fast buck but it’s local fisherman/shark-hunter Sam Quint who offers to catch the menace for $10,000.
When a tiger shark is pulled lifeless from the water, the townsfolk believe that the problem is solved, but it isn’t, is it? Oh no. There’s a Great White out there somewhere…
Our unlikely trio of intrepid – bonkers – heroes (the police chief who’s scared of the water, a rich-kid-turned-oceanographer and the gruff fisherman) take to the high seas in a rickety old boat to try and catch the shark. A battle-royale ensues, weapons are dropped, the shark gets angrier and angrier, one of them is eaten, the boat is sinking….
This is a proper action movie which stays well within the parameters of the actual story – in that we focus on the film, it’s dialogue and characters and don’t search too hard for themes and motifs and ‘what was the director thinking when he painted that shed blue’ moments. It became the benchmark for the ‘summer blockbuster’. John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score is at the same time beautiful and terrifying but the real star of Jaws is the shark. Spielberg used library footage as well as a mechanical shark and frankly it’s about as realistic as it gets.
Admit it, you were afraid to go to the toilet for a while after seeing Jaws, weren’t you?
Some of our favourite Jaws quotes…
Brody: You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Hooper: This was no boat accident.
Hooper: That’s a twenty footer.
Quint: Twenty-five. Three tons of him.
Brody: Smile, you son of a bitch!
Mayor Vaughn: I’m only trying to say that Amity is a summer town. We need summer dollars. Now, if the people can’t swim here, they’ll be glad to swim at the beaches of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Long Island…
Brody: That doesn’t mean we have to serve them up as smörgåsbord!
Ellen Brody: What am I going to tell the kids?
Brody: Tell them I’m going fishing.
Quint: I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten.
What are your favourite or most memorable quotes from Jaws? Let us know on Twitter @homeofretro or comment on our Facebook page!
During production, the shark was nicknamed Bruce – after Spielberg’s lawyer!
The first time the $250,000 mechanical shark was put into the water, it sank straight to the bottom.
Spielberg shot around a quarter of the film at water level to provide viewers with the effect that they were treading water.
He filmed most of ET at child’s eye level for the same reason – to see the film through the eyes of the characters.
Years after Jaws was made, Lee Fierro, who plays Mrs Kintner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an ‘Alex Kintner Sandwich’. She commented that she had played his mother in the film. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her and it was none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn’t seen each other since the original shoot.
The world-famous ‘dah dah, dah-dah, dah-dah’ music was played by tuba player Tommy Johnson.
During the night scenes with Brody and Hooper on the boat, a meteor appears clearly behind them. An actual, real meteor!
The line ‘you’re gonna need a bigger boat’ was ad-libbed by Scheider!
Have you got any random Jaws trivia? Let us know on Twitter @homeofretro or comment on our Facebook page!
The Stars of Jaws – Where Are They Now?
A 70s Hollywood A-lister, Scheider was in French Connection, Klute and Marathon Man as well as latterly in a number of high-profile TV series’. He died in 2008 aged 75.
He was an accomplished stage and screen actor who appeared in films such as From Russia with Love, The Sting and Force 10 from Navarone. He died in 1978 at the age of 51.
Dreyfuss is perhaps most famous for his role as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of struggling actor Elliot Garfield opposite Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl. He has won BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards and he’s involved in a nationwide enterprise to encourage the teaching of American history in American primary schools.
She reprised her roles in two subsequent Jaws films as well as appearing in Spielberg’s 1941. She’s married to the former President of Universal Studios, Sid Sheinberg who is credited with ‘discovering’ Steven Spielberg.