STARRING: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Susan Blacklinie and Jeffrey Kramer
EARNED (Worldwide): $470.7m
AWARDS: 3 Oscars (Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score) and 1 Golden Globe (Best Original Score)
When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
Jaw takes us to Amity Island during the summer period, where the main source of business for the small community is its beaches, which comes under threat as new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, believing that the beaches should be closed. This doesn’t sit well at all with the Mayor and local businessmen who want the beaches to remain open. As the attack become more frequent, Brody sets out into the sea along with local fisherman who has experience of hunting sharks, Quint, and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute to hunt the Great White shark.
In the early years of his directing career, Steven Spielberg managed to make a film that the ‘Master of Suspense’, Alfred Hitchcock himself would’ve been proud of when he done Jaws. The key strength to the films overall story by not unveiling the shark itself until well over the halfway mark and get the famous line from Brody of ‘you’re gonna need a bigger boat’ was a masterstroke as Spielberg toys the characters and the viewers emotions to the point that this film personally scared the absolute bejesus out of me as a kid and put the fear of god into me of going anywhere near the water at the beaches. Of course the tension played a good part into that but it was helped tremendously by John Williams award winning score throughout. The film takes place over the Fourth of July weekend on Amity Island, where it’s a tourist resort that makes its money for its beaches. That comes under threat however when a human remains are discovered and the signs point to a shark attack. The Sheriff wants to close up until the shark is found, the Mayor however wants it to remain open as to not scare away tourists (and the money), leading to the most obvious outcome known to mankind. Sheriff Brody is the everyman character that we follow here as a man desperate to do the right thing for the community and being completely out of his depth when it comes to sharks and the role is handled superbly well with Roy Scheider’s engaging performance, matched by his co-stars Richard Dreyfuss as Oceanographer Hooper to the great performance by Robert Shaw as hardened shark hunter Quint. As for the shark itself, it still looks particularly terrifying when it comes up close and personal and still looks better than any CGI attempted shark looks today. Yes, I’m looking at you Sharknado!
FAVOURITE SCENE: Brody, Quint and Hooper are on the boat at night, with Quint and Hooper comparing scars. At one point Robert Shaw delivers one of the most memorable monologues around, telling the story about being on board the sinking USS Indianapolis during World War II and how the men encountered the nature of the sharks there that night with their lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye’.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ – Brody
DID YOU KNOW?: Several decades later, 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 so many years ago. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her – none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn’t seen each other since the original movie shoot. According to writer Carl Gottlieb, the line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was not scripted but ad-libbed by Roy Scheider. Robert Shaw could not stand Richard Dreyfuss and they argued all the time, which resulted in some good tension between Hooper and Quint. According to The Making of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ (1995) documentary, the shooting star that appears during the night scene where Brody loads his revolver was real, not an optical effect.