Jaws (1975)

I love this movie so much, thank you for making it Mr. Spielberg!

The music, the dialogue, the moments, the sheer fun!

But if you’ve been to the blog before, you know that, it’s my all time favorite movie, and the first one I ever saw.

So obviously when it came along on the list of 101 Horror Movies you just KNOW I was going to watch it again (and again, and again).

However, it has to be said, that I have never considered this a horror movie, for me, it’s always been an adventure film with some great dialogue and sharks! What’s not to like?

Everyone knows now that the shark almost never worked, and that became such a blessing for the movie, because you almost never see it, but when you hear that ominous music cue by John Williams, you know he’s around.

I mean honestly, how many movies and directors would have the gumption to kill a child (mostly onscreen!)? It showed that the shark didn’t care who you were, if you were in the water, you were fair game.

No wonder people were afraid to go into the water!

Sure, this movie gave sharks a bad rap for a long time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a great movie!

It was nominated for best picture, and walked away with Oscars for Editing, Score and Sound, all of which, if you’ve ever seen it, know that it earned them.

This film also changed the way movies were made, this was the first ever blockbuster, the first film to make more than 100 Million!! People lined up for it!

Adapted from the novel by Peter Benchley (who has a cameo as the tv reporter on the beach) the film tells the story of the island of Amity as it’s terrorized by a rogue carcharodon carcharias, a great white shark.

Roy Schneider plays Chief Brody, a landlubber with a fear of the water, despite the fact he works on an island (“It’s only an island if you look at it from the water.” “That makes a lot of sense.”), a modern man, forced to confront his most primal fears personified in an environment that frightens him.

To aid him he is joined by oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), who loves sharks, and despite the obvious differences between the two men, you can tell that they become friends.

Finally after an attack on the beach that involves one of his sons, Brody forces the mayor to sign off on hiring Quint (Robert Shaw), a local fisherman, to hunt down and kill the shark.

The second half of the film gets us away from the island and out on open water, it also represents a tonal shift in the film, if one argues that the first half is a bit of a horror movie with attacks and killings, the second half in undeniably a full-on adventure film, heralded by John Williams brilliant “Out To Sea” music cue.

From there on, it’s man versus nature as Brody slowly has his support group torn away from him, Hooper has an incident with a shark cage that takes him out of the final moments of the film, and Quint goes down swinging, or stabbing if you prefer, leaving Brody to face the shark alone.

Yes, you can tell the shark, Bruce by name, is fake, but you know what? The storytelling, the editing, the music, the acting, all of it outweigh the obvious shark construct and make for a brilliant film.

It also has one of my favorite shots ever, with Brody on the beach as he realizes there’s a shark in the water the camera pushes in on him but zooms out, isolating Brody as a character. LOVE IT!

I can’t rave enough about this movie (cause I LOVE IT!), nor sadly can I add anything that hasn’t been said before. I will say that for me, this movie will be cinema comfort food for me, and I can’t wait to see the remastered blu-ray version due out August 14!!!

So if you have seen it, what are your favorite moments? If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for???

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Smellycat says:

    Great movie indeed !! 🙂 My fav … mm…. really don’t know if the movie enter in this category but I love “I am a Legend” with Will Smith !! 🙂

    1. TD Rideout says:

      Have you seen the other two films that were based on the same story? The Omega Man with Charlton Heston and Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price?

      For me though, Jaws will always be the ultimate 🙂

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