USA / English
"The Nation's No.1 Best-Selling Book now the Screen's Super-Thriller "When a gigantic great white begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
transcends the horror - action genre
Jaws is not a movie with any deep insights into the human condition
,nor does it have any significant philosophical message.
It's the simple story of a small beach side town in New England that is
terrorized by a gigantic great white shark at the beginning of its
summer tourist season. It was crafted to be a crowd-pleasing,
action-horror movie with no pretensions to serious art, yet despite
it's modest aspirations in this regard, it is one of the most
entertaining and thrilling movies ever made. If I had to make a list of
films I believed were the ten greatest of all time, this would have to
take it's place alongside such formidable competition as Citizen Kane
and Wild Strawberries. The acting, direction, editing- and of course
the famous John Williams score- are all among the very best of any
This was Steven Spielberg's first major commercial success, and though
his list of subsequent films is one of the most impressive of any
contemporary American director, this one is my favorite.
The cast is likewise in top form.
Roy Scheider inhabits the character of police chief Martin Brody like a
second skin. Newly arrived from New York, he is an outsider amongst the
elitist and snooty "islanders" of Amity.
After a young woman is killed in an apparent shark attack, he finds
himself in the unenviable position of having to close the beaches right
before the start of the lucrative summer tourist season. This
inevitably puts him at odds with the town's business owners and it's
corrupt and venal mayor (Murray Hamilton), who coerces the coroner to
change the cause of death to "boating accident".
The beaches remain open in spite of Brodie's protestations and a young
boy is killed as his mother and other onlookers watch in horror. The
grieving mother puts out a reward for the shark, and a wild hunt for
the marine predator turns up an impressive catch.
Into the midst of this melee a young ichthyologist named Matt Hooper
(Richard Dreyfus) appears after being called in by the beleaguered
police chief. Although he identifies the catch as a tiger shark and
known man-eater, he is doubtful that it is the fish responsible for the
two deaths. After finding the tooth of a great white from the hull of a
boat owned by a local fisherman, killed while attempting to win the
reward for the killer fish, Brody and Hooper try in vain to persuade
the mayor to close the beaches . He refuses and the monster shark
claims another victim.
With the summer season ruined, the town hires an eccentric local
fisherman by the name of Quint to kill the shark. Robert Shaw is
outstanding as this rough and weathered sea-salt who has very personal
reasons to hate the entire shark species. His monologue about the
sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and subsequent shark massacre is one
of the most haunting scenes ever filmed.
Reluctantly agreeing to let Brody and Hooper accompany him aboard his
timeworn fishing vessel ORCA the three men set out in pursuit of the
great white. The rapport that eventually develops between this unlikely
trio is a wonderful example of acting chemistry. These three characters
are as different from one another as can be, and the tensions between
them, as they pursue the shark, help to drive the movie to it's
I saw this movie in the summer of 1975 when I was ten years old. It was
the biggest hit of all time up to that date and I was immediately blown
away by it. It is just as effective after twenty nine years, and to
this day I still have an irrational fear of swimming even in fresh
water, even though I am fully aware of the extreme unlikelihood of a
No other movie has had such a lasting effect on me.