The Great Easter Binge-a-Thon continues this Easter morning with one of my favorite movies of all time. Another Steven Spielberg classic…. Jaws. The movie that made people everywhere afraid to go into the water.
Jaws was credited as the first of the big “summer blockbusters” as it led to what we have today. It creates a tone unlike many of these types of films. Spielberg famously got very lucky during filming as the shark robot, named Bruce, would not work properly and forced Spielberg into shooting Jaws differently. The had to hide the shark with camera tricks and shots. The ensuing scenes created that fear of the unknown and a sense of mystery that served the tone brilliantly.
Jaws boasts three of the great movie characters of all time. Roy Schneider played Chief Martin Brody, the Chief of Police of Amity-an island in the New England area who had a fear of the water. Richard Dreyfuss played Matt Hooper, a young marine biologist brought in as a shark expert. And Robert Shaw played Quint, the grizzled shark hunterhired to kill the shark who owns the Orca, a boat that needed to be bigger. These three characters are the lifeblood of this film and the interactions between the three of them made Jaws more than just a horror film.
in fact, perhaps the best scene of the entire film is the USS Indianapolis scene where Quint revealed that he was aboard that ship during World War II when in was sunk by a Japanese submarine and 1200 men floated in the water for days. After rescue, only 300 men survived. That scene should have earned Robert Shaw an Academy Award.
As a child, nothing scared me more than the scene where Quint was slowly being consumed by the shark. And there are plenty of suspenseful moments like this scattered through Jaws.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the score from EYG Hall of Famer John Williams. There may not be a more iconic theme than the Jaws theme. Every time we heard those well known beats that picked up intensity, you couldn’t help but be uneasy.
Jaws is one of the best movies of all time and can be watched at any time and still create the same emotions in a viewer as it did the first time you saw it. It holds up today and is a must see for any cinephile.