You know how I’ve said that there are no perfect films; well maybe that isn’t entirely the truth. Steven Spielberg’s JAWS is truly a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Almost 40 years after its release, it has not aged at all and remains a truly frightening and thrilling film. Personally it wrecked me from ever swimming in the ocean again.
For those who have yet to watch the film, based on the best selling novel by Peter Benchley of the same name, JAWS follows Police Chief, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) as he deals with the appearance of a 25ft. great white shark off the shores of Amity Island, an East Coast summer tourist spot.
The shark has made the waters near the shore its feeding ground and this threatens not only the lives of the residents and visitors, but also the economy of the small town which relies on the money generated by the tourists.
Simply put by the Mayor (Murray Hamilton), “…it's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, 'Huh? What?' You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.”
Chief Brody recruits visiting ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and hires seasoned shark fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) to hunt down and kill the shark.
The story behind the making of the film is just as fascinating and I encourage you to purchase the recent Blu-Ray release that has extensive behind the scenes documentaries detailing the production and including how the films titular character barely ever worked. This required Spielberg to have to be inventive.
It is safe to speculate that if the mechanical shark puppet had worked than the film may have not been as effective. Sometimes less is more.
I can’t recommend JAWS enough. Truly one of the greatest films ever made it’s a MUST SEE MOVIE. Not only did it launch Steven Spielberg’s career but also the summer blockbuster which just two years later, would be cemented by a little film called STAR WARS.
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