Even if you’ve never seen this classic 1975 thriller, odds are you’d recognize (and fear) John Williams’ suspenseful Jaws score after the first two notes. DA DUM (DA DUM…DA DUM…DA DUM…etc.). Sound familiar?
Often rated as one of the greatest films of all time, Jaws is in a large part so effectively terrifying for what it doesn’t show. For most of the movie it’s just the ominous aforementioned music and some clever camera work that lets you know danger is near. When we do finally see the shark, it’s unexpected and jump-out-of-your-seat alarming. Do you remember this scene when Jaws first appears in all his toothy glory?
In honor of the nationwide release date 37 years ago today, here are a few bite-sized Jaws tidbits you may not have known:
- Jaws the film is based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name. The producers thought the manuscript was so exciting that they bought the movie rights before the book was even published.
- The mechanical sharks used for filming were so troublesome that the film went way over budget, and frustrated director Stephen Spielberg was forced to hint at Jaws’ presence with music, camera angles, and a fin for most of the film.
- Jaws and its obsessed shark-hunter Quint are often compared to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the vengeance-bent Captain Ahab. In an early version of the screenplay, Quint is actually shown watching the film version of Moby Dick.
- Jaws was the highest grossing movie of all time until Star Wars surpassed it in 1978.
- There are three sequels to Jaws, although none achieved the accolades of the original (and none of the sequels were directed by Spielberg) – Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987).
Do you remember seeing Jaws for the first time? Did it make you think twice before heading into the ocean?