MPAA rating: PG.
Run time: 124 minutes.
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This movie, adapted from a novel by Peter Benchley, deals with the havoc wreaked upon a New England beach resort community after a large great white shark begins feeding along its coastline. The shark is eventually pursued by the town's Chief of Police (Roy Scheider) along with a salty local fisherman (Robert Shaw) and a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss).
I am not much interested in "monster movies" but this movie, which falls loosely into that category, is excellent. I have probably seen this movie two dozen times but I could still watch it again and again. I didn't see this movie in the theater when it was first released (I was only eight years old). But I do remember my sister, Mindy, having seen it and being very scared by it. And I remember when we went to Universal Studios in Hollywood and took the tour that brought us "in contact with" the shark. I specifically remember my sister photographing the billboard that was identical to the movie's billboard that welcomed people to the town of Amity.
I also remember that this movie started a big shark craze, and that soon after its release several documentaries about sharks were shown on television. I probably saw those before I ever saw the actual film "Jaws". I even ended up doing a school project on sharks.
The interplay between the characters in this movie is great. The three main characters, played by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, are all very interesting and their shark-hunting voyage together aboard the Orca is the best portion of the movie.
One of the most interesting scenes in this film is the scene in which Quint (Robert Shaw) describes the tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in the closing days of World War II. This scene prompted me to read the book "Abandon Ship! The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster", by Richard F. Newcomb. I highly recommend this book and encourage everyone to read it. Many of the factual details of Quint's speech about the Indianapolis are inaccurate; in reality, for example, a much smaller percentage of casualties was attributed to shark attacks then what Quint describes. Nonetheless, the story as he tells it is incredibly engaging and is a highlight of the film.
Roy Scheider - Chief Martin Brody
Robert Shaw -- Quint
Richard Dreyfuss - Matt Hooper
Lorraine Gary - Ellen Brody
Murray Hamilton - Mayor Larry Vaughn
Carl Gottlieb - Ben Meadows
Jeffrey Kramer - Deputy Leonard Hendricks
Susan Backlinie - Christine Watkins
Jonathan Filley - Cassidy
Ted Grossman - Estuary Victim
Chris Rebello - Michael Brody
Jay Mello - Sean Brody
Lee Fierro - Mrs. Kintner
Jeffrey Voorhees - Alex Kintner
Craig Kingsbury - Ben Gardner
Dr. Robert Nevin - Medical Examiner
Peter Benchley - TV Interviewer
Steven Spieberg - Amity Point Lifestation Worker (voice)
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Producer: Richard Zanuck & David Brown
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Carl Gottlieb, Peter Benchley & Howard Sackler
Cinematographer: Bill Butler
Editor: Verna Fields
Composer: John Williams
Academy Award for:
Best Editing - Verna Fields
Best Score - John Williams
Best Sound - Earl Madery, Roger Heman, Robert Hoyt & John Carter
British Academy Award for:
Original Film Music - John Williams
Recognized by the American Film Institute in 1998 as one of the 100 Greatest American Movies.
Quint, the salty old fisherman and captain of the Orca, is fond of singing an old song called "Spanish Ladies". He only sings part of it during the film, but I have listed the lyrics below in their entirety (to the best that I can find them). I believe that this song even appeared on the "Jaws" soundtrack album.
Information gathered from numerous websites including: