Jaws, the 35th anniversary

June 20th 1975 Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” opened in theaters, and a fear of going to the beach swept the nation.  I was thirteen years old and lived on the outskirts of Phoenix Arizona, far from the surf and sun that made the coastal states a paradise from May to September. The Summer of 75 proved different for a shadow loomed across the beaches scaring people away by the thousands and into their local theaters instead. Jaws open to mass popularity and for many years was the worlds top grossing movie of all time. The ways of Arizona back in the day were all about what was going on locally for the most part, but a cinematic phenomena so big made it to the evening news. My dad and I were watching the late night news before the Friday night movie was about to begin and the news anchor started a story about how the beaches were empty and business’s were hurting and it was all due to a new motion picture about a Great White Shark that terrorizes a small New England community. footage of empty beaches filled the tiny screen and the story ended with a clip from the film. It was the scene where a shark hunter named Quint drags his fingernails across a chalkboard and offers his services to catch the great shark before the town and all it’s livelihood go into the drink. My dad and I looked at each other and said, Hey that looks like a movie we need to go and see! so the the next day we got my dad’s brothers and my cousin Tom together and headed off to the Mann’s Christown theater and little did I know that that one movie would change me forever. It was my first PG film so going from Bambi to a man eating shark was quite a jump., HAAA!  In those days I wasn’t big on names but I remembered my favorite TV movie from a few years earlier was a show called “Duel” by a director named Steven Spielberg, HMMMM his name was on the poster for “Jaws” as well, I thought to myself; It’s gonna be really great then if he made this one too. So around 7:00 the movie started and within the first 10 minutes I saw more forbidden and scary things than I had ever imagined!!! I saw my dad looking over my way thinking what have I brought my son too, so I tried really hard to act like I wasn’t scared so he would think he needed to take me home early. the movie played on and I remember the incredible music followed by horrific and beautiful imagery on the screen…  A particular moment was when a little boy on a raft gets the sharks attention and the build up and camera work was incredible,  Spielberg had such a gift very early on at building tension with merely camera placement and subtle dolly moves, Knowing now what I didn’t know then was that a great deal of the early scenes in the film were shark-less because the shark didn’t work!!! Being creative with what he did have, Spielberg cleverly composed the scenes so as to let your imagination fill in the gaps and in this case proved to be far more scary than some of the scenes where the shark is on film.. The Kintner boy on the raft segment ends in a terrifying manner with almost no shots of the shark but man did it leave and impression of an incredible danger that was just below the surface. The film travels forward as the Sheriff seams to be the only man in town concerned for the public and battles the politicians and business owners who feel summer $$$ are more important than lives. Sounds the kinda the same today, HAAAA! Anyways it’s not even an hour into the film and the tension was so high I almost couldn’t handle it! usually following a big attack scene Spielberg would write in a subtle bit of  humor to ease everyone down a bit. As far as the audience was concerned the next event was going to be big and we were all deafly silent in our seats. The City of Amity’s 4rth of July extravaganza filled the screen with boat loads, and traffic jams of people coming to have fun at the beach was next. All these scenes of happy UNKNOWING people flooding into town accompanied with a very peppy John Williams piece did nothing for us out in the darkened theater because we all knew what was out there under the water. My dad leaned over to me and asked how I was doing and if I wanted to go,,, NO, NO  Dad this is fine, I’m not scared at all, I saw him laugh to himself and sit back into his chair. On screen there was no one is in the water so the Mayor talks one of his council members to go into the water and reluctantly he and his family venture out into the surf. Thats all it took to get everyone on shore out into the water. I was terrified but I thought I’m safe until the music starts, funny thing though the tension was beginning and a lot of deep underwater shots started to fill the screen, and the uneasiness of the moment was getting stronger but there was no theme to bring the shark into the picture,,, More scared than I had been before a fin appears and the crowds flee the surf and my hands were gripping the armrests so tightly I was going numb. What !!! who got eaten??? did I miss something??? suddenly the fin enters the frame again and tips over to reveal it’s fake and a couple of kids in snorkel gear pop up surrounded by boatloads of men with guns pointing at them,,,, He made me do it, HE MADE ME DO IT, screams one of the two kids as the crowd breaks out in mad laughter. Our guards aren’t down for even a minute when another call about a shark is heard and that it’s heading into the pond where the Sheriffs kids are playing.  We all still think things are OK and it must be another joke until we see the massive dorsal and tail fin drop below the surface. I felt dizzy and the next scenes were forever scared into my memory for in the next attack we see the shark and IT”S HUGE. (Teddy Grossman) was the stunt man in this scene and is in a lot of Spielberg’s films following Jaws, but his death is one that cannot be described in any other words but horrifying!!! As if it wasn’t enough to see him get pulled off his boat and drug under the water, we see his bitten off leg drift to the bottom of the sea with his sneaker still on his foot!!!!I was truly weak, and it took a while for me to catch my breath. That scene even got to my Dad because I could fell him lighten up a lot after it was over. The movie moves on and justice is severed and the Sheriff is allowed to hire Quint to go out and catch the shark. Fantastic cinematography, and incredible performances follow as The towns only rational men (Quint, Hooper, and Brody) embark on a two day hunt to catch the Great White shark. the movie ends on a high note and my dad says; I bet you don’t ever want to see that one again haaa haa. I looked at him and said; I want to see it again, can we please stay!!!    NOOOOO son we can’t do that, maybe some other time!! So home we went and I did not sleep at all!!! I lived in the desert but I swore that Shark was going to get me if I went to sleep. exhausted the next day I begged my dad to take me again,, he finally did, MANY times as a matter of fact and we even saw it at the drive in a couple of times!!! This was way back before video so my friend Brian Siken and I went to the drive in so we could record the whole movies audio with our cassette recorders!!!, HAAA what fun that was!  Very fond memories of those days and I remember that after seeing Jaws something inside my tiny brain was forming a big idea, and that was that I wanted to some day work in the movies with Mr Spielberg. A couple of books came out about the making of the film, (The Jaws Log), and (the making of Jaws). they were both little soft back books full of cool pictures and drawings and Holy Cow I couldn’t believe the shark was fake!! He was a robotic creation and there were all these images showing the crew setting him up for his cameos.  I wanted even more to work in the movies when I saw all of this.. I had no idea that 10 years later that childhood dream would become a big reality.  Woah lots of great memories surround those 10 years but for now back to Jaws. There are few that haven’t seen this masterpiece or haven’t in some way been influenced by it. Director Bryan Singer for example named his production company “Bad Hat Harry” which is a throw away line from the film. Art Director Andrew Boughton, as well as a great deal of the art department for “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” rank it as not only a favorite film but as a major influence. 35 years later the film retains it’s status as a classic and one of Steven Spielberg’s finest films. During my early teen years My parents bought me my first record player and my first Movie soundtrack “Jaws” I watch this one at least once a year and it gets better with each viewing. The cast is incredible and the performances by Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider are flawless. They didn’t simply act for this one they were the characters we saw on the screen. The secondary cast, the editing, Cinematography and the fabulous mechanical Shark (named Bruce by the production team) are all masterfully realized on the screen. John Williams score, as with most of his compositions is legendary and Iconic as the underlying voice and soul of the film. Truly a work of art on all levels!!!! Thanks to my Dad for taking me to see Jaws so many times and to Mr Spielberg and all that created this incredible movie and to all of you Happy 35th Anniversary to your epic, JAWS”

Below are some highlights from the film courtesy of  Universal Pictures, be sure to check out the following link as well to an incredible behind the scenes documentary called “The Shark is still working” at,  http://www.sharkisstillworking.com/

the 1970's Universal logo

the deadly first 10 mins of the movie

this sums it all up!

the politics of whats right and wrong verses what makes more money

that's one bad hat Harry

one terrifying POV

what horrific imagery playful fun in the foreground and gruesome carnage in the background

Quint has something to say!

Robert Shaw as Quint, the shark hunter

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper, things aren't measuring up!

the confrontation of a grieving mother who has lost her son!

a light hearted moment between father and son

WOW what a terrifying moment at the bottom of Ben Gardner's boat

this scene was so needed to break the high tension!

an uninvited guest attends the 4th of July gala festival

no fireworks, just teeth!!!

Hopper, Brody, and Quint set sail to hunt down the killer shark

hooks and line

he's a smart big fish!

the whole theater lost it here

the audiences first big views of just how big the shark is

the first barrel

hide n seek and night begins to fall

a night time visit from Mr. 25 footer

even in the hight of the tension Spielberg's magic is always on the screen as a falling star rips across the sky

the next day is filled with more shark encounters

who's hunting who

another barrel

what a shot

the chase

barrel #2

brody takes a turn

barrel #3

tug of war

3 barrels

poor little boat


the boats on fire what else could go wrong???


sending Hooper down in the cage

look out behind you

the cage was no match

frenzy on the ORCA


I was screaming out load when this happened!

one more chance for Brody

the humanity!!!!


last chance

the sea turns red

the survivors, Hooper and Brody

the end

37 Responses to “Jaws, the 35th anniversary”

  1. 1 Buckaroohawk
    June 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    This movie is easily one of Spielberg’s best, which is really saying something considering his filmmaking resume, and even after 35 years it’s still as terrifying as it was when it first hit theater screens. It’s impact has not deminished one bit in all this time, and I doubt it ever will.

    My favorite scene by far is the one where Quint and Hooper are trading stories about how they got the various scars on their bodies, and Brody feels left out because his only scar is the result of an appendechtomy. Then he notices the tattoo Quint has on his arm; a tattoo that marks him as a crewmember of the USS Indianapolis. Hooper is awed by this revelation, and the loud, silly bravado between the men slowly turns to terrifying, yet poignant, humanity as Quint delivers his soliloquy about what he witnessed after the sinking of the Indianapolis.

    That scene never fails to hit me right between the eyes. Robert Shaw’s performance throughout the movie is fantastic. Quint is seen as little more than the town’s whacko fisherman and Quint plays him as such until that scene I described above. After that, Quint becomes all too human; a man who has seen unspeakably horrible things, but has buried them deep down inside himself, covering them with a gruff, bitter shell. That shell cracks during the scene above and looking at it in hindsight, that’s the scene that tells you in no uncertain terms that Quint will not escape fate a second time. He won’t be returning home from this hunt.

    Man, just writing about this is giving me goosebumps! Now I’m gonna have to drop “Jaws” into the DVD player and give it another watch. Happy Birthday, “Jaws”! You’re one of the few movies that can still scare the willies out of my even after all these years!

    • 2 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

      We need to team up on these posts!!!! I love the way you write and you put into words so much of what I want to say but either can’t or don’t have time to do!!! HAAAA! great comments and thanks for adding so much depth to the films anniversary. The whole scene in the cabin is extraordinary and Shaw himself wrote the dialog for that segment. Shaw must of also loved planes because he names two of the quite accurately in his tale of the USS Indianapolis.

      • 3 Buckaroohawk
        June 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

        I’d consider it an honor to team up with you! Anytime you need a hand all you have to do is let me know and I’d be glad to help. And it would make my mother happy because I’d finally get to put my degree in English Writing to good use! 🙂

        You should have my e-mail address already, but if you lost it somewhere along the line it’s buckaroohawk@yahoo.com . Drop me a line anytime you think you need backup.

    • 4 Matt Boardman
      June 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Holy wow, yeah, that is one powerful scene! Everytime I watch it, you can feel the weight of the story that he’s telling and the way that Shaw tells it is pure magic. I remember the first time that I saw the movie and after that scene, I just sort of stared at the screen and went, “Whoa…”

      Yeah, I just got goosebumps too! ;D

  2. June 20, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Wow, thanks to your re-telling I am now going to watch this tomorrow, I really want to see that shooting star. Yes, Spielberg is magical, Indiana Jones and Close Encounters can only be described as ‘magic’ , something you cant put your finger on, its just all so perfect.

  3. June 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Off topic a little but I was just thinking about Close Encounters and how Spielberg is amazing. I was thinking of the scene where they find all the Avengers out in the desert and they start them up, that scene and hearing those radial engines come to life always makes me choke up.

    • 8 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 7:42 am

      I love CE3K and your right that Avenger scene is breathtaking,,, and it was shot not to far from my house

  4. 9 Barrie Suddery
    June 21, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I damn near soiled myself when I first saw this film back in the late eighties. I must have been about eight or nine.

    I still can’t believe it was PG rated given how scary it was, even by today’s standards. Proof that tension does more than gore (Saw writers, are you reading this?).

    Wonder if it’d be PG rated in today’s movie environment…

    • 10 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 7:43 am

      that script is defiantly the heart of the story and Spielberg himself rewrote every word before giving the final write to Carl Gottlieb.

    • 11 Jay
      June 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      In today’s movie environment, Hopper, Brody, and Quint would be played by Zack Efron, Jonah Hill, and Zoe Saldana, directed by Brett Ratner, with music by Beyonce and Justin Beiber, and that would be a whole new level of scary, my friend …

      • 12 Barrie Suddery
        June 22, 2010 at 3:32 am

        Oh, please don’t give Hollywood any ideas. That concept’s enough to give me mightmares already. LOL.

  5. June 21, 2010 at 3:32 am

    I saw this film as I little kid no more than 7-8, took me years to go back into the sea. LOL

    This is such a great film, even though I know the scary bits, they still make me jump. LOL

  6. 15 Richard Knapp
    June 21, 2010 at 3:51 am

    A perfect summer movie. Kept me out of the water the whole summer back in 75 – and I lived near a lake 😉

    Did you recieve the emails I sent you last week? Hope you are doing well!

    Best regards,

    • 16 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 7:45 am

      I don’t recall!!! I haven’t been on the computer in a while,, to much work so I’ll have an afternoon to go thru everything and I ‘ll let you know! Thanks

      • 17 Richard Knapp
        June 21, 2010 at 7:55 am

        Thanks buddy! And thanks for posting the Jaws pictures – a nice reminder of a simpler time.

        Take care

  7. 18 the bluesman
    June 21, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I was living in Kansas in 1975, no water of sharks, just plains and hot wind. I never saw Jaws in the theatre, but caught in on the very new back then cable tv a couple years later.
    I thought it was itneresting that the real robot rubber shark when they began to film wasnt actaully that scary, so they reverted to the old movie trick of dont show the monster that much.

    Of course, music, editing and good film technniques can make a big rubber shark look terrifying.

    Great post, Mr E.

    • 19 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 7:47 am

      Thanks Justin!!! You know the orca kinda has a cargo-ish look to it, HAAAA! and your right, that goes to show that if you know what your doing you can make anything look good or real with a little extra work!

    • June 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

      I think that had more to do with the fact that the shark almost never worked.

  8. June 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

    A truly superb film, let’s hope the 3D remake they were talking about recently never happens !!!!!

  9. June 21, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Ohhhhhh, sooooooo that’s why Bio Channel had that Jaws BTS show last week, That show was great. I’ll have to read your whole post when work slows done. Hope all’s well on your end, bro.

    peace & bananas | deg

    • 27 johneaves
      June 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Yeah your right!!!! How are you bro, Haven’t even had much time to catch up with ya since the FEST!!! Come to Comicon next month!!!

      • July 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

        Don’t see being able to make that , bro. 😦

        I did just watch Jaws on the 4th though, ya know, ’cause it takes place on the 4th ad’ all. Man, that is just an AMAZING film stem-ta-stern. Watched II also, not a “bad” film per se, just can’t compete with the original. Watching III (3D) now too as I never saw it. Seems just to be fun shlock. With Dennis Quaid and Lea Thompson no less! Will watch IV after that to round out the series, Hey, they’re free to watch on Netflix with your membership so I just put them on when I’m working, as you don’t really have to “watch” the last two, IMO.

        But man, that original, pure unmitigated genius to this very day!

        peace & safe waters | deg

      • July 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

        AND, such an AMAZING score! I can’t believe I never owned it ’til now. It has been playing on a iTunes loop for the past five days in my studio (and counting)! Love it!

        peace & chum | deg

  10. 30 Terry
    June 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    A great movie, and it is still scary, when the head pops out of the hole in the bottom of the boat, man that gets me every time. I read that Spielberg wanted to show the Shark right away but couldn’t get it working, and everyone agrees that it is a much scarier because you use your imagination to fill in for Bruce.


  11. June 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Wow! has it been that long I was only 13 at the time and after watching that movie I am still afraid of getting in the water soon as my feet disappear that’s it for me. The music is still haunting today as it was back then. Funny you should put the falling star as I always remembered that in the film.

  12. 33 Matt Boardman
    June 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Yes!! I was so hoping that you would do a post about Jaws! One of my all time favorite movies!! It’s one that has withstood the test of time and is just as good the millionth time I’ve watched it as it was the first!

    I can honestly say that this movie both made me terrified of sharks and curious about them. Love when Shark Week comes around! ;D

    The performances by all involved, mixed with the story and superb music made this a movie for the ages. So many creepy moments, so many suspense filled moments, so…gah! Now I have to go watch it again!! 😀 I was so sad when Quint got eaten. I wanted him to survive and his death really hit me!

    Yay! Thanks so much John! This was fun!!

  13. June 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I was five when this came out and I remember sitting up close with my brother and his friends. Great movie. What always bothered me is when the mother of the Kitner boy slaps Brody. It wasn’t really his fault, slap the Mayor around a little bit he’s the one who has it coming. I remember many many moons ago one of the Museums in downtown Chicago had a special effects exibit and they had one of the full sized machanical sharks. Every fifteen minutes it would move around.

  14. September 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

    One of the all time greats! Nice retrospective and I love all the images!

  15. September 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Saw Dreyfuss is Piranha 3D yesterday, playing Matt Hopper (but they couldn’t use the last name “Hopper”, but it was most-assuredly meant to be him, same glasses, wool cap and denim shirt) in a small boat listening to “Show me the way to go home…” on the radio. Too funny. The whole film was a super-gory hoot. Saw Greg Nicotero make a walk-by cameo in the big carnage scene. Fun stuff.

    peace & bananas & stay outta the water | deg

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June 2010

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