Seventies blockbuster movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. A large man-eating shark wreaks havoc off the coast of Long Island whilst local sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) finds himself caught between a panicking community and a town council eager to play down the reported deaths. However, the mounting bodycount cannot be ignored, so Brody heads off on a shark hunt, accompanied by marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and salty old sea-dog Quint (Robert Shaw). John Williams won an Oscar for his menacing score.
In the vastly overrated 1998 book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the blame for Hollywood's blockbuster mentality at least partially on Steven Spielberg's box-office success with this adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel, Jaws. But you can't blame Spielberg for making a terrific movie, which Jaws definitely is. The story of a Long Island town whose summer tourist business is suddenly threatened by great-white-shark attacks on humans bypasses the potboiler trappings of Benchley's book and goes straight for the jugular with beautifully crafted, crowd-pleasing sequences of action and suspense supported by a trio of terrific performances by Roy Scheider (as the local sheriff), Richard Dreyfuss (as a shark specialist), and particularly Robert Shaw (as the old fisherman who offers to hunt the shark down). The sequences on Shaw's boat--as the three of them realize that in fact the shark is hunting them--are what entertaining moviemaking is all about.
It's odd that the cornerstone of the new edition is a 10-year-old documentary. Shot for the laserdisc release (the unofficial 20th anniversary edition), the 2-hour "The Making of Jaws" is an excellent telling of how this film was made and became the top grossing film (and launched the career of extras filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau). An hour-long edited version appeared on the 25th anniversary DVD. Here's what else different from the 25th anniversary DVD: an interesting a 9-minute vintage featurette shot for British TV that has never been seen in the States; a few additions to the extensive "Jaws Archives" (production stills, storyboards and the like), and a few new fragments in the deleted scene roll. The image is the same excellent transfer as before but this time you can get the DTS and Dolby sound on the same disc plus a nice 60-page photo journal. A seaworthy set but hardly worth trading in your old DVD. --Doug Thomas, Amazon.com
From the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, Steven Spielberg directed this thrill ride of terror. During the height of beach season, the Massachusetts resort town of Amity Island is terrorised one summer by surprise attacks from a great white shark. Three unlikely partners team up to hunt down the rogue and destroy it: the new chief of police from New York (Roy Scheider), a young university-educated oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss), and a crusty old-time fisherman (Robert Shaw). The film shoot was notoriously difficult for the young Spielberg, who had directed only one feature film before Jaws. The mechanical shark seldom operated correctly, and Spielberg was frequently forced to create the idea of terror without actually showing the shark. However, after the film premiered it went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time surpassing The Godfather and becoming the first film to gross more than a hundred million dollars. Composer John Williams created the score to JAWS, which has since become a well-known theme of impending doom. Ron and Valerie Taylor were responsible for filming live sharks in Australia; their sequences were later mixed with footage of the mechanical shark. --This text refers to the DVD edition.