[OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING]
Yes, this film just recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.Yes, many movie lovers have seen this film – some countless times. But I’m still throwing in this warning for the few of you who still haven’t seen the movie yet. And if you haven’t seen it go out and buy the 35th Anniversary Edition; comes with a really awesome documentary about the making-of the movie as well as a cool picture booklet with behind-the-scenes anecdotes and pictures. Thank you and enjoy!
Let’s kick off this special retrospective in high-gear with a very familiar theme song that most people have heard at least once in their lives:
If you weren’t traumatized listening to that, you’ll definitely be after watching the original trailer to this cinema classic:
Welcome to this retrospective celebrating the first summer blockbuster and one of the most recognizable movie monsters of all time: JAWS. Enjoy this throwback look at a cinematic classic that still captivates and scares the living daylights out of moviegoers. Are you still afraid to go to the beach or swim in any body of water, including pools? You can thank this film for that terror!
Growing up, I was fascinated with the silver screen. I loved seeing movies of all types of different genres, but I was also big fan of monster films. Some of my favorite films when I was a young Sylent Mari included many of the classic Universal Monster films like: Dracula, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and so many others. I’m still very much a lover of all things Horror, and I love Horror films and TV shows. I have few friends who are into the genre but very thankful that we can geek out over the frightening and gory.
There was one particular Horror/Monster film that really captured my attention & imagination as a kid, and to this day it remains my favorite film of all-time: JAWS. Part drama/monster/horror – and equal parts amazing – JAWS is a timeless film classic that still scares the crap out of audiences both young and old today. I recently attended a special 40th anniversary screening on June 21st of this year and it was at about 90% capacity. There were families, there were single folks like me, and the age range was very diverse: toddlers, teens, adults, and a few moviegoers in their 70’s-80’s. It was so much fun to get to experience JAWS on the big screen, and the whole time I felt like I was a kid watching it for the first time, excited and smiling throughout the whole film.
My mom still has this drawing with a “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” job description on it from first grade (I was six) that I drew for a class project. While she is still quite proud of it and loves to show it to me every so often when I visit, I can only imagine what my poor first grade teacher was thinking at the time. I will eventually get a picture of that drawing and share it here, but here’s a short description of it:
Quint is being eaten alive by the dreaded Great White Shark that has been stalking various beachgoers and swimmers, while Chief Brody looks on in horror as he scrambles to safety on the Orca (Quint’s boat). Below this really cool-and-primitive stick figure drawing is a written sentence from me: “When I grow up I want to be a marine biologist because I want to study sharks.”
Though I never became a marine biologist (Never Say Never!), I still have a lifelong love and fascination with sharks, and especially Great Whites. Great Whites have always gotten a bad rap and JAWS didn’t help their cause, scaring people and causing many to kill millions and millions of sharks (Great Whites and other species) for fear of attacks happening all around the world. In reality, shark attacks only account for 10-30 fatalities a year…if that. Yet thousands upon thousands of sharks are killed for their fins and thrown back into the water, where they can’t swim and subsequently drown and die. #SharksAreOurFriendsNotFood
I won’t bore everyone with repeating tales of the production – which are vast and quite legendary. There are many documentaries and interviews that detail the struggles, frustrations, and fights that frequently broke out on set while the film was being made. One of those interesting documentaries is below. This originally aired on the BIO Channel back in 2012, and it’s a fascinating look at all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that occurred on the film. Despite all the production nightmares and the uncooperative mechanical sharks (including the legendary “Bruce”), the film would later become one that is highly regarded by critics who were impressed with young director Steven Spielberg’s risky vision – using POV shots of the shark stalking swimmers, putting his cast through hell and back, and ultimately creating a film executives originally thought would wind up an epic disaster.
JAWS: The Inside Story aired on the BIO Channel in 2012
Why do I dig JAWS so much? I could spend several posts writing about what an important piece of cinema it is, how it still affects people to this day, etc. The film means a lot to me because it was such a badass film when I first saw it and it left quite the impression on me. It inspired me to pursue various creative avenues, including filmmaking in the future. The direction of the film was groundbreaking for its time, and I love the tension & horror that we get whenever we see the shark POV scenes, as Jaws slowly swims up and seeks the right prey for it to devour.
What could’ve easily been a cheesy monster film was anchored by some very strong performances from its lead cast: Roy Scheider as “Chief Brody,” Robert Shaw as “Quint,” and Richard Dreyfuss as “Matt Hooper.” Including the supporting cast, the film had several excellent dramatic scenes that brought chills to me. Despite the mechanical sharks being divas and refusing to work most of the time, those three actors gave us several of cinema’s greatest dramatic scenes.
The opening credits of the film
Sylent Mari’s Favorite Scenes from JAWS
The following scenes below are my favorites from the film. It’s so hard to choose a favorite scene because there are so many to choose from, but these are the ones that have really stuck with my throughout repeated viewings over the years. With Summer in full swing, there’s still plenty of time to watch this Horror classic and remember – if you see a fin in the water, be wary of it…
The first victim to be killed by the mysterious “ocean” dweller
Second victim, the young Alex Kintner, during a busy day at the beach
Meeting salty sea-dog Quint for the first time, after Alex’s attack
Mrs. Kintner slaps Chief Brody, blaming him for Alex’s death
The Mayor of Amity being a delusional dumbass as Brody & Hooper warn him about the shark that’s been stalking Amity’s beaches
A young painter screams for help after a false alarm at the beach; the shark attacks a boater in the “Pond” in front of Chief Brody’s son
Quint, Hooper, and Brody prepare for an epic voyage to kill the shark
Our rag-tag team of shark hunters meet the huge villain up close
Quint recounts a haunting tale of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (based on a true story), which sunk in shark-infested waters during World War II
Jaws is not amused by having three barrels harpooned to it.
Jaws is not amused with Hooper trying to poison-harpoon it
Quint and Jaws’ love affair is over as quickly as it started.
“Smile, you son of a bitch!”
Chief Brody ain’t having it. He’s had a bad day, Quint’s dead, Hooper’s probably dead… He throws a tank into Jaws’ mouth, hoping to teach it a lesson. Just one well-placed shot. BOOM! you son of a bitch! Joining the celebration is…HOOPER! The bromance is still alive & strong as Brody and Hopper swim back to shore.