During one hot summer Amity island, known for its summer tourist trade, experiences a rash of attacks on swimmers and boaters. A 25 foot white shark has set up housekeeping in the waters off the island. People are dying. And the shark won’t go away. This is bad for business. Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) and the island's Chamber of Commerce refuse to allow Sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to close the beaches.
When a young boy is eaten in front of beach goers opinions change drastically. This is worse for business. The boy's mother offers a bounty for anyone who kills the shark. Fisherman from near and far converge on Amity. The waters are teeming with them. Brody is charged with finding and killing the shark before Amity's reputation is irreparably destroyed. He enlists the help of oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and an old sailor Quint (Robert Shaw) to find and kill the shark before the tourist season is destroyed and more people die. In that order.
When "Jaws" was released in the summer of 1975 everyone went to the movies. And everyone stayed away from the beach. The film had a budget of $8,000,000 and it grossed over $7,000,000 the first weekend in limited release. Not bad.
Three sharks were made for the movie. They were collectively named Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer. The issues with “Bruce” the shark caused less shark and more suspense. This made the movie more intense then it would have been. That intensity glued people in their seats whenever those strands of music started. The dialogue between people allowed the audience to breathe between attacks. Even if the dialogue was just a one liner that would echo throughout time.
I liked that mentioned in the movie are two real incidences. The 1916 Jersey shore shark attack and the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during WWII. Real life references add a little extra to the movie. Making fictional stories more believable. And the more believable a story is, the scarier it is. Not that this one needed any help. It’s frightening enough because it’s all too real to begin with.
Many iconic lines and phrases come from this movie. As well as influences on movie themes and plot situations. Even parodies of the movie and its characters are sprinkled throughout modern movies. We owe a lot to “Jaws”.