Steven Spielberg's film is generally considered one of the scariest movies ever made. The frightfest is based on the book by Peter Benchley, son of author Nathaniel and grandson of author Robert Benchley. The plot is simple: The tourist season of a resort island is devoured by a great white shark. The ensuing "fishing trip" to catch the monstrous man-eater is filmed with power and suspense and plenty of scares that has had audiences jumping out of their seats for decades--and staying out of the water.
Theatrical release: June 20, 1975.
The film was shot on location on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Estimated budget: $12 million.
The film grossed more than $260 million at the domestic box office and nearly $475 million worldwide.
JAWS was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and John Williams won an Oscar for his original score.
For the scene of Richard Dreyfuss fighting the shark from inside a cage, the crew used a very short stunt diver to make the shark seem abnormally large.
The famous shot of a head popping out of a hole in a sunken boat was shot in editor Verna Field's pool and was inserted by Spielberg after the film was completed.
JAWS is number 48 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies.
One early title for the film was STILLNESS IN THE WATER.
The film was supported by an enormous public-relations campaign. According to Newsweek, "Like the novel, the movie was launched with an almost unprecedented promotional campaign, complete with cross-country tours by stars and $700,000 worth of prime-time TV time to trumpet the release in 450 theaters throughout the land." The film became the highest-grossing film of all time until STAR WARS surpassed it two years later. JAWS spawned three sequels: JAWS 2, JAWS 3-D, and JAWS 4--THE REVENGE, as well as countless imitators.
"...One of the most effective thrillers ever made....One of the remarkable things about the picture is its relatively muted tone..." - 08/20/2000 Chicago Sun-Times, p.5
"...The phenomenon that invented 'the summer movie'..." - 11/24/1995 USA Today, p.3D
"...This fishy thriller is still Steven Spielberg's best movie..." - 09/01/2000 Total Film, p.98
"...It pretty much rewrote the rules for the modern-day blockbuster..." - 01/11/2002 Entertainment Weekly, p.36
"[A] record-shattering success..." - 12/01/2003 Premiere, p.12
"JAWS is a movie masterpiece, and still a joy to watch." - 07/01/2005 Premiere, p.125
"[A] terrific thriller....Perfect film-making." - 09/01/2005 Uncut, p.148
"[I]ts combination of thrills, suspense and smart characterisation has rarely been matched." - 10/01/2005 Sight and Sound, p.98