Despite reports to the contrary, "Bruce" was actually tested in water before it arrived on Martha's Vineyard and worked perfectly. However, the tests were done in the non-salt water tank at Universal Studios. Once it was placed in actual ocean water, the salt played havoc with the shark's controls.
Several decades later, Lee Fierro, who plays Mrs. Kintner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an "Alex Kintner Sandwich". She commented that she had played his mother so many years ago. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her - none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn't seen each other since the original movie shoot.
Though respected as an actor, Robert Shaw's trouble with alcohol was a frequent source of tension during filming. In later interviews, Roy Scheider described his co-star as "a perfect gentleman whenever he was sober. All he needed was one drink and then he turned into a competitive son-of-a-bitch." According to Carl Gottlieb's book "The Jaws Log," Shaw was having a drink between takes, at which point he announced "I wish I could quit drinking." Much to the surprise and horror of the crew, Richard Dreyfuss simply grabbed Shaw's glass and tossed it into the ocean. When it came time to shoot the infamous USS Indianapolis Scene, Shaw attempted to do the monologue while intoxicated as it called for the men to be drinking late at night. Nothing in the take could be used. A remorseful Shaw called Steven Spielberg late that night and asked if he could have another try. The next day of shooting, Shaw's electrifying performance was done in one take.
When composer John Williams originally played the score for Steven Spielberg, Spielberg laughed and said, "That's funny, John, really; but what did you really have in mind for the theme of Jaws (1975)?" Spielberg later stated that without Williams's score, the movie would only have been half as successful and according to Williams, it jumpstarted his career.
An accident during filming caused the Orca to begin sinking. Steven Spielberg began screaming over a bullhorn for the nearby safety boats to rescue the actors. John R. Carter, already up to his knees in water on the sinking Orca, held his Nagra (tape recorder) up over his head and screamed, "F**k the actors, save the sound department!" During the accident, the film camera was submerged, so its film, still submerged in sea water, was flown to a New York film lab where technicians were able to save the film. The accident is described starting at 01:30:07 in "The Making of Jaws" on the 30th Anniversary edition DVD.
Composer John Williams conducted the orchestra during the 1976 Academy Awards, so when it was announced that he won the Oscar for Best Score, he had to run up to the podium to accept his Oscar and then run back to continue conducting the orchestra.
According to Steven Spielberg in the DVD 'making of' documentary, his original idea for introducing Quint was to have him in the local movie theater watching Moby Dick (1956) starring Gregory Peck. Quint was to be sitting at the back of the theater and laughing so loudly at the absurd special effects of the whale that he drove the other viewers to exit the theater, leaving Quint by himself. Spielberg says that the only thing that stopped him from doing that scene was Gregory Peck. Peck held part of the rights to that movie and when Spielberg approached him for permission, Peck turned him down. Not because he thought it was a bad idea to use the film that way, but because Peck didn't like his performance in Moby Dick (1956) and didn't want the film seen again.
Preview audiences screamed when the head of a shark victim appears in the hole in the bottom of the boat. Director Steven Spielberg re-shot the scene in editor Verna Fields swimming pool because he wanted them to "scream louder".
During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where "Bruce" the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark's mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas' head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they'd done major damage to the creature.
Three mechanical "Bruces" were made, each with specialized functions. One shark was open on the right side, one was open on the left side, and the third was fully skinned. Each shark cost approximately $250,000.
Roy Scheider stated in an interview that in the scene where Lee Fierro (Mrs. Kintner) smacks him in the face, she was actually hitting him. Apparently, the actress could not fake a slap and so the 17 takes were some of the "most painful" of his (Scheider's) acting career. Also, Lee Fierro stated in several interviews that in one of the takes when she slapped Roy Scheider, his glasses fell off.
With the schedule expanding from 52 to 155 days, Steven Spielberg had to juggle Universal's impossible deadlines, an unfinished script, chaotic conditions off Martha's Vineyard and a belligerent Robert Shaw. On the last day of shooting, Spielberg wore his most expensive clothes to deter a dunking from the mutinous crew. As soon as the shot was captured, he jumped in a speedboat and sped shoreward yelling, "I shall not return."
The line "that's some bad hat, Harry", at 16:35, is the slogan for Bad Hat Harry Production Company. Their ad page features a cartoon rendition of Martin and Harry sitting by the beach, with a shark fin in the water in the background.
Steven Spielberg was not the original director of Jaws. The first person was fired after a meeting with producers and studio execs. In the meeting he said that his opening shot would have the camera come out of the water to show the town, then the whale (instead of the shark) would come out of the water. The producers said that they were not making 'Moby Dick' and would not work with someone who did not know the difference between a whale and a shark.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, was used as Amity Island primarily because even 12 miles out to sea, the sandy bottom was only 30 feet down, allowing the mechanical shark to function. Residents were paid $64 to scream and run across the beach as extras.
In the actual Jersey Beach shark attacks of 1916 (which Hooper mentions in the film), the sequence of attacks is similar to that of the film: a swimmer in the surf; a dog; a boy; and the leg of a man in a tidal slough.
Although Steven Spielberg wanted Charlton Heston to play Brody, the main reason Spielberg decided against casting him was because of Heston's "saving the day" role in his previous movies, Airport 1975 (1974) and Earthquake (1974). Spielberg reasoned that if Heston would have been cast, it signifies to the audience that the shark has virtually no chance against the hero.
In a biography, Steven Spielberg revealed how Robert Duvall helped to encourage him into making the movie. In return, Spielberg offered the role of Brody to Duvall but he turned it down, fearing that it may make him too famous as a result. Duvall wanted to play Quint, but Spielberg told him he was too young.
Robert Shaw ad-libbed the "Here lies the body of Mary Lee" line after Steven Spielberg prompted him to give Brody's wife (on the dock) a hard time. Asked later where he quoted it from, as it would require getting a license and release from the author to be used in the film, Shaw said that was unlikely, as it was off an old grave marker in Ireland.
The first shark killed on the docks, which is supposed to be the "man-eater" in the movie, is actually a real shark killed in Florida because there wasn't a big enough one in Martha's Vineyard. According to Carl Gottlieb's "The Jaws Log", by the time it had been shipped to the set and prepared for filming, it was starting to decompose quite badly and the smell was appalling. As it was hung from its tail, its internal organs broke loose and piled up in the back of its throat, adding to the discomfort of those forced to work in close proximity to it.
Steven Spielberg observed at the first testing screening that the first surprise appearance of the shark got the biggest scream from the audience. But after he re shot the scene at Ben Gardner's boat, the surprise appearance of Ben Gardner's head got the biggest scream, while the appearance of the shark received half the reaction it used to. Spielberg said it taught him a lesson that a movie can have only one major scare moment, because afterward the audience will be on guard against the film.
As most of the seaside resorts in 1975 experienced a downturn in visitors, some of the establishments would resort to innovative ways to lure in customers. One recorded example was a seafood restaurant in Cape Cod which proudly displayed the sign "Eat Fish - Get Even".
Charlton Heston was so annoyed with being rejected for the role of Brody that he later made disparaging comments about Steven Spielberg and vowed never to work with him. He later turned down Spielberg's offer of the role of General Stilwell in 1941 (1979).
Quint's tale of the USS Indianapolis was conceived by playwright Howard Sackler, lengthened by screenwriter John Milius and rewritten by Robert Shaw following a disagreement between screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb. Shaw presented his text, and Benchley and Gottlieb agreed that this was exactly what was needed.
The "forward tracking, zoom out" shot used when Brody realizes Alex Kintner has been eaten has been called "the Jaws shot" by some video teachers who instruct students on using this move. However, this shot is merely a reverse of the "forward zoom and reverse tracking" (also known as th Trombone Shot) shot invented by Irmin Roberts for the disorienting height shots in Vertigo (1958). A similar shot appears to have been used for the dream sequences in Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966), in which Montag runs down an apparently endless corridor, passing doors on both sides but seems to never get closer to the end.
The scene where the head pops out from under the boat was not originally scripted. Director Steven Spielberg says he "got greedy" after he saw the preview audience's reaction to the scene where the shark jumps out behind Brody's head and wanted "one more scare."
Steven Spielberg's biggest fear other than the appearance/performance of the mechanical shark was that cameras would catch sight of land. The reason Spielberg didn't want land to be seen was because he thought the audience could envision the characters having the option of just running back to shore, when in danger. He wanted to isolate the audience as much as the characters.
The gray and cloudy sky in water scenes is artificial. It is an image on a giant wall placed in the Universal studios. In front of the wall is a huge artificial lake, the "Falls Lake", which - together with the wall - was a backdrop for more than 20 movies already, including Jaws (1975).
There were two 300-pound weights attached to Susan Backlinie that were being tugged by two groups of crewmen on shore. One group would pull right, and the other would pull left. It took three days to film that sequence.
This was the first movie to reach the coveted $100 million mark in "theatrical rentals", which is about 45% of the "box office gross". It was the highest-grossing of all-time in the U.S. until Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
A scene filmed, but not included in the final release, was during the second beach attack. Brody's son, swimming in the "shallow area" is frozen in terror as the shark approaches him; the man saves his life by pushing the boy out of the way at the last minute and putting himself in the path of the shark. There is a shot of the bloody, dying man's upper body being dragged briefly along in the shark's jaws before being pulled underwater. Steven Spielberg shot the scene, but decided it was far too gruesome and didn't include it. The DVD release shows the scene being shot, blood and all, during the The Making of Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws' (1995) documentary, but it is not included in the "Deleted Footage" or "Outtakes" sections of the DVD.
Fabien Cousteau - grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau - invented a Great White Shark-shaped submarine to study the sharks in a natural setting. He discovered that, contrary to the killing-machine nature shown in Jaws, Great Whites are actually very cautious fish. They also communicate with each other via their fins and body language.
According to the boat handlers who worked on the film, Quint's boat, "Orca", was a studio fabrication based upon a boat purchased locally. After the special effects team finished with it, it was so top-heavy as to be unseaworthy. Ballast would correct that, but the only large quantity of lead that could be located locally was owned by a local dentist who was going to use it to shield his X-Ray room. So that was rented from him at an exorbitant fee. The fake Orca, designed to sink, was actually more seaworthy than the real thing.
Quint's boathouse set was built in Martha's Vineyard on an abandoned lot. The city council made the production crew sign an agreement to demolish it after filming and replace everything exactly as it had been - right down to the litter.
When the shark attacks Hooper's cage, there's live footage of a real Great White with a rope hanging from its mouth. This shark's mouth is clearly much smaller than the shark's mouth when it attacks the boat moments later. These scenes were filmed by noted shark photographers Ron Taylor and Valerie Taylor with the help of shark expert Rodney Fox specifically for the movie. Because the Great White sharks they filmed would be smaller than the mechanical shark in the movie, they constructed a smaller version of Hooper's shark cage. Inside the cage they alternately used a small mannequin or a little person. One of the sharks they attracted got caught in the cage's cables and tore it apart trying to escape. The footage was so good that they changed the script to reflect the destroyed cage and Hooper escaping by hiding on the ocean floor. However, the small person used in the scene refused to go back in the miniature cage, which was damaged in the incident.
There is a much-repeated story that a lot of the pain on Susan Backlinie's face (Chrissie Watkins, the first victim) is real, since as well as moving her about in the water, the frame she was strapped into was breaking her ribs. In a radio interview, she denied being injured.
In 2010 when the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheik experienced killer shark attacks it pretty much used the plot of Jaws as its guide, including denying the problem, resisting closing the beaches, reluctantly closing them after a near shore attack, killing the wrong shark and declaring it the right one despite clear evidence to the contrary, re-opening the beaches with a fanfare declaring them safe, then having more attacks take place. After that the shark simply left of its own accord.
Pre-production had been cut short in the hopes of taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather in Martha's Vineyard. However, when the production landed at the Vineyard, the weather took a turn for the worse. Consequently, shooting had to begin without a finalized script, meaning Steven Spielberg and Carl Gottlieb had to work on the screenplay after they'd finished filming for the day.
Robert Shaw also ran into trouble with the IRS and had to flee the country once his scenes were completed. If he spent more than a certain amount of time in the U.S., he would face a tax liability. To circumvent that, Shaw was flown to Canada on his days off.
Despite the film's mammoth box-office returns, Robert Shaw didn't earn a penny out of it. He was facing heat from the IRS for tax evasion, and due to working in countries as diverse as the US, Canada and Ireland, he had to forgo his salary to make amends.
One oft-repeated falsehood about the movie is that the color red is never used in any clothes or any backgrounds as Steven Spielberg wanted it to be only seen as blood; however, a simple viewing of the film shows plenty of red throughout: hats and clothing, American flags, Coca-Cola items, upholstery, sign lettering, coolers, can and jar labels, etc., as well as much of the hull of the Orca itself.
MythBusters (2003) dedicated a special episode to testing whether or not certain things from this film are plausible. It concluded that: Piano wire does not have the tensile strength needed to be used as an adequate shark-catching line; scuba tanks will not explode when shot; a great white shark can ram a dive cage with enough force to damage or destroy it; a great white shark has enough power to punch a hole in the side of a wooden boat under the right circumstances, but an example of this happening has never been documented; a shark's maximum striking force is great enough to pull the barrels under, but the force a shark can generate in a continuous pull is insufficient to keep the barrels under water for a significant amount of time; a shark cannot generate enough force to pull a boat backwards with great enough speed that waves break over the stern; and punching a shark in the nose, eyes, or gills will cause it to flee or at least back off briefly.
After the surprise success of the film, Hollywood insiders ascribed the film's effectiveness mostly to veteran editor Verna Fields rather than the little-known, 28-year-old Steven Spielberg. Although he undoubtedly learned much from Fields, Spielberg wished to prove his worth in following films and never worked with Fields again. It should be said that from Jaws (1975) until Fields death, Spielberg only made three films: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), 1941 (1979) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Following the release of the film, a sort of hysteria overtook some members of the public, resulting in numerous incidents across the country. In one, a beach in Southern California was cleared by lifeguards due to sharks in the water, which turned out to be dolphins; and in a sadder incident in Florida, an immature pygmy sperm whale that beached itself was beaten to death by bystanders who mistook it for a shark.
On the DVD documentary, Steven Spielberg states that his original idea for introducing the shark was going to be a scene that took place at the dock at night: The harbor master would be watching TV, and through the window behind him the audience would see a row of boats rising and falling as the shark swam underneath them. Spielberg believed that the swell of the boats would help indicate the huge size of the shark; however, the logistics involved (for example, getting all the boats to go up and down at the correct intervals) proved too difficult to coordinate properly. Additionally, the constantly malfunctioning shark would not allow the scene to be filmed. Much to Spielberg's disappointment, the scene had to be shelved.
Steven Spielberg cast Roy Scheider based on his performance in The French Connection (1971). The studio was wary of having him but eventually agreed to the casting decision when Scheider signed a three-picture deal. The sequel, Jaws 2 (1978), would be Scheider's last film under the deal, the other one was Sorcerer (1977).
Howard Sackler was asked to contribute to the screenplay because of his experience as a scuba diver. Sackler's only proviso was that he not receive screen credit as he felt that he didn't work long enough on the film.
After filming was completed Steven Spielberg said "My next picture will be on dry land. There won't even be a bathroom scene". He was predominantly true to his word. His next film would be Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) which took place on land, but there were nevertheless a couple of bathroom scenes.
The lighthouse in the film near the beach is an actual lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard where the filming took place. Because of the billboard in the scene, the lighthouse had to be "moved" with special effects in post-production.
Lee Marvin was Spielberg's first choice for the role of Quint, despite his reservations about using big-name actors. Marvin thanked him but replied that he'd rather go fishing. Spielberg then wanted Sterling Hayden for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden's income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn't subject to levy) for a large sum. It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw was cast by Spielberg instead on the recommendation of the film's producers, Zanuck and Brown.
The film was simultaneously shown in 490 theaters on its opening weekend, the first time for Hollywood, setting the standard for subsequent films. The film was originally booked in about 1000 theaters, but MCA executive Lew Wasserman wanted that cut back, saying he wanted lines at the box office.
The "oceanographic institution on the mainland" that Matt Hooper comes from refers to the real-life Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Bob Ballard who rediscovered the RMS Titanic worked from Woods Hole.
As Hooper examines the remains of Chrissie Watkins, he says that the tissue damage "indicates the non-frenzied feeding of a large squalus." "Squalus" is simply Latin for "shark" (though "Squalus" is also the genus name for dogfish sharks). Hooper uses the Latin for the oceanic whitetip shark ("Longimanus") and what's probably supposed to be the longfin mako shark ("Isurus glaucus").
Some scenes that have been declared "missing" from the video were not in the original theatrical release. When the movie was first televised, the network needed fillers after editing it for TV, so they used extra footage from the film's production.
Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown optioned the film rights to the novel for $175,000 in a deal which also included a first-draft screenplay from author Peter Benchley. This draft, extremely faithful to the novel, would later be rejected by Steven Spielberg. The subsequent two drafts from Benchley would also be rejected.
This was Jonathan Filley's only appearance on film. He was discovered through local auditions. Although never appearing after that, he became a successful production assistant and would eventually reunite with Steven Spielberg 30 years later on War of the Worlds (2005) as the head production assistant.
Jaws opened on June 20, 1975. It was supposed to be released in theaters for Christmas 1974, but because filming ran way over the shooting schedule, its release was pushed back to summer the following year. Back in 1975, summer was traditionally when the worst movies were dumped into theatres as Americans typically enjoyed the outdoors instead. But the film was so good, beachgoers actually flocked to see it, and the movie became the highest grossing film of all time up to that point. It became the first film to gross over $100 million at the box office and the summer blockbuster was born.
The Orca was a 29-foot trawler that had to carry the weight of more than 20 cast and crew members at any given time. For several shots, the boat had to rock as if being struck by a huge shark from below. To accomplish this, there was a speedboat with a rope attached to it that ran under the Orca's hull and hooked to the other side. It would be gunned at full speed, causing the Orca to rock violently and everyone on board to fall, which is what they wanted. After doing that three or four times, a hole broke open in the Orca's hull. With safety boats rushing in and people yelling "Get the actors off the boat," the vessel sunk in about three and a half minutes.
The blowing up of the shark was scheduled for the last day of the shoot. Four cameras were trained on it. Steven Spielberg, however, was not there. He decided that before the crew did any kind of wild prank on him to mark the end of principal photography, he would just leave quietly. He and Richard Dreyfuss were on a plane to Boston when the actor turned to him and asked how the final shot went. When Spielberg answered, smiling, "They're shooting it now," Dreyfuss began laughing hysterically.
Richard Dreyfuss said that the only truly bad thing that happened to him on Martha's Vineyard was the cruel treatment he received from Robert Shaw. Although Shaw could be very nice to him in private, such as the time he read Dreyfuss his entire play, The Man in the Glass Booth, while the two were sitting in the hold of the Orca, publicly he was brutal to him, telling him things like he thought Dreyfuss would only have a career "if there's room for another Jewish character man like Paul Muni." At one point, Shaw, remarking loudly on what he said was Dreyfuss' cowardice, dared him to climb to the top of the Orca's mast (about 75 feet) and jump off into the ocean, for which he would pay him upwards of $1,000 (the price rising with each taunt). Steven Spielberg finally intervened by telling Dreyfuss, "I don't care how much money he offers you, you're not jumping off the mast, not in my movie."
Steven Spielberg always considered Jurassic Park (1993) a sequel to Jaws (1975), but on land. People saw differences though, where the latter focused on character development as much as on its creature, while the former only used the dinosaurs to sell the film, and not the characters.
Steven Spielberg attributed many problems to his perfectionism and his inexperience. The former was epitomized by his insistence on shooting at sea with a life-sized shark; "I could have shot the movie in the tank or even in a protected lake somewhere, but it would not have looked the same," he said. As for his lack of experience: "I was naive about the ocean, basically. I was pretty naive about mother nature and the hubris of a filmmaker who thinks he can conquer the elements was foolhardy, but I was too young to know I was being foolhardy when I demanded that we shoot the film in the Atlantic Ocean and not in a North Hollywood tank."
As Steven Spielberg wanted to film the aquatic sequences relatively close-up to resemble what people see while swimming, cinematographer Bill Butler devised new equipment to facilitate marine and underwater shooting, including a rig to keep the camera stable regardless of tide and a sealed submersible camera box.
In the socialist Hungary, the movie was only released in 1985. It became the second biggest grossing film that year: 1.5 million tickets were sold (Hungary's population was around 10 million at that time!) The biggest hit that year was Bomber (1982) starring Bud Spencer.
Despite the overwhelming production difficulties, the company enjoyed the time on Martha's Vineyard, especially the actors, except Richard Dreyfuss who was an up-and-coming young actor ready to get on with more projects. Steven Spielberg said that Dreyfuss used to half joke: "What am I doing here? I should be walking into Sardi's to applause and acclaim."
According to production designer Joe Alves, the platform that operated the shark needed a minimal change in tidal depth, about 25 feet, and the downwind side of an island for protection. Locations were first scouted at Montauk and Sag Harbor, Long Island. Martha's Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, proved to have all the right elements.
The mechanical shark used in the film was nicknamed "Bruce" by its handlers, and the "full body" version tours around museums, while "Bruce II" resides at the Universal Theme Parks and "bites at" tourists on the tour ride.
Steven Spielberg originally wanted Joe Spinell and Frank Pesce to be the two guys on the dock fishing for the shark at night (Pesce as the guy who falls in the water and Spinell shouting to him). Unfortunately, Pesce couldn't make it to Martha's Vineyard.
Peter Benchley's novel was first discovered in galley form at early 1973 by then Cosmopolitan Magazine editor and producer David Brown's wife Helen Gurley Brown who was to be excerpting part of the novel to be published in an upcoming issue. Brown saw it by accident, having read it then a few days brought it to the attention of his partner Richard D. Zanuck, subsequently obtaining the rights to the book at the end of the year.
In the inquest scene where Hooper confirms the shark attacks as he analyzes the remains of the first victim Chrissie Watkins, he names two likely suspects by their scientific names but never clarifies them. Longimanus refers to the Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus Longimanus), well-known for following ships in the expectation of a sinking. Issurus Paucus is the rare Longfin Mako. The latter is an unusual choice since there are no record of attacks of humans compared to its plentiful cousin the aggressive Shortin Mako (Issurus Oxyrhincus).
The music score is one of the most recognizable, iconic, and suspenseful movie scores of all time. When John Williams played it for Steven Spielberg for the first time, Spielberg couldn't help but laugh, feeling that it was so simple it could never work. The final version after all uses just two music notes: E and F. But Williams persuaded Spielberg to use it, and after a few tweaks, one of the most famous film scores of all time was born. This was the second film on which Williams and Spielberg collaborated (after The Sugarland Express (1974)), and the two have worked together on almost every film Spielberg has done since.
It isn't until one hour, and 21-minutes into the movie that Steven Spielberg shows the famous shark. This tactic won the director much acclaim as a master of suspense, however it was not the original plan. The first day the model shark was used, it sank to the bottom of the ocean. It needed a great deal of maintenance and didn't appear very terrifying. Spielberg recalled, "I had no choice but to figure out how to tell the story without the shark" and he reasoned that, "It's what we don't see which is truly frightening."
Lee Fierro, a local non-professional who played the role of Mrs. Kintner, the mother of Alex Kintner, the young buy who was the second victim of the shark, who later confronts and slaps Chief Brody, has stated in a recent documentary on the film that she was often asked by fans of the movie, particularly young men, to slap them to recreate the moment. Fierro said she obliged them for some time, but eventually decided to stop doing it.
According to "The Jaws Log", Carl Gottlieb was originally hired to play the supporting part of Meadows, the town publisher, and then asked to re-write the script as it was being shot. While doing so, he found himself forced to cut his own part down to a bare minimum. The scene in which Brody and Hooper find Ben Gardner's abandoned boat originally took place during daytime and featured Gottlieb's character accompanying the two leads. While pretending to tie a rope between his own boat and that of Gardner, Gottlieb accidentally fell overboard and could have been decapitated by the boat's propellers had Fred Zendar not cut the engines. It was later decided to re-shoot the entire sequence at night, without the character of Meadows.
Just before Hooper goes down in the shark cage, he tries to spit on his scuba mask and says "I've got no spit." This line is meant to imply that he has been under extreme duress, since high levels of stress are known to cause inadequate saliva production and dry mouth.
Although he goes uncredited, the baseball announcer we hear over the radio during one of the beach scenes is sports announcer, Charlie Jones. He was mostly known for football. All of the players he announces here are fictional.
Quint's boat, named the "Orca", was also the name of a knock-film film named Orca (1977) that was released in 1977, largely to capitalize on the "shark craze" that came after the success of Jaws (1975) in 1975.
Carl Gottlieb said that "there was nothing to do except make the movie", so everyone kept overworking, and while as a writer he did not have to attend the ocean set every day, once the crewmen returned they arrived "ravaged and sunburnt, windblown and covered with salt water".
Robert Shaw was reluctant to take the role of Quint since he did not like the book, but decided to accept at the urging of both his wife, actress Mary Ure, and his secretary-"The last time they were that enthusiastic was From Russia with Love (1963). And they were right."
Robert Shaw based his performance on fellow cast member Craig Kingsbury, a local fisherman, farmer, and legendary eccentric, who was playing fisherman Ben Gardner. Steven Spielberg described Kingsbury as "the purest version of who, in my mind, Quint was", and some of his offscreen utterances were incorporated into the script as lines of Gardner and Quint. Another source for some of Quint's dialogue and mannerisms, especially in the third act at sea, was Vineyard mechanic and boat-owner Lynn Murphy.
Kevin Kline was offered the role of Matt Hooper. He told Steven Spielberg that he knew someone who was an oceanographer and thought he could play one. Spielberg then told him "I don't want someone who knows someone who is an oceanographer, I want someone who is an oceanographer".
The original U.K. video release of the 25th Anniversary version was wrongly labeled as a P.G. rating, when it should have been a 12 rating, due to Roy Scheider saying the "F" word in the documentary. The mislabeled videos have been withdrawn.
Carl Gottlieb named two science fiction films as as influences on how the shark was depicted, or not: The Thing from Another World (1951), which Gottlieb described as "a great horror film where you only see the monster in the last reel"; and It Came from Outer Space (1953), where "the suspense was built up because the creature was always off-camera".
Editor Verna Fields rarely had material to work with during principal photography, as according to Steven Spielberg "we would shoot five scenes in a good day, three in an average day, and none in a bad day."
Three full-size pneumatically powered prop sharks were made for the production: a "sea-sled shark", a full-body prop with its belly missing that was towed with a 300-foot (roughly 100-m) line, and two "platform sharks", one that moved from camera-left to -right (with its hidden left side exposing an array of pneumatic hoses), and an opposite model with its right flank uncovered.
Early on, before development of JAWS as a feature film, it started to be developed as a television series. At least one press release appeared in trade magazines attesting to this. The format of episodic television with new celebrity guest stars being eaten each week was thankfully abandoned in favor of developing the property as a feature film.
After finishing the film, George Lucas came and visited Steven Spielberg while Bruce (the mechanical shark) was still in the water. George Lucas wanted to get a picture with his head inside of the Bruce's mouth. Lucas put his head inside Bruce's mouth, and Spielberg played a prank on Lucas by closing Bruce's mouth. The prank backfired and Lucas ended up getting his head stuck inside Bruce's mouth and it took nearly three hours to set Lucas free.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Roy Scheider was trapped in the sinking Orca, it took 75 takes to get the shot right. Scheider did not trust the special effects team to rescue him in case of an emergency so he hid axes and hatchets around the cabin just in case.
Though his affair with Brody's wife was left out of the film, Hooper's death was actually in the script. The plan was to have a dummy representing Hooper placed in a cage underwater, and Australian filmmakers Ron and Valerie Taylor, who were filming the underwater shark scenes in Australia, would entice an actual shark to attack the cage and tear the dummy apart. They could never provoke the shark properly. Ultimately, the shark did attack and destroy the cage, but there was one problem: the Hooper dummy wasn't inside at the time. As this was the best footage they had, Steven Spielberg decided to use it, and allow Hooper to escape the shark.
After the shark blows up, the groaning sound effects during the shot of the carcass sinking are the same ones the truck makes as it crashes off a cliff in Steven Spielberg's first film, Duel (1971). The sound effect is from the original Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Peter Benchley was not happy with Steven Spielberg's ending where the shark is killed when a compressed air tank explodes in its mouth, claiming it was unrealistic. Spielberg defended himself by saying he will have held his audiences' attention for two hours and they would believe anything in the end no matter how unrealistic or unbelievable the ending really was. Spielberg even thought of an ending where after the shark is blown up, Brody would look up to see several shark fins.
The original scene of Alex Kintner's death called for a doll of Alex to be floating among the bathers, then the shark would jump out of the water and grab the doll and raft in its mouth. But as was typical of the mechanical shark, it didn't function properly. It would either come out of the water too high, not high enough or totally miss the raft. Finally, the shark succeeded in grabbing the raft, and in doing so, rolled over on its side, much like a real shark would do. This is the take Spielberg decided to use. However, the producers were concerned that the image of the shark with Alex in its mouth was too disturbing and might jeopardize the film's PG rating. Therefore, Spielberg and editor Verna Fields trimmed the beginning of the shot so only the shark's fins are briefly seen as it flips over.
The entire second half of Jaws (1975) takes place on the ocean, with just Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss carrying it between the three of them. No other characters appear (bar the shark) and dry land is glimpsed near the end of the move. The reason was Spielberg didn't want land to be seen because he thought the audience would think that the characters could just run back to shore. He wanted to isolate the audience as much as the characters.
In the original script, Quint was killed off by drowning. The rope from the harpoon that he fires at the shark wraps around his foot and he is pulled under by the shark, calling for Brody to give him the knife. (This was also the way the character was killed off in the book and, according to an interview with Steven Spielberg about this scene, it is similar to the way Ahab dies in "Moby Dick".) However, it was decided that Quint should be eaten as this would be the most tragic for the character based on his experiences on the USS Indianapolis, so the script was changed to what is in the movie.
Before the shark was blown up at the end, an explosives expert with a blasting permit was needed. Richard S. Edwards had done extensive explosives work while in the Navy and then for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and he agreed to place the dynamite for the final scene. Finding he couldn't get past the teeth of the shark mock-up, he was forced to crawl into the back of the device, but it was made of sharp fiberglass. After wrapping his knees with towels and putting on heavy gloves, he had to carry the dynamite in his mouth to place it in the head of the "shark," where his picture was taken and is now in the archives of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, along with the oral history that describes his contribution to this classic movie.
Quint's name comes from the Latin word for "fifth". Quint is the fifth person killed by the shark (after Chrissie Watkins, Alex Kintner, Ben Gardner's disembodied head in boat, and Michael's sailing teacher).
In the original novel, Hooper has an affair with Brody's wife, and is killed by the shark in the cage at the end. However, because the relationship between Brody's wife and Hooper was considered by many to be irrelevant to the plot, and arbitrarily included in the novel just to "sex it up", it was omitted from the film script, and Hooper was allowed to survive.
The story that Quint tells about his experiences aboard a sinking cruiser is a fictionalized version of the actual World War II Portland-class cruiser USS Indianapolis. Of the 1,196 crewman aboard only 316 survived while 300 died during the sinking and the other 579 dying from exposure, dehydration, drinking salt water and some from shark attacks. The majority of the dialogue in the film was largely written by Robert Shaw. The most major difference between Quint's account and the actual event was the date of the sinking (mentioned in the film as June 29, 1945), while the ship was actually sunk over a month later on July 30.
Regarding the ending, author Peter Benchley thought Steven Spielberg's idea of shooting and blowing up the compressed air tank was horrible. Spielberg even considered having Chief Brody kill the shark only to look up and observe several other fins coming towards him.
The sound-effect used when the shark first reveals itself, as Brody is throwing chum, is actually a fizzy-pop bottle being opened onto concrete after being shaken up. This sound effect was changed for the 25th DVD edition of the movie.
According to Carl Gottlieb's "The Jaws Log", Steven Spielberg was never happy with the moment when Ben Gardner's head appears in the hole in the bottom of his boat. Preview audiences jumped at this scene, but Spielberg wanted more than an ordinary shock moment. However, the studio was unwilling to budget a re-shoot. So Spielberg declared that he'd pay for it himself, assembling a crew in editor Verna Fields' back-yard swimming pool, which would serve as the underwater location. A gallon of milk gave the water enough of the look of Nantucket Sound. The boat bottom was placed in the pool and Richard Dreyfuss' stunt double went through the action. The studio eventually ate the cost of the re-shoot, and the scene was taken to a much higher level, just by changing the composition and timing of a few feet of footage.
When the shark is destroying the cage after Hooper swims away, you can see the shark turn and twist upside down. This was actual footage shot by Ron Taylor. As seen and explained in a recent Jaws (1975) documentary, the Great White Shark the couple had been filming became entangled in the cage's suspension ropes. The cage broke loose and sank to the bottom, however the shark managed to escape and swim off (as can also be seen in the film). After the shark had cleared the area, Ron had to take a second cage to the bottom in order to rescue the first. Ron and Valerie Taylor eventually went on to develop the chain-mail shark-proof diving suit.
In the book, it is revealed that Mayor Larry Vaughan is being blackmailed by the Mafia to keep the beaches open. The Mob has invested in Amity real estate, and is hoping for a multi-million dollar sale.
This movie was released in 2015 for the 40th anniversary. It was released on Fathers Day and Wednesday 3 days later at 2 P.M and 7 P.M on both days. The ending shown in theaters, as well as the 2012 Blu-Ray release, combines the original 1975 version and 2000 version. They combined the sound effect of the shark's death. In the original version, there was a ricochet sound when Brody shot the tank, which was removed in 2000. The Blu-Ray version can be seen on AMC when they air it.
With this film being nominated for 4 Oscars at the 48th Academy Awards in which star Robert Shaw hosted, he became the first person to host the Oscars and die in a movie that was nominated in the same ceremony