Reviewed by: Eric Paddon
Young Teen to Adult
2 hr. 4 min.
Year of Release:
“Jaws,” the familiar story of a small New England town terrorized by a killer great white shark, remains to this day the greatest work of director Steven Spielberg. Instead of doing what a less talented director might have done and make it a vulgar horror film, Spielberg instead went for the more effective blend of unseen terror mixed with grand adventure. Coupled with outstanding performances from Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, and a memorable John Williams score, the end results are cinema magic.
There is some violence in the film, though not enough to make one question the film’s PG rating (it would probably be PG-13 though by today’s standards). A handful of profane words permeate and the salty fisherman Quint (Shaw) does use Christ’s name in vain at various points. On the plus side though, Spielberg is to be commended for cleaning up the dirty aspects of Peter Benchley’s novel which inspired this movie. Unlike the novel, Chief Brody (Scheider) and his wife are happily married and deeply in love (in the novel she has an afternoon tryst with the Hooper character), and the film’s violence far less graphic than what the book described. The book gave us selfish people who were difficult to sympathize with, while by contrast the movie gives us characters you’re glad to root for (even Quint, who gives a powerful speech about why he has a vendetta against sharks, stemming from his WWII experience surviving the sinking of the Indianapolis. This inspired touch wasn’t in the book either).