JAWS (1975) C widescreen 124m dir: Steven Spielberg
w/Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottleib, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie, Jonathan Filley, Ted Grossman
Effective as both an adventure film and a horror movie, this adaptation of Peter Benchley's best-seller delivers spine-tingling suspense as a great white shark satisfies his appetite off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.
From The Movie Guide: "A looming, terrifying catch of the day, JAWS was the summer mega-hit that established Steven Spielberg. This is the most cynically manipulative movie he's ever made (although it's deepened by some telling points about the tensions of contemporary masculinity), and it must be seen for its unexpected editing, driving score, and careful build toward shock images so big they feel like they're jumping in your lap. ...
"The film that put Steven Spielberg on the cinematic map, JAWS was phenomenally successful at the box office and seemed to tap into a universal fear of what lies beneath the sea. The director's version of Moby Dick, with Quint [Shaw] as Ahab, finally digs a grave for macho, exposing it as a foolhardy joke; it's high time. Spielberg's direction turns the material into a nerve-jangling tour de force. From the outrageously frightening opening --- in which a beautiful young woman skinny-dipping in the moonlight is devoured by an unseen shark --- to the claustrophobic climax aboard Quint's fishing boat, Spielberg has us in his grip and rarely lets go (although the film does bog down momentarily in some soap-opera scenes of Brody's [Scheider] family life).
"Because the film tapped into a common fear and played on it so skillfully, it was a worldwide hit and entered international popular culture. JAWS has been endlessly parodied by comedians and filmmakers alike, and John Williams's effective score has now become a cliche. Three vastly inferior sequels followed. Now, everybody into the pool."
JAWS was awarded Oscars for Best Editing (Verna Fields), Score (John Williams), and Sound (Robert L. Hoyt, Roger Heman, Earl Madery, John Carter). It was also nominated for Best Picture.