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Friday, August 31, 2012

Ten reasons why 'Jaws' is the best movie ever

By J. R. Wagner

Yes, I'm serious!

I've watched this film dozens of times (there was one point during my childhood where I had it memorized) and never get tired of it.

I wrote Jaws 5 (it was horrible...but I was a kid)

I begged my mom to get me the same sneakers Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus's character) wore on the boat (she did). They're 10 seconds into the clip below if you want to pick yourself up a pair.

I wanted to be a marine biologist for a while. I told my brother I wanted to be the first person to swim into the Jaws of a great white shark (he told on me).

I wanted to be a filmmaker for a while too!

It got me writing.

Okay....here are the ten reasons.

Quick disclaimer: these are from the mind of a pre-teen boy (my wife will argue that mind still prevails inside my head) so cut me some slack!


The book, by Peter Benchley,  was awesome! 

I was hooked from the first sentence.

"The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail."


Directed by none other than Stephen Spielberg.

I realize Jaws came out before Spielberg was a big-shot but my parent's didn't let me watch it until after Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Goonies (I know, he didn't direct...but he was a writer) and E.T. came out so I was already a fan by the time I saw it.


The monster is real.

Never before had I been so frightened by something that actually existed. Freddy Krueger, Mama Fratelli, Colonel Decker and Gargamel were all fictitious characters -actors in costume.
This bad guy -this shark is out there.  According to my eleven-year-old mind, I had a one in five chance of being chewed up by a great white every time I went into the ocean.


Even the music is scary.

Composing genius John Williams's first scoring of a Spielberg film resulted in one of the most easily identifiable movie soundtracks...ever. Have a listen if you've forgotten.

Williams went on to win more awards than you can shake a stick at (including 5 Oscars including one for the Jaws score which, was later ranked the 6th greatest score EVER by the American Film Institute).

John Williams


Richard Dreyfuss

Great actor: Close Encounters, What about Bob?, Mr. Holland's Opus.  Need I say more?

Dreyfuss in Jaws

Dreyfuss today


One of the greatest scenes in film...ever


Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw played the greatest character in the film.  From the moment you first hear him speak, you believe he is a shark fisherman. Perfect casting, perfect acting.  22 seconds in is when Shaw begins.

Robert Shaw was also a novelist! (thanks Wikipedia)

Shaw then embarked on a trilogy of novels – The Flag (1965), The Man in the Glass Booth (1967) and A Card from Morocco (1969); it was his adaptation for the stage of The Man in the Glass Booth that gained him the most attention for his writing.

Robert Shaw


Film Budget: 9 Million

Box office take $470,653,000 in 1975!!!


It almost didn't happen

Jaws was plagued with production disasters throughout the filming.  This awesome documentary chronicles many of the problems.


What wasn't.

Jaws was nominated for best picture but lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest.  Stephen Spielberg was NOT nominated for best director and deeply resented the academy for it. I believe it was this harbored resentment that turned him into the director who has given us so many great films ever since. (He won best director twice since)

I'd like to thank the Academy... (and IMDB)

Indiana Jones 5 (announced)

2011 War Horse
2008 A Timeless Call (documentary short)
2005 Munich
1999 The Unfinished Journey (documentary short)
1997 Amistad
1991 Hook
1990 The Visionary (video) (segment "Par for the Course")
1989 Always
1985 Amazing Stories (TV series)
The Mission (1985)
Ghost Train (1985)
1984 Strokes of Genius (TV mini-series) (introductory segments - uncredited)
1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie (segment 2)
1979 1941
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my website.

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