Nearly 41 years after its release, Jaws continues to reign supreme as one of the greatest films of all-time. This weekend, my 10 year old daughter watched the behemoth on Netflix–much to my dismay–during a sleepover at a friends house. When she returned home the next day, she was eager to learn more about the film. During this father-daughter bonding activity, we researched as much as we could and learned that the behind-the-scenes stories are almost as entertaining as the film itself. So sit right back and sink your teeth into these 10 bloody surprising morsels about the iconic movie.
1) Adding to the suspense, the shark doesn’t make an appearance until the 1 hour and 21 minute mark of the film.
2) Spielberg was forced to use an unreliable mechanical shark for most of the film, which he affectionately named Bruce–in honor of his lawyer at the time, after the real Great White which had been cast, affectionately named Bruce too, attacked several underwater film crew, even killing a production assistant named–you guessed it, Mike.
3) In the film’s climax, special effects were used to create a realistic looking exploding shark, after one of the original live-trained sharks was spooked–following the gunfire and became extremely uncooperative, swimming deep into the sea. However, nearly 27 years after vanishing, it was eventually captured by two fisherman just off the Gulf of California, near Mexico in 2002. Not to worry, they didn’t release it back into the ocean. Don’t believe me? Then go see it for yourself, but there’s only one place you can do it, the Bass Pro Shops (Outdoor World) in Sevierville, TN.
4) Mel Brooks was initially approached to direct the film, but thought the movie would flop and passed. Choosing instead to write and direct the huge summer blockbuster, Silent Movie.
5) Jaws wasn’t the original name for the film.
6) Despite Peter Benchley’s claim, the film was actually inspired by a popular and particularly frustrating Nintendo NES video game by the same name.
7) Actor Robert Shaw, who played Quint, owned the Orca in real life, and took great personal offense to Roy Scheider’s, ad-libbed line “we’re going to need a bigger boat“. Upon hearing it, Shaw stormed off set, shutting down production for two days. Filming was finally resumed when Scheider personally apologized to him by simply saying, “this is the biggest boat I’ve ever seen, and believe me I’ve seen a lot of BIG boats!”
8) If you play John Williams’ “Main Theme” backwards, you can faintly make out Satanic messages including: Sa-ad…Sa-tan. Come-back-baby. Sa-ad…Sa-tan. 6-6…6-6…6666666-66-6!!!!
9) Despite claims to the contrary, marine biologists have recently concluded that sharks do not possess the behavioral capacity for revenge, however they do experience regret.
10) Due to the graphic nature of violence shown in the movie, especially the scene in which Quint is eaten alive, Jaws was initially rated R. In an effort to appeal to younger audiences and obtain a PG rating, many scenes were digitally remastered by Spielberg’s fellow friend and director, George Lucas.
Farewell and Adieu!