Adapted from the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws is one of the best thrillers of all-time. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film starred Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw and told the story of Amity Island’s battle with a man-eating great white shark.

I, like many others, am a huge fan of Jaws and have seen it countless times, whether it is through TV and DVD screenings or via routine re-releases at the cinema. In my honest opinion the movie is a near perfect example of how to present an engaging and enjoyable piece of entertainment and is without doubt one of Spielberg’s finest moments.

But how much do you know about Jaws? Want to know more?

Then read on…

Frequently asked questions about Jaws (1975)

Image: ©Universal Pictures

How much did Jaws cost to produce?

The movie started with a shooting schedule of 55 days but overran considerably, completing after 159 days. So, while the original budget for Jaws was an estimated $3.5 million, the finished movie came in at a budget of $9 million.

How much has Jaws made at the box office?

At the time of publishing this post, Jaws has taken $470.7 million at the worldwide box office. The movie’s producers, Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, purchased the movie rights for Jaws for $175,000.

Where was Jaws filmed?

Jaws was primarily shot on location in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Director Steven Spielberg chose this location as he felt it provided him with extras, who he felt the audience would connect with.

Who wrote Jaws?

Jaws is based on a book written by author Peter Benchley. The screenplay for the movie was written by Peter Benchley, with rewrites by actor and screenwriter, Carl Gottlieb.

Does Peter Benchley appear in Jaws?

Yes, the author/writer makes a cameo appearance in the movie, as a reporter.

Was the shark in Jaws real?

No. The shark in Jaws was actually three pneumatically powered sharks, which were all given the name Bruce, in honour of Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Raimer.

Image: ©Universal Pictures

Was Jaws difficult to film?

Yes, notoriously so. Shooting the movie at sea caused problems and even director, Steven Spielberg has noted it would have been better filming Jaws in a North Hollywood tank.

Is it true, the shark is kept off screen to build tension?

Yes and no. Due to problems with the three pneumatic sharks, Spielberg was forced to shoot scenes which hinted at, but didn’t show, the film’s protagonist. Ultimately, the lack of shark helped increase tension.

Who was the first victim in Jaws?

The first shark attack victim in Jaws is Chrissie Watkins, as played by Susan Backline.

Image: ©Universal Pictures

What is the famous quote from Jaws?

The most quoted line from Jaws is: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. This quote was an ad lib from actor Roy Scheider.

Who wrote the music for Jaws?

Composer John Williams provided the score for Jaws. Williams’ score was used to create a sense of fear and doom so that audiences would be afraid of the shark even when it wasn’t on screen.

Did the Jaws theme win any awards?

Yes, John Williams’ Jaws score won numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. Perhaps more interestingly, Steven Spielberg was not a huge fan of the Jaws theme when he first heard it.

Does Hooper die in Jaws?

The character of Hooper survives the events of Jaws. However, he was killed off in the original book.

When was Jaws released?

In the US, Jaws was released in June 1975. It was the first film to gross more than $100 million at the US box office.

How many Academy Awards did Jaws win?

Jaws won three Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Sound. It didn’t win Best Picture – that award went to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Image: ©Universal Pictures

How many Jaws films are there?

There are four Jaws films:

  • Jaws (1975)
  • Jaws 2 (1978)
  • Jaws 3-D (1983)
  • Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Of the four films listed above, Steven Spielberg only directed the original movie. He did not direct any of the Jaws sequels.

Should you want to delve into the series, all four movies are available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital.

And if you want to go further, additional material about the series is available, such as books like Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel by Michael A. Smith – available via Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Is Jaws in the United States National Film Registry?

Yes, in 2001, the Library of Congress selected Jaws for preservation in the United States National Film Registry after being deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.

Was Jaws responsible for the trend of summer blockbusters?

The success of Jaws convinced Hollywood that summer movies built around a strong campaign of marketing, could reap big rewards. Since its release, this has been the model for blockbusters.

Has Jaws inspired other movies?

Yes – heaps. Obvious examples of movies inspired by Jaws include Orca (1977) and Deep Blue Sea (1999). Perhaps a less obvious example is Alien, which was initially pitched as ‘Jaws in space’.

And now you know.

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