There’s no denying that Jaws is one of the most iconic movies ever made. Its effects on the history of cinema are still felt today.
And while some don’t consider it a horror movie, it follows many of the same tropes of a monster movie, and even has many plot similarities to Creature from the Black Lagoon.
So in honor of this classic’s 45th anniversary today, we thought it would be fitting to go over 45 fun facts about Jaws!
1. According to novelist Peter Benchley, he first got the idea when he read a 1964 news story about a massive great white shark caught in New England.
2. The book had a love affair between Hooper and Mrs. Brody, but this subplot was dropped for the movie because Universal wanted it to be more action/adventure
3. Initially Dick Richards was attached to direct, however he seemed far more interesting in making a movie about a whale.
4. Spielberg very much saw the man vs. shark conflict as a spiritual sequel to the man vs. truck conflict in Duel.
5. Due to an impending SAG strike in 1974, no movie was able to start that wouldn’t be done by June 30th, which meant that they went from having no script if February to filming in April.
6. Spielberg scripted a scene where Quint is watching Moby Dick in a theater and laughing hysterically. But it was never shot because they couldn’t get the rights to Moby Dick (which were owned by Gregory Peck, because he wasn’t proud of that movie).
7. Carl Rizzo (the little person stuntman) was in a traffic accident just outside Universal studio. for his audition but fled the scene to go to his audition because he wanted the job. Spielberg insisted he go back to the accident scene to fill out the police report, but admired his fortitude, so he hired him.
8. Roy Schneider was cast because he overheard the plot at a party with Spielberg and was intrigued by it
9. Originally Spielberg wanted Jon Voight for the role of Hooper. Richard Dreyfuss was cast because Spielberg loved American Graffiti and he came highly recommended by George Lucas
10. Initially Dreyfuss didn’t want do it, because he said he’d rather watch this great movie. And it would “be bitch to shoot”. However, his nerves made him feel like his career was failing, so he reconsidered, believing he simply needed a job.
11. Given the many changes from the source novel, Steven Spielberg told Richard Dreyfuss to not even bother reading it.
12. Lee Marvin was the first choice for Quint, but he was not interested and took fishing very seriously.
13. Charlton Heston wanted to the role of Brody, and was apparently so upset with Spielberg for turning him down that he vowed never to work with him. He kept true to this promise when he rejected Spielberg’s offer to play General Stilwell in 1941.
14. Lorraine Gray (Mrs. Brody) was the first person that Spielberg cast.
15. Meadows (Carl Gottlieb) was one of the co-writers of the movie.
16. A second unit team was sent down to Australia to get real shark footage, although very little of it made it.
17. The news announcer was played by Peter Benchley, author of the novel.
18. Martha’s Vineyard was not very welcoming, and made the production walk on eggshells. But it was chosen because of its shallow sandy bottoms 12 miles offshore for filming.
19. When filming the scene where Mrs. Kintner slaps Chief Brody, actress Lee Fierro actually slapped Roy Schneider because she wasn’t able to fake it convincingly.
20. Joe Alves (production designer) was instructed by Spielberg that nothing in the background (clothes, signs, buildings, etc.) be red so that only the blood would be red.
21. Reportedly, Robert Shaw had to flown to Canada during his days off, due to a tax liability if he spent too much time in the US.
22. According to Hooper, Robert Shaw was really sea sick during the “Hooper you idiot” line and had to be helped into the chair, even collapsing as soon as the camera cut.
23. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was improvised by Roy Schneider.
24. Bob Mattey was recruited out of retirement to do special effects, he had previously done the monster on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
25. Many of the cast and crew would leave Martha’s Vineyard on Sundays, when they took off. However, Spielberg never left the island because he feared he would never go back.
26. At a charity dinner while shooting, Roy Schneider started a food fight which came to involve the whole cast and crew.
27. Robert Shaw (who was an accomplished playwright) re-wrote Quint’s iconic monologue.
28. According to Richard Dreyfuss, they constantly heard “The shark is not working” over the PA system for the duration of the shoot. Until one day they said, “The shark is working.”
29. Steven named the shark Bruce after his lawyer Bruce Raimer.
30. Production went over budget and behind schedule, and Spielberg wanted to take a break to perfect it. But the studio insisted they keep going just so they could keep working.
31. When recording the ADR for the first shark victim, they had the actress in the studio with a basinet with water in it so it sounded like she was in the ocean.
32. In order to get close up shots underwater, they did reshoots in a water tank, using stuntman Dick Warlock, famous for playing Michael Myers in Halloween II.
33. Spielberg was taken aback and surprised at how simplistic William’s theme was, and thought he was joking.
34. Won 3 Academy Awards (Best Film Editing, Sound, and Original Score). It was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
35. Spielberg was so arrogantly confident that it would in Best Picture, he even had a news crew with him at an Oscar Party.
36. Due to the popularity of the movie, there was a documented reduction in beach attendance during the summer of 1975, as people were nervous about sharks.
37. Ranked #1 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
38. John Williams was insistent that he music never be used as a fakeout, it would only be heard when the shark was coming.
39. Jaws became the first movie to surpass $100 million at the box office. There were even ads that showed the shark devouring other movies that previously held box office records.
40. Credited with starting the trend of big budget summer blockbusters.
41. However, its status as the highest grossing film of all time was broken only two years later with Star Wars in 1977.
42. Spielberg felt that any attempt at a sequel was nothing more than a “cheap carny trick”. So when the producers offered him the chance to direct Jaws 2, he didn’t even reply.
43. Alex Kintner actor Jeffrey Vorhees went on to open a seafood restaurant called “Alex Kintner Sandwich”. The actress who played his mother Lee Fierro showed up one day and discovered that he was running it and the two had a reunion.
44. The Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990 and remained one of the parks most popular attractions, until it was closed in 2012. The one in Japan however is still in operation.
45. The Orlando Jaws ride cost $45 million to make, 5 times more than the movie itself cost!
Which of these did you know already? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
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