On this day in horror history, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss was released back in 1975.
It was the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977. In 2001, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name, the film begins when a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engages in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
The screenplay is credited to Benchley, who wrote the first drafts, and actor-writer Carl Gottlieb, who rewrote the script during shooting.
The film sports a 98% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg’s Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
It spawned three sequels Jeannot Szwarc’s Jaws 2 with Roy Scheider, Joe Alves’ Jaws 3-D with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr., and Joseph Sargent’s Jaws: The Revenge with Michael Caine and Lorraine Gary.