It's hard to believe that it was 35 years ago today that Steven Spielberg revolutionized the film industry with the release of Jaws. I recall being a college student at the time, and while there was anticipation for the film because of the book's status as a best-seller, no one could believe the lines at the box-office. I saw the movie opening night in my hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey- and the next day my girlfriend and I went to the beach. The impact of the film was not lost on me. Although New Jersey has some of the finest, most popular beaches in the world, the water was pretty light on swimmers even though the beach was packed. So many people had seen the film opening night, or spread the word about its impact, that people were frightened to go into the water. We do have sharks off the Jersey coast but attacks are very rare. Nevertheless, the impact of Spielberg's film made the possibility of even the slightest encounter reason enough to stay on solid ground. I think people were expecting a hokey B monster movie and they emerged from the theater knowing they had seen a cinematic work of art - not to mention three unexpectedly great performances by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and -especially- Robert Shaw. Today's era of computer-generated special effects has ensured we'll never seen a film that has this kind of impact again - a true masterpiece of suspense created by craftsmen who worked diligently against nature, nervous studio executives and a soaring budget. Thirty five years from now it will still be seen as a textbook example of how to produce and direct a great tale of suspense. Click here for Slashfilm's photo tribute to the movie including vintage newspaper ads.
Click here to read Cinema Retro's exclusive interview with the producers of the Jaws documentary The Shark Is Still Working
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