Sunday, 14 February 2016

Jaws (1975)

If films were put in a hierarchy, 'Jaws' would undoubtedly be a film which is at the top, a well known blockbuster that changed films from its release. Director, Steven Spielberg successfully captured the audience and scared them with the films soundtrack and camera shots, and still to this day it has the capability to do so. 

Fig 1: Jaws poster

The film immediately establishes its killer and main focus of the film, its begins with the death of Chrissie (Susan Backline) as she tries to lure an intoxicated male into the ocean but due to his intoxication he gets no further than the beach. The camera then changes to a view beneath Chrissie, one that establishes that she's being watch, being preyed on, as the camera gets closer the tension builds as the score comes into play keeping us on the edge of our seats as we know the shark is there but Chrissie does not.

The camera shots and angles within this film really work on captivating the audience and creating tension, the camera doesn't properly give away the shark until towards the end of the film, making the audience sit on the edge of their seats wondering about this nature threatening the man on Amity Island. 'The shark is more talked about than seen, and seen more in terms of its actions than in the flesh.' (Ebert, 2000) Spielberg described it as a 'bomb under the table, but it does not explode' (Ebert, 2000) - making it an extremely effective thriller, keeping the audience on the edges of their seats. Spielberg carefully reveals the shark in different forms, in the tooth Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) finds on the hole of the boat, in the book which Chief Brody briefly flicks through, the floating kegs from the boat. Spielberg through this method, changed cinema completely and created one of his most successful films yet.

Fig 2: The 'invisible shark'

The shark itself has been disputed by many critics as to what its purpose is. "There are no doubt supposed to be all sorts of levels of meanings in such an archetypal story" (Ebert, 1975). Male sexuality stands out the most within Spielberg's 'Jaws', apart from the establishing attack on Amity Island all other victims are male, all who are attack from below the waistline - Castration. 'The shark brings in its wake a generalized fear of sexual violation' (Biskind, 1975)

Fig 3: The shark attack Quint below the waist

Furthermore, Spielberg's 'Jaws' is a film which seems effortlessly capture its audience, a film which reformed cinema completely and a film that kept many people away from the ocean for a very long time.


  • Ebert, R. (1975) 'Jaws' : 14/02/15
  • Ebert, R. (2000) 'Jaws' : 14/02/15
  • Ebert, R. (2000) 'Jaws' : 14/02/15
  • Biskind, P. (1975) 'Jaws' : 14/02/15


  • Fig 1: Poster : 14/02/15
  • Fig 2: Film Still :
  • Fig3: Film Still :


  1. Im not sure why its highlighted white, i have tried to fix this but its not working for me

  2. Hi Danni,

    Could you make sure that your font is the same size throughout please - the bibliography needs a magnifying glass to read it at the moment :)